Eternal Spring: Taijiquan, Qi gong, And The Cultivation Of Health, Happiness and
Longevity by Michael W. Acton
Singing Dragon, London and Philadelphia, 2009
ISBN: 978 1 84819 003 0
Michael W. Acton is founder and senior Instructor of the Wu Shi Taiji Quan and Qi
Gong Association UK. The book is the result of 30 years of practice. Since 1992 he
has studied with Dr. Li Li Qun of Shanghai. Master Li is a fourth generation master
of Wu Style Taijiquan. He is also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a
master of Qigong who is now in his eighties.
The fact that Michael’s master is steeped in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
as well as the internal arts is reflected in the book which shows a much deeper understanding
of Traditional Chinese Medicine than a lot of other qigong books.
Apart from six pages of photographs at the end, there are no diagrams or pictures
in the book. It is very much a book about understanding the principles of qigong,
taijiquan and cultivation with a very short practical introduction to some simple
qigong exercises at the very end of the book.
As a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner myself, I highly recommend this book
for those who want to understand relation between Traditional Chinese Medicine and
the arts of qigong and taijiquan. Clearly, the author has absorbed a deep insight
from his teacher. In contrast to this, there are other qigong books around which
show hardly any connection with the deep Chinese Medicine traditions from which qigong
“Eternal Spring” refers to qigong’s ability to restore and rejuvenate our physical
and mental health. An older term for qigong is Yang Sheng which means “Nourishing
Michael introduces the Daoist view of life on which many of the concepts of qigong
and of TCM such as the principles of Wu Wei (leaving well alone or non-interference)
and Zi Ran (being unaffected and natural ).
There’s a lot about the Three Treasures of Jing (Essence), Qi (Vital Energy) and
Shen (Spirit) which are fundamental in qigong and TCM. You cannot really understand
qigong without entering the Chinese world view. Although a lot of research is going
on now into TCM, the original principles are based upon observation and how everything
is connected together.
He clearly elucidates how qigong works with body, breath and mind. If you don’t have
all three aspects, then it’s not really qigong at all. He explains the internal and
external causes of disease in TCM and qigong. The internal causes are excessive emotions
and the external causes are such things as cold and damp.
He then covers some principles of how to practise qigong forms and the principles
of correct posture, breathing and meditation. There is a long chapter specifically
In conclusion, this is a book which is well worth reading for anyone seriously interested
in qigong and/or taijiquan.