Shaking the Tree, or Qi Shower – Sometimes referred to as “The Cure for 99 Diseases”

I first learned a simple routine through an Asian grandmother who was still fit in her 90s. She credited her vibrant health to a “bouncing” practice she did daily.

Needless to say, I was curious, especially after hearing the practice referred to in wellness circles as “The Cure for 99 Diseases” (of course this is not meant literally, but it’s a testimonial to how powerful the ancients found this form).

Apparently doing 100 repetitions of bouncing per day was all it took for this grandmother to run circles around women half her age.


The Practice: Bounce on Your Heels around 100 Times

The routine, also called “Shaking the Tree” or a “Qi Shower,” essentially involves standing in place with arms relaxed while bouncing up and down on your heels, keeping toes on the floor. The intensity and speed is up to you.

It’s something I’ve been doing daily for more than a year, and if I ever forget, I definitely notice my energy is less “poppin’.”

The warm-up and full routine:

What the bouncing actually does

Qigong masters say stress can turn more toxic if not released properly. Our energy can become “spiky, scattered and fragmented,” according to Marisa Cranfill, a well-known instructor who first learned Qigong in the Orient decades ago.

Shaking or bouncing helps release negative emotions, while also releasing tension throughout the body.

The practice also takes us out of our mental chatter by placing our consciousness in our body. Holding our attention in the body can speed healing and bring a sense of calm, while spending too much time in our head leads to neglect of the body.

Boosting the practice with visualizations.

  1. First, just let you mind go. Then, see if some visualizations enhance the effects.
  2. Let the Earth shake you. Feel as if the Earth were trembling under your feet, bouncing you up and down. It’s a fun feeling.

3. “Qi Shower” —  Picture all the cells of your body getting cleansed each time you bounce. See all negative energy flowing downward, as positive new energy flows down like a shower onto you.

4. “Shaking the Tree” — see yourself like a mighty tree shaking up and down, letting any dead leaves and other debris fall to the ground as gentle rains flow down onto you.

There’s no wrong way to do it, just find the right pace and intensity that feels good for you, without causing any discomfort.

Some Heads Up:

When to do: I do this as part of my morning routine. I don’t recommend doing this after eating. It’s best to do between meals to allow smooth digestion and prevent upsetting your stomach.

Sometimes you’ll find a hidden pain or soreness when you shake, this is fine and part of the healing process. Just go easy on it and find a way to be gentle with that area.

Note that once the body experiences pain, it immediately begins repairing it and sending natural pain killers.

So, if the shaking brought this to consciousness, that’s good.

As for what diseases are cured in the “99”, my best guess is it’s just a saying for a practice that addresses the whole body and can perhaps cleanse and strengthens tissues to alleviate a wide variety of ailments.

More details could be gleaned by digging into the ancient Chinese medicine.

Benefits I’ve noticed:

More zest — I have more “bursting” energy throughout the day and I feel like I can “hop” onto just about anything and do it well.

Anti-aging — I have tighter skin and more color since doing this, making me look younger than my true age (not tellin’, but you might be surprised).

Less aches and pains — from headaches to random soreness in the body, the shaking toughens us up and can identify and relieve soreness.

More “Antifragile” — this one of my favorite terms lately … “Antifragile” is beyond just tough. Tough means you can take hits and remain intact, while antifragile means the hits actually make you stronger afterward.