Excerpted from Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China by David A. Palmer
There were no officially sanctioned qigong activities in China until its rehabilitation in 1978, after the end of the Cultural Revolution. However, one woman, Guo Lin, an artist and cancer victim from Guangdong province who had cured herself by practicing qigong during the 1960s, was brave enough to teach other cancer patients in the parks of Beijing as early as 1970. Her ‘New Qigong Therapy’ inaugurated a new, collective form of qigong teaching and practice that would later be adopted by most qigong masters. Guo Lin can thus be said to have triggered the qigong wave of the 1980s.
Born near Zhongshan, Guangdong in 1909, Guo Lin was trained as a young girl in traditional body technologies by her paternal grandfather, a Taoist in Macau, where her family had fled following the 1911 revolution. Later, as a student of landscape painting, she visited several holy mountains; the breathing technique she used when climbing the steep slopes would become the basis for her future qigong method.
In 1949 Guo Lin was hit by uterine cancer, which was treated by hysterectomy. The cancer recurred in 1959 while she was teaching at the new Beijing Painting Academy. Guo Lin remembered the techniques that she had learned in her youth, and decided to practice them to treat her cancer.
Between 1971 and 1977 Guo Lin was interrogated seven times…in spite of the harassment, the number of people who came to practice with her grew.
She took up the Five Animals Frolic, and delved into books on qigong theory, Chinese and Western medicine, physiology, pathology, acupuncture and meridian theory. Her cancer was cured after ten years of practice and experimenting. Guo Lin synthesized her experience in the form of a qigong method for treating cancer and chronic illness, based on the new technique of ‘wind breathing’, which modified certain aspects of traditional body technologies and Liu Guizhen’s method.
She began teaching her method to people suffering from cancer and chronic illnesses in 1970. Her first student, a worker who suffered from serious heart disease, was cured after practicing her qigong. Her second student, a factory worker, was cured of his stomach cancer after a year of assiduous practice under Guo Lin’s guidance.
Encouraged by these results and by the growing number of people who wanted to learn her qigong, she began to teach her method publicly in Dongdan Park in 1971. The word spread; the number of practitioners increased; many recovered their health. She organized the learners into practice groups and taught them the theory and practice of her ‘New Qigong Therapy’, teaching different techniques to different patients depending on their condition.
Crackdown and Concession
Accused of fooling people and of engaging in superstitious practices, Guo Lin was expelled from Dongdan Park. Two of her assistant trainers were arrested and imprisoned for twenty days, her home was searched, and her qigong material confiscated.
Between 1971 and 1977 Guo Lin was interrogated seven times by the Public Security Bureau. In spite of the harassment, the number of people who came practice with her grew, until she was able to train coaches to lead practice groups in other parks, and an informal organization of practitioners was created to study and publicize her method. Interest was so great that she abandoned a plan to emigrate to the United States, where her daughter was living.
Guo Lin began to enjoy the support of Party cadres who had benefited from her method. Gao Wenshan, a retired Navy officer, became an ardent supporter of Guo Lin’s qigong. Using his official car, he took Guo Lin and her assistants to several work units, looking for a permanent base for teaching and practice. Finally, in 1977, two officials at Beijing Normal University took the risk of offering the campus as a center for Guo Lin’s activities.
Mao had died and the Cultural Revolution had ended. Sensing the new political climate, Guo Lin submitted a report to the health ministry, which, summarizing seven years of experience teaching qigong, claimed that it was a cure for cancer. She began to organize regular, formal courses at Beijing Normal University. ‘Experience sharing assemblies’ were also held, at which practitioners could share and summarize the benefits of the method. Guo Lin was invited to lecture at dozens of universities, factories and official units. Thousands of people began to learn her qigong method in parks and public spaces around the country.
A New Era for Qigong
The Cultural Revolution had thus failed to eradicate qigong; most of the masters of traditional body technologies has simply continued to transmit their techniques secretly. And Guo Lin, who didn’t fear teaching in the open, brought a key innovation to qigong: by inaugurating group practice in parks, she freed qigong from the medical institutions.
A new style of qigong was born, heavily marketed by the mass culture of the Mao era: qigong was no longer confined to the institutions of the Party elite, but became a grassroots popular movement. Instead of traditional masters giving secret initiations or professional medical workers providing one-on-one clinical instruction, amateur enthusiasts led free collective practice sessions in public spaces. By the end of the 1970s, it was not rare to see more than a dozen different qigong methods being practiced in the same park on a given morning.
