Qigong is an ancient Chinese philosophy that focuses on manipulating energy or "life force" for preventive and curative purposes. Considered alternative medicine, qigong is touted to lead to the connection of mind, body and spirit. However, some researchers are sceptical and regard it a pseudoscience.
"Qigong is energy that is beneficial to the body. However, not everybody can be healed by qigong," said Professor Wan Su Jian, 59, director of the Chinese Taoist Medical Qigong Bagua XunDao Gong Headquarters and the World Qigong Medical Council Expert Committee. He is considered one of the top 10 contemporary medical doctors in China.
Wan is also vice-president of the Beijing Qigong Research Committee, visiting professor of the Japan Chinese Medical College and Acupuncture College in the United States, and dean of Beijing Shijingshan ICRC Kangfu Hospital.
He teaches Taoist qigong for health and healing, body mapping, calligrapy and feng shui. Wan "treats" patients from all over the world and was in Malaysia recently at the invitation of local qigong master S.C. Chow, 61, a pioneer of YangshenGong (Taoist health-preserving form of qigong) in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Some people, Wan explained through an interpreter, can get qi (energy) directly while others can't.
"It depends on the sensitivity of the body. For some, qigong doesn't work. It could be due to the nature, complexities and severity of the disease," he said.
Wan founded Bagua XunDao Gong which uses a combination of therapies including techniques from Hua Tuo, deemed to be one of the greatest Chinese physician (from the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era) in Chinese history, jia ji xue (acupuncture points), herbal formulas, bone setting and tui na (Chinese bodywork massage).
"I see up to 20 people a day and use qigong to 'heal' them. On a busy day, I treat a maximum of 50 patients," Wan explained.
Isn't he exhausted?
"Not at all," he said, adding that a qigong master won't feel tired if his foundation is very good.
"He connects to the universe and harnesses its energy for the purpose of healing. It is a satisfying feeling and not at all physically draining."
A qigong master needs to recharge himself daily, and Wan said that he practises qigong for an hour every morning and evening.
"There should be no rest day in practising qigong. Otherwise, one's capability will regress. To get better, one needs to put in more effort," he said.
"The surrounding environment is important when you are practising qigong. The place must have good feng shui, offer quietude and should not be polluted.
"The street (filled with noise and pollution) is no place for qigong! Also, don't practise near the toilet (which has bad qi, according to feng shui experts)!" Wan explained.
In 2001, he was featured in the Public Broadcasting Service TV documentary Qigong: Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century in the United States. He has also published numerous books related to traditional healthcare such as BaQua Energy Navigation Techniques, Clinical Research of Qigong, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Qigong for Health.
Wan has often been featured in the media including CCTV and Beijing TV stations, China People's Daily, Guangming Daily, Liberation Army Daily and Health News.
He travels frequently to Japan, the United States, France, Sweden, Denmark and Poland as a visiting lecturer.
Currently, he has 40 full-time students learning under him and together they live at his centre in Beijing. They study traditional natural healing practices, martial arts, acupuncture and qigong exercises.
When asked if he could remember some of the "patients" that he has treated, Wan cited the case of a Japanese woman who had been paralysed after an accident for a few years. She had sought treatments in Japan and in the United States to no avail.
"When she came to my clinic for treatment, she could walk again after three months!" Wan claimed.
Another involved a patient whose cancer cells had spread from the liver to the colon. "Doctors had operated on her and then stitched her up. They gave up on her. With qigong, her condition improved in three months," he said.
In 2003, Wan was said to be instrumental in the eradication of the SARS epidemic in China and received numerous merit awards from the Chinese Government.
During the SARS outbreak, a few medical officers were infected but Wan's qigong team (his disciples) were all fine.
"None of them were infected," he said.
He believes that they had very high immunity that withstood the infection. One medical officer passed away and there were concerns for one of Wan's disciples who had attended to him.
"Her qi was strong and she emerged unscathed," recalled Wan.
He had also experimented with 18 crippled piglets to research the healing power of qigong on animals at the Beijing Agriculture University for two years (matrix.org).
When he is not teaching or helping patients at home, Wan and his medical staff visit orphans and poor village children with serious health problems in the remote villages of Shanxi and Shandong provinces, and Mongolia to offer free medical aid.
Many children have been helped as a result of his efforts. Some of them have gone on to become nurses, and qigong and kungfu masters. Others became his disciples at the Red Cross Centre.
During the Tangshan Earthquake in Hebei, China, which occurred on July 28, 1976 and claimed over 255,000 lives, Wan was part of the medical relief team.
Wan and his students were also involved in rescue and relief missions such as during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, where they brought medical supplies, food and clothing to the victims.
Some of his aid workers include foreign students from the United States, Japan, Canada and Europe.
He also travels abroad regularly to give lectures on traditional Chinese medicine and teach qigong.