The best road to good health is to stay healthy. But if you get sick, then the traditional paradigm in both Western medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM), also called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is to go see a doctor and have the doctor prescribe some medicine for you (and in the case of Western medicine, may have some surgery done on you). So the traditional paradigm for treating illnesses requires intervention by someone else, usually a trained medical practitioner. Wouldn’t it be nice if there is something you can do yourself to cure your illnesses? Is this only a fantasy or wishful thinking? Perhaps not. In the last decade-plus, Hongchi Xiao, a man with an extremely interesting background, has met and learned from tens of legendary medical masters and doctors all over China and other parts of the world, including many recluses but with rare expertise in the healing arts. He learned not only CCM, acupuncture, and acupressure, but he also learned and mastered a set of auto-therapies (exercises), Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies (拉筋拍打自愈法). Laijin in Chinese means to stretch your tendons and ligaments. Paida in Chinese means to pat and slap your body parts.
He has helped to revive and popularized these ancient self-healing therapies. Since 2010, he has organized more than 100 successful workshops in many places in China, as well as in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S. Thousands of people have attended and greatly benefited from these workshops. Furthermore, these exercises not only can cure diseases, they can also detect diseases including those that have not clearly manifested themselves. Therefore, the same set of exercises can be used to detect and get rid of diseases, i.e., they can keep you in good health, and also cure your illnesses. This article provides an introduction to these exercises.
First we provide some background on Mr. Hongchi Xiao. Mr. Xiao was born in Hubei Province, China. He graduated in 1985 from the University of International Business and Economics; then he worked in Beijing, Jiangxi, and Tibet as a university lecturer, village school teacher, and government official. Later, he went to the U.S., and in 1990 got his MBA from Thunderbird, American Graduate School of International Management. Xiao subsequently worked for over a decade as an investment banker in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.
In 2006, he teamed with the famous director Ang Lee and made a successful bid for the concept proposal for the opening and closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic, and was one of the two scriptwriters.
Although originally he did not study medicine, he always had some linkage to medicine, as his uncle is a Chinese doctor and his mother is a Western doctor. From a young age, he was especially attracted to CCM. Starting around a decade ago, a series of events led him to an unprecedented quest all over China, as well as several other parts of the world, to rediscover and learn CCM. He wandered as a vagabound to monasteries, temples, and even deep forests in China and overseas to seek out folk CCM masters. From these he learned and mastered many CCM techniques, including rare acupuncture and acupressure theories and techniques, bone-setting techniques, needle-knife technique, Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies.
Of all the techniques that he learned, the most appealing to him is the Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies, because it is a do-it-yourself (DIY) technique. You are in charge of your own health; the technique can help you to do diagnostics on your health as well as to cure your illnesses.
The original treatise on CCM is the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine), the “Bible” of CCM from more than 2,000 years ago. The Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies are based on CCM where ill health or illnesses are due to blockages of Qi, the body’s life force, in the body’s meridians. There are 14 standard meridians in the body. One of the advantages of the Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies is that it doesn’t require you to know the locations of individual meridians, because they affect all meridians.
As mentioned earlier, Lajin means to stretch your tendons and ligaments. There is a saying that stretching your Jin (tendons and ligaments) by one inch will extend your life by 10 years. One dies when one’s Jin degenerates completely. The various Lajin exercises help the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body. Flexible Jin will lead to good health. Once Jin shrinks, the body will manifest various symptoms of ill health, such as neck stiffness and pain, back stiffness and pain, contraction or atrophy of muscles, inability to squat down, inability to extend or bend the elbow, etc. Thus, doing the Lajin exercises would also provide indications of ill health, sometimes at an early stage when Western medical techniques might not identify them yet.
Paida means to pat or slap your body parts. This exercise draws out and expels poisonous waste in the body to restore health by facilitating smooth Qi flow in the body’s meridians. The patted and slapped parts on the body will automatically gather Qi and blood, and then accelerate the circulation. The intensified Qi could scan the body and dredge the obstructed meridians, resulting in clearing the poisonous body waste, illnesses, and even tumors. Sympdoms of these poisonous body waste and illnesses are reflected in the skin after Paida as darkish or greyish spots or dots. Thus, doing the Paido exercises would also provide indications of ill health, again sometimes at an early stage when Western medical techniques might not identify them yet.
What illnesses can Lajin and Paida self-healing therapies treat? Because they blanket all the meridians, they can treat many illnesses. Furthermore, we need to be careful with an illness name, because a person identified with a particular illness may have multiple problems. For example, a person who has hypertension (high blood pressure) is often advised to take anti-hypertensive drugs. However, most anti-hypertensive drugs are diuretics that could do damage to the functions of the kidney. So one really should find out the underlying problems that are causing the hypertension and utilize methods to remove the underlying problems.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, during the last three years Xiao and his collaborators have conducted more than 100 workshops all over the world. The results have been extremely positive. For example, here is a part of a summary report from the organizers of such a workshop at the Soweto Old Age Home in South Africa: “Every one of the participants reported how they benefitted from the Lajin and Paida classes. They can move again and are no longer dependent on others to help them with basic tasks. Others can now walk without walkers and are getting out of their wheelchairs. What is quite remarkable is that participants who suffered strokes are much improved and I expect them to recover fully over the coming months. Also important is that their mood and spirit have much improved.”
As a matter of fact, the results have been so positive that many people questioned whether the organizers announced only the successful treatments. Xiao and the organizers have all along requested medical experts to come to their workshops to take measurements, to perform tests, and to record observations. Unfortunately no one has taken up their offers yet.
I believe that it is just a matter of time before the medical establishment will take seriously what Xiao and his collaborators are claiming. They will perform the necessary observations and tests. These claims will be verified, refuted, or modified. If the Lajing and Paida self-healing exercises have just even part of the benefits that Xiao and his collaborators are claiming, then this will already be a significant breakthrough and will have tremendous positive benefits with respect to our health and the cost of our healthcare.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Lajing and Paida self-healing therapies, here are some references:
- More about Hongchi Xiao and his organization, including videos and references: http://www.paidalajin.com/en/home/m_getpage.asp?page=about
- Paida and Lajin Self-Healing (Abridged Version): A descriptive document providing a lot of theoretical background and reporting on the results of their workshops
- The La-Jin Therapy, The Pai-Da Therapy: A Powerpoint document describing how the exercises are done
- Interview in English with Hongchi Xiao that shows some of the Lajin and Paida exercises. The interview has 3 parts. The link to the 3rd interview that shows the actual exercises is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wQ-Fsyvb6I. From this link, you can easily find Parts 1 and 2 of this interview. You can ignore the comment in the Part 1 interview referring to a Daoist monk’s remark about reincarnation.