Some people here are turning to a free non-religious service that claims to heal ailments from insomnia to cancer
The word itself is quite long and a bit of a mouthful: longevitology. Touted as a natural healing method, in which energy is “transferred”, it has picked up adherents in Singapore.
Founded in Taiwan in 1993, it is practised in countries from Japan to the United States and Britain.
On a Thursday night a few weeks ago, over 70 people were seated in rows of chairs at the void deck of a
block in Hougang Street 51.
Their eyes were closed. One or two volunteers from the Hands With Love Longevitology Association gently laid their hands on different body parts of those seated.
All was silent and there was no meditation. For some, the session lasted over an hour, but others left after about 30 minutes.
Believers in longevitology say it involves using natural energy flow to heal the body.
Its basis is that good health can be achieved if energy and blood flow smoothly through the body and its organs. It has no religious, racial or political links.
Two-year-old Hands With Love is among the few groups that have emerged here or adopted this practice. It operates five such centres here.
Mr Francis Koh, 64, a Singaporean, is its adviser. He said he learnt the skill from a longevitology master in Taiwan 15 years ago.
He then came back to Singapore and started informal sessions at his home for friends and relatives.
He set up Hands With Love last year, starting with over 20 people.
Word spread and today, he said the people who come to each of his five centres number up to 120 each time. The sessions are held on different days of the week at different locations, like the one in Hougang Street 51.
Mr Koh said the people who turn up suffer from anything from insomnia to cancer. Sessions are free and donations are not accepted.
He estimated that 7,000 to 8,000 volunteers here have learnt the skill, mostly from Taiwanese founder Wei Yu Feng and his wife Lin Tzu Chen. The couple come to Singapore about three times a year to conduct classes.
Would-be volunteers are taught that the chakra points – the body’s power centres, energising cells and organs – need to be opened through the “transferring” of energy from their teachers. Having learnt it, they can then “heal” other people.
One volunteer, Mr William Kang, 62, said he has been helping people with this method since 2006.
The retiree said: “One or two volunteers will lay their hands on that part of a person that is hurting. This clears their mind, they relax and the energy will flow.”
People who come with serious ailments such as cancer require a session of an hour or more, while those with minor problems like insomnia need only about 30 minutes.
Mr Koh is quick to stress that longevitology does not promise to cure all kinds of ailments and is meant only as a supplement to medical treatment and medicine.
“I advise people to see their doctor and stick to their medicine. They can come here as a health supplement to enhance their inner systems.”
Madam Amara Jalam, 52, went for her first Hands With Love session in Tampines Street 82 last Friday. After a finger amputation in 2003 and a work accident that affected her legs in 2008, she had frequent body pains.
She still sees her regular specialist for medicine and treatment, but intends to try longevitology on the side.
Dr B.G. Yan, a general practitioner, said the practice has no scientific basis. “As a doctor, I tell my patients not to rely on such things for a cure because I can’t say with any certainty if it will work for them.
“But just like people who take supplements... you can’t tell them not to do so. All I can tell them is, I’m not sure it will really work.”