The Path to Self Healing

In oriental medicine it is said that disease is the
physiological expression of a disharmony of the energy
system of the body. Acupuncture and herbal formulas, among
other modalities, are administered to rehabilitate the
individual back to a state of balance and health. In a
similar fashion to western medicine, these are procedures
that are “done to” the patient. While these modalities are
more natural and health enhancing than surgery and
medications they are still done to the patient who is often
a passive recipient of services. This dynamic is a betrayal
of the essence of oriental medicine as revealed in one of
the great laws of oriental medicine, “teach rather than
treat”. In the Nei Ching it says, “The inferior physician
treats diseases, the superior physician teaches the well to
remain well”.(19) We can see clearly the consequences of not
honoring this law in the modern world: people dependent on
experts outside themselves to “cure” them and a resulting
health costs crisis.

Qigong captures the essence of oriental medicine in a
personal practice which includes all the necessary tools for
self healing. Qigong is profound medicine, it is easily
learned, it is medicine that is always with the person, it
has no cost, requires no memberships or special equipment,
the individual does not need a doctor’s order, permission,
diagnosis or prescription, it is not necessary to go to an
clinic, hospital or pharmacy to get it. This is a medicine
so completely simple that the average person, addicted to
complexity, probably won’t use it. The medicine is in the
person and needs only to be turned on.

In the 1950’s in China it was a government mandate to
explore the treasure of traditional medicine as well as the
technological medicine of the west for the most efficient
combination of clinical stratagies. A group of
gastro-intestinal cancer patients was divided into several
experimental groups.(13) One group received radiological and
chemo-therapeutic modalities, one group received
radiological, chemo-therapeutic and breath physio-therapy
(Qigong) and one group received radiological, chemotherapy,
Qigong and Fu Zheng (immune enhancing tonic herbs). The
results showed significantly longer survival rates for the
groups that had treatments from both Western medicine and
Chinese medicine together. Unfortunately, the Chinese were
so enraptured with the Western techniques that they did not
have a group that used just Qigong and herbal formulas so we
can only speculate that such a group would have had better
survival rates as well.

It is startling that this simple therapeutic tool
should be so available and not have created a revolution in
health care. In 1896 in the United States a small book was
written on the powerful potential of breath practice,
“Nature’s Cure For Chronic Diseases: The Greatest Health
Discovery of the Age”, by H. C. Borger.(28) This book, with
no reference to any oriental sources describes healing
through breathing exercises. It’s rationale is focused
primarily on oxygen metabolism and circulation. It is clear
that experts, not only in the mysterious orient but also in
the western world, have found the cultivation of the breath
to be a profound therapeutic agent. Why then is breath
practice not a common therapeutic tool?

One especially important characteristic of this type
of therapeutic strategy is that it can be done by elders and
patients restricted to wheelchairs and bed rest. In fact,
this is an exercise that can be done by individuals
suffering from paralysis. The lying down Qigong that seems
as if nothing is happening is a perfect exercise for people
with paralysis. In Illinois a martial arts instructor named
Cha Kyo Han uses Qigong-like breathing exercises with
progressive resistance ISO-metric exercises to help people
with multiple sclerosis, stroke, degenerative disease and
handicaps to improve their health. One of his MS patients
has had dramatic improvement and is walking and teaching the
method to others. The potential in Qigong for healing as
well as health cost containment is very timely and
needed.

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Avatar Written by Roger Jahnke OMD

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