‘slapping therapy’ for diabetes, and a child dies

I've heard it said more than once that complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) 'does no harm' – here's just one example. I suppose that could be true of a healthy person using something like homeopathy, where the only harm is likely to be to their wallet. But time and again, forms of CAM have been shown to do harm, and now we hear of another tragic, and fatal, case. 

In Sydney, a 7-year-old child with type I diabetes has died following the use of 'slapping therapy'

Chinese therapist Hongchi Xiao, who advocates the use of slapping therapy until ­patients are bruised to cure illnesses and rid the body of poisons, is now being investigated by police over the death.

On what planet is it OK to slap a child until they are bruised, let alone to claim health benefits for this? If an adult is foolish enough to submit themselves to this (& to sustain this sort of damage), it's one thing, but a small child? And it seems it wasn't just slapping.

Participants in the seminar were asked to fast for three days and to undertake the slapping and stretching exercises that can prompt vomiting and dizzy spells, known as a "healing crisis".

Fasting? For a type I diabetic? Fasting while on medication can cause hypoglycaemia, which can be fatal if untreated. Fasting without insulin can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is also dangerous.

The 'healer', Hongchi Xiao, has apparently stated that 

The greater the pain and bruises while slapping means there is more poison inside the body,”

and would seem to have developed quite a marketing empire around his bizarre claims, if a quick Google search is anything to go by. Amazingly, it seems that after questioning by the Australian police, this charlatan was allowed to leave the country, and will doubtless continue to promote his nonsense elsewhere and to others.

"Alternative medicine does no harm." Yeah, right.

7 thoughts on “‘slapping therapy’ for diabetes, and a child dies”

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    The ‘healer’, Hongchi Xiao […] and would seem to have developed quite a marketing empire around his bizarre claims, if a quick Google search is anything to go by.
    And he seems to have pulled the entire procedure out of his butt to distinguish him from all the other “traditional Chinese medicine” scammers and grifters.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    I’m interested in the role of one Chai Chua (of Perth) who is cited in some of the news reports as having ‘sponsored’ Xiao’s visit to Australia.
    Inquiry reveals that Chai Chua is the director of an Australian MLM grift, selling Organic Supplements and medicinal mushroons and New-Age widgetry (“bio-thermal pads”):
    Until a few weeks ago he was also pimping Xiao’s scam and selling tickets to his seminars… that part of the website has vanished, but is still recorded at the Wayback Machine.
    (you will be edified to learn that quite apart from his medical discoveries, Hongchi Xiao orchestrated the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. Yeah right)
    In the Oz news reports, however, as well as being Xiao’s promoter, Chai Chua is described as “Perth traditional medicine practitioner”. I wonder if that is his own self-presentation, dutifully forwarded by journalists, or something they have added themselves to explain his general mendacity.

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