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Ancient art a helping hand to better health

Hand exercises you can easily do in bed, or sitting in front of the TV, are just some of the ways you can use the ancient art of Qi Gong to improve your health. Gently tapping on the acupressure points in the hands and face can stimulate the body encouraging energy – or “chi” – to refresh circulation and muscles and help relieve aches and pains.


Qi Gong can be more stimulating than coffee and it’s one of the secrets to a long and youthful life for 81-year-old instructor Janita Ying, a resident at Ingenia’s Seachange Toowoomba. Each week, Janita leads a group of friends and neighbours in a series of choreographed movements to music. As well as having fun on a Thursday morning, the class is learning a complex sequence of ancient movements in preparation for a public display at the end of the year.



Janita has been teaching the ancient art of Qi Gong for more than 20 years and has been to China several times to study under Grand Master Chan. Qi Gong proved to be a useful skill for the many years Janita worked as a diversional therapist, interpreter and massage therapist helping palliative care patients at Tamworth Hospital. “The more I learned about Qi Gong the more I liked it,” she said. “I have always loved caring for people and teaching them why and how to exercise so they can better look after themselves.”


Janita was forced to give up work four years ago when she broke her ankle. After that, she found the stairs and large, sloping garden at her family home were too hard to navigate so she and her husband moved to Seachange Toowoomba. The timber dance floor in the resort’s light-filled community clubhouse provides a luxurious setting for the slow, graceful Qi Gong movements that are inspired by nature.


Unlike its cousin Tai Chi, the primary focus of Qi Gong is better health. Tai Chi was developed centuries later and has its roots in martial arts. Fellow Seachange resident Sue Gregor is a convert after taking up Qi Gong less than a year ago. She often leads the group when Janita is away. Sue and her husband moved to Toowoomba from the Sunshine Coast, in 2021, accompanied by their elderly dog and two ragdoll cats. “Qi Gong is very relaxing. You can feel the energy going through your body,” she said. “It has helped me with my sciatic pain. “It has also helped me to find some peace after losing my husband just a few months ago.”



“All my life I have been one to get in, work hard and really feel like I’ve made an effort. This is a much quieter challenge but still quite demanding to get the body, mind and breathing all working together.”


The group is currently preparing the “Wild Goose” routine – a 10-minute sequence inspired by wild birds spreading their wings, flying in the sky and searching for food.