(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a high-level cultivation practice guided by the characteristics of the universe – Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. The practice encompasses the cultivation of mind and body. Cultivating the mind involves improving one's character and morality in daily life based on the principles inherent in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, while cultivating the body involves doing five sets of gentle exercises to improve one’s fitness.

After Master Li Hongzhi first taught Falun Gong to the public in 1992, the number of practitioners increased dramatically. According to an early 1999 Chinese government report, about 70 to 100 million people practiced Falun Gong at that time. Since then, Falun Gong has grown quickly and is currently practiced in more than 90 countries and regions, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, other Asian countries, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia.

Alternative health regimens in Western countries are developing very fast. According to a 1998 survey conducted by David Eisenberg and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School and other medical institutions, nearly 630 million people were using alternative medicine in the United States, exceeding the number of patients who visited primary care physicians. The expenditures for alternative medicine therapies were estimated to be more than 20 billion US dollars, with at least 12 billion paid by the patients themselves. [1]

According to a 2002 survey, up to 60% of cancer patients in Europe chose alternative remedies such as special diets, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies, or acupuncture. In the United States, more than 80% of cancer patients used alternative medicine. It is estimated that, globally, expenditures for alternative therapies and medicine for cancer patients is as high as 18 billion US dollars annually.

Except for modern Western medicine, among all forms of alternative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is the most prominent. Acupuncture has already been widely acknowledged. Many Western medicine researchers have shown great interest in the "mind and body self-healing systems" of traditional Chinese culture, specifically Qigong practice. Many researchers have traveled to China to study this subject. Many of them investigated the actual healing effects of Qigong and searched for convincing evidence in this area. They wanted to find out that whether Qigong practice was effective in terms of self-healing on a large scale, not only for a few individual cases. The results from the following investigations in Mainland China, North America, and Taiwan provide valuable information on the healing effects of Falun Gong.

I. 1998 Falun Gong Health Survey in Mainland China

Falun Gong spread the fastest in Mainland China and became the most popular among all the Qigong practices in terms of healing and improving fitness. This elicited great attention from the medical community and the Chinese government. In response to the requirements from the 1998 National Sports Commission investigation of all the Qigong practices popular in China at the time, medical researchers conducted a survey. The results came from Beijing, Wuhan City, Dalian City, Guangdong Province, and other areas, including Nanchang City, Guangxi Province, and Anhui Province. The study involved a primary health survey of Falun Gong practitioners at local practice sites. The researchers sent out survey forms to more than ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners from five districts in Beijing; 12.5 thousand practitioners from ten cities in Guangdong Province; 2,005 practitioners from more than 50 practice sites in Wuhan; and more than 6,000 practitioners in Dalian. These areas had the highest population densities and the most Falun Gong practitioners, so it was a relatively comprehensive representation of the overall situation of Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China. Nearly 35 thousand practitioners filled out the survey, which resulted in the most systematic and complete large-scale investigation of the healing effects of Qigong practices. [3]

The survey included general information from the practitioners such as gender, age, and the length of time practicing Falun Gong. A survey from Wuhan and the practice site at Zizhuyuan Park in Beijing also listed practitioners' education level. These surveys were considered a census among the practitioners.

The results revealed that a wide variety of socio-economic classes and those with different levels of education practiced Falun Gong. 72.9% were female, 62.1% were over 50 years old, and more than 90% had multiple health problems before practicing Falun Gong. This suggests that most practitioners started practicing Falun Gong to heal illnesses and improve fitness.

This survey also collected information regarding changes in health, comparing health conditions before and after practicing Falun Gong. Of the up to 31,030 people (about 90.3% of the participants) who had various illnesses before the practice—ranging from digestive problems, bone and joint problems, and cardiovascular diseases—the researchers divided the results into three categories: full recovery, alleviation of disease symptoms, and no change. In Guangdong Province, Beijing, and Dalian, 23,619 out of 28,517 (82.7%) practitioners had full recovery of all illnesses; 4,616 (16.2%) had some improvement; and 336 (1.2%) practitioners experienced no changes. The overall effectiveness of Falun Gong practice in healing illnesses in those areas was 98.8%.

For Wuhan City and at the Zizhuyuan Park practice site in Beijing, the researchers classified their results based on illness categories. Among the 2,483 practitioners who had more than one illness before the practice, the researchers tallied a total of 6,772 symptoms, 4,926 (72.7%) of which completely disappeared after the practice; 1,712 (25.3%) were alleviated, 133 (1.96%) remained unchanged, and only 1 (0.04%) got worse. The overall effectiveness of the practice's health benefits recorded in Wuhan and at Beijing's Zizhuyuan Park was 98.0%. In summary, the total effectiveness of Falun Gong in healing illnesses across Mainland China exceeded 98%.