I have received training from a Chinese doctor who graduated from a medical school in China teaching traditional oriental medicine. Since then I have met four people with various forms of cancer in different stages, mostly advanced. I taught each of the four the Qigong walking-breathing exercise attributed to Guo Lin. All four were ecstatic as their cancer went into reverse in a very short time.
One, a female, 38, had multiple myeloma in an advanced stage when we met, by sheer chance. I taught her the exercise and at her request visited her to walk with her three consecutive days. I met her family who were very supportive because everything I taught made a great deal of sense to them.
On the third day I also led her through a meditation she thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. I saw that she had learned the Qigong exercise very well and told her so, adding that she could do it alone now, and should, twice a day, gradually increasing the time each successiive day to about an hour to two hours if possible each session. She promised she would. I was very glad that she seemed to be so delighted and apparently to have such faith in the exercise.
She was a stressed out, nervous wreck when we first met, her hair was a mess and she had obviously been crying, fearing she was going to die, leaving her children without a mother. In just days she had changed: smiling, happier, looking much better, confident and seemingly full of hope.
At the end of that week (the first week doing Qigong), her husband drove her to see her two doctors, who had told her she would start receiving chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. After they had seen the results of the tests performed before starting on her regime, her doctors came from their lab with astonishment on their faces. They told her they did not understand what happened but all her numbers were significantly down. They cancelled all of the therapy, and were very curious as to what she might have been doing to cause such a startling, unexpected turn of her condition. She told them she had done nothing at all except a very simple exercise that a friend had taught her.
They scheduled her to return in two weeks for a checkup. This routine was continued for some time, with a continuing drop in her measurements.
It has been just three years from the day when she and I met, completely by chance. More than a year ago her doctors, who by then had lengthened the interval between checkups to once a year, informed her that she was virtually completely free of any cancer anywhere in her body. They saw only a tiny spot where a minute bit of cancer appeared but it was stable and dormant. Her doctors never administered any therapies to her.
She is continuing to have a checkup about once a year, I believe, merely as a precaution. She is active socially, travels often and altogether is a very happy camper. I saw her on one occasion in the summer of 2006, about six months after we had started the Qigong, and she was cruising around town on her bike having a great time, like some teen-age kid.
This very happy story all happened as a result of only the Qigong exercise, no herbs. God bless Madame Guo Lin! CvW
I am very interested in Guo Lin chi gong even though I do not have cancer myself. I have learn it for several months from books and DVDs. Would like to know others of same interest. I also like to help cancer patients.
No, it’s not going to be done because it’s totally immoral. Cancer
patients who are going to be treated exclusively by Qi Gong are going to
die, horribly. Something you don’t seem to care about. And I know your
kind well enough to know that even if all Qi Gong treated patients die
and all conventionally treated patients live, you will not change your
mind, but blame: the test design, the alignment of the planets, the
weather, negative vibrations, the cancers were not comparable in type
and stage etc etc etc. Been there, done that.
But do check out this site: http://members.bordernet.com.au/~pmoran/
Dr. Moran is very knowledgeable on the subject of alternative cancer
treatments. Look up what is considered the minimal evidence needed to
take this Qi Gong stuff serious, or any alternative cancer treatment for
that matter. If you can come up with that sort of data, we can talk
about actually testing this stuff. But you can’t, and you know it.
Ich lernte Guolin-Qi-Gong in einem Grundkurs bei der Gesellschaft für biologische Krebsbekämpfung in Heidelberg
kennen. Seit Mai praktiziere ich diese Grundübung nun jeden Tag. Durch die Windatmung sind meine Blutwerte nun wieder richtig gut geworden. Die Lebermetastase meines Brustkrebses bleibt klein und inaktiv. Sicher soll man Krebspatienten nicht vormachen, dass eine Methode das einzig Wahre auf dem Weg zur Heilung ist. Ganz wichtig ist aber, dass man als Krebspatient mutig aktiv wird und den eigenen Körper mit seinen Selbstheilkräften unterstützt, statt
sich einfach nur passiv behandeln zu lassen oder ausschließlich mit den schulmedizinisch arbeitenden Ärzten ängstlich abwartend, wann die Krankheit fortschreitet zu den Nachsorgeterminen gehen und sonst nichts machen. Guolin Qi-Gong arbeitet ganzheitlich mit Körper, Geist, Psyche und spirituell und da ein energetisches Zusammenspiel dieser Ganzheit bei Krebs gestört ist, hilft es auch auf jeden Fall, wenn man es regelmäßig praktiziert.
Hi, I would like to know if you can initiate in my father the order of lightning and thunder I would like to practice and learn more about Taoism
This helped me understand some good ways to get started. Thank you.