Throughout Chinese history people have searched for a way to achieve immortality. Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, was the legendary forefather of all tribes in the Central Plains. He was well versed in medicine, language, philosophy, and mathematics. There is a Chinese myth that in remote ages Huang Di rode a dragon into heaven.
Emperors of later dynasties, from Shi Huang, the founding emperor of the Qin Dynasty, to Wu Di, the emperor of the Han Dynasty, hoped to turn this myth into reality. They either sent virgins of both sexes to the East China Sea for the elixir of life, or blindly trusted necromancers and worshipped ghosts and gods in search of a way to become immortal.
The Chinese theory of health building developed from efforts to protect and build health, prevent disease, and prolong life. The I Ching (Book of Changes), a Confucian classic written more than 2,000 years ago, says: If accustomed to the nature of Heaven and Earth, man can live forever even if he gets sick.
The philosophical writings of thinkers and statesmen from the late years of the Spring and Autumn Period contain many descriptions about health building. These writings include the Dao De Jing by Lao Zi, the Analects of Confucius and the Guan zi of Guan Zhong. These were the start of Chinese theories on health building.
The Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods (770 221 B.C.) were a fertile time for multiple schools of thought, and political pluralism provided a rich atmosphere for developing academic thought. Representatives of all schools of thought were concerned with political issues and problems related to life. As life is inseparable from food and drink, scholars of the pre Qin times contemplated dietetic culture and the relationship between food and health building.