Dr. Jiang Feng (江峰) was born in a rural mountain hamlet within Jixi County (績溪縣) in the province of Anhui, China, in 1965, the year before Mao Zedong’s “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” was to sweep the country. His father was a soldier who served in every major conflict from the Chinese Civil War through the Korean War before returning to Anhui to live a simple farmer’s life. The seventh of nine children in a family of little means and limited education, Dr. Jiang’s earliest years were spent in poor circumstances just barely spared from total deprivation.
At the age of eight Dr. Jiang was formally adopted by the itinerant Chan Buddhist monk Xuan Kong (玄空法師), one of the most renowned masters of classical Chinese medicine in 20th century mainland China, and an alumnus of the world-renowned Shaolin Temple from the time before it was shut down and converted into a tourist attraction. The monk was moved by the bleak circumstances in the village to adopt one of the local children, but only settled on Jiang Feng after closely examining each child according to the principles of Chinese physiognomy to determine who might be the most suitable student. At that time Dr. Jiang, who by his own admission was an undisciplined and rascally urchin, began an apprenticeship in medicine, martial arts and Buddhism which was to last until his master’s death in 2011, a span of almost forty years. It was Xuan Kong who passed to Dr. Jiang his full knowledge of classical medicine & medical qigong, choosing him to become what is known in China as his “cloak & bowl successor” (衣缽傳人).
For roughly ten years following his adoption the young Jiang Feng accompanied his teacher in journeys crisscrossing the south of China, often traveling on foot and enduring all manner of hardships, stopping in every small village to tend to the sick and the suffering. As the monk would diagnose each patient young Jiang Feng would transcribe his dictated prescriptions and then compound the herbal forumlae, insert the acupuncture needles, or apply whatever therapy was called for, all under his master’s watchful eye. Following this period of apprenticeship Grandmaster (師公) Xuan Kong personally arranged for Dr. Jiang to attend Anhui University of Traditional Medicine (安徽中醫學院) in order to pursue five additional years of research in the systemized blend of modern Western & classical Chinese medicine that was being promoted by the Chinese government as “traditional Chinese medicine” or “TCM” following the opening of the country to the West.
After graduating in 1986 Dr. Jiang went into private practice in Anhui at the age of 21. In a culture and a profession strongly biased towards the elder generation, his reputation as a precocious young master of the classical medicine grew with remarkable speed. Just two years later in 1988 he was personally invited to practice his medicine exclusively for visiting dignitaries in residence at the newly completed “Western Sea Hotel”, the Chinese version of a European chalet tucked away high up amongst the peaks of the Yellow Mountain. At that time early in China’s process of modernization any foreign visitor was considered a “dignitary”, and with only a tiny fraction of hotels authorized to receive foreign guests it was here that Dr. Jiang first began to treat Western patients.
It was due to the relationships forged with the many Western patients treated on Yellow Mountain who were amazed by his skills that Dr. Jiang was first able to travel abroad in 1992 to practice medicine outside of China. Getting government permission to travel outside the country even now is very difficult for average Chinese citizens, and in the early 90’s that much more so. Since that first trip Dr. Jiang has treated patients in well over one hundred foreign countries, including multiple heads of state, members of various royal families, and many celebrities of both screen and stage.
Dr. Jiang’s practice includes the full spectrum of classical Chinese therapies, including some rarely performed in the modern era such as “wet” cupping (刺血拔罐) and blood diagnostics (血液辯證), but he is easily most famous for his medical qigong and his herbal prescriptions.
The practice of “qigong” is a uniquely Chinese system of self-cultivation somewhat resembling certain kinds of yoga and involving the careful application of specific breathing techniques, meditative states, and subtle body mechanics. “Qi” (氣) is a word best left untranslated, but in this context it is perhaps approximated by the English “function” or “energy”. Dr. Jiang’s many years of intense practice of this esoteric skill in adolescence under the careful tutelage of the monk Xuan Kong have granted him the ability to manipulate the qi of his own body in such a way as to generate a number of rather spectacular effects.
The remarkable efficacy of Dr. Jiang’s famous herbal prescriptions also shares a relationship to his mastery of qigong. It was from his teacher Xuan Kong that he first learned of the principle that qi can be “injected” or “infused” into certain herbs in order to alter or enhance their efficacy at varying stages of preparation for each herbal component. The work is incredibly draining and also time-consuming, with some formulae requiring weeks of effort to fully prepare, but it is through these sophisticated techniques & recipes honed over decades of practice and study that Dr. Jiang is able to compound herbal medicines with a demonstrably profound effect on the health of his patients.
Another fascinating aspect of Dr. Jiang’s medical practice is its integrative character. Integrative medicine and they way that Dr. Jiang practices his classical Chinese medicine in an integrative fashion is discussed in more depth here, but for now suffice it to say that all of Dr. Jiang’s patients receiving conventional Western therapies are urged to continue to do so in conjunction with their classical treatments. A perfect example are Dr. Jiang’s many cancer patients, all of whom almost without exception are urged to continue with chemotherapy or radiation in addition to whatever classical treatment modality they may receive from Dr. Jiang.
Dr. Jiang’s scope of practice is comprehensive, covering the full range of organ-related illness, including the skin and nervous system. That being said he does have a few specialities, namely cancer and those conditions which Western medicine refer to as “autoimmune diseases” (Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, lupus, psoriasis and some kinds of dermatitis, etc.). He has particular success in treating prostate cancer, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney inflammation (nephritis), liver inflammation associated with cirrhosis or hepatitis, as well as in helping restore proper function to those who have suffered loss of mobility from strokes.
In 2013 Dr. Jiang founded the Apricot Forest Chinese Medicine Hospital (黃山杏林中醫院), the largest private clinical institution devoted to pre-Cultural Revolution classical Chinese medicine in mainland China, in the Yellow Mountain District of Anhui Province, where he continues to practice medicine regularly.
Dr. Jiang is a devout Chan Buddhist lay practitioner (禪宗居士). It deserves mention that in recognition for his service to his community Dr. Jiang holds the office of Vice President of the Jixi County Buddhist Association (績溪縣佛教協會的副會長), and was personally responsible for organizing the reconstruction of the Silver Screen Temple (銀屏寺) in Little Nine Glories (小九華) region of Anhui Province, where the monk Xuan Kong served as abbot during his last years. He is also the Deputy Director of the Classical Chinese Medicine Research Institute (中國傳統中醫研究會的副主任), an organization devoted to the sensitive task of promoting knowledge & awareness of pre-Cultural Revolution classical Chinese medicine within mainland China itself.