ShiBaShi is often referred to as Tai Chi Qigong because of similarities in the movements with those of Taijiquan. In 1979, Professor Lin Housheng combined elements of Tai chi and Qigong to create the first set of eighteen exercises that made up ShiBaShi.

The first movement after the commencement is wave hands which is almost identical to that of wave hands in Taijiquan. Because ShiBaShi is not a standardized routine like many of the medical Qigong’s and Taijiquan routines, there can be considerable variation in each movement depending on how the practitioner or teacher interprets it.

This blog post will discuss the benefits of the first movement as taught at Jinli-Wushu Tai Chi school. Wave hands is very similar to that of the Beijing 24 yang Taijiquan however the hands when pressed down come to line up with the thighs above the stomach meridian with our knees bent in a shoulder width stance. This movement, like all the others, is performed with the shoulders relaxed, back straight but not stiff, the chin slightly tucked in to lift and align the cervical spine and with correct knee alignment. The movement of the arms should be purposeful but relaxed and not rushed. The upward movement of the arms is coordinated with the inhalation of the breath. The downward movement with exhalation.

Benefits of Wave Hands

When discussing any Qigong there is inevitably mention of traditional Chinese medicine and the meridian system. Not to mention Qi ( see earlier blog post on Qi: What is this thing called Qi). So when we talk about the many benefits of Qigong, reference may be made to things like acupoints on meridians, the flow of Qi, and Yin and Yang. It often presumes some knowledge of these things. For the beginner who hasn’t heard of these things, the benefits discussed in this fashion are often meaningless or a strange curiosity. In my discussion I will list the benefits in physiological terms and make some reference to these other terms with explanation hopefully to peek your interest.

Waving hands calms the mind and helps to transform tension in the body. It calms the nervous system, strengthens and improves circulation related to the Heart and Liver, and balances blood pressure. Its is also said to Awaken Qi and Regulate Breathing. So if you feel stressed, or have been sitting for hours working on the computer this movement will help reduce the stress load both mentally and physically. It also gently mobilizes the shoulder joints. The benefits are accentuated when done mindfully and with the breath, as all your Qigong should be done. It won’t have the same benefit if you are mulling over a problem in your head while performing the movement. This takes you out of a mindful meditative movement to a simple mindless exercise.

The flowing movement of shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers and knees activate Qi flow throughout the meridian network (system of channels in which the Qi or vital energy flow). If feeling angry or irritated, this is an ideal movement to calm these emotions and bring you back to balance. This we know from experience, but from a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective this movement calms the Qi in the Liver meridian* which may be blocked or agitated. This is associated with the emotion of anger and irritation. Thus calming the agitated Qi and allowing the Qi to flow smoothly calms anger or the feelings of irritation. In fact the entire ShiBaShi routine relaxes while toning the whole meridian and nervous system.

I will briefly mention that this routine is also about collecting and depositing Qi or energy into the meridian system. For example wave hands deposits Qi in the stomach meridian that runs up the thigh, amongst other things. This however can be a topic for another blog post

*In traditional Chinese medicine the Qi or ‘vital energy’ in the body is seen to flow through a networks of channels called meridians. This is referred to as the Meridian system and has 12 main channels. Most of them are named after the internal organs and have a relationship to these e.g., the Liver meridian mentioned above. The Qi must flow smoothly and in a balanced way through this system for the body to be in balance and healthy.

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