‘King of Medicine’ Sun Simiao’s Precious Methods for Preserving Good Health

Elderly couple walking through a park.

Walking regularly is one of Sun Simiao's precious methods to preserve health and live to a ripe old age. (Image: Ammentorp via Dreamstime)

In ancient China there lived a famous medical doctor and pharmacologist named Sun Simiao (A.D. 541-682). Sun was so respected by later generations that he came to be called the “King of Medicine’.’ He not only advocated for health preservation among his patients, but he personally practiced the things he recommended. 

According to legend, at the age of 100, Sun Simiao still maintained unfailing hearing and perfect vision, and he’s said to have lived to the ripe old age of 141 years old! So just how did he maintain his health and live such a long life?

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

Perhaps the secret lies in the fact that Sun Simiao was not only of noble character and practiced strong medical ethics, but he also attached great importance to daily health. 

Precious health preservation methods Sun Simiao passed down

Move your head 

For this method, first, place your hands on your hips. Close your eyes, lower your head, slowly twist to the right, then back to the left; repeat this 6 times. Next, perform the same movement in the opposite direction for a total of 6 times. 

Frequently doing this exercise will help your mind become more open and flexible. Just be sure to do it slowly, otherwise, you may feel dizzy.

Rub your head 

First, warm your palms by rubbing them together 36 times. Next, sweep your palms from your forehead to the back of your head, then on down to your neck. Repeat this 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening. 

Why is this important? Well, there are many important acupuncture points on the head, and these are stimulated by this movement. According to Sun Simiao, regularly rubbing your head in this manner can help prevent headaches, tinnitus, white hair, and even hair loss.

A model showing the accupoints on the head.
There are many important acupuncture points on the head. (Image: Qiwoman01 via Dreamstime)

Rotate your eyes 

For this technique, close your eyes, and then forcefully open them up. Circle your eyeballs around, looking first to the left, then the upper, right, and lower directions. Close your eyes again, and once more forcefully open them. This time, circle your eyeballs in the opposite direction, looking first to the right, then upper, left, and lower directions; repeat these maneuvers for a total of 3 times. 

This exercise promotes eye health and is said to help correct myopia (near-sightedness), a condition that can cause your distance vision to be blurry.

Press your ears 

Use your palms to cover both ears. Firmly press inward, and then release quickly; repeat this action 10 times. You should hear a “poof” sound as you release your palms from your ears. 

Next, use your hands to fold both ears forward. Clasp the middle finger with the index finger of both hands, and flick the Feng Chi point on the back of your head 10 times with your index finger. Feng Chi is an acupuncture point located at the meeting place of the base of the skull and the top of the neck, just lateral to the tendons of the trapezius muscle. 

Sun Simiao recommended doing this exercise before bedtime to enhance memory and hearing.

Click your teeth 

Close your mouth slightly and click your upper and lower teeth together. Don’t use too much force, but you should hear the sound of your teeth coming together. Repeat 36 times. 

This exercise opens the meridians of the upper and lower jaw, which helps keep the mind awake, strengthens the absorption of the stomach and intestines, and helps prevent tooth decay and dental bone degeneration.

Turn your tongue 

There are two techniques to perform for the tongue.

First, close your mouth slightly and stick your tongue out between your teeth. Starting from the top, turn your tongue slowly to the left, for a total of 12 turns, and then swallow any saliva. Next, start from the top again and repeat the same movement to the right for a total of 12 turns, and again swallow any saliva. When swallowing saliva, try to imagine bringing the saliva to the lower Dan Tian (lower abdomen).

For the second technique, close your mouth slightly, then turn your tongue behind your teeth, going from your upper jaw to the left, and finally to the lower jaw. After 12 turns, swallow any saliva, then repeat the same maneuver in the opposite direction.

Saliva contains a lot of enzymes. These enzymes regulate hormone secretion, help strengthen the stomach and intestines to keep them functioning well, and promote balance within the body.

Massage your face 

Place your palms together and rub them back and forth 36 times to warm them up. Next, sweep your palms over your face, from your lower jaw to your forehead, and then circle your hands outward. 

This exercise gives your face a healthy and rosy complexion, and it also helps decrease wrinkles.

A woman massaging her face while smiling.
When you massage your face, it gives you a healthy and rosy complexion, and also helps decrease wrinkles. (Image: Jedimaster via Dreamstime)

Bend your body 

Bend your body to the left from your waist. Gently use your right hand to pat or stroke your abdomen, while using your left hand to gently pat the Ming Men point in the back; repeat in the opposite direction. 

