Where did Ding Sum come from?


When people hear about Ding Sum, they often wonder about its origin. Where did this method for dealing with stress come from? Ding Sum was born from the practical experience of a man who was under a lot of stress. This man was a patient of Dr. Gordon and Gregory Fung in the mid 1980’s. When he was in his early forties, he suddenly suffered a heart attack and he struggled to recover from it. Ding Sum is the method this man developed to help himself deal with stress as he tried to resume a normal life. Here is this man's story.

After this patient collapsed from his heart attack, he recovered in the hospital and then he went home to recuperate. At home, he was afraid to do anything because he thought it would trigger another heart attack. The doctors had prescribed various medications for his heart, blood pressure, asthma and ulcer so he spent the day watching the clock, waiting for the next time to take his medication. Despite the doctors’ advice to get out of the house, he insisted on staying home and doing nothing. Consumed with fear, he refused to be left alone so someone always had to be with him.

After a few months, this patient decided he could no longer live this way. He could not be a good husband, a good father to his three young children, nor could he earn a living to support his family. He had to change. He realized that the only thing stopping him from leaving his apartment was his own fearful thoughts. The fearful thoughts were his own reaction to his heart attack and they were causing him undue stress. If he could control his thoughts, quiet them for just a few seconds and stop his reactions, he could start to change his life. And so, this patient decided to try to leave his apartment. He stopped his fearful thoughts for a few seconds, and calmed himself enough to take those first steps out the door. Gradually, he ventured farther and slowly increased his activity, each time silencing his stressful thoughts of fear. Ultimately, he was able to resume a normal life and return to his challenging job as the manager of the chemistry lab at a major university.

Dr. Gordon and Gregory Fung both noticed the marked improvement in this patient as they were able to reduce his medications to just a few pills a day. When the doctors asked him what he was doing differently, the patient explained his method of Ding Sum. He told them how he used Ding Sum not only to handle his fear, but also to calmly handle any stressful situation in life. After having numerous discussions with this patient, the doctors realized that this method would be a valuable tool for anyone trying to handle any type of stress. They decided to bring this method to the community and since 1989, they have given free seminars to teach Ding Sum as a way to handle stress.