Eight “Silken Treasures” rejuvenate the body

Physical and emotional stress and fatigue are some of the joy stealers of our time.

Long hours of work, endless loops of mental clutter, sitting more than moving, and especially travel take their daily toll on our minds, bodies and energy systems.

More than merely engaging in physical exercise, the body needs stretching, the breath needs synchronizing, the mind needs releasing, and the energy systems need opening.

In today’s video article my friend Arthur Rosenfeld, an ordained Daoist monk, will share with you these powerful yet simple eight movement exercises.

The Eight Brocade Qigong set

Ba Duan Jin (Eight Brocade) QiGong Exercise

In China, there is a form of mind-body practice set in eight routines that were found on scrolls dating back 2,000 years. These eight postures are known as the “eight brocades” or silken treasures, and even today are among the best exercises one can do to rejuvenate their mind, body and energy systems. Each specific exercise in the set moves a different series of body parts, stretches energy meridians, and affects the organ systems in different ways.

The Eight Brocade Qigong set is the most popular Qigong method in China. And like most things of its time period, the names given to these exercises are poetic. The basic idea is to do each of these eight exercises a total of eight times each. This only takes a few minutes and can be done several times throughout the day. Below the video are brief descriptions of each movement.

1. Two Hands Hold up the Heavens

This movement consists of pulling the hands into the center and then pushing them upwards to stretch the body. This is said to regulate the passage of water, nutrients, and fluids throughout the body.

2. Drawing the Bow as if Shooting a Hawk

This movement is done from a low stance and has you pushing out one arm while pulling in the other to opposite sides. It helps the function of the lungs by opening the chest and the shoulders by pulling in the shoulder blades.

3. Separate Heaven and Earth

This is similar to the first movement, but here one arm pushes upward while the other pushes downward. It is said to regulate the stomach and aid in digestion while stretching the torso.

4. Wise Owl Gazes Backwards

This movement turns the body and stretches the neck and waist. It is said to help relieve consumptive diseases, to calm the mind and enrich the blood.

5. Sway the Head and Shake the Tail

This movement helps regulate the functions of the heart and lungs. It is said to release heat in the chest while improving the passage of fluids from the kidneys, with the synchronous upper and lower body movements.

6. Two Hands Hold the Feet

This movement helps the kidneys and waist through the backward-leaning and forward-reaching actions.

7. Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily)

This movement finds you sitting low and punching slowly while clenching the entire body. It helps strengthen and relax the entire body.

8. Bouncing on the Toes

This movement is said to help the low back and function of the bladder, through the gentle lift and drop motion of the feet.

Study proves results

Aside from relaxing the body, reducing stress and tension, and improving the feeling of rejuvenation, the eight brocade qigong is also helpful in weight loss and improving range of motion. Hindawai publishing released the results of evidence-based effects of the eight brocade exercises in the article, The Effect of Baduanjin on Promoting the Physical Fitness and Health of Adults. Here is the abstract.

The purpose of the study was to assess the efficacy of a 16-week Baduanjin qigong training intervention in promoting physical fitness and health for adults. An experimental design was adopted, and subjects were assigned randomly into an experimental group and a control group. In the intervention group comprised of adults, there were no significant variations in blood glucose, blood lipid, blood pressure, heart rate variability, and vital capacity indices. The body weight and body mass index (BMI) dropped in the intervention group. Compared with the control group, the skinfold thicknesses decreased at the lower corner of scapula, triceps brachii, and abdomen, with a statistical significance. By comparing the physical fitness indices, it was found that the increase in the results of the sit-and-reach test in the intervention group had statistical significance. In conclusion, it was found by our trial that Baduanjin exercise could significantly improve the physical flexibility and subcutaneous adipose accumulation in healthy adults.

Learn more here

For more information on how Qigong exercises can benefit your health, have a look at these articles:


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YO3fZo6Goc
  2. The Effect of Baduanjin on Promoting the Physical Fitness and Health of Adults
  3. Fibromyalgia relief in daily qigong practice
    The vibration of health
  4. What the ancients knew about holistic health


Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.