Author: Garcia Gaspar
Spanish Qigong Association, Buchinger Clinic, Marbella, Malaga, Spain
Conference/Journal: 3rd World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1996
Other: Pages: 184 , Special Notes: Some tables are only in Chinese abstracts. , Word Count: 412

It is a historical fact that Bodhidharma, Ta Mo for the Chinese, the founder of Zen Buddhism taught a set of exercises to his disciples to keep their bodies flexible and strong so they could stand the rigorous spiritual training. These Qigong exercises, known as the Hands of the 18 Luohans, are considered to be a highly perfected system of physical, mental and spiritual development. This paper seeks to determine whether, from a physical and energetic perspective, this affirmation is valid and thus analyses the musclar-skeletal work involved, the breathing and the Qi flow through the different meridians and organs.
Musclar-Skeletal work
A thorough research showed that:
1. All the joints and muscles of the trunk and spine were exercised and the movements (flexion, extension, rotation, and lateralization) were executed in the correct manner.
2. All the joints of the upper extremity (shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers) and the muscles were exercised and the movements executed in the correct manner.
3. All the joints of the lower extremity (hip, knee, ankle, and feet) and the muscles were exercised and the movements executed in the correct manner.
4. The exercises strengthened the bones and kept the tendons and ligaments flexible and young.
5. The exercising of both the agonist and antagonist muscles allows a harmonious growth of the body.
6. The neuromuscular stretching helps increase the blood and energy flow and prevents injuries.
A careful study of the breathing mechanism and pattern involved in the Hands of the 18 Luohans showed:
1. Slow, deep and rhythmic pattern of breathing.
2. The body postures adopted while breathing allows an increase of the lung capacity and improves the functions of inspiration and expiration.
Energy Mechanism
A deep research on the energy mechanism of the Hands of the 18 Luohans yields the following information:
1. The movements drain the channel and allows for a free flow of energy through the meridians; improving and increasing the quantity and quality of the vital energy.
2. A very vigorous work of the Governing vessel (Du Mai) and Conception vessel (Ren Mai), and the Microcosmic Orbit, as well as other extra meridians like the Dai Mai.
3. Each movement specifically activates the flow of energy and blood through the 12 regular meridians.
4. The activation of the Zang Fu organs.
5. The activation of the three Gates, the San Jiao and the three Dan Tians. Thus, from the results obtained in the study, it would be safe to declare that the Hands of the 18 Luohans Qigong is an extremely profound system of physical and energetic development.