PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- When it rains, it pours. This sounds particularly true for Laurent Chabres. Sixteen years ago, the year before Laurent Chabres was diagnosed with cancer, his wife separated with him, and he lost job due to the bankruptcy of his company. All of a sudden, he was left in a condition of absolute desperation.
"Thanks to Qigong, it allows me to change," said Laurent, 53. " I started to change my habit by doing exercise, and calming my mind. After many years of practice, I feel very healthy now."
Laurent, who came from Mexico and now leads a Mexican foundation in health, told Xinhua at the 5th International Health Qigong Tournament and Exchange held here Tuesday, "Qigong reflected physically what internally I was feeling. You know when you were feeling peace inside, then you can overcome any sickness. "
"Therefore, the practice of Qigong just matched very close to my need as a sick person to be in peace," he said.
Laurent is one of the 257 athletes representing 26 countries to participate in the team contests of Health Qigong aiming to increase skills and enhance international friendship.
According to him, the foundation in Mexico has offered more than 350 sick people the practice of Qigong for overcoming cancer and has treated 2,500 patients so far.
"I want to be part of the effort to convince people that they should practice Qigong for finding health inside, not outside. Qigong is not injection or pill, Qigong is like a special sport beneficial to one's health from inside to outside," he added.
The week-long International Health Qigong Tournament and Exchange, sponsored by the International Health Qigong Federation (IHQF), is held for the first time in New York City and New Jersey in the United States. It becomes the largest event ever hosted by the IHQF.
The event provides multiple activities including forum, tournament, training and examination. The traditional Chinese culture is presented by rigorous scientific presentation, colorful demonstration and performance, and high standard technical training.
According to IHQF, the total number of Health Qigong trainees worldwide is about 1.7 million. It is expected that Health Qigong will be introduced to 60 countries and regions by 2018.
Cynthia Simmons, an American working for NASA as an engineer, also told Xinhua that a miracle happened to her after she practiced Qigong for one year. Medical exam showed her bone density was higher and blood pressure was better, while, according to her, practicing Qigong is the only thing she changed in her life.
"I did not do any other exercise, and did not change my diet. The first thing I do after I wake up is practicing Qigong and then I will go and eat. It's amazing that practicing Qigong can improve my health," she said.
Cynthia has been practicing Qigong for eight years. "Everybody in the U.S. is interested in heath, I believe Qigong can help you relieve stress and calm you down. Now I feel I have energy inside. "
Olga Luckyanenko, also an American representing another team in the tournament, is a lover of Chinese culture and Chinese philosophy. Dressed in the green Chinese Qigong robe, she and her teammates were invited to perform in the opening ceremony before the competition begins.
"Chinese culture is unique, you move your body and it gives you support. I like it more and more. It makes you strong because it makes you hold the position, let your legs get stronger. I can feel the hidden power of it," she said.
She was a horse riding teacher before, but as she grows older, she found the sport is too rough, while Qigong, offering a smoother way to do exercise, has become her favorite sport. " Qigong does things slowly, make you more comfortable and relaxed," she said.