In the last one month I attended two conferences on Ageing. One was on Healthy Aging, which was attended by health practitioners as well as lay people, and the other was on Anti-Ageing Medicine, attended by doctors. While the former gave room for the inclusion of complementary therapies as anti-ageing methods, the latter dealt mostly with hormones and cutting-edge drug and surgical therapies.

Whilst progress in genetics and reproductive biology promises so much for the future, the role of hormones as the harbinger of ageing is now widely recognized and so much attention was focused on the subject.

The medical fraternity is still lagging behind in its recognition of the immense role of nutrition and nutritional supplementation in all this. Thus it is not surprising that it was only last year that it officially acknowledged that taking vitamins and minerals supplements is beneficial for health. It is said that it took the medical world 50 years to accept that vitamin C could prevent scurvy.

Although the role of physical exercise is well-accepted, my observation is that it will probably take them another 50 years before they will recognize the important role of the life-force, or Qi, in health, healing, and in slowing down ageing. Evidence-based Medical science demands that large, controlled, double-blind studies be done before any claim can be accepted. Anything less than that will mean that “there is no (or insufficient) evidence” for such a claim. While there are several studies in the West that show that Yoga and Tai Chi are beneficial, none of these studies fit the criteria needed for the findings to be universally accepted.

Although Qigong is associated with more healing testimonies than any of the other mind-body exercises, the relative scarcity of valid studies make it difficult to convince the medical/scientific community. Most of the studies are also reported only in the Chinese literature. As a result, the Western scientific community remains ignorant of this very effective anti-ageing method.
Some interesting findings on the anti-ageing effects of Qigong were reported in The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1991:11 (2) 153-158 ; The Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Qigong, Shanghai, China. 1990:28-32; and The Proceedings of The Second World Conference for Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong. Beijing, China. 1993: 137. These reports are already over 10 years, and I am sure there have been more interesting reports since then.

Last week I met a lady who related to me how she had suffered severe bowel problems as she went through menopause. In spite of doing numerous tests on her, including colonoscopy, and prescribing her all sorts of drugs, the doctors could not solve her problem. She lost nearly 30 kilograms and was weak and sick. It was only after she started practising Qigong that her condition improved. Now she is as fit as a fiddle, and has regained her normal weight. She is able to sweat it out at the gym every morning, and she never misses her Qigong practice.

It is a known fact that as men age, their testosterone ( main male sex-hormone ) levels decline while their estradiol ( strongest female sex-hormone ) levels increase, upsetting the normal healthy balance and causing a myriad of problems, including decreased libido and sexual function, and even feminization.

For the ageing women, the reverse happens, and they end up with excess androgens ( male sex-hormones ) and deficient estrogens ( female sex-hormones ). They also suffer from sexual problems, and many even grow moustaches!

For both sexes, the imbalance is worse if there are also concurrent problems like hypertension or diabetes.

Doctors involved in anti-aging therapy know that correcting this imbalance is a major part of the therapy. I am happy to report that at least 3 different studies have shown that Qigong can reverse this unhealthy imbalance of hormones in both sexes ( see diagram for the study done on hypertensive patients).

Ye Ming, et al. Relationship among erythrocyte superoxide dismustase activity, plasma sexual hormones (T, E2), aging and qigong exercise. Proceedings, Third International Symposium on Qigong, Shanghai, China. 1990:28-32.

Studies have also shown that Qigong can be effectively combined with Western drugs to give better long-term results than drugs alone. One example is in reducing the morbidity and mortality from strokes among hypertensives.

Qigong has also been successfully combined with Western Medicine in cancer -treatment in many hospitals in China. In many cases, Traditional Chinese Medicine is also included in the combined therapy.

Wang Chongxing, et. al. Effects of qigong on preventing stroke and alleviating the multiple cerebro-cardiovascular risk factors–a follow-up report on 242 hypertensive cases over 30 years. Proceedings, Second World Conference for Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, Beijing, China. 1993: 123-124.
I have mentioned many times that Qigong has saved many cancer patients, including here in Malaysia. Even when the patients undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy, Qigong is useful in reducing the side-effects of these treatments.
In a clinical study of Qigong as a therapeutic aid for patients with advanced cancer, 127 patients with medically diagnosed malignant cancer were divided into a Qigong group of 97 patients and a control group of 30 patients. All patients received drugs, and the Qigong group practised Qigong for more than 2 hours a day over a period from 3 to 6 months. The results summarized in Fig. 4 show that both groups improved, but the Qigong group showed improvements four to nine times greater than the control group in strength, appetite, being diarrhea free, and having weight gain of 3 kg or more. The phagocytic rate is a measure of immune function, and was increased in the Qigong group but decreased in the control group.

Sun Quizhi, Zhao Li. Clinical observation of Qigong as a therapeutic aid for advanced cancer patients. Proceeding, First World Conference Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, Beijing, China. 1988: 97-98.
The claims regarding cure from cancer must someday be substantiated by proper scientific studies, for only then can we expect the medical doctors to take our claims seriously and encourage all cancer patients to practice Qigong.
In the meantime, for those interested, I have included below several references of cancer cures as reported in the Chinese literature:
[1] Chen Guoguang. The curative effect observed for 24 cancer cases under emitted qigong treatment. Proceedings, Second International Conference on Qigong, Xi’an, China. 1989: 141-142.
[2] Zhao Hongmei, Bian Jingnan. Curative effect of intelligence qigong on 122 tumor patients. Proceedings, Second World Conf on Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, Beijing, China.1993:130.
[3] Xong Jing, Lu Zhong. Curative effect on 120 cancer cases treated by Chinese-Western medicine and Qigong therapy. Proceedings, Second World Conf on Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, Beijing, China.. 1993: 131


Dr Amir Farid Isahak
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