By Dr. Zhiyuan Wang
In 1983, while working as a physician at an airforce hospital in Bejing, I was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy (PMA). I was 30.
PMA is similar to ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Both are motor neuron diseases (MNDs) that cause muscles to weaken due to the decay of neurons. Most patients ultimately die of suffocation, their bodies having grown too weak to breathe. The average lifespan of a patient after diagnosis was 3 to 5 years, with a 10-year survival rate of just 12%. There is no cure.
Hit by the devastating diagnosis, my health declined precipitously. In just three months, my weight dropped from 165 pounds to 130 pounds. At 5’9”, I was all bones. I suffered frequent dizzy spells, fatigue, and memory loss. Walking up one flight of stairs became an impossible task. Sometimes I could not even remember where I lived.
As a doctor, I knew my chances were slim. But I did not want to die. I desperately sought help from several prestigious hospitals and met with top neurology specialists. My wife, a neurologist herself, did her best to find me the best medical help. We also tried Chinese medicine and various qigong practices. Despite all our efforts, my condition did not get any better.
Maybe I was just lucky, but I managed to survive longer than most PMA patients.
In 1992, my wife got an offer to do research at Harvard Medical School. I joined her at Harvard in 1995 as a research specialist in carotid artery transplantation. While there, we spent countless hours reading medical journals on MND and consulting with world class specialists. Yet, the more we looked, the more it sank in that my condition was truly impossible to cure.
“You are lucky to be alive,” said one of my doctors.
One day in the spring of 1998, I received a letter from a friend in China. Back in 1992, we practiced qigong together and got to know each other well. He wrote: “I have found a new qigong practice called Falun Gong, and it is different from all the other kinds of qigong that we tried. You must try it.”
Seeing a glimmer of hope behind his words, I immediately searched the internet and found a free Falun Gong class at nearby MIT. It was a nine-day lecture series that mimicked the style of the lectures that Falun Gong’s founder, Master Li Hongzhi, would give in China. Over the course of nine consecutive days, the organizers played a recording of one of the master’s nine lectures each day, and then taught us the Falun Gong exercises.
I had a strong reaction when I attended the first day of the lecture series. While watching Master Li’s lecture video, I felt currents of warm energy coursing through my body from head to toe. I began shedding tears profusely and uncontrollably, for reasons I did not know.
From my earliest memories, I never cried: I had always considered myself a tough guy when younger, and even after I got PMA and felt immense pain, I had to be strong for my wife and son. I never shed a single tear.
The seminar took place after work. On the first day, I remember sitting in that MIT classroom with a clouded mind and an exhausted body. During the 90-minute video, I struggled to stay awake. But somehow, Master Li’s words captivated me. By the time I left MIT, it was close to midnight. To my surprise, the cloud in my head and fatigue in my body were gone. I had not felt this good for years. It felt as if I had become a new man.
Five days into the lecture series, I noticed that my gastrointestinal problems had disappeared. Before, I had suffered from duodenal ulcers, enteritis, and intestinal bleeding, which had caused me great discomfort on top of my PMA. However, after I attended the lecture series for five days, I no longer felt bloated and uncomfortable in my abdominal area. Instead, it felt as if there was a gentle wave of heat circulating throughout my body all day long, cleansing me from the inside out.
After the class, I bought a copy of Zhuan Falun and began reading the book every day. I also made sure to do the exercises regularly. Three months later, my body returned to normal. I gained all my weight back, returning to a healthy 170 pounds. I no longer felt any weakness in my muscles, and my sallow complexion became rosy once again. All the symptoms of PMA vanished without a trace. Falun Dafa had given me a new life.
After many years of medical practice, I am now retired and live in New York. At 70, I don’t feel like an old man. I need only 5 to 6 hours of sleep every day. When hiking, even young people in their 30s would have a hard time keeping up with me. I spend most of my time doing volunteer projects that aim to make the world a better place. Reading Zhuan Falun and practicing Falun Gong exercises have become part of my daily routine.
If you’re curious about what Falun Dafa is, I recommend that you give it a try. It may be one of the best decisions you make in this life.