Judy Bowen-Jones

Simple Exercise to Help Relieve Stress

With the pace of life getting faster and faster most of us suffer from stress sometimes. Acupuncture can help reduce stress and anxiety. There’s also a lot you can do to help yourself at home.

During my acupuncture training we learned a number of exercises to help reduce stress. The Patting Exercise is one of my favourites. Doing this exercise, even just for a few minutes, clears your head, lifts your spirits, energises you and helps you feel ready to face the world! It also strengthens your body and improves your circulation. Why not give it a try.

The Patting Exercise

The whole body is patted lightly with either palms or loose fists, over 8 main areas of the body.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and relax your whole body. Your knees should be slightly bent (soft not tense) and your feet facing forwards.

If you can’t stand, do as much of the following as you can reasonably do safely and without making yourself uncomfortable.

REMEMBER to breathe naturally during the exercise.

Pat your Head

Pat both sides of your head (not your face) with the palms or fists from the front of the head to the back. Pat to and fro for about 20 times.

Pat your Arms

Pat up and down the front, back and sides of the left arm with the right palm or fist 10 times on each side. Then pat the right arm with the left palm or fist in the same way.

Pat your Shoulders

Pat the left shoulder with the right palm or fist and then the right shoulder with the left palm or fist. Pat them alternately for 10 times each.

Pat your Back

Pat up and down the right side of your lower back with your left palm or fist, then the left side of the lower back with your right palm or fist for 20 times each side.

Pat your Chest

Pat the left and right sides of the chest with the opposite palm or fist alternately (like Tarzan!….but more gently ….and ladies, be mindful not to strike your breasts. Pat up and down (from top to bottom) for 20 times on each side.

Pat your Waist and Abdomen

Using your waist as an axis, turn the upper body to the left, then to the right. As you turn, pat the left side of the waist with the right palm or fist and then the right side of the waist with the left palm or fist. Pat from top to bottom and move from the inside of the waist and abdomen outwards.

Pat your Buttocks

Pat the left buttocks with your left palm or fist and the right buttocks with the right palm or fist. Pat 20 times on each side.

Pat your Legs

Using both hands on both legs (simultaneously), pat down the outsides of your legs with your palms or fists, starting at the top and working down to your ankles. You will need to bend down as you do this. From your ankles then pat the insides of your legs with your palms or fists and work up to the thighs. Repeat this 20 times.

This exercise can also be done seated on the floor with legs outstretched, patting one leg at  a time with that knee bent.

At the end of the exercise……shake your arms and legs, wipe imaginary water off your arms, torso and legs in a downward motion (to get rid of any negative ‘qi’ – energy).  Clap your hands and smile!


Have a great day.

Judy Bowen-Jones MBAcC Acupuncture


Exercise adapted from:  Hicks, A (2009). 77 ways to improve your wellbeing. How to use the ancient Chinese Wisdom to enhance your physical, mental and emotional health. Spring Hill.