Qi Jocks

Qigong Doctor or Qigong Master (notice my finger is half-way down my throat) Sha can download new software for your organs.

It's a typical Monday afternoon here in the city, but something very unusual is happening in Stacey’s Bookstore on Market Street. Sha Zhi Gang, a licensed medical doctor and acupuncturist from China, is downloading a new lung into a Sacramento lawyer's body.

The lawyer, Kevin Lams, had gone through three rounds of chemotherapy over the last two years, but the cancer is back again. He is getting desperate, he said, and turned to Sha for help.

Dr. Sha looks like any other Asian businessman in his dark blue suit and yellow tie, but he's actually an eccentric spiritual healer who claims the Divine has given him the power to download soul software and heal a range of ailments.

When I saw this article in Wired Magazine, and watched the video, I started writing an essay called Qigong Ethics. It isn't finished yet, partly because a difficult question arose.

Your average American with what I call a functioning BullSh_t buzzer will recognize this as faith healing. Most parts of the world have some version of it. Subordinate yourself to a charismatic, fun for the whole family. It is always a performance but the vocabulary changes. Believe in the power of _____ to heal you. The problem arose because in China instead of calling it god, magic, or the spirit of Mumukupa-- they called it qi (See my definition of the many meanings of qi.)

Historically, qi is one of several words used by trans-mediums and shaman to describe unseen power. What happened is that in 1949 China banned all religion and all religious expression. It is still controlled but there was an opening after the Cultural Revolution ended in the Early 1980's when the government said it was okay to practice Qigong for health.

This little opening in the 80's led to an explosion of emotion, ecstatic expression, and religious feeling all focused around qigong. Nancy Chen's brilliant book, Breathing Spaces Historically there was no distinct subject called qigong. Movement and meditation practices were always tied to, and regulated by, a religious group or martial arts lineage.
Here is the ethical issue: About 65% of the problems people go to a doctor for are self-created problems. When a person gets us to change our un-healthy behavior it has a real medical effect. Doctors may tell patients, change or suffer and die.  How often does that work.?

On the other hand, the performance language of a qigong master is frankly insane; but for some reason, after a "master" performs a healing, if he/she tells the patient to "meditate in this position for 45 minutes a day for 108 days and stop eating fried foods," the patient often does it! They certainly have a better chance of getting someone to change their un-healthy behavior than I do. I get a really strong vibe of dishonesty from these qi jocks, but those behavior changes really can help people.