Police are investigating Chinese healer Hongchi Xiao after the death of a young diabetic boy who attended his "slapping therapy" workshops in Sydney.
His therapy involves slapping the patient until bruises appear which he says rids the body of poisons. His week-long therapy cost $1800.00.
"The greater the pain and bruises while slapping means there is more poison inside the body" he told a seminar in South Africa last year. "You can be your own doctor. We were all born with a self-healing power but we simply ignore it and spend millions of dollars paying for medications. Nature heals, doctors are only assistants."
Sadly the parents of Aidan Fenton 7, believed it.
Lily and Geoff Fenton with Aidan
Aidan was receiving treatment at the alternative Chinese medicine workshops at the Tasly Healthpac Centre in Hurstville when he died. Detectives are investigating if the boy was taken off insulin before his death.
Participants in the seminar were asked to fast for three days before the slapping and stretching exercises began which prompted vomiting and dizzy spells, known as the "healing crisis" and Aidan was among those who vomited.
The child looked well during the seminar but became ill on Monday night and was found unconscious around 9pm at the Hurstville Ritz Hotel where the family were staying. After hearing screams coming from their room, staff rushed to help but he died on the way to hospital.
So police want to know if Mr Ziao advised the parents to take Aidan off insulin and encouraged them to give him alternative Chinese remedies which included massages and slapping. He was in Sydney after a tour of New Zealand to promote his "Paida-Lajin" therapy and has written several books on Chinese medicine.
In 2011, Taiwanese authorities deported Xiao and fined him for violating medical regulations and Chinese media reported a liver cancer patient paid him $40,000 for treatment and died three months later.
A post mortem will determine whether there is any evidence of medical malpractice.
I notice Chinese medicine outlets are appearing more and more in our shopping centres these days and it's easy to see why. It's tempting to prefer a so-called "natural" remedy but I've never been game enough to go in and after reading this story, I probably never will.