Young doctor to challenge fasting record

  1. Young doctor to challenge fasting record 2004-05-17 15:36:29

    SHIJIAZHUANG, May 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Another Chinese doctor is attempting to break the world record by fasting for 53 days and, if possible, eating and drinking nothing for two more days, according to a local newspaper based in this capital of north China's Hebei Province.

    Wu Xinggang, a 33-year-old Chinese herbalist, began his challenge in a double-layer, 18-square-meter glass box in a mountain in east China's Shandong Province, on April 29 and is being closely monitored by the local notary office and media.

    Wu's attempt follows that of Chinese doctor Chen Jianmin who finished a questioned 49-day fast on May 7 to break the record of 44 days set by American magician David Blaine.

    A Manchurian, Wu said his ancestors were doctors who had servedthe imperial family. When he was a child, he was taught by a master living in the same village to learn Chinese martial arts and he himself studied Chinese medicine from his father.

    After his graduation from middle school, he began self-taught courses on psychology offered by the elite Beijing University, ranmartial arts training programs in Langfang City, in Hebei, and opened a gym.

    Wu said he had researched China's traditional regimen methods for many years and had developed his own doctrine.

    He said he felt hungry in the first three days of the fasting but adjusted to it very soon. In his glass box, he had a computer,a telephone and daily use items like bedclothes. He slept eight hours a day and was so far in generally good health condition.

    Chen Jianmin was the first Chinese to attempt to break the 44-day fast record of magician David Blaine, who achieved the feat suspended above London's River Thames in a glass box.

    Chen at 50 was older than Wu and was a second-generation doctorof traditional Chinese medicine. He began his fast on March 20, consuming only water and no food and emerged 49 days later at least 15-kilos (33 pounds) lighter.

    But some experts cast doubt on Chen's 49-day record, saying he could have hidden tiny food tablets under his fingernails, of which observers were unaware. The doubt came because Chen did traditional Tai Chi exercises to keep fit, which would have made his caloric needs too high to be sustained without food intake.

    Chen was from Luzhou City in southwestern Sichuan Province, andhe said before climbing into the glass box suspended 14 meters in the air in March that the fast would "attest to the regimen of traditional Chinese medical science." Chen told people that he hadundergone long-term fasting on three previous occasions in 1987, 1994 and 1999.

    According to Chen, he relied on the art of "bigushengong" or "the magic of fasting," as documented in ancient Chinese medical literature or Buddhist scriptures. According to Liang Chao, a gastrointestinal doctor with the Chengdu Chinese Medicine University, "bigushengong" resembled a legendary practice in the Hindu discipline of yoga, in which people were buried deep underground for long periods without suffering any harm.

    Blaine was reported to have suffered severe palpitations and breathing difficulties in the final days of his quest and was told he would not be restored to full health for around six months. Hisfast was reportedly condemned by critics as pointless and dangerous. Enditem
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  3. by   Energizer Bunny
    What's the point of all this anyways?
  4. by   susanna
    I think its cool. Like Kafka's "A Hunger Artist", you know, that short story we all read in high school about the spectacle of fasting. Actually, Kafka's hunger artist was supposedly entirely fictional; hunger artists were thought not to exist but now this shows, after his time, that people like this do exist who fast just for the spectacle of fasting.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    I guess this is different - she says while reaching for another handful of popcorn!
  6. by   susanna
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I guess this is different - she says while reaching for another handful of popcorn!
    Hey! I resent that! :angryfire
  7. by   SandyB
    Resent what?
    I say they put on the "show" for us and we might as well enjoy!
  8. by   Energizer Bunny
    I just don't understand someone doing this to their body...for what purpose other than seeking attention?
  9. by   traumaRUs
    I want to apologize because my comment was misinterpreted. What I meant by it was that I can't fast - I eat too much! Sorry for the misunderstanding. Honestly, though - I don't see how this is anything but attention-seeking behavior. If it was some inner/outer body experience, one wouldn't allow the publicity.
  10. by   DOCS RN
    I do not apologize; this kind of behavior is less than intelligent. There are better ways to get attention. Inmates do this kind of thing with regularity.
  11. by   susanna
    Please, no offense taken. I was only joking back.

    I'm not sure what DocsRN means when he says that this behavior is "less than intelligent" though. IMHO, If Wu is a doctor, I'm sure he knows the consequences of severe malnourishment.

    What he is doing is certainly not all for selfish reasons. He's been fasting for about 20 days already. He could die and surely there is the risk that his bodily organs will face all kinds of permanant damage from the prolonged malnourishment. He is definately putting himself at risk for heart attack and permanant diminished brain function. Not to add that the psychiatric effects of self-starvation.

    So, I would say that there maybe an attention-seeking motive for this study but there is also a very unselfish motive to it too.
  12. by   Energizer Bunny
    I don't care if he is a dr. or me the whole thing is just silly and too risky for whatever excuse he wants to come up with for doing it.