Study of the achievement of health preservation by qigong

Author: Han Bin//He Deguang//Hou Wei
Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China [1]
Conference/Journal: 1st World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1988
Other: Pages: 207 , Word Count: 774

'Essentials of Health Keeping' is a treatise published before the Sui Dynasty(581-618). The book has lost. but some of the information recorded in 'Zhubingyuanhoulun ' ('General Treatise on the Cause and Symptoms of Diseases').

1. According to the analysis of the system of health-preservation since the Jin Dynasty, the content used in the quoted passage in the 'General Treatise on the Cause and Symptoms of Diseases', and the style of the original work, we think that the part of qigong in the book was quoted from an independent work, the 'Essentials of Health-Keeping. '
The publishing year and the author of the book has been unknown at any times. Based on the features of the age and the relationship between the work and other documents. it is thought that the book was published in the year after the completion of the 'Collection of Cultivating Disposition and Life Prolongation' and before the 'General Treatise on the Cause and Symptoms of Diseases,' or between 456-610 AD. Many scholars considered the author was Chao Yuanfang. My study doesn't agree with the idea, but Chao certainly did a lot of work in quoting the documents.

2. The 'Essentials of Health-Keeping' recorded rich knowledge of qigong . My study has summarized the following aspects, such as the basic theory of health-preserving, the effect of qigong, patterns of exercises, the knowledge of exercise, the application of qigong, indications of the qigong therapy, and the rules of treatment.
(l) The basic theory of health-preserving by qigong: Qigong practice in the 'Essentials of Health-Keeping' was guided by the basic theory of traditional Chinese medicine and distinctive views on the human body, creating its own theory of health-preserving. The extensive combination of qigong and the basic theory of traditional Chinese medicine in the book displayed the following aspects, such as yin-yang, five elements, zang-fu organs, meridians, points, life essence, qi, blood and body fluid. In addition, the book had taken the Dantian theory and the theory of ascending, descending, opening and closing.
(2) The knowledge of the mechanism of qigong It was held by the book that qigong could regulate the function of the zang-fu organs, qi and blood to expel diseases.
(3) Patterns of qigong exercises The statistical analysis tells us that there are about 270 kinds of exercises listed in the book and the majority of them were about the dynamic types (accounting for 94. 5%), including Daoyin, breathing exercises, standing posture, etc. These all belong to the schools of medical qigong, Taoism and Buddhism.
The study has sorted out the practices of exercises in terms of mind-control, breathing and physical exercises. (a) Mind-control can be divided into four kinds according to different psychological features. They are imagination, self-implication, sensation feeling and concern of respiratory movement; (b) Respiratory exercise includes natural breathing, abdominal breathing, breathing in and out through the nose, breathing in through the mouth and out through the nose. breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, stopping breathing, etc; (c) The physical exercises are summarized; (d) The relationship between breathing, physical exercises and mind-control is expounded.
( 4 ) knowledge of exercises: The process of exercises, volume, time, direction, etc. were recorded in the book.
(5) Application of qigong It is for the purpose of prevention and treatment of diseases, delaying the aging process and improving looks.
(6) Indications of qigong: About 24l kinds of diseases could be treated by qigong listed in the book, covering the internal medicine, surgery and gynecology.
(7) Principles of treatment There existed the concept of selecting the pattern of exercises based on differentiation of syndromes. i. e. based on the condition of cold and heat, deficiency and excess.

3. After sorting out the context of the book and from the angle of history of qigong, we have made a comparison between the book and other literature before and after it, and believed that the book has made six outstanding aspects

( l ) Preserving health by dynamic qigong .
( 2 ) Health protection, disease expelling and longevity the purpose of practicing qigong.
( 3 ) Collection of essentials of each school, patterns of exercises in detail and rich knowledge of exercises.
( 4 ) Unified scientific thought.
( 5 ) Selecting the patterns of exercises based on differentiation of syndromes.
( 6 ) Enlarging the range of indications.
Through the analysis of the above-mentioned, we would say that the book is a very important treatise of health-preserving by qigong, it has the effect of forming a connecting link between the preceding and following in the history of the development of qigong.

4. Conclusion. The book was completed around 456-610 AD and the author is unknown to us. It is rich in content and provide the necessary materials for our study of the history of qigong, the exercises and theory of it.