Development of the Taijiwuxigong system
Dr. Shen wanted to understand why some students developed spontaneous movements before others and why it had such a great impact on their health. He made sixteen groups of them and gave each group one posture. He discovered that stretching the shoulders and elbows and pushing the hands slightly sideways gave best results. He called this position ‘Wuxi stance’. He also found that combining ‘Wuxigong’ - the ‘five (Wu) breathing-through-the-joints (Xi) exercises (Gong)’ - with Wuxi stance improved the results further, giving stronger spontaneous movements.
Students often joined his classes from other exercise groups. If they kept their old habits of wanting to retain Qi in the body and make movements in an inward direction, as some Qigong teachers recommend, Dr. Shen noticed that they consistently experienced negative effects.
He applied acupuncture theory to these observations to try to understand them. As we stretch the joints in different directions, we activate different meridians in the limbs so that negative elements can be eliminated from the body. As the meridians are connected to the organs, the organ’s metabolism will also improve.
He later developed a more scientific theory about how these exercises bring body fluids from intercellular to intermuscular levels, into movement. Negative elements are then carried away in the fluids. He now constantly emphasises the need to combine these exercises – Wuxi stance and Taijiwuxigong – with an outward direction. This became especially clear when Dr. Shen was asked to treat people experiencing abnormal reactions from inwardly directed Qigong. It became apparent that focusing exercises inward causes negative reactions.
Dr. Shen found that many people keep a lot of fatigue in their backs. Therefore he designed a ‘standing prostration’ (heaven and earth Daoyin) to begin the practice. Since he has taught extensively in Europe, he has observed that western practitioners have a predilection for relaxation exercises, especially vegetarians and people who practice meditation. As the first group does not have sufficient power in the back to carry the upper body, he added lying down exercises to the system, which can also create spontaneous movement.