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The qigong and Chinese scholar, Stuart Alve Olson, says the seated Eight Section Brocade form was created by T'ao Hung-ching, a Taoist adept living in the fifth century CE, and further developed by the Taoist sage Chen Tuan (Chen Hsi-yi, Hsi-yi) living in the tenth century CE.During the period of 800 - 1200 CE, variations of these exercises were done in Wudang Mountain Daoist Temples for health and meditation purposes, and some were used as warm up exercises by monks training at the Shaolin Temple in hard style martial arts.Under each pose, on the Dao-yin diagram (Tu), was a caption with the name of an animal exercise or the name of the disease that the posture might help cure. Making beneficial exercises interesting and enjoyable has always been a challenge to creative people.A number of the postures depicted in the Dao-yin Tu closely resemble some postures in the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung (The Wonders of Qigong, 1985, pp. Hua T'o (110-207 CE) is one of the most famous physicians of the Han Dynasty.The use of calisthenics, stretching, and breathing exercises to maintain good health, fight disease, and enhance the quality of life is of great antiquity.
These are known as the "Eighteen Hands of the Lohan." This Shaolin Lohan Qigong (i.e., the art of the breath of the enlightened ones) "is an internal set of exercises for cultivating the "three treasures" of qi (vital energy), jing (essence), and shen (spirit)," according to Howard Choy.
The Kung Fu master, Sifu Wong Kiew-Kit, referring to the Shaolin Wahnam style, says "the first eight Lohan Hands are the same as the eight exercises in a famous set of chi kung exercises called the Eight Pieces of Brocade." There are numerous versions, seated and standing, of Bodhiidharma's exercise sets - including the related "Tendon-Changing and Marrow-Washing" (Yi Jin Jing) qigong set with exercises identical to Brocade versions (Li Jingwei, 2014, p. Some versions of the 18 Lohan (Luohan) Hands have up to four levels, and scores of movement forms for qigong and martial purposes.
Professor Wang Jiafu has traced the history of Dao-yin fitness exercises, and states "Books and diagrams about daoyin appeared in growing numbers in the Western Jin Dynasty (266-316 AD).
Over many centuries in China, traditional medical remedies (e.g., herbs, massage, diet, heat, acupuncture, exercise routines, etc.) were combined with esoteric and magical Daoist (Taoist) and local shamanistic healing practices.
In addition, trade and cultural exchanges between India and China transferred Buddhist theory and practices, Tantra, Yoga, Dao-yin, medicinal herbs, medical techniques, and martial arts training techniques between these civilizations.
Many of these health exercise practices continue to this day, and the Eight Treasures are often considered a Wai Dan medical qigong exercise set.