Simple ancient Taoist exercise that saves lives

Ping Shuaishou (平甩手), or Level Arm Swinging Exercise, is a very simple Taoist exercise.

It involves swinging of the two arms with slight bending of knees at intervals.

Do not be deceived by its simplicity.  The exercise’s  impact on health is tremendous.

One of the notable beneficiaries of the exercise is surgeon Xu Dafu from Taiwan.  Watch his interview – Taoist exercise that saved the medical doctor his life.

In addition, in the video demonstration below, you are given the instruction to get the exercise started immediately. This is what you do:

Begin by standing firmly with feet apart at shoulder width.

Keep the center of gravity. Close your eyes, relax the whole body.

Breathe with your nose. Stay natural.

Open your eyes, smile.

Raise your arms to the height of shoulders, at a level parallel to the ground. Let the palms stay flat.

Then start swinging.

Swing the arms rhythmically. Relax. Count the swings. At every fifth swing,  bend your knees slightly twice and bounce your body back naturally.  Remember to relax the knees and stay flexible. Do not bend the body too much.

Take it easy.  Feel the resonance. The movements allows the chi energy to flow to the finger tips. Finger tips are connected to the heart, and when the chi energy bounces back, it helps to cleanse the internal organs, and rid the body of problems in the process.

Slow down and gradually come to a stop. Relax the hands, allow them to return to the sides of your body naturally.

Close your eyes gently, going into the state of receiving energy in your body.

Relax and breathe evenly. Slowly open your eyes.

Perform the exercise for 10 minutes daily, and you will see delighting results.

It is believed that a highly respected Indian Buddhist monk known as Bodhidharma introduced the exercise into China nearly two thousand years ago.  For centuries, the exercise has been part of the repertoire of training programs for martial art exponents, including monks in the Shaolin temples.

You can perform the exercise any time you like.  Depending on your physical conditions, you can begin by doing one or two hundred swings, and gradually increase it to two to three thousand.  The surgeon in the video does two thousand swings a day.

While the exercise is good for anyone who want to stay healthy, it is said to be helpful in improving a number of medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, cancer, hemiplegia, mini stroke, as well as heart, liver, kidney and lung conditions, . (Reference source:

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  1. hi i’m 65 & have just started with 200 arm swings daily & i find this exercise very invigorating
    – is there a breathing technique to this exercise or does one continue to breathe normally ?
    thank you

    1. jita-i have or had extrEme high bloodpressure and sought alternative to the medications due to the side effects and true problems from them like getting chronic renal failure along with feeling SICK,nervous on and on and found a remedy simply controlling breaths per minute,controlling breathing to a certain number breaths per minute–will begin to get blood pressure control for most–i do not know how much lower mine has become as i truly became phobic when trying to keep a record of it in the home w/those stupid monitors that for me WOULD pump it uuuuuuup so tight/STOP/ then CONTINUE uuuuuuuup–mygawd what grotesque readings ! and taking the medications as prescribed etc etc feeling worse etc so think u understand my problems here-i needed an alternative or a supportive action and found it w/control by breath perminute–is on “utube”
      so…Controlling the breathing came along naturally with the arm swinging and slight knee bends every 5th swing—1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 with that slight knee bend and a deeeep inhale then a good exhale on the “up”—think you know what i’m trying to express on a keyboard LOL
      However ! i certainly DO FEEL better,most certainly do feel improvement in circulation and that qi sensation (is that what is called?) that energy flow- ? is incredible–pounding and banging literally IN my head has stopped thank U Almighty–
      of course might NOT be needed or for everyone but for myself and perhaps a few others will become a part of this routine.

    1. You are absolutely correct. Master Li mentioned this in one of the tv interviews.
      He said if unable to bend knees and doing this seated, one must ‘visualise the knee bending on every 5th swing’ to achieve the whole body qi circulation (Same if is done lying down for those who are too ill to sit)
      The healing effects of seated/lying down are not as fast as standing, however it is advisable to keep doing this exercise DAILY. Make sure you start slowly (i don’t mean the speed of the swing) doing 1or 2 minutes, then 3 mins, slowly building up to avoid risk of arm or knee injuries.
      This is not merely just an exercise. It’s like a combination of meditation and exercise.
      Best doing these in a quiet place away from disruption.
      Wishing all of you great health.

  2. I would like to know what is the reason for bending the knees. What is the importance of bending the knees on the count of 5?

    Charles Duncan

    1. it’s simply to break the monotonous during the exercise. Nothing critically important. You can skip the bending if you choose to.

        1. It depends. Listen to your body. You may, say, begin with 10 minutes and increase the time if you think it helps. Take a cup of warm water after each session.

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