Qigong master S. C. Chow, 61, used to smoke four packets of cigarettes a day. He was told to quit his habit as it was detrimental to his health.
"In 1973, I was manager of a turnkey project to build the Lumut Naval Base. At that time, I was puffing away like a chimney. I had flu, headaches and migraines frequently. I consulted local qigong masters but they didn't seem to be able to help much," says Chow, who eventually kicked the habit in 1983.
"Painkillers and stronger doses of drugs in the form of injections for my migraine were ineffective when my migraines got worse," Chow says.
In 1991, he went to China to attend a seminar and was introduced to a few qigong masters there, including Professor Wan Su Jian. He considers being treated by Wan as hitting a "super jackpot". The meeting also spurred him to find out more about qigong.
He travelled to Beijing intermittently for four years after that and took up qigong to improve his health. He practised under a qigong master who was in his 80s (in China, now demised) and from Wan.
"After a while, my migraine was gone," adds Chow, who went on to pioneer the YangShenGong (a form of qigong) 20 years ago in Malaysia. He has about 4,000 followers.
Australian couple Kevin Gorgan, 67, and his wife, Joan, 64, who were in Malaysia for a holiday recently, first learnt about Wan from a young Malaysian doctor in Melbourne, Australia. They took up a week-long qigong course conducted by Wan and hope to practise qigong to maintain their health.
Gorgan, a horse dentist, was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer two years ago. He was on a low dose prescription drug daily and was happy with his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.
(PSA tests along with a digital rectal exam are used to help detect prostate cancer in men age 50 and older. The PSA - a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland - test measures the level of PSA in the blood, and the higher the PSA level, the more likely it is that cancer is present.)
"I don't want to go under the knife, if possible, because surgery has its side effects," he says, fearful that surgery could cause impotence.
He hopes to practise qigong to keep his condition under control. Having gone for qigong treatments as well as acupuncture, he claims to have experienced pain relief in his neck, shoulders and hip areas.
His wife Joan also found qigong helpful.
"Three years go, I was diagnosed with skin melanoma (skin cancer) and underwent a body detox programme. I had to avoid heavy metals, sugar and yeast," she says.
She too had a frozen shoulder, and pain in her hip and knee. After a few qigong sessions, she claims she felt much better.
"I couldn't sit cross-legged before but after qigong, it's much easier to do so now," she adds.
Several months ago, interior design student Coco Tan, 26, was involved in a terrible accident in Cyberjaya that left her with an eight-part bone fracture in both legs, knee, ankle and spine.
As a result, she was hospitalised for two months, and she couldn't sit or move her body. Doctors gave her the bleak news that she might not be able to walk again. But her mother's boss gave her hope that qigong might be able to help her.
After she was discharged, Tan went to the qigong centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, for treatment two to three times a week. After two months, she was amazed by the results.
"I can stand again after three months of qigong. Now, I can walk again with the help of a walker," says Tan optimistically. "Within one year, I hope I can do everything."
By that, she hopes to drive to college and resume her studies.