Why I'm a Qigong Evangelist

There are very few people these days who leave my office without hearing me giving either a recommendation for a couple qigong exercises as homework, or a invitation to my class.

I wasn't always this pushy.

I learned the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" in shiatsu school 7 years ago, and while I practiced here and there, and occasionally mentioned it to clients - even taught the first 12-week course about it - it was only after I had an amazing experience of pain relief* did I really begin to take this stuff seriously.

And even though I know I'm not the only one, I also know it's much more than that.

Every time I practice it, alone or with others, I find even greater depth within this deceptively simple set of exercises.

The principles seem basic: 'regulation' or discipline of the body, breath, mind, qi and spirit. And yet these principles can be applied to life at large.

And then... there's the effect on the fascia. The three-dimensional web of elastic connective tissue that interfaces with everything in the body: skin, muscle, organ, bone, nerves, brain... the unifying principle, in my opinion. And the structure of the body that can be directly affected through the five regulations mentioned above.

It's for this reason why I believe qigong is an amazing and profound tool in working with stress and chronic pain relief, in ways that stretching, meditation, massage, and even shiatsu can't always do.

More to come. Believe me.

*My story: For much of 2010, I was dealing with some chronic neck and shoulder tension on the left side. Many times, this tension escalated into vertigo spells that would last for weeks, and sometimes migraines. I could tell that it was from tight muscles, as well as a possible misalignment in the upper cervical vertebrae, but massage and chiropractic only brought temporary relief.

Even though I was teaching the qigong class, admittedly, I was not practicing it daily. As soon as the first class ended, I thought, well, that's hypocritical, and it's time to practice what I preach. So, I started doing the routine every morning. On about the 23rd straight day, I was going through one movement which involves slowly turning the head from side to side... typically feeling limitation and painful tension whenever going to the left. Suddenly, on about the 7th repetition, the tension disappeared. Nothing huge and profound ... it was just .... gone. It felt normal. The range of motion was the same on both sides, and there was such a noticeable 'absence' of tension, it made me almost giddy.

This area is a weak spot for me... it may always be prone to tightening up, but that intensity has never returned, and even when it starts getting tense again, a few qigong moves and it's back to normal.