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An Introduction to Meridian 3-1-2 Qigong Exercise

I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

The Taoist Pa Kua, encompassing the Yin Yang symbol and the eight Trigrams.

The Taoist Pa Kua, encompassing the Yin Yang symbol and the eight Trigrams.

What Is "Qi"?

There is no equivalent English term for this Chinese “Qi” (pronounced as “chi”). The closest will be “ethereal energy force”. This unseen energy force that is giving energy to the body, when properly harnessed will maintain the physical body in good shape. Although this energy “qi” cannot be seen, it can be felt and also can be demonstrated.

During my younger days when practising Aikido (a Japanese art of self-defense), I could demonstrate the presence of the powerful "qi". We did a simple demonstration by letting another person bend our arms. With proper "qi" concentration, the arm would stay rigid and not yield to the force to bend. In Japanese it is called "ki", obviously from the original Chinese term "qi".

In fact, there is only one other nation that has languages conveying the same meaning as “qi”, and these are the languages from India, notably Sanskrit. The term in Sanskrit is “prana”, meaning "vital life". This meaning conveys the essence of “qi”. The literal meaning of “qi” is “gas” which brings life to the body. Without this “qi” the body is dead. Qi is the energy that flows through the body, and any blockage to this flow of “qi” will affect the body function, giving rise to health problems. The basic foundation of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicines) is the understanding of this flow of “qi” and how to harmonize the positive and negative “qi” (Yin and Yang). A major part of TCM is towards harnessing this “qi” as a system of preventive medicine. That is, to maintain a healthy body, thereby alleviating sicknesses. This knowledge and utilization of “qi” had been practiced by the Chinese for thousands of years! The only “problem” is to prove qi’s existence in a scientific way.

The prowess of Chinese Kungfu (Martial Arts) is also based on the utilization and harnessing of this “qi” power.

Meridian points were discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago. In the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor), one of the most important ancient Chinese medical treatises, the meridians were recorded to have the function of "promoting circulation of Xueqi (Blood and Qi) and balancing yin and yang" and "determining life and death and treating hundred diseases." Today’s acupuncture techniques are based on this ancient knowledge. The insertion of needles into the acupoints are points along these meridians.

What Is "Qigong"?

Since ancient times, the Chinese have been experts in harnessing “qi” for general well-being and for prowess in Kungfu. The art of this harnessing of “qi’ is generally called “Qigong”. The second word "gong" (pronounced as "kung") means "work". As such, qigong means the exercise to harness the ethereal energy force. 

The most common qigong is Tai Chi. You can do a Google search and find many "Youtube" demonstrations of the different versions. 

There are many types of qigong ranging from the stationary/static stance to the very graceful dance form. There is such a wide variety of Qigong exercises that you will surely find one that is most suitable for you. It very much depends on your temperament, your energy, and most importantly, your available time.

Meridian "3-1-2" Qigong

I have practised a number of qigong exercises and find this particular version to be very easy and practical, which I like to share with you. Meridian 3-1-2 Qigong is very popular because it is so easy to follow and takes only a few minutes to practise.  This article is to introduce the creator of this Meridian 3-1-2 Qigong exercise. At the end of this article, I shall provide you with the link to the actual Youtube videos together with my explanation of Meridian “3-1-2” Qigong.

Chinese tradition and culture, including TCM, were brutally suppressed during the Cultural Revolution during the 1960s and 1970s. With the re-emergence of Deng Xiao Peng, China began rebuilding its economy and also supported the revival of Chinese tradition, notably TCM. During the period between 1980 and 1990, China embarked on the scientific research into this elusive “qi” by using the EEG and related instruments. Scientists, doctors and other researchers were encouraged to concentrate on this scientific research on “qi”.

One such eminent doctor is Professor Dr. Zhu Zongxiang from the Acupuncture and Meridian Research Institute Peking. Being a “westernized” scientist he had great doubt about the existence of “qi” in the body. He started scientific experiments by measuring flows of low electric resistance in the body, high oscillation sounds and high skin sensitivity.

