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Many of these health exercise practices continue to this day, and the Eight Treasures are often considered a Wai Dan medical qigong exercise set.The Chinese Health Qigong Association says that "as a traditional Chinese health and fitness Qigong exercise routine, Ba Duan Jin, or Eight Section Exercises, dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279)." The scholars Ji Jingwei and Zhu Jianping say, in their book An Illustrated Handbook of Chinese Qigong Forms from the Ancient Texts (2014, p.82), that "The Eight Section Brocade is a set of dynamic exercises for health preservation composed of eight parts.Literature that talks about such health and fitness exercise postures or routines, with some movements quite similar to movements in the Eight Section Brocade Chi Kung, goes back nearly 2,500 years.
These methods and practices were explored and adapted in China for thousands of years to help to maintain good health, to prevent and cure diseases, to restore vitality, to calm the mind, and to enhance the spirit of the patient or practitioner.
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.
It is likely that ancient dances, medical theory, military drills and exercises, shamanistic rituals, and Buddhist and Taoist practices were all sources for the specific and formal movement routines of Dao-yin or Chi Kung (Qigong).
The ancient terms for these types of Qigong or Chi Kung (energy/Qi/breath training) fitness exercises include: Dao Yin (guiding, breathing and stretching), "guiding and stretching" or "pulling and guiding" exercises; or, Daoqi Yinti (guide the qi and stretch the body); or, Yang Sheng Fa (Longevity Practices, Nourishing Life); or Neidan (Inner Alchemy).