Acupuncture, Tuina & Taiji in London
In this newsletter:

Qi moves to Covent Garden
Sixteen years ago I was one of four complementary health practitioners who set up Belsize Health. Now I have teamed up with my friend, inspiration, colleague and qigong student, Andy Roberts, to take his Breathe vision into Jubilee Hall Gym at Covent Garden
“Be totally empty,
embrace the tranquility of peace.
Watch the workings of all creation, 
observe how endings
become beginnings.”            
Dao de Jing (Book of Changes)
Following the wisdom of the daoist classic, the Book of Changes, the time seems right for an ending and a new beginning; my qi is moving to a new pasture or garden, connecting the past to the present. 

In 2003, Andy and Tom set up Breathe Wellbeing Centre at The Colombo Centre in Waterloo. 

Andy now leads mindfulness courses in Australia and London. Colombo is a not for profit organisation which reinvests all surpluses to run local community activities. Andy says: ‘We are proud that the rental income Breathe pays for our therapy rooms is redistributed back to the community. Over 20 therapists all share common Breathe values of  kindness, openness, respect, attention to detail and value for money’. 

Colombo is run by Jubilee Hall Trust and Coin Street and now Breathe is taking on a second location inside Jubilee Hall Gym, Covent Garden. In my 20s I attended aerobics classes and played basketball in this fantastic central London gym. Now I’m part of the team creating a mind and body therapy  centre offering hypnotherapy, counselling, osteopathy, nutrition, massage and more, and where I can practice the Chinese medical arts of acupuncture, tuina, taiji & qigong.

Come and visit the new location and get £10 off your initial Moving Qi treatment in February*:

Breathe Covent Garden
Jubilee Hall Gym
30 The Piazza
Covent Garden

* Quote breathe17, £10 off initial full-cost treatments only. Offer must be redeemed by 28 Feb 2017.

2017: Year of the Fire Rooster

January 28 marks the start of the go-getting year where the early bird will catch the worm and in Chinese medicine terms pay special attention to the Kidneys

Intense, excitable and ambitious, the Year of the Red Fire Rooster rewards dynamism and discourages lethargy. It's time to manifest your dreams, even if the prospect is a little scary. Having the courage of your convictions will pay off in a big way in 2017. 

Roosters are famous for their punctuality, loyalty and principled beliefs. If there are misunderstandings and tensions within a relationship, use 2017 to fix them. In business ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ should be the guiding principle of the Red Fire Rooster Year. Be above-board and honest in all your dealings this year. 

Pay special attention to the Kidneys, Bladder, and urinary tract during the Year of the Red Fire Rooster. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins, monitor the amount of salt in your diet, and limit alcohol intake for optimal health.

Rooster years make people opinionated and dogmatic. Arguments about religion, politics and ethics can be quite heated in 2017. It will be practically impossible to change anyone's mind this year, so adopt a ‘live and let live’ policy when you’re in mixed company. Channel strong beliefs into group endeavors that are devoted to your favourite causes.

Therefore, in 2017, we need to brace ourselves for a period of immense changes. Fire destroys Metal, and this destructive relationship means challenges double during the year. Yet, the Fire Rooster shines like a bright star in the dark sky, bringing hope and transformation to those who know how to act harmoniously around prevailing circumstances.​

What is qigong (chi kung)?

An integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong is a perfect counterbalance to the stress of modern city life

Qigong in the silk paintings in the Mawandui caves around 200BC

Qigong is the unknown entity often eclipsed by taiji. It integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focuses ‘yi’ (intent) to restore vitality and bring about a sense of balance and wellbeing.

  • Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.
  • Gong, pronounced gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice.
Together, Qigong (Chi Kung) means cultivating energy. It is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.

Qigong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All styles have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Some practices increase the qi; others circulate it, use it to cleanse and heal the body, store it, or emit qi to help heal others. Martial practices vary from the soft internal styles such as taiji; to the external, vigorous styles such as gong fu (kung fu). However, the slow gentle movements of most qigong forms can be easily adapted, even for the physically challenged and can be practiced by all age groups.

Qigong stimulates the meridian system used in acupuncture and emphasises the importance of adding mindful intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. 

The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong:

  • reduce stress
  • build stamina
  • increase vitality
  • enhance the immune system
  • improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.

Those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong find that it helps one regain a youthful vitality, maintain health even into old age and helps speed recovery from illness. Western scientific research confirms that qigong reduces hypertension and the incidence of falling in the aged population. One of the more important long-term effects is that qigong reestablishes the body/mind/soul connection.

Qigong classes
  • Breathe Waterloo drop-in class Fri 10-11am
  • Breathe Qigong 1-2-1 classes Mon, Tue & Fri
  • Clissold Park Qigong & Taiji fortnightly Sat 10am-12
  • Morley College 12-week course Wed 7.30-9.30pm


Winter warmer: Kidney exercise


Winter is the phase related to the Kidneys in the Five Element cycle. The sixth exercise in the Eight Strands of the Brocade qigong set is designed to strengthen the Kidneys

Before performing the exercise, warm up the body and do a few gentle stretches. 

6. Touching the Feet with Both Hands Reinforces the Kidney and Loins

Start with feet shoulder width

Breathe in: Circle arms out to side then above head.
Breathe out: As arms go over head, bend knees to a half squat position - imagine sitting on an inflated balloon. Lower arms down to hips, keeping back straight.
Breathe in: Straighten up by circling arms down and out to side.
Repeat 8 times
NB Do not let arms go behind the body so that shoulder blade is pushed forward.

• strengthens muscles of lower back and legs
• stretches spine and kidneys
• improves water metabolism

Laura is teaching this set at Morley College Spring Term
Book here

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