Dưỡng sinh

The exercise dưỡng sinh or Dưỡng Sinh (compare Chinese Yang-Sheng 養生 ) is a form of partly indigenous breathing and yoga exercise similar to Tai Chi popularized in Vietnam by the historian and political activist Nguyễn Khắc Viện. Viện had been trained as a medical doctor in the field of women’s and children’s psychotherapy. When he himself was given three years to live he turned to practice of traditional breathing exercises. Vietnam News Men battle mortal maladies with sheer willpower (05-11-2006) I first met him in 1963 after he was expelled from France because of his patriotic activities. Before that, back in the 1950s, his Parisian doctors had given him no more than three years to live as he was suffering from pulmonary consumption and was left with just half a lung after seven operations. Turning to Oriental wisdom while retaining the scientific spirit acquired during his many years in the Western world, Vien created and assiduously applied what he called duong sinh (psychosomatic exercises to preserve the vital breath) that kept him alive and kicking until his death in 1997, at the ripe age of 84. However although the name “dưỡng sinh” was popularised by Viện in Từ sinh lý đến dưỡng sinh and other books, the idea of “dưỡng sinh” is well known to village people anyway as a compliment to thuốc Nam herbal medicine.

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