We’ve been told by countless magazine articles and books that detoxification is an uncomfortable process, usually involving an extreme remedy of eating a lot of one food (rice? cabbage?) or drinking a disgusting concoction (olive oil and lemon with cayenne pepper?) or taking a lot of expensive supplements.

From a qigong perspective, detoxification is not just a purging of the digestive tract, and need not be painful or extreme. A spring detox can happen as naturally as spring itself.

Since each of us is a microcosm of the universe—since we are nature—it makes sense that spring is our time to move and go with the flow. Part of this movement is detoxifying the body. In spring the seasons are in balance—yin and yang. If our bodies are not reflecting or matching this harmony, one thing we can do is look to our liver, the organ that is at its peak in spring and, physically, the body’s most important detoxifying organ.

From a qigong perspective, which comes from following the Dao (the way of nature), bringing the liver to its highest level of functioning, and the body to harmony, means going with the flow of nature. Presently, nature is letting go of the still, cold, and silent ways of winter, and starting to move. Ice is melting and water is flowing. Trees are budding and sap is running. Early flowers are blooming. New growth and new life is being created.

In our spring qigong classes, we are spending some time purging stale, sluggish, or stagnant liver Qi and inviting in new, fresh, healing Qi. Our movements and breath work in “Punching with a Steady Gaze,” is a safe, but powerful way to transform.

We can also help the liver to detoxify by working with our lymph system. In comprehensive report on the physiological effects of a regular qigong practice, Qigong Institute’s Roger Jahnke, OMD, says, “Breath, movement, and posture all have specific effects on the production and circulation of the lymph.”1

Jahnke also concludes that a regular qigong practice helps the body to effectively metabolize oxygen and eliminate both environmental and dietary toxins from the body. In class this week we will help the detoxification process with the safe, but effective practice of “Hitting the Detox Points,” and also by massaging the body’s main acupressure detoxification points. We will also continue to cultivate a smooth flow of Qi through the body—another of the liver’s many jobs—by working with our tendons.

Just because qigong feels so good, and is so accessible and gentle, don’t make the mistake of dismissing the powerful impact it can have on our physical and energetic bodies. In fact, original research published in the medical journal Alternative Therapies (Li, Chen, and Zhixian, 2002) suggests that qigong is so effective for detoxification it may be successfully used to help heroin addicts, and without side effects.2 The study results showed a reduction in withdrawal symptoms in the qigong group occurred more rapidly compared to other groups and that from day one the qigong group had significantly less symptoms and lower anxiety.

Qigong is powerful. Qi is powerful. Qi is our life force. Let’s flow with it, detoxify, renew, blossom, and grow.


  1. Jahnke, Roger. Physiological Effects of Qigong. Qigong Institute. Retrieved from:
  2. Li, Ming, Kevin Chen, and Zhixian Mo. “Use of Qigong Therapy in the Detoxification of Heroin Addicts.” Alternative Therapies, 8(1), Jan/Feb 2002. Retrieved from:

© Sandra Tonn