Miracle or malarkey? Can arm-swinging stave off cancer?

YouTube video on arm swinging exercise.

PETALING JAYA: A miraculous treatment for cancer has been found and it apparently involves the simple act of swinging one’s arms repeatedly for prolonged periods of time.

If science could only prove this to be true, it would certainly spread like wildfire across the world.

For now, the supposed cancer-curing capabilities of Ping Shuai – literally meaning ‘swing hand’ – Qi Gong are only believed to be fact by the most hardcore proponents of the exercise.

Whether one believes in the effectiveness of Eastern medicine and health practices or otherwise, it is undeniable that some people swear by them.

However, the possibility of the placebo effect being hard at work is always lurking in the background. Then again, scientists have discovered the medicinal properties of several herbs that are traditionally used in Chinese medicine.

Thus, it should be with an open mind when one considers the benefits of Ping Shuai.

The exercise is said to have been introduced to the East by Master Da Mo, also known as Bodhidharma, a 5th/6th century Buddhist monk.

It is a rather simple exercise that can be done by both the young and old.

This is how to do it:

• Stand with legs shoulder-width apart.

• With palms facing downwards, raise both arms to chest level.

• Swing arms in a pendulum-like motion.

• After every five swings, bend knees slightly and spring up quickly.

The exercise demands little use of actual strength and on the contrary, encourages relaxation of the body.

On the surface level, it appears that this exercise does help provide the body with a level of physical activity, and it is simple enough for even the most unfit of persons to do.

Practitioners of Ping Shuai are encouraged to maintain a healthy, preferably vegetarian diet and avoid acidic foods such as meat.

Ping Shuai explained

Qi Gong master, Lee Feng San, expressed his hope that the exercise would become more widespread among the public.

According to him, the exercise, “improves qi (life energy) and blood circulation through the theory of ’10 fingers connecting the heart.’”

Ping Shuai, he said, opens all the meridian points (the path through which qi flows) and stimulates the bone marrow to rid toxins from the body.

The energy flows to the fingertips, then on to the body’s internal organs and brain; opening and unblocking arteries and veins along the way.

Many have since claimed that their practice of Ping Shuai has cured them of a variety of ailments including eczema and backache.

There has even been a fantastical but contested claim about the exercise curing a man of cancer.

The term “correlation does not imply causation” applies quite a bit to the benefits of Ping Shuai.

It is not necessarily the exercise of arm swinging in particular that brings about a healthy life.

It is more likely that the combination of physical exercise and a healthy diet simply leads to a stronger immune system; a medically known fact.

The type of physical exercise, be it running, swimming, jogging or aerobics, would ultimately not matter, as long as it is done consistently and in a safe manner.

By its nature, Ping Shuai is not harmful and is indeed probably a good form of exercise due to how easy it is.

Until the day its cancer-curing capabilities are proven, it would not hurt to swing your arms for a bit to try knocking some chub off them.