Taoist health arts believe that what the ‘Sons of Reflected Light’ (Fankuang Tzu) brought to China, eventually became known as the ‘Eight Strands of the Brocade’ (Pa Chin Hsien).
Not to be confused with the specialised breathing exercises ‘Eight Strands of the Brocade’ of the same name.
The Eight Strands of the Brocade (Pa Chin Hsien) actually comprise eight distinct health arts:
- Ch’ang Ming (natural health dietary therapy).
- Ts’ao Yao (herbal therapy).
- Wen Chiech’u (thermogenesis).
- Anmo (Taoist massage).
- Hsia Chen Pien (acupuncture).
- Tien Chen (acupressure / spot pressing).
- T’i Yu (physical callisthenics).
- Ch’ili Nung (the Way of Occlusion).
The following is what Professor Chan Kam Li had to say on the subject of T’i Yu – Taoist Physical Culture.
T’i Yu, when used as physical therapy, should be executed without any strain or stress. It should be light and gentle at all times, comprising circular movements of the head, body, hands and arms, feet and legs.
There should be no ‘stopping’ or ‘holding’ of stances or techniques, and Yang movement must be followed by Yin stillness, and then reversed.
No physical strength should be used at all, for there should be complete reliance and concentration on the development and use of Sheng Ch’i initially, and eventually the harnessing, expansion and control of Ching Sheng Li (Macro-cosmic – External Energy).
The upper half of the body, including arms and hands, must be followed by the lower half of the body with legs and feet, and vice versa.
Motion should be slow and continuous; it should not, be interrupted or halted. The mind must be at peace and in a state of tranquility, and no thought should invade its precincts.
Balance has to be maintained at all times, no matter what kind of posture or movement is executed, and the equilibrium of the Yin and Yang has to be constant.
Taoist Anmo Massage
Taoist Anmo Massage is one of the oldest treatments of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is the forerunner to Acupressure and Acupuncture, working on the energy channels that circulate through the body – Meridians.
Anmo means ‘press feel’, ‘press’ which denotes it uses massage (over 40 techniques at the practitioners disposal) and ‘feel’ denotes the use of energy, in our case Sheng Ch’i energy and Ching Sheng Li energy.
So a treatment may use just massage, or just energy, or both. Anmo is one of the more complete bodywork systems as it relies on seeing the body from both a physiological perspective and also from the understanding of energy flow through the body.
Anmo can be done through clothes or by using a base oil on to the skin, the massage can vary in touch from being very light and gentle through to deep tissue manipulation.
Anmo is excellent for all types of bodily problems – from Martial Arts & Sports Injury and recurring painful trauma including back pain through to headache & migraine.
Is not something that ‘Gets rid’ of tension but is a process that allows us to come to stillness and ease. It is not a passive state but very dynamic and alert.
It can be learned and with practice can be used in every moment of our lives.
Is one of the most ancient and universal healing arts. It can relieve both physical and mental stress.
It stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems encouraging the secretion and elimination of toxins from the cells and brings freshly oxygenated blood to neglected areas.
It stretches and tones muscles contracted through stress and can be helpful in alleviating many specific ailments such as asthma, backache, digestive and circulatory problems, arthritis and menstrual difficulties.
Most of all it can help to change a person’s view of themselves and encourage self-confidence and positive attitudes.
Our posture reflects the way that we see ourselves in the world. Reaction to stress and locked emotion result in tensed muscles which alter posture and breathing patterns.
This strains vital organs and body systems. Good posture can be learned.
We can learn to support our body through our eating habits. Good nutrition is an important but often neglected supporter of the healing process when vitamins or minerals may be deficient.
Diet can be used to help eliminate toxins more rapidly and to build a balanced healthy body.
It is also recognised as a factor that can contribute to depression and hyperactivity as well as heart disease and bowel disorders.
What we eat largely determines the building of our body.
Meditation is not a religion, neither is it a position which we take up. Rather it is a way of being in our everyday lives that is of quality and skill.
It is traditionally the direct way to physical ease and mental peace.
It teaches us to see thing as they really are and to understand ourselves and the world with compassion and humour.