Here comes the first account of an interesting experience on my recent travels, there are more yet to come....
Should my writing tempt any to follow my course please be warned that this area abounds in wondrous antiques...all created within the last few months and ingeniously fabricatd by experts. But to the meat in my sandwich...
Local guides have a Government list instructing them of places to take Foreign Guests, in Giulin this included a hospital dedicated to traditional Chinese healing where we were promised we would see a King Fu master using his techniques to ease affliction.
The building had a very run down look and I was surprised on entry to see several European women in the waiting room.
We were conducted to a lecture room where the Director gave us a good account of healing techniques and the philosophies underlying them. When he got to acupuncture he told us they now used electrical charges instead of needles to achieve their ends and that the Master of this art could channel 240V through his body and reduce it to around 4V.
This old sceptical ex stage magician started to get vigilant at this point. In came the Master in a white coat, just as all other doctors in the facility were wearing. A Nurse stuck a plug bearing two copper electrodes into a standard wall socket. (Wiring was very crude by my standards.) A standard screwdriver with fluorescent head was touched to the contacts showing live and neutral and a normal looking 240V screw in clear glass lamp was then touched to them. The lamp blazed just as brightly as a 240V lamp should.
The Master then went through several Kung Fu exercises to concentrate the Chi (as a martial artist in my own right I can testify his techniques were genuine but well beyond my level). Having done this he just casually picked up an electrode in each hand!
The nurse touched his forehead with the screwdriver which fluorseced then the light bulb was placed in the same manner. It shone just as brightly as it had before.
We were then informed that he would now reduce the power with the Chi to a workable level. We were asked to link hands like in the old party trick, he joined the circle and most, not all of us, felt a very mild tingling. This was very weak and insufficient to make any muscles contract.
He then came up to each of us, still holding the electrodes and we each in turn were asked to close our eyes as he touched our foreheads. Once again a few got no reaction but the majority, who I checked individually later. all mentioned that they saw two pulsating disks. In my case I felt they were the brain's frontal lobes with the AC current causing the fluctuations which were fast but noticable.
Those of us with problems were now asked to come forward if they wanted treatment..first off was my wife who'd had bad ankle problems over the last couple of days. After the exertions of the day her ankle was very badly swollen and damnably painful. It was debatable if she'd be able to do much more of the tour for at least several days. He applied his fingers, holding the live electrodes in his palms with the thumbs to several sites on her ankle and leg up to the knee. Despite the current we experienced en bloc being too weak to cause any muscular contraction I watched her foot flexing as he worked. It hurt like hell at first then the pain was gone, he asked the nurse to use an embrocation on the ankle and moved on to Lionel.
Now he had a very badly wrenched knee and was also on the point of dropping out as he could barely walk. As the Master was working with my wife, Maggie, another assistant was working on Lionel already with a cupping technique. Alcohol was run round a glass cuplike vessel and set alight, once heated this was placed on a strategic point and as the air cooled suction was generated. Hardly surprisingly a great purple blotch appeared. The Master now used the same electrical stimulation techniques and Lionel told me he felt immediate relief. He then also was rubbed with the embrocation.
Similar techniques were used succesfully on others in our small group and those involved were then invited to purchase medicines for further treatment, there was no heavy sales pressure applied.
During this stage I was able to excuse myself to visit the awful toilet next door, I took the opportunity of checking the wall for current control devices, or even wires, but none were apparent. Old hands on this list will be aware of a hand problem I have for which I underwent surgery last August. I discussed this with the Staff and they claimed my problem was due, in part, to an imbalance in the Yin/Yang of my body as I aged. I was offered, not pressured into buying, tablets that MAY help, I'm taking them and will inform you if they were effective in keeping my condition...which invariably recurs...at bay.
Maggie and Lionel also purchased medicines and finished the trip. Problem was that due to our constant travelling they couldn't keep using embrocation and pills as required. Back at base Maggie's using them again and things have greatly improved.
Was this whole thing a fake to impress Westerners into paying for quack medicines? I doubt this as....
Traditional Chinese remedies are a basic part of this great nation's culture, local shops are well patronised by Chinese and they were even found in every airport we visited.
The Giulin Institute is a Chinese Government accredited health facility. Chinese officialdom has curt, efficient ways to deal with frauds. The Institute was full of locals as well as the Western ladies I mentioned.
The light bulb in hand trick is standard stage magic that can be achieved in several ways. The bulb is usually of the pearl variety to conceal internal batteries, looks good on stage with low light but there's only a couple of volts involved. What I saw was a clear glass bulb with a 240V rating and it shone bright leaving an after image on the retina. Some lunatic stage magicians used to do this as a stage trick using concealed electrodes to attain their effect. This Master made no bones about the fact that the current was going through him from the contacts he clearly held. A remote rheostat cannot be ruled out nor, despite the very basic facilities, can a remote electronic radio controlling current reducer. With 240V you'd have to be bloody mad to entrust current control to another just to create an effect to take us in.
I repeat that I was unable to locate any current reducing devices in this very basic place and there's still the bright light shining on contact with the forehead to dismiss.
There was no need for any conjuring tricks to convince us this was for real. The easing of our friends' sufferings was more than enough. As a demonstration of real powers the phenomena had some relevance to the work, otherwise they were superfluous.
My conclusion therefore, as a veteran sceptic, can only be that the whole thing was genuine. The end results were effective as those treated traversed the rest of China, Mongolia, and large parts of Russia although it was on the cards some would have had trouble carrying on before. Up until now I've regarded miraculous Kung Fu powers and ancient Chinese herbalism as garbage, now I am thinking again! I managed to have a brief discussion with those involved when I explained the healing methods I use, I was pleased to find that they were far from sceptical at my work. I honestly felt those involved were dedicated to work in which they believed.
That's the tale exactly as I experienced it...I throw it out to you. While on the Li river cruise I was offered some snake wine...distilled rice spirit with a venemous reptile in the bottle. I bought a shot and like a true Scot downed it in one go, reminded me of Slivovitz. The stuff is said to be good for the health and I must admit I felt bloody marvellous for the next hour ! :-) Bottles of a super blend containing three different dangerous wrigglers are also available, marvellous for rheumatism they say.
Copyright (C) 1996; Tom McRae
Published with kind permission of Tom McRae, Brisbane, Australia