This section is from the book "The Beverages of the Chinese; Kung-fu or Tauist Medical Gymnastics; the Population of China; A Modern Chinese Anatomist and A Chapter in Chinese Surgery.", by John Dudgeon. Also available from Amazon: Kung Fu, or Taoist Medical Gymnastics.
His system resembles exactly that of the Kung-fu of the Tauists, and to M. Dally it appears less complex than that of the Tauists. The Chinese system, continues our author, is sanctioned by 5000 years of continued experience. For it is from Central Asia, and from the seat of the origin of mankind, that the Tauists have imported this doctrine into the Orient, and since this epoch have not ceased to make application of it. But it is also from Central Asia, and from the same source as that whence the Tauists have drawn them, that the ancestors of the Greeks imported into the Occident the same doctrine. What then, asks M. Dally, is the merit of Ling? As his body of doctrine does not differ from that of the Tauists, it must be admitted also that at the same time Ling had in his hands the Notice of Amiot or some other original Chinese treatise, produced it may be by other missionaries or by some persons attached to Embassies from Europe in China. (Lawrence Lange, by-the-bye, was a Swede, and the first Russian Consul at Peking in the second decade of the 18th centuty). The doctrine of Ling in its entirety, theoretical and practical, is only a sort of counter-drawn daguereotype of the Kung-fu of the Tauists. It is the royal vase of Dresden, the splendid Chinese vase with its Chinese figures overlaid with European paint. This is, according to our historical studies, says Dally, the real merit of Ling. After all, whether the work of Ling is only an importation of the doctrine conserved in China in all its primitive originality and in its essential therapeutic character, or a simple renovation of Greek art more especially applied to the education of man, or a harmonious development of form and force applied to aesthetics and the military art, - in a word, whatever be the sources whence Ling may have drawn the elements and the combinations of his system and its applications, it is none the less true that he is one of the men who have much aided to bring back gymnastics among us as a science and an art to the purer traditions of high antiquity.
My attention was first called to the Notice of P. Amiot, now nearly thirty years ago, by the following communication from a friend in Edinburgh: - "The Chinese have a mode of treating many diseases by various ways of breathing while the patients are placed in previously determined positions, which vary according to the nature of the disease. The treatment is called Cong-fu, and was practised by the followers of the Bonzes, Tao-sse, who prepared the patients by religious ceremonies for the treatment. The French Missionaries of Peking have published in their Memoires concernant les Chinois, Paris, 1779, a chapter on this treatment under the name of Notice du Cong-fu des Boznes Tao-sse. Will you kindly furnish answers to the following? 1. - Detailed information on the positions and breathing movements. 2. - Whether the followers of the Bonzes, Tao-sse, still exist and practise the treatment by breathing movements. 3. - The titles of Chinese works on this subject.
Some works with wood engravings have been published on the subject. 4. - Any other information regarding this mode of treatment."
This letter was perhaps dictated by Dr. Roth, with whom I have since kept up a friendly and constant correspondence, and supplied him with the various Chinese works containing illustrations on the subject.
The result of my attention having been called to this treatment is the following article on Kung-fu, which was submitted to Dr. Roth, and by him recommended for publication. I was unwilling at the time to present to the medical profession or to the general public a subject so meagerly handled, and during all these years have waited for the convenient time to devote to it more study and research, with the view of supplying at least sufficient details to render any one, ignorant of Chinese and medicine, able to grasp the subject and determine its usefulness or otherwise as a prophylactic and curative agent. Unfortunately the press of work, necessitated by the care of a large hospital and other duties, has prevented me from pursuing further this study. The subject was brought by me before the Peking Oriental Society a few years ago, and it is now published in their Journal.
Dr. Roth has been the most prominent exponent and successful practitioner of the system in Great Britain. As an Hungarian exile after the Russian invasion which crushed the Hungarian cause in 1849, he settled in London after studying Chinese in Paris for some time, and chose this speciality in which he rose to eminence. He published numerous works on the subject which are well known, the chief of which are - The Cure of Chronic Diseases by Movements, Handbook of the Movement Cure, On Paralysis in Infancy, The Prevention of Special Deformities, The Treatment of Writer's Cramp, etc., etc. He presented the present writer with copies of all his published works. His Hand-book is characteristically "dedicated to all Medical Practitioners who are disposed to examine before they condemn." His work on Infantile Paralysis is dedicated to my friend and namesake Dr. R. E. Dudgeon, who was the first to befriend the exile on landing on our shores, and who was the first to give proof of this confidence by placing some patients under his care. I visited Dr. Roth at his residence, 48 Wimpole St., London, on more than one occasion, where he showed me his institution for carrying out this treatment by movement. He had a similar institution at Brighton.
Amiot says Kung-fu consists in two things, - the posture of the body, and the manner of respiration.
There are three principal postures, - standing, sitting, lying.
The priests of Tao enter into the greatest detail of all the attitudes, in which they vary and blend the different postures. As these, however, have more connexion with their doctrines than the medical part of Kung-fu, it will be enough to indicate the general principles. The different modes, in the three principal positions, of stretching, folding, raising, lowering, bending, extending, abducting, adducting the arms and legs, form a variety of numerous attitudes. The head, the eyes, and the tongue, have each their movements and positions. The tongue is charged to make in the mouth such operations as balancing, pulsating, rubbing, shooting, etc., in order to excite salivation. The eyes close, open, turn, fix, and wink.