Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa is a set of therapeutic and health care exercises comprising of three parts, with each part being a set of 18 exercises. Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming formulated and developed this art from his in-depth knowledge of Wusu (Chinese martial arts), massage-therapy, medical and sports traditions such as Daoyin (movement), Tuina (breathing), five-animal exercise and eight-section brocade, combining it with his rich clinical experience and research with modern medical knowledge. The intricate blend of martial arts, healing methods and self-massage, combined with breathing, sets Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa apart from other exercise methods.
In China, in the 1960's, there was an increase in the ailments of physical workers, peasants, factory and office workers with regard to pain in the neck, shoulders, waist and legs owing to wear and tear of the tissues relating to wrong postures for long periods. Despite advances in modern medicine, there was no effective and proven clinical therapeutic method for treating stress related diseases, leading these patients to seek solace from other traditional systems of Chinese medicine.
In 1967, with all private practice being banned in China, the government asked Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming to practice at the Government Hospital. Over 50 students followed Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming and under his able guidance attended to the growing number of sick. Given that the social fabric of the country largely comprised of the working class, pain due to bad posture and immobilization of various parts of the body seemed to be prevalent across all sections of his patients. Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming considered various combinations of movement-based treatment along with massage-therapy. In most cases, patients who obtained great relief from massage returned as soon as the pain reappeared. So he devised movement-based massage, where the massage could be administered by the patients themselves in the comfort of their homes. This proved a dramatic success, which led Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming to devise Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa.
Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming fashioned different exercises specifically suited for different body conditions and disorders, which would act on each specific part of the body. He initially propagated Lian Gong in the hospital he was working in. Later, he brought together a group of people in Shanghai bund to practice Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa. The bund was located in Huang pu district and Lian Gong spread from to other districts, counties and provinces of China. Though Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming created the essential foundation in 1964, it came to be known as Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa in 1974 and the final version was perfected in 1978. The art and Dr. Zhuang Yuan Mings repute spread through his patients who were mostly peasants, factory and office workers. By the year 1980, there were over 300,000 practitioners in Shanghai alone.
Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming also undertook personal visits to offices, factories, farms and army camps to discover the reason behind the rampant joint disorders and other such conditions. On these visits, once it became known that he was the pioneer of Lian Gong, he was extended several invitations to teach Lian Gong at various other offices and factories including army camps.
In 1980, the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Health and the National Union jointly issued declarations to all provinces directing the Chinese people to exercise regularly for good health. The three recommended forms were Tai Chi, Broadcasting exercises and Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa. Lian Gong was tested to ascertain its scientific basis and proved to be very effective in preventing and healing joint diseases. In a bid to promote exercise and inculcate it in the common persons lifestyle, the government introduced a mandatory 15-minute morning slot in all workplaces, schools and universities to accommodate the practice of Tai Chi, Lian Gong and Broadcasting exercises. Owing to the short period of 11-12 minutes required to practice the Lian Gong routine, it gained immense popularity. Over 3 million people in China were practicing Lian Gong with the movements synchronized to melodious music.
When a medical survey was conducted on 1361 patients with pain in the neck, shoulders, waist and legs who participated in the training session of the first set of Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa, the efficiency of the patients was up by 98.2%, after a period of 2 to 4 months training. According to a medical survey conducted on 1161 patients with arthralgia, tenosynovitis, tennis elbow, neuropathy, hypertension, coronary heart disease and abdominal diseases participating in the training sessions of the second set of Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa, the total efficiency was up by 96.71% after 6 months of training. The efficacy of the exercise was recognized nationally and it was awarded the Shanghai Scientific and Technological Prize, the Shanghai Chinese- western medicine Scientific Research Prize.
In 1980, a Cultural Exchange Organization promoting ties between Japan and China, invited a Japanese delegation of doctors and patients to Shanghai to invite famous Chinese doctors to heal and treat them. The Shanghai Health Bureau selected eminent doctors from different fields to meet the delegation. This was a unique event where patients and doctors came together to find solutions for diseases and disorders.
The delegation also visited Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming's Hospital to understand the condition of recurring pain in the neck, shoulders, waist and legs. During their weeklong visit, Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming taught and administered Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa. At the end of their stay, patients no longer suffered from pain. This dramatic cure astonished the patients and doctors alike. After their return to Japan, several members of the delegation sent positive responses to the Shanghai Health Bureau about their experience. Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming received high praise and appreciation and his assistance was taken to set up a Lian Gong Association in Japan. This marked the spread of Lian Gong out of China for the first time. Soon Lian Gongs fame spread overseas. The First International conference of Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa was held in 1989 in Shanghai in which 58 Japanese practitioners participated.
Dr. Zhuang Yuan Ming was invited several times abroad to lecture, demonstrate, train, popularize and propagate Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa worldwide. Today, Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa is practiced in over 40 countries. In the year 2004, the 30th anniversary of Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa was celebrated and the 10th International conference was held in which 3000 participants from 15 countries participated.