‘slapping therapy’ for diabetes, and a child dies

By Alison Campbell 03/05/2015


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.