How to Use Ancient Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Modern-Day Stress (a Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective)

Holden QiGong
5 min readJan 30, 2024

Do you ever find it difficult to relax your mind and body after a busy day?

In the modern world, countless stressors can build up and make it difficult to find peace and calm. Work, family life, and long to-do lists are just a few common factors that can hinder you from slowing down and feeling relaxed.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Qi Gong offer some important lessons that can help you relax your mind and body amid the busyness of everyday life. And the best part is that you can put these lessons into practice anytime you want.

In this blog, you’ll discover how to use the principles and practice of Qi Gong to relax your body and mind. This will allow you to let go of tension and tightness, and experience a deep sense of peace and tranquility throughout your entire being.

What Is True Relaxation?

Before addressing how to relax, it’s important to clearly establish what relaxation actually means.

In the twenty-first century, there are many different ideas about what “relaxation” actually refers to. For some, relaxation might refer to sitting on the couch, drinking alcohol, and watching TV. Some might say running is their primary source of relaxation. And some may turn to meditation or Qi Gong.

Based on these diverse ideas of relaxation, what does relaxation even mean?

According to TCM and Qi Gong, relaxation is the process of releasing stress and charging up your energy system. In other words, relaxation helps you let go of unwanted tension and cultivate vitality throughout your body and mind.

With this definition in mind, it’s much easier to recognize which activities are truly relaxing and which aren’t. Drinking alcohol and watching TV might feel relaxing for a short period, but do these activities give you increased energy and vitality? That’s for you to decide. For most, they probably don’t.

TCM and Qi Gong help distinguish between dynamic relaxation and passive relaxation. Dynamic relaxation involves intentionally engaging your mind and body to let go of stress and cultivate energy. Qi Gong and meditation are two activities that require some level of engagement but lead to a clear increase in energy, vitality, and peace.

Passive relaxation generally doesn’t require intentionally engaging your mind and body. Some passive relaxation practices, such as sleeping, are incredibly important, while others can lead to further energy depletion. A classic example is drinking large quantities of alcohol — it might feel like you’re letting go of stress and getting energized, but more than likely, your stress will return, and you’ll feel hung over and depleted once the high wears off.

Remember, to know if something is truly relaxing, ask this question: Do you feel less stressed and more energized after the activity? If the answer is yes, then you know it’s a relaxing activity. If the answer is no, then it isn’t.

Relaxation And The Water Element

In TCM and Qi Gong, relaxation is connected to the Water element. When your Water element is strong, it’s easier to feel relaxed and at peace.

The Water element is all about finding a sense of flow within your body and with the world around you. If you look at a stream or river, you’ll notice that water easily adapts to its environment and moves effortlessly along its journey to the sea.

As a human, you can seek to embody the Water element’s wisdom to experience greater relaxation in your everyday life. Instead of resisting change or becoming tense in the face of uncertainty, you can try to accept the things beyond your control. Just as water in a river flows effortlessly around boulders or trees, you can also move gracefully around the boulders you encounter in your own life.

One of the wonderful things about Qi Gong is that it can help you embody the lessons the Water element has to share. Specific Qi Gong exercises allow you to cultivate the Water element in your mind and body.

Below, you’ll find a brief Qi Gong exercise designed to help you boost your Water element to release stress and experience a greater sense of relaxation within your life.

Qi Gong Exercise To Relax In Your Body And Mind

This Qi Gong exercise is called “Opening the Flow.” Like many other Qi Gong exercises, it uses slow, flowing movements to help cultivate and circulate energy throughout your body. This makes it a powerful form of dynamic relaxation.

To start this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rest your hands by your waist. Take a few deep breaths and relax your mind.

When you’re ready, raise your hands gently in front of you as you inhale. Your hands should move slowly upward until they’re about eye level. Then, exhale slowly and bring your hands down until they return to your waist.

Inhale and bring your hands up again until they’re at eye level. Exhale slowly and bring your hands down until they return to your waist. With each breath, try to relax your body a little more. Continue this exercise for a few minutes, synchronizing your breath with the movement.

Try to make your movements as flowy and effortless as possible. Relax the muscles in your body and feel stress melt away and energy flow throughout your body. Breathe slowly and deeply, and continue this movement for a couple more minutes.

When you’re ready, bring your hands over your lower abdomen and take a couple more deep breaths to center your energy. Then, smile to yourself and take that feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation into the rest of your day.

If you want to learn more Qi Gong practices designed to help you release stress and cultivate a feeling of relaxation within your mind and body, be sure to check out our free Two-Week Qi Gong Trial.

Learn More Qi Gong Practices For Relaxation And Inner Peace

When you sign up for our Two-Week Qi Gong Trial, you’ll get free access to Lee Holden’s Qi Gong classes for two weeks. Just like the exercise above, all of Lee’s Qi Gong practices are designed to melt away stress and cultivate vitality throughout your entire being.

Because the Two-Week Trial is an online offer, you can enjoy the Qi Gong lessons from the comfort of your home. Learn more and discover how Qi Gong can help you release tension and experience more relaxation and peace every day.

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