After years of research, he found a network of channels running through the body. He then consulted a TCM Physician who then used the so-called "Copper Man," the little human model on which meridians traditionally are mapped, to compare the network of channels. They matched 100% with the electro-sonic network of channels which Dr. Zhu had found on the human body!

Although there is still much to be done to provide concrete scientific proof of the existence of “qi”, Dr Zhu believed that there is a “Qi-system” governing the human body.

Who Is Professor Dr. Zhu Zongxiang?

Born in 1923, Professor Zhu taught physiology at Peking Union Medical College Hospital beginning in the 1950s. His prominence began in 1973 when Premier Zhou Enlai encouraged Chinese scientists to provide scientific proof of the efficacy of acupuncture. Actually, the proof was already available through the positive results of known acupuncture treatments. But this was not enough to convince the world.

Zhu joined the acupuncture meridian research group of the Institute of Biophysics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He and his colleagues spent more than 10 years experimenting with modern scientific instruments to pinpoint the meridians.

In the 1980s, the researchers successfully showed the 14 meridians in the human body through biophysical methods, which were surprisingly identical to those recorded in ancient classical meridian graphs.

Professor Zhu later established his own research center and called it the Beijing Yanhuang Meridian Center. From there he created the Meridian 3-1-2 Qigong exercise. This exercise involves massaging of 3 acupoints, 1 abdominal breathing method, and 2-step knee-bending exercise. The whole exercise will stimulate all the meridians throughout the body, thus vitalizing the whole body and maintaining good health.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on February 01, 2017:

Hi Ayanna,

Thanks for the encouraging comment.

Ayanna on January 30, 2017:

Hi, thanks for this article, I really enjoyed it. Especially where you explained the fact that Tai Chi is a form of Qigong. I also really appreciate your explanation of how it works. I'm looking forward to your next post

Boovarahan S on April 01, 2015:

Hi !

Thanks for sharing this 3-1-2 exercise. This is very simple but incredibly effective. I could cure my head ache within minutes and my body feels good now. I have cured the stomach problems of a few with this simple exercise. Thanks a lot.

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on January 13, 2013:

Hi Shauna,

You are to do both sides.

Hope you go to the link for the videos.

Shauna on January 13, 2013:

For the first 2 points on the hand you are pressing points on the left hand. Do you ever switch it up and press points on the right hand. The video shows pressing points on the left hand but the diagram shows the meridian lines for the right side of the body.

Bbudoyono on October 06, 2011:


Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on September 02, 2010:

Bob Ellal,

Hope your personal testimony will encourage others to practise Qigong.

Bob Ellal on September 02, 2010:

Employing the mind/body connection—in the form of qigong (Chinese internal energy exercises)--helped me immensely in my successful battles with four bouts of supposedly terminal bone lymphoma cancer in the early nineties. I practiced standing post meditation, one of the most powerful forms of qigong--as an adjunct to chemotherapy, which is how it should always be used.

Qigong kept me strong in many ways: it calmed my mind--taking me out of the fight-or-flight syndrome, which pumps adrenal hormones into the system that could interfere with healing. The deep abdominal breathing pumped my lymphatic system—a vital component of the immune system. In addition, qigong energized and strengthened my body at a time when I couldn't do Western exercise such as weight-lifting or jogging--the chemo was too fatiguing. And it empowered my will and reinforced it every day with regular practice. In other words, I contributed to the healing process, instead of just depending solely on the chemo and the doctors. Clear 14 years and still practicing!

I learned qigong from Ramel Rones, disciple of Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming of Boston. It's very important to learn qigong from a highly-qualified teacher who has learned from a bona fide master with a lineage originating to China. Beware--many self-proclaimed "masters" teach untested qigong!

Bob Ellal

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on September 01, 2010:


You're most welcome. And thanks for reading and comment.

Rob from Oviedo, FL on September 01, 2010:

Thanks for the information. I'd like to learn more about this.