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For those seniors who are facing severe pain and are told that the condition cannot be cured or reversed, I have an inspiring true story to share with you.
I have the good fortune to interview a senior by the name of Mr Lam. He is 82 years old this year- he is active, driving around and travelling. But the situation was not as such 6 years ago in year 2006.
Mr Lam had always been a healthy and energetic man during his young days- where hardly anything was not possible. He was at the top of health and could eat and drink whatever he wanted without any adverse health condition.
Things started changing when he turned 60 years old. He started feeling stiffness in his neck and the condition gradually deteriorate with the pain getting more and more severe.
By the time he was 70 years old, his neck was so stiff and painful that it could not turn. For years he had suffered- walked with the neck not moving and a bit like a stiff robot. It got to a point that it was so bad that he could not sleep at night because of his painful neck.
When he consulted the doctor, he was told that there was no cure for his condition. Basically the cartilage is drying out and his cervical vertebrae (located on his neck) may end up fusing together- that was what he was being told. Medically there was nothing Western medicine could do for him except painkillers to lessen his pain- it is a degenerative disease associated with old age.
His doctor also referred him to have infra heat treatments – these treatments provided temporary relief for 2 or at most 3 days. Right after the effect wears off, the pain is back once again. And he try to control his intake of painkillers because he knew that too much of it would damage his health, especially his kidneys.
He was introduced to wai tan kung practice, a form of exercise that promotes the movement of chi/qi within the body. He did these exercises diligently and his neck pain was gone! He attributed that it was probably due to energy/qi/chi blockages- causing qi not able to move up and down his body freely that resulted in the pain. Of course, such pain would not come all of sudden- the condition, often started with stiffness, would gradually degenerate.
Today, Mr Lam shared that he is pain free. He attributes the ‘miracle’ to wai tan kung- in fact for the first year, he diligently practiced the exercise almost everyday.
Mr Lam also shared an incident- after doing the wai tan kung exercises for about 1.5 years, he had developed some knee pain. His knees constantly got ‘jammed’ if he sat for too long. He cannot do certain movement- and he often have to sit down to rest for 10 minutes to wait for the cramp and pain to reduce. But after continuously doing the exercises more, the pain stopped and he now moves about with ease.
(Note: You may develop some pain after sometime of practicing qi/chi based exercise. For example I do get lower back pain as my chi movement improves but because the moving chi in my body unable to move up or down freely because there was some blocked channels around my lower back. Hence, the pain would come initially- but it does not mean the exercise is no good. Consistently doing this would free the blocked channel and enable to body to heal itself and become stronger than it was before).
He said that the cure would happen gradually and slowly. Suddenly, after months of consistent practice, you may ask yourself why you no longer feel pain or discomfort. He said if you do the moves correctly and consistently, after about 6 months your body would feel light (because of good energy flow within the channels).
At 82 years old, he had youths telling him that he should not be taking too oily food or sugar, etc. He still eat those food but in moderation. He takes supplements and exercise daily. Mr Lam reckons that most younger generation nowadays are exercising less- with desk jobs and iPhone (it was funny when he did that movement of seeing his grown children coming back and moving their fingers around the phone- he never had one of those but watched them so often with the gadget that he could imitate their moves 😀 )
He believes that if we exercise often and sweat it out, our body would be able to process whatever we eat and we can eliminate toxins instead of letting them build up to cause us illnesses.
When Mr Lam went for a follow-up checkup, his doctor was surprised to see that the mobility at his neck has improved so much when he had earlier diagnosed Mr Lam’s condition as having no cure. Mr Lam then asked the doctor, what other follow up would he need? The doctor said, “continue the tan kung exercises- it is very good for you.”
When I queried that many older people are having pain and discomfort- which is obvious from the way they walked- they have knee pain or stiffness at certain parts of their body. Mr Lam felt that for cases like these, they would need to practice some form of exercise to help promote chi such as qi gong, tai chi or wai tan kung to help to improve their chi movements- this has to be faithfully done daily and under the guidance of a good teacher who would not hesitate to correct you if the movements are wrong. Then it would be beneficial.
Mr Lam said that he is sharing from his own personal experience- he had pain and has overcome it through practicing wai tan kung. I mentioned to him that I have seen so many older adults searching for cures for their pain- sometimes I feel very sorry that many of them have worked hard all their lives to put their children through school. When they finally could sit back and enjoy their retirement, they start to get pain. Therefore, I wanted to share his story with others out there who are facing pain and predicament.
In the Western and scientific world, it may be hard for your to understand how apparently simple not strenuous moves could be so beneficial and works better than medicine. We all have qi/chi or energy channels in our body. Once those channels are blocked due to physical inactivity, emotions, illness, injury, diet and old age- illness or pain may develop. Exercises such as qi gong, tai chi and wai tan kung (dan gong) would reap enormous benefits. Try to look for a class nearest to you- as awareness about the qi/chi are fast spreading to the West.
Think of it this way, photos of healthy old men and women practicing tai chi or qi gong at parks, open areas and temples all over China and Taiwan. Even at old age, they are still going about their day to day activities and are often seen riding bicycles around. This is a stark contrast to what we see in developed nations- seniors walking around with stiffness and imbalanced movement and postural awkwardness. What is the missing puzzle? There must be something that they are doing right.