“Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa” – which roughly translates as 18 health therapy exercises to prosper – is a system which now consists of 54 exercises divided into three routines.
The exercises are derived from a variety of sources including Wang Ziping’s 20 Forms for Health and Longevity and Wushu (martial arts training), the Ba Duan Jin (Eight Pieces of Brocade), the YiJinJing tendon-stretching classic and other Dao-yin systems.
They also contain the clinical experiences of the systems developer, Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming, tuina, acupressure and An Mo massage techniques.
The intricate blend of martial arts, healing methods and self-massage, combined with breathing, sets Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa apart from other exercise methods – it is, literally, “massage in motion”.
In China, in the 1960’s there was an increase in neck, shoulder, waist, leg and back pain owing to wear and tear of the tissues due to holding bad postures for long periods. Despite advances in modern medicine, there was no effective and proven clinical therapeutic method for treating stress related diseases, leading these patients to seek solace from other traditional systems of Chinese medicine.
Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming considered various combinations of movement-based treatment along with massage-therapy. In most cases, patients who obtained great relief from massage returned as soon as the pain reappeared. So he devised movement-based massage, where the massage could be administered by the patients themselves in the comfort of their homes. This proved a dramatic success, which led Dr. Zhuang to devise Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa.
Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming fashioned different exercises specifically suited for different body conditions and disorders, which would act on each specific part of the body. Though Dr. Zhuang created the essential foundation in 1964, it came to be known as Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa in 1974 and the final version was perfected in 1978.
Since then Dr Zhuang and his son, Master Coach Zhuang Jian Shen, have tirelessly promoted the routines throughout the world.
Today, the exercises are widely practiced and are popular in places as wide apart as Japan, Brazil and Glossop.
Almost anyone can benefit from practicing Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa. But, in particular….
Soft tissue strain is caused by long-term repeated excessive fatigue or continuous work in the same posture keeping the muscles in a state of tension. As time passes, the muscles remain under a continuous state of tension / convulsion with the soft tissue and muscle fibre hardening and restricting movement. Problems such as tennis elbow develop. Weather and environmental factors also play a part with bodily tensions being exacerbated by cold, damp, wind, air-conditioning and electric fans etc.
Similarly, the spaces between the vertebrae reduce with repetitive actions and natural posture is lost. In particular, waist strain is caused by prolonged sitting.
Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa has also found to be a great stress reliever in workplaces in China and Japan.
Bad posture begins in childhood and becomes worse if not corrected. Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa can prevent this happening.
Lian Gong prepares sportspeople to bring their minds and bodies to a complete state of readiness in a very short time, leaving no joint, bone, muscle, ligament, tendon, cartilage or tissue unattended. The ligaments and tendons develop elasticity thereby giving an edge in terms of speed and power whilst making them less prone to injury.
The hallmark of Lian Gong is lifting of the chest cavity providing constant stimulation to the internal organs, which in turn creates natural body resistance to disease and injuries.
The other remarkable feature of Lian Gong is that it will only leave you refreshed, fighting fit and NOT exhausted. It is the ultimate warm-up and work-out.
The Elderly / People recovering from illness
Lian Gong was initially viewed as being similar to Chi Kung, Pilates and Yoga. While there are some similarities, Lian Gong is unique in that within the various postures, a deeper stretch is formed by combining an isolation of the targeted areas with breathing and a stretching of the torso.
Lian Gong is taught slowly and methodically. Practitioners are encouraged to carry-out moderate movements to begin with and slowly progress / enhance the movements until full range of movement and accuracy is attained. Consequently, the exercises are suitable for the elderly and because core stability is improved, the exercises may be used as part of a falls prevention programme etc.
Lian Gong is also an effective supplement to medical treatment. For example, for arthritis sufferers, the exercises support the musculature around the affected joints, relieving pressure and helping to prevent further wear and tear.
Because the exercises are performed in a slow and relaxed way, they have also proved effective for people undergoing cardiac rehabilitation therapies.