If I can only choose to recommend one thing to fellow new cancer patients who approach me for wellness advice, it would be to practise qi gong. This coming from a mid-20 city girl says quite a lot, doesn’t it?
When I first heard about doing qi gong every day at dawn from a TMC practitioner to complement my conventional cancer treatment, I was skeptical. Skeptical because qi gong sounded mythical — like something done by people who have reached nirvana or sort. Skeptical also because qi gong sounded old — indeed, the qi gong center I went were mostly people above 50. Moreover, who starts exercising in the stadium at 5.45am every day?!
I went anyway for my first class upon his recommendation. After all, when I first started, I was on a 6-week medical leave and I wasn’t sleeping well. Might as well check out this qi gong thing.
During my first meeting with the 返老还童 Infinite Youth Qi Gong Association at Stadium Kota Raja in Klang, I was directed to the instructor by what an outsider described as someone “very beautiful with a certain glow.” C’mon. I was already thinking qi gong was a certain mythical art and now the instructor is described as angelic? Too much to process.
The instructor was Senior Bee Jiun (everyone was addressed as Senior despite age and qi gong experience). She did have a healthy glow on her face even though physique-wise, she looked like an ordinary mother in her 40s (I’m assuming). She was soft spoken, patient and had a calm demeanor as she welcomed me, understood my medical condition and guided me through my first lesson.
The first lesson was done one-to-few, depending on how many newbies there were present. Senior Bee Jiun gave step-by-step demonstration to the hour-long qi gong practice. She explained every step in detail: how to stand, how to breathe, how to move, how to focus, what to see, what to say, what to think, what to feel. My mom gave up mid-way on her first lesson. She was just not patient enough to learn the very detailed art of qi gong.
Not enough with the detailed explanation by Senior Bee Jiun in person, she left me with a booklet after the lesson. The book had even more explanations on the many reasons for the way things are done at 返老还童 Infinite Youth Qi Gong; why practise starts at 5.45am daily, how practice location is selected, what each of the moves is for, etc. Well, that was convincing.
I am a person of order and reason. It comforted me to be guided through an organized induction. It intrigued me to learn that every single thing (big or small) done at 返老还童 Infinite Qi Gong came with a quite scientific rationale I could accept.
They were very careful when guiding me through the practice too because I had a one-month-old colectomy surgery wound right at the center of my abdomen. I was forbidden to do so many things within the qi gong routine. It was reassuring to know that they took careful measures to attend to my individual need.
But honestly, I didn’t feel the difference everyone else at the center was professing within a week of practice. Many have said that qi gong helped them stay more alert during the day, sleep better at night and improve their health predicaments within a few days – sore joints, skin problems, constipation, etc. But then again, I probably did 50% or less of actual qi gong. For that, I gave qi gong the benefit of the doubt. After all, my surgeon and oncologist were supportive of my qi gong practice too. It seemed that their other patients have benefited from qi gong.
My curiosity on the effectiveness of qi gong intensified when I tried breathing the qi gong way 3 months after my colectomy surgery — yes, I was forbidden to breathe the qi gong way for months. Before the end of my hour-long practice, I felt my wound reacting to me in a way I never felt before; it was not in a good way. I quickly reverted to the moves I was allowed to for 6 months after surgery. But wow, qi gong could have such impact!
Waking up at 5am everyday for qi gong was not easy at all. My attendance started to drop and when I got back to work, I did a simplified version at home, if any at all. By the time I started my first chemotherapy, I was barely practising.
Then Senior Bee Jiun gave me a call to check on me. Many strangers and acquaintances have been checking on me since cancer diagnosis, with the intention to sell me things. But 返老还童 Infinite Youth Qi Gong was different. The instructors were volunteers so they didn’t get paid to teach every day. The center collected only RM20 monthly for activities — that’s less than RM0.70 per lesson!
返老还童 Infinite Qi Gong dedicated themselves to cancer patients so don’t be surprised if they offer cancer patients with free supplements, free goodies and free consultation to as far as Perth, if patients are genuinely accepting qi gong as part of the healing process. Put it simply, they help those who help themselves. Fair enough.
So when Senior Bee Jiun checked on me right before my second chemotherapy, that encouraged me to practise qi gong religiously again. I practised qi gong almost daily for 2 weeks between my second and third chemotherapy and guess what! My third chemotherapy felt much bearable than my second even though side effects were supposed to intensify. I was finally sold. Mind you, I still wasn’t practising qi gong at its entirety.
I have to be frank though that I’m no longer practising qi gong now. I think I’ve only done it 5 times in the past 6 months. It’s just difficult to cope with the daily practice at early hours.
Regardless, qi gong continues to have a special place in my mind and heart. It’s my comfort exercise. I do it when I feel unhealthy physically, emotionally or spiritually.
Qi gong is not about moving around slowly. It’s a holistic exercise with many elements: stretching, cardio, balance, meditation, gratitude. I would liken the concept behind the art of qi gong to yoga, except this is from the ancient Chinese. It’s just unfortunate that it has been marketed as old.
If you’re interested in learning more about qi gong through 返老还童 Infinite Youth, buzz me and I’d connect you to them. At time of writing, they have a presence in 8 locations in Klang Valley:
- Setia Alam
- Stadium Kota Raja Klang
- Kota Kemuning
- Bukit Jalil
- Puchong Wawasan Recreation Park
Ending the post with a testimonial published on Borneo Post by a 70-year-old terminal stage lymphatic cancer survivor, who credited qi gong for his recovery: Elderly Fights Cancer with Breathing Technique.