The 8 pieces of Brocade Qigong (a/k/a Ba Duan Jin) is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise. Sources attribute the style to semi-legendary 12th-century Chinese folk hero General Yui Fei and describe it as being created as a form of exercise for his soldiers. The legend states he taught the exercise to his men to help keep their bodies strong and well-prepared for battle.
Will the 8 Pieces of Brocade Qigong Cure Illnesses?
The 8 Brocades are often promoted as helping to cure illnesses as e.g. coronary artery sclerosis, osteoporosis and in extreme cases even cancer. Like any other moving exercise, regular practicing of the 8 Brocades improves the cardiovascular function if one compares the results to those of non-exercising people.
It can be shown, however, that the characteristics of the exercise system further improves the following bodily functions:
- Overall balance – is developed by regularly practicing coordinated movement on one or two legs.
- Improved Limb strength – By working on the stands (“sitting”) and letting the tension of the torso go, the legs – and with them the strongest bones and muscles in the human body – are tasked to build a solid base, which develops over time. Forming tensionless postures with hands and arms changes one’s way of moving into a more powerful (because less ineffective) use of one’s arm muscles.
- Better Breathing – By adjusting the body posture to a more upright position, the ribcage is opened; developing a deep, quiet breathing eases the respiration process by optimizing the working of the respiratory muscles.
- Improved Blood Circulation – By moving, optimizing one’s posture and stretching along the meridians, circulation to the far ends of the body (most visibly in (no longer cold) hands and feets) improves.
- Stress Removal – is the result of the interchanges of tension and tension release during practice. The nervous system is calmed down, one lets go of the “stress” of life.
- Awareness – Ba Duan Jin’s requirement to move very slowly and precise may further concentration and mindfulness in movement.
- Concentration – Using one’s imagination while doing the movements with intent, one has the chance to develop one’s emotions and bringing them into action to effect a change.
All in all, the aspects mentioned above are the reason why the 8 Pieces of Brocade qigong are commonly said to delay the aging process, to strengthen the immune system to a degree and also to improve one’s mental health. It can be said that the 8 Treasures are a good companion for anyone interested in active healthy living.