The Qigong Kid 

Adam says he can cure cancer just by looking at a photo. Who are local qigong masters to argue?

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"In my personal opinion, we all have healing abilities," he continues. "We just need to harness it, practice it, perfect it. But first, you have to be aware of it. So Adam's gift is very common -- if you open yourself up to that realm of possibility. It happens more frequently than you think."


Adam claims to have opened himself up to the possibilities at a very early age. In his book, DreamHealer, he writes of having always been able to see and feel auras, rainbow-colored energy fields that he says surround each person. He likes to joke that he never understood the allure of hide-and-seek because he could always spot his prey's aura "bulging" from behind the tree where he or she was hiding. He also writes that "God must have a sense of humor" to bestow such gifts on a kid from a "regular, middle-class family." Had he been born into an East Indian culture, he immodestly adds, he might have been "spirited away into an ashram for mentoring."

From an early age, Adam claims, his energetic flow was so untamed that it surged beyond his own body. At the grocery store, cans of soup allegedly dropped from shelves as he passed by. In classrooms, pens flew from his hand and clacked against the blackboard. His bicycle spun unexpectedly in 360-degree flips along the sidewalk.

Shortly after the latest bicycle-spinning incident, Adam's mother Liz contacted Effie Poy Yew Chow. Liz had attended one of Chow's workshops years earlier and thought the grand master could help.

Chow confers a certain Western legitimacy upon the world of qigong, thanks largely to her tireless promotional efforts and her interest in fusing Eastern and Western healing techniques. In 1973 she founded the East West Academy of Healing Arts, a training ground for people interested in integrating traditional Chinese medicine with Western-style scientific principles. According to her book, Miracle Healing from China, written with Dr. Charles McGee, qigong is responsible for a wide array of cures, from reducing stress to relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a fatigue disorder that causes aching muscles and tendons. In their book, Chow and McGee cite medical studies that suggest qigong stimulates blood flow to the heart, which in turn increases delivery of oxygen to the muscles.

In March 2000, Chow was one of twenty appointees to the board of President Clinton's White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. At a time when more American patients were turning to Eastern disciplines such as acupuncture, the board made recommendations to assist the integration of Eastern medicine into Western health care, such as covering some holistic remedies in insurance plans. "Health involves all aspects of life-mind, body, spirit, and environment," the board's final report concluded, "and high-quality health care must support care of the whole person."

Even though the report took no specific steps to implant qigong coverage in American health-care packages, Chow says her efforts heightened the discipline's profile. Since the report came out in 2002, Chow says, she has consulted with several hospitals on how to integrate qigong into their health-care regimens.

Chow is small and energetic, and keen to give quickie demonstrations at any turn. She is the ultimate believer, an optimist who sees no boundaries to qigong or human potential. Some see her as perhaps too enamored of what one of her contemporaries calls the "circus element" of qigong, if only because it jibes with her role as a promoter.

At the recent World Congress press conference, for example, Chow excitedly called a qigong master to the front of the room to absorb nine kicks to his crotch. To the discomfort of several in the audience, the man squatted, put his hands on his knees, and asked his teenage son to repeatedly kick him in what Chow called his "qigong-enhanced organ." Later in the weekend, the same master tied a rope to said organ and hitched it to the front axle of a van. With his nine children seated inside, he waved at the audience and strode backward, pulling the vehicle a good five yards. Chow applauded the feat and turned to the spectators, joking, "Now he's looking for an airplane."

Lately, Chow has focused her promotional energies on Adam. When she flew to Vancouver, she tested him over the course of three days, then left convinced of the boy's rarefied talent. In the foreword to DreamHealer, she writes, "With over forty years of experience in healing and teaching, one learns to discern the levels of spiritualness in healing. Adam reflects a level of honesty and truth that is of the purest form."

After receiving encouragement from his family and from Chow, Adam says he saw beneath the auras and into the organs and muscles of a body. It was then he decided to harness his energy and focus it on wiping out disease. According to his book, Adam projects holograms of a patient's body in front of him, then concentrates his way beneath the skin. When he "sees" energy blockages inside, or something such as a tumor wrapped around an artery, he visualizes himself breaking apart the obstacle.

Chow, Adam says, taught him how to "vacuum out" the blocked energy and deposit it elsewhere. And since then, he's been able to do it for anyone. "When I see a picture of someone," he writes, "I can instantly connect to their energy system."

Times are busy for the young savant. Since the Rolling Stone article appeared, Adam has declined to take on any new clients, and his Web site says he is swamped. To say the article was favorable is an understatement. Headlined "The Boy with the Magic Touch," it described the teenager as a healer "with gifts no one can explain." On his Web site, Adam thanks the writer, Charles M. Young, for doing "a super job!!!"

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