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  • Maria Alda Gomez Otero

10 Benefits of the 8 Treasures Qigong

The 8 Treasures qigong or Ba Duan Jin (Chinese name) is one of the most popular qigong sets among many qigong teachers and practitioners. Its importance becomes apparent when we study what Ba Duan Jin means. The Chinese character “Ba” is the number “8”, which is consider a lucky number in China, the word “Duan” means a unit and “Jin” means the best quality of silk. In ancient times, silk was a precious commodity and among the different types of silk,“Jin” was the best.

“Ba Duan Jin” means a routine of 8 movements which are the most precious for health preservation.

Chinese medicine doctors are known to use qigong exercises as part of their routine prescription. The same way that a Western doctor prescribes a sleeping pill or an antidepressant, a Chinese medicine doctor might prescribe one or two qigong exercises specific for their patient's issue. Because Chinese medicine is based on the free flow of qi along the meridians, some of the exercises stimulate the meridian needed to heal the issue or prevent further distress.

The 8 Treasures is a set of qigong exercises that stimulate the flow of qi and blood everywhere in your body, having many benefits.

10 Benefits of the 8 Treasures Qigong

1. It can improve the flexibility of your joints

It is well-known that as we age, we need to pay more attention to our joints. Improving the flexibility of our joints is an essential part of our longevity plan. To keep an optimal health over 50, it is necessary to do exercises that involve moving our joints. The 8 Treasures will make you exercise every joint in your body without huge efforts.

2. It can relieve your shoulder and neck problems

If you normally spend too much time sitting down, you have probably noticed that your neck and shoulders can become very tight. I recall having heard a practitioner called the shoulders the area of the "shoulds". If you are a highly conscientious person, you know what I mean. The shoulders seem to carry the load of all our perceived responsibilities, so they need constant attention. Physical or emotional tension in our neck and shoulders can translate into headaches.

3. It can boost your immune system

In Chinese Medicine, difference meridians are involved in fighting off external disease, including the Bladder meridian and the Governor vessel. The 8 Treasures qigong stimulates both meridians with different movements, helping you fight external agents and boosting your immune system.

4. It can relieve your back pain

There is nothing more debilitating that back pain. It can limit your movements and impact your sleep. In Chinese Medicine, if the qi is flowing correctly in the Bladder meridian, which runs along both sides of your spine, that will result in optimal back health. The Bladder meridian is highly stimulated in the 8 Treasures qigong. Some of the exercises also increase your core strength and teach you how to use other muscle areas instead of your back to release unnecessary tension in this area of your body.

5. It can help balance your autonomic nervous system

Science has now proven that chronic stress can have an impact on the manifestation of chronic conditions. Both physical and mental health conditions can be prevented or eased with a balanced autonomic system and stress response. You can use the qigong movements to stimulate the meridians connected to the autonomic nervous system, including the Bladder and the Kidney meridians. It makes sense if we remember that our adrenal glands (responsible to secrete adrenaline) are located on top of both kidneys.

6. It can relieve or prevent respiratory infections

The 8 Treasures qigong stimulates the Lung meridian which is the main responsible for fighting off external disease, boosting your immune system, and also for keeping your lungs in optimum condition. If you have a chronic condition or a common cold, using gentle qigong movements from the form can help you improve your condition. You can even do some of the exercises sitting down, if you haven't got much energy.

7. It can improve digestion

Another of the meridians stimulated during our qigong practice with the 8 Treasures is the Stomach meridian. This meridian among other things helps improve your digestion and digestive issues. It is connected to the Spleen meridian and has physical as well as emotional benefits. It helps with self-care, being able to receive and being less critical. It is a very interesting meridian in terms of physical and mental health.

8. It can help relieve some common colon issues

Most meridians help relieve or improve conditions associated with the organs of their names. This is no different for the large intestine meridian, which is stimulated during the exercises, and helps with common colon issues, such as constipation or diarrhoea.

9. It can decrease irritability

By now you must be used to see that each meridian stimulated during the 8 Treasures qigong practice has numerous physical, as well mental, benefits. One of them is less irritability. When one of my students told me years ago that she experienced less irritability, I was not surprised. Regular qigong practice can help you become more relaxed and able to listen to your loved ones, be more acceptant of yourself and your situation and therefore increased joy and decreased irritability.

10. It can relieve or prevent anxiety and depression

An imbalance in the Stomach meridian can cause all sort of mental health issues. By practising these exercises, you stimulate this meridian, resulting in less activation in your nervous system (anxiety) or lack of activation (depression). Research in trauma-sensitive yoga has also shown that spinal flexion can help stimulate the vagus nerve which is essential in healing anxiety and depression. (Turner, A. at Sounds True Trauma Summit, Aug 2020) As spinal flexion is part of our routine, the 8 Treasures help you relieve or prevent anxiety and depression.

As you can see, the number of physical as well as mental benefits of the 8 Treasures or Ba Duan Jin qigong is enormous, and the list continues. If you wish to enrol in a course or find more information, please feel free to navigate this website.

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