This was published in the book “The Mystery of Longevity” written by Dr Liu Zhengcai. In the book, he had documented lifestyle practices by centenarians in China. Imagine there was no gym or any modern facilities in China or anywhere else about 100 years ago. And yet, people still lived long and healthy lives. In particular, is a snippet of this inspiring story:
Centenarian Yang Weiyuan in a village on Yangquan’s outskirts in Shanxi Province was born to a very poor family. At the age of nine he carried vegetables on shoulder poles to sell at the fair. Frequent burdens such as this bend his spine and he developed into a humpbacked boy by the age of 12, earning the name “Humpbacked Vegetable Boy.” Later he heard that martial arts can both strengthen one’s body and help in self-defence. So he become a disciple of a boxing master in his village and practiced boxing mornings and evenings under the master’s guidance. In three or four years his humpback had straightened. From then on he practiced boxing and wielded a cudgel or other weapon with dedication.
He was chosen as martial arts referee for the provincial sports meet in 1958 and more than 40 young lads are now learning martial arts from him. Although 100 years old, he is still strong and robust, walks with a steady gait and is nimble in movement. He has bright piercing eyes and his youthful countenance is in delightful contrast to his white hair.
The younger the person is, the easier it is to correct the problem. As Yang Weiyuan had corrected the problem while he was still a young boy and that his bones are still growing, he was able to straighten his back.
I’ve known of 2 sisters with humped back (probably due to genetics) as they are approaching middle age. With the practice of wai tan kung, they were able to prevent the condition from becoming painful and deteriorating further. Even though they have humped backs, they are still healthy and was able to carry out the activities of daily living- doing housework, a family business and cooking with ease.
One of them told me that for her, it started when she felt pain in her back as she was turning 40 years old. She had not sought any conventional treatment, preferring traditional Chinese massage and acupuncture. Within a year, her back just bent considerably. That was why when I had a bit of back pain earlier on, she had asked me to sought treatment from doctors practicing Western medicine. By the way, my back pain started not long after I was exercising using the trampoline or the rebounder.
To my knowledge, the Western medicine could not prescribe any proven cure for degenerative back diseases. The only way is preventive or complimentary treatment with supplements to prevent the condition from becoming worst. Therefore, I asked her what kind of treatment she was seeking and from her description, I gathered that she is undergoing HRT (hormone replacement therapy) – which hormonal treatment to hopefully delay the onset of osteoporosis.