Dr. Jingduan Yang mostly sees patients who have failed to respond to conventional modern medical treatments and who seek him out because other treatments didn’t work. Modern medicine focuses primarily on the structure and the chemistry of the human body, but “without appreciation of human energetics,” Yang said.
Yang is an acupuncturist and a psychiatrist with a focus on mental health, well-versed in both Western and traditional Chinese medicine. He is the founder of the American Institute for Clinical Acupuncture, the Yang Institute of Integrative Medicine, and the Tao Clinic of Acupuncture. He is also a founding board member of the nonprofit International Network of Integrative Mental Health, which is dedicated to improving public access to integrative medicine treatments.
Based in Philadelphia, Yang first discovered Shen Yun Performing Arts over a decade ago. The New York-based classical Chinese dance company shows a China before communism through music and dance, and Yang has been recommending this performance to patients for the last 14 years. Often, they end up becoming repeat audience members.
With the onset of the pandemic, Yang has not changed his stance. In fact, according to the doctor, the therapeutic effect of Shen Yun’s performance has only become more relevant than ever in our modern, pandemic-stricken world.
The energy of the human body is the same as that of our environment, Yang explained. The energy of the body and environment constantly interacts and exchanges.
“Sound, light, color, movement in our environment has strong impact on the balance of our human energetic system that keeps us functioning, mentally and physically,” he said.
“The five elements best describe how the body and nature exist and interact with each other and within itself. For example, five colors and five sounds affect the energy of the five internal organs and their energetic systems,” he said. “Harmonious and positive music, colorful costumes and backdrops, and dancers’ flying movements generate healing power to our body and mind.
“I have found that in Shen Yun, the composition and the performance of the live orchestra, the colors of the backdrop and costumes, the movements of dancers generate harmonious energy that is very healing,” Yang said.
On the surface, what the audience experiences is the best of traditional Chinese culture through performing arts, the doctor said, but what they experience holistically is much more.
“What they did not see, but experienced, was the energetic shower that facilitates the movements and balancing of the quality of our bodies’ energy,” he said. “Nothing I do can match up with what Shen Yun does for my patients.”
“Besides,” he quipped, “it is a much more pleasant experience than having an acupuncture needle inserted into their bodies.”
How Mind Affects Body
As a mental health specialist, Yang has found that one’s behavior has the most direct impact on one’s physical health. “And the most powerful influence on our behavior is our emotions. The strongest effect on our emotions are our thoughts. And what determines our thoughts is our belief system,” he said.
“Therefore, I hold that physical health comes from behavioral health, behavioral wellbeing comes from positive emotional balance, and one’s belief system helps interpret the significance and meaning of our life experience, and our thoughts,” Yang said.
“Shen Yun has a thread, a theme, that links the entire performance together, derived from the ancient, yet renewed, life cultivation system, Falun Dafa,” Yang said. The ancient system was introduced to the public in China in the early 1990s, and within the decade between 70 to 100 million people took up the practice, reporting improved physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Yang used to practice Tai-Chi himself, but after discovering Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, found it easier to learn, and more powerful. When he started, he found he was finally able to quit his 24-year habit of smoking and became healthier and more productive. “When you have a practice taking care of your energy and soul, and you practice it, a miracle happens,” he said.
“What makes Falun Dafa a unique spiritual practice is that it focuses on the teaching, not the teacher, on the universal value, not the territorial limitation. I do not have to choose between being a Buddhist or a Christian, being a Taoist or a Muslim,” he said.
Falun Dafa teaches three universal principles: truthfulness, compassion, forbearance. “Anyone who practices these values will find themselves much more positive, happier, and relaxed. These minimize their reactions to daily stressors, consequently eliminating one of the most fundamental causes of illness: stress!” he said.
“That is the reason I literally ‘prescribe’ Shen Yun to everyone who cares about their health,” he said.
“Ancient Chinese medicine holds that in each internal organ system exists a soul or spirit, and they are the immortal part of our life, called our ‘true self.’ What nurtures our souls are the five virtues: compassion, respect, justice, wisdom, and faith,” he said. “The morals of Shen Yun’s performances present the best practice of these values. In summary, Shen Yun nourishes our body, mind, and soul.”
Amid the Pandemic
The CCP (Chinese Communist Part) virus, which causes COVID-19, has caused “unimaginable casualties to individuals and societies,” Yang said.
The direct and physical effects of the virus on the those with pre-existing health conditions and those who are healthy have proven to be very different, Yang said.
“To battle the immediate damage to the vulnerable population, vaccination seems to show short term benefits,” he said. Unfortunately, he said, public mandates and top-down efforts have focused only on the short term battle, involving vaccines and lockdowns and expensive drug development.
“However, the key is still the health of the hosts.”
The vulnerable population is not the majority of the population, he explained. “Neither our governments nor our doctors paid much attention to improving our immunity through lifestyle changes including sleep hygiene, dietary modification, weight and stress management, nutritional supplementation, exercises and spiritual practices,” he said. The good news is, many people have done their own research and sought out preventative measures through lifestyle change too.
“I always believe, as a physician well-versed in both Chinese and Western medicine, we human beings should never be afraid of any virus or bacteria.” With a healthy body and mind, Yang said, there is no reason for fear.
“Attending Shen Yun adds to our well being and ability to fight the virus,” he said.