In recent years, tens of thousands of people have moved to Bama Yao Autonomous County in southeastern China’s Guangxi Province, where approximately 31 people in every 100,000 live over the age of 100 (according to the U.S. Census, the United States averages about 17 centenarians per 100,000 people).
People settle in Bama, a known region for longevity since the Qing Dynasty, to maintain good health or to cure terminal illnesses.
For example, Jiefang Daily, a state-run Chinese newspaper, reported that a man named Tang from Shanghai was due to return home next month after spending six months in Bama seeking a cure for his advanced prostate cancer.
During that time, he made daily trips to Baimo (100 demons) Cave to breathe the mist and drink the spring water in hopes for a cure. Tang believed so much in the healing effects of the water that he spent a great deal of money to ship one ton of Baimo Cave water by air to Shanghai.
Many cancer patients declared by medical science as hopeless have taken the pilgrimage to Bama, making it a region with the highest density of cancer patients outside of hospitals.
There are also many people traveling to Bama to maintain good health, known as the “migratory birds.” Many of them are rich people from the Yangtze River Delta. Like the terminally ill patients, they drink the water everyday and breathe in the mist. In addition, some people conduct magnetic therapy inside the cave.
Various unusual methods for prolonging life have been invented. Some people wear gloves and crawl barefooted on a hill like a dog, believing their organs will massage each other and draw energy from the earth. Still others believe that drinking the urine of the native people in Bama has therapeutic effects.
About 60 percent of the patients who went to Bama stayed, while the other 40 percent left in disappointment. The outside world only sees the successful cases, not realizing there are a large number of failures.
Translated by Quincy Yu. Written in English by Arleen Richards.
Read the original Chinese article.