Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Exercises), imitating the movements of animals, is a group of physical breathing exercises for health care with a uniquely Chinese national flavour. The system was designed by Hua Tuo, a leading physician of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). He developed his system based on existing ancient Chinese traditional physical exercises following theories of the functions of the internal organs and meridians as well as the principles of the circulation of Qi and blood in the human body. His inspiration came from careful observation and study of the characteristic behaviour and activities of tigers, deer, bears, monkeys and birds. He came the the conclusion that wild creatures regularly performed certain exercises to build up their constitution and improve their life skills. In this book, the physical movements and spiritual expressions of those creatures are vividly described, and the principles of traditional Qigong exercises are used as guidance for students. During practice of the exercises, they are asked to coordinate their mind with the movements, and combine internal exercises with external exercises.
Movements are comparatively simple, and easy to master and are suitable for people of different age groups.
Experience has proved that after a certain period of practice, both the physical and the mental health are improved. Indeed, physical and psychological tests of people who practice Wu Qin Xi give high scores to their overall constitution, the functions of the various organs, mental attitude and power of perception, as well as physical fitness. In addition, the waistline and ratio between waist and buttocks in female practitioners are reduced, the cardiovascular and respiratory functions are markedly improved, and the grip strength is reinforced. The exercises enhance bodily strength, flexibility of joints, spiritual vitality and psychological confidence.