This health survey also indicated that the participants' mental condition improved significantly after practicing Falun Gong. 86.5% of the practitioners in Beijing and Guangdong Province saw remarkable improvement in their character and level of morality. In a special survey conducted among more than 10 thousand practitioners in Beijing, the researchers concentrated on practitioners who were in good health before the practice. Their results indicated that 57.9% of the practitioners had further improvements, and 88.4% of the practitioners' mental health became notably more positive. Another important finding was that after practicing Falun Gong, most of the practitioners quit their bad habits. For example, 99.5% of the practitioners in Wuhan quit smoking, drinking, and gambling. Modern medicine still lacks successful treatment for addiction, which emphasizes why these results are quite remarkable. The survey also indicated that on average, every practitioner saved more than 2,600 yuan on medical expenses annually, suggesting evident financial benefits for society.

II. 1999 Falun Gong Health Survey in North America

Inspired by the results of Falun Gong health surveys conducted in China, several medical researchers conducted a small-scale health survey of Falun Gong practitioners in North America in 1999. In consideration of the more complex nature of the make-up of the people in North America, and that fact that most of the practitioners in North America have advanced education, the researchers added “level of education” to the questionnaire and also added “smoking history” to estimate the percentage of people who gave up smoking after practicing Falun Gong. As for the general improvement of health conditions, the researchers made use of some of the questions the US National Health Bureau used in its "National Health Survey" of adults. The researchers e-mailed their questionnaire to Falun Gong practitioners in the United States and Canada. 235 practitioners responded and participated in the survey, of which 202 were from the United States, 32 from Canada, and one from another country. The statistics showed that the practitioners in North America were relatively younger, with an average age of 38.9 (the standard error is 13.6, and the ages ranged from 4 to 78); 97% were Asian and 3% were Caucasian; the distribution of gender was relatively even, with 58.3% female and 41.7% male. Over 80% had advanced degrees in education, and almost 50% had a Master's or PhD degree. 18 practitioners were smokers before beginning the practice; all of whom quit smoking after beginning the practice, with an average time to quit of 4.58 days. 103 practitioners consumed alcohol before the practice; 100 of them quit drinking after taking up the practice; two cases drank less than three drinks per week, and one person did not reply to the question.

Table 1 shows changes in health before and after practicing Falun Gong, with 224 practitioners experiencing remarkable improvement. The questionnaire also asked the practitioners to fill out their diagnosed health problems before practice and improvements after practice (Table 2). The statistical results were consistent with the 1998 Beijing results. After practicing Falun Gong, many severe illnesses such as cancer or heart ailments were cured or showed great improvement. Some chronic diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis, or allergic diseases were also cured or improved. As indicated by Table 3, even the non-physician-diagnosed pain symptoms and conditions of discomfort saw distinct improvements.

Table 1. Comparison of Health Conditions Before and After Practice

 (Number of practitioners)
After practice Total
Excellent Very good Good Fair Poor
Before practice Excellent 4 0 0 0 0 4
Very good 23 8 0 0 0 31
Good 31 27 3 0 0 61
Fair 23 28 10 0 0 61
Poor 35 28 3 1 0 67
Total 116 91 16 1 0 224

Table 2. Statistics on Improvement of Diseases After Practice

  Total Number of Disease Cases  
Type of Disease Total Recovery Marked Improvement Improved No Change Getting Worse Total
High Blood Pressure 7 5 1 1 0 14
Heart Disease 14 5 0 0 0 19
Stroke 1 2 0 0 0 3
Emphysema or Asthma 10 2 0 0 0 12
Alimentary Canal Ulcer 35 9 1 0 0 45
Cancer 4 2 0 0 0 6
Diabetes & High cholesterol 2 2 1 0 0 5
Pollenosis (Hay Fever) 23 2 0 0 0 25
Sinusitis 13 2 1 0 0 16
Chronic Bronchitis 8 2 0 0 0 10
Kidney Failure 13 3 1 0 0 17
Hepatitis & Other Liver Related Diseases 11 3 0 0 0 14
Other Diseases 40 18 2 1 0 61

Table 3. Statistics on the Improvement of Discomfort and Pain


Total Number of Cases


Symptoms of Upset

Total Recovery

Marked Improvement


No Change

Getting Worse


Joints and the Surrounding Areas Discomfort Such As Pain, Stiffness & Swelling







Pain Such As Backache, Muscle Ache, Headaches and Migraine Headaches







Insomnia, Hearing Impairments







Chronic Fatigue







Other Symptoms Not Diagnosed by Doctors







This health survey report reveals that practicing Falun Gong is beneficial to health. After practicing, many chronic illnesses which practitioners had previously suffered from completely disappeared, some experienced reduced symptoms, and smokers quit smoking. By analyzing this data using a statistical model, the results indicate that the longer the participants practiced Falun Gong, the more health improvement they experienced.

(To be continued)

Part II of this report can be found at http://www.clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2011/3/8/123681.html