In Chinese medicine, the Ming Men point is a very important point known as the “Gate of Life”. It is regarded as one of the strongest points for strengthening and improving one’s overall constitution. Ming Men is located at the lower border of the second lumbar vertebra in the back, roughly opposite the belly button.

Doing this exercise for at least 50 strokes (though it’s better to do 100 strokes) can strengthen the intestines and stomach, solidify the kidney qi (energy), and prevent indigestion as well as stomach and back pain.

Massage your abdomen 

Warm your palms by rubbing them together 36 times, then massage around your belly button clockwise. The range of massage should be from small to large. Repeat 36 times. 

This technique can help with digestion and absorption, while also helping eliminate abdominal distension.

Strengthen your rectum

As you inhale, tighten the muscles in your anus. Hold your breath for a few seconds until you can’t bear it any longer, and then exhale to relax. You can practice this any time, but it’s best to do it 20-30 times every morning and evening. 

This exercise promotes local blood circulation and can help prevent perianal diseases, such as hemorrhoids.

Stabilize your knees 

Put your feet side by side, with your knees close together. Squat down slightly, press your hands on your knees, and twist to the left and then to the right. Repeat for a total of 20 times. 

This exercise can strengthen the knee joints, helping with balance and ambulation. As the saying goes: “A person’s legs get old first, and the knees are the first to become soft when the kidneys are deficient.” To prolong life, start with your legs.

Rub your feet

Use your right hand to rub your left foot, and your left hand to rub your right foot. Rub from the heel up to the toe, and then down to the heel, for one cycle; repeat a total of 36 times. Next, rub the Yong Quan point on the center of the foot with the thumbs of both hands in turn 100 times in total. 

The soles of the feet concentrate acupuncture points for the body’s organs. Regular foot rubbing can strengthen various organs, cure insomnia, lower blood pressure, and eliminate headaches.

A woman rubbing her foot.
Regular foot rubbing can strengthen various organs, cure insomnia, lower blood pressure, and eliminate headaches. (Image: Aleksandr Malikov via Dreamstime)

Walk regularly

Walking is a good way to improve your overall health.

When walking, it’s important to keep your chest straight. You should have no distractions so that you can clear your mind, relax, and enjoy the scenery along the way. 

There’s an ancient saying: “Walk after a meal, and live to ninety-nine.” From antiquity through today, it’s been well recognized that walking is indeed a beneficial exercise for improving and maintaining health. Of note, don’t walk immediately after a meal; instead, wait 40 minutes to 1 hour after eating.

We’re fortunate that the methods studied and employed by Sun Simiao have been passed down to us over the centuries. While not widely known in the west, by employing these simple, easy, and quick methods into your daily routine, you can help your body and mind achieve a more balanced and harmonious state. It certainly worked for the “King of Medicine”!

Translated by Patty Zhang

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest 

Recommended Stories

A girl reading a book.

Why Reading to Children Is Important

Reading to children isn’t just a pastime or a spontaneous activity. It has many benefits ...

Shattering your fears.

6 Tips to Conquer Your Fears the Healthy Way

Fear is a normal reaction that helps people avoid dangerous situations or encounters. In instances ...

Flags of Australia, Canada, the U.S., the UK, and New Zealand with the image of an eye on them to symbolize the Five Eyes alliance.

The Highly Secretive Five Eyes Alliance Has Disrupted a China-Backed Hacker Group

This week the Five Eyes alliance — an intelligence alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom, ...

Melbourne, Australia.

Dependence on China: Australia at Most Risk Among Five Eyes

A study by London-based think tank the Henry Jackson Society has found that among all ...

Takaharu Tezuka-style kindergarten.

Combining Japanese Ingenuity With Kindergarten Design

A Japanese architect named Takaharu Tezuka wanted a kindergarten that kids would love. So he ...

Parents outside a Chinese kindergarten.

Chinese Media Ordered to Stop Reporting on Kindergarten Abuse

The Chinese government has ordered local media to halt coverage of a kindergarten abuse scandal ...

Giant trolls.

Thomas Dambo: The Artist Who Creates Giant Trolls Out of Trash

Thomas Dambo from Denmark has created something unique for the people of Copenhagen to enjoy ...

The Amazon rainforest.

Study Finds African Smoke Is Fertilizing Amazon Rainforest and Oceans

A new study led by researchers at the University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of ...

A dead humpback whale.

Scientists Surprised at Finding a Dead Whale in the Amazon Rainforest

When thinking of whales, you would probably picture these majestic creatures in the oceans, surging ...

Send this to a friend