All over Shanghai there were people getting together every morning, hundreds of people in dozens of places, to practice these seemingly simple forms of exercise to fight their cancer. These groups were run solely by cancer survivors who had used this form of exercise. In Shanghai alone, there were almost 3,000 people in these cancer recovery clubs, and besides the exercise they also scheduled group trips, met for yearly anniversaries of members survival, and generally supported each other in their fight.
“The use of chi gong cancer treatment in China originated with Ms. Guo Lin, a Chinese traditional painter, mentioned above. In 1949, she was afflicted with uterine cancer and had it removed by surgery in Shanghai. The cancer recurred in 1960. This time it had metastasized to the bladder, and she had another operation in Beijing to remove part of the bladder that was cancerous. When she had another relapse, the doctors gave her six months to live. However, she did not give up hope, and in her struggle against cancer, she remembered that her grandfather, a Taoist priest, had taught her as a child to practice chi gong. She determinedly began to research and practice chi gong, hoping to recover her health in this way. After initial practice with no effect, she turned to the ancient chi gong texts willed to her by her grandfather and created her own exercise schedule. She practiced diligently for two hours every day, and in half a year her cancer subsided.” (From Paul Dong’s book, Chi Gong: The Ancient Chinese Way to Health, Paul Dong and Aristide H. Esser, 1990, Marlowe and Company)
The basis of the groups daily exercise is a form of Chi Gung called Guo Lin Chi Gong. You may not have heard of Chi Gong, but you probably have heard of its increasingly well known cousin T’ai Chi. Chi Gong is similar to T’ai Chi in that it is a general term for movements or meditations invented by the Chinese that help to strengthen and regulate the internal energy, or “chi”, that the Chinese believe is the basis of health. By performing these seemingly simple movements or meditations the Chinese believe that you can maintain and recover your health. So Chi Gong is really the Chinese way of staying healthy, and everyday early in the morning they meet by the millions in parks across China to practice this basic, but powerful, self health technique.
The special style practiced by the Cancer Recovery Clubs of China was developed by a woman named Guo Lin – so it is called Guo Lin Chi Gong. Guo Lin developed this type of Chi Gong to fight her own cancer and after many years began to teach others. Recently as the Chinese government began to allow people to publicly practice Chi Gong again after the Communist takeover Guo Lin Chi Gong has grown tremendously in popularity. Over a million Chinese with a variety of chronic diseases have learned Guo Lin Chi Gong, and the groups claim to have an amazing amount of success (over 90%). I take these types of claims with lots of grains of salt, but it has become a social phenomenon in China. No longer passive, the members are very active in their own recovery which is strikingly different than what typically happens here.
Now there is a wonderful free video available to help you do the proper chi gong exercises: