Biography introduction

Studying Taijiquan as a young boy (Shanghai, 1949-1965)
  Introduction
  Dr. Wu BaoYuan
  Professor Yao Huanzhi
  Tian ChaoLing
  Afterword

How the Cultural Revolution made me a Taijiquan teacher
  Escape from Xinjiang
  (Xinjiang Autumn 1966)

  Illness and recovery
  (Shanghai, spring 1967)

  Teaching in FuXing park
  (Shanghai, 1967-1972)

During the Cultural Revolution (Xinjiang 1972-..)
  Return to Xinjiang
  Flight from prosecution
  In hiding
  Cleared of all charges
  To Heaven Mountain
  Away from Heaven Mountain
  A sad homecoming
  Into the desert

Article: How I slowly rediscovered Buqi

The development of the Buqi-therapy system

How I slowly rediscovered Buqi


Buqi, also named Xingqi, is an old form of Chinese medicine. Unlike acupuncture, herbs or tuina, Buqi was not taught widely and handed down from generation, but was passed on as secret knowledge within a family or to family students. Nothing was written down about the specific healing techniques. The knowledge of Buqi was almost completely lost, just a few people knew different parts of it. Dr. Shen Hongxun has done more than 30 years research to rediscover this ancient knowledge and based on his findings has developed a new healing system.


My first contact with Buqi was through my grandfather Shen Baotai. When I was a child, I occasionally saw him use specific techniques to heal people. He would dance around a patient, waving his hands. When the patient started to sweat, the treatment was finished. Professionally he was a diamond dealer, and never charged for his sessions. Unfortunately I was very young then , and I have only vague memories about what happened.

Later I learned Taijiquan with Professor Yao Huanzhi, who often treated patients whilst teaching. He would hold one hand above the head or on the' back of the patient, sometimes touching, sometimes not. When one of his students asked what he was doing, he answered "I am taking the illness to the Huanpu river" (a river about 4 miles away from where they were practising). He also explained that keeping the hand on the head was Xie (drain), and on the lower back was Bu (tonify).

I was only fifteen then, and enormously fascinated by all this. I wanted to know more. In the parks I encountered other people who would be doing more or less the same things as Professor Yao. However, I realised soon enough that most of them were charlatans, and felt deeply betrayed.

Books could not teach me much either. Except for a poem on Buqi, and some stories about legendary healers, there was hardly anything on how these healers actually worked. In these stories the healer and patient would be breathing together, lying with the soles of their feet touching, or sitting back to back... But nothing could really help me any further.

For a while my studies and work took up a lot of my time, and I had not much time for Buqi. This changed in 1963, when I was appointed technical director of a hospital in Xinjiang. Xinjiang was a poor region, and there was a scarce supply of (Western medicine) drugs, which meant it was difficult for us doctors to help those who were ill. This, plus the fact that Mao Tse Tung encouraged people to combine Western and Chinese medicine, lead me to start using other therapies. Apart from acupuncture and herbs I began applying Buqi techniques. At first I could only imitate and use what I remembered from my grandfather and what I had learned from Professor Yao. Because I had met some other healers in the mean time -whom I later realised were mere charlatans-I believed I could heal a patient by sending "qi". I would send as much force as was possible to the areas where the symptoms manifested themselves, but because the theory behind this method of treatment was in fact not correct, I was only partly successful.

During the cultural revolution (1968) I returned to Shanghai, where I taught Taijiquan. During one lesson I showed a student the points "Fengchi" (two acupuncture points in the back of the neck, just under the skull either side of the spine). When I put my two fingers on the points, the student remarked: 'This is really strange, as soon as you touched me, I had the sense of cold sweat running down my body. Now I feel very clear. My head has not been this clear for a long time". The student was only 22 but suffered from primary hypertension. The next day he told me that his blood pressure had gone down to normal.

During another lesson, another student had received a blow in the chest during Pushing Hands, which caused him a great deal of pain. As usual I put my right hand on the chest of the student and sent out vibration force. The pain did not leave, and even got worse. After ten minutes I decided I could not help, and removed my hand. Strangely enough the pain stopped as soon as I did that, and I had the weird sensation that something followed my hand as I pulled it away.    

After four years I returned to Xinjiang where this time I was put in charge of a pharmaceutical factory. Fortunately, as patients did continue to come and see me for treatment, I still had the opportunity to research Buqi more deeply. Increasingly, I realised that sending qi to the patient's body did not give good results, but that removing "negativity" did. I called this negativity "binqi". Using the laboratory at the factory I did some experiments to study this binqi and the results were amazing.

First of all there was the question of how people got binqi in their bodies. This was for me the most important issue, and I started getting answers in 1983, when I had the opportunity in Shanghai to research the use of qigong in treating children with myopia. My colleagues and I noticed that most of the patients had a slight dislocation in the second and fourth cervical vertebrae, and that manipulation improved the myopia. We also concluded that the cause of this was poor body posture when writing. It was in the final report of this project that I talked about the double vicious circle of poor body posture for the first time.

Through working with children I also started to gain a deeper understanding of how emotions and mental stress can play a role in the onset of illness. In China, children -and their parents- were put under a lot of pressure to obtain good results at school. The subject of "emotions" was however taboo at that time, as it had political connotations. In line with traditional Chinese medicine, I realised that the body could not only retain metabolic binqi, but also emotional binqi.

I put all my findings together in the theory of binqi and the double vicious circle of body and mind. If a treatment plan is developed based on this theory, treating becomes easy and successful. Apart from the techniques I already knew, I started working with others such as finger vibration therapy and slapping therapy. The same principles can also be successfully applied in massage and acupuncture, and at present I am trying to put together a simple Buqi-herb therapy. I am convinced that Buqi, as a synthesis of tradition and science, will take its place amongst future medical systems.

We can achieve a lot by working hard. We are mere visitors out of the cosmos on this planet. If our research and our results can contribute to a greater well-being of the next visitors, we can return to the cosmos with a light heart.

Copyright © Buqi Institute International
1 November 2007