Qigong is an energy therapy, gaining importance in helping cancer patients. It is often said that Qigong has the power to heal. We have another article which explains more about the actual exercises and qigong and cancer. For that article please click here.
Qigong - the Power to Heal
A Report by Ginny Fraser
In September 2006, a four day International Conference on cancer therapies was held in Seattle. Whilst the NCI and other top cancer bodies were represented from the USA, to France, Germany and even China, there was no such representation from the orthodox profession in the UK, and certainly no groundbreaking papers presented by our cancer institutions. What also caught our eye was the normality in the conference of mainstream orthodox speakers presenting alongside more supposedly alternative speakers like the Gerson Institute, and the amount of time devoted to presentations (including clinical trial research) on one particular therapy, Qigong. We decided to investigate this as clearly few, if any, UK orthodox practitioners are able to advise on the use of energy to heal.
According to Chinese hieroglyphics, qigong has been around for as long as 7000 years, and it is becoming increasingly popular in the West as an effective practice, both for people dealing with illness and those who want to prevent it.
Described as a philosophical, meditative, and postural discipline, it is a method of moving the internal energy we all have through our bodies in a positive way. The idea that we have an energetic life force that exists inside us is an accepted fact in many cultures. The Japanese call it ki, the Indians call it prana. Even for us Westerners the idea is hardly new. Acupuncture is based on this premise, as is shiatsu, reflexology and many other alternative approaches to healing.
One of the elements of this hidden energy system is the existence of the chakras (most simply described as spinning vortices of energy that have different frequencies) and the twelve meridian lines that are conduits for the life force or qi. One of the simplest ways to be aware of the meridians for yourself is to experiment with pressing firmly on different parts of your foot or inside lower leg. Often you will feel twinges in other, seemingly disconnected parts of the body because although, for instance, your big toe and your head are far apart, there is an energy line - a meridian - that connects them. For more detail on this see Chris Woollams article The Fourth Pillar of Cancer Can your mind heal your body? in Issue 2 2006 of icon magazine.
In qigong the energy is moved around the body by doing various exercises, some of which can look slightly tai-chi-ish. Generally though, the postures are not physically demanding and are very good for people who are ill as they do not force you to stretch or exhaust yourself in any way. It is claimed that sustained practice has enormous effect on health and inner strength, calming the mind, developing inner perception, reducing emotionality and creating strength and flexibility.
Breathing, posture and focus are the key elements and, through these, the energy can be moved around. The intention is to move positive energy and clear negative energy or energy blocks. Generally this is taught by a qigong Master who, in addition to teaching the techniques, can also send qi the positive energy that is inside us and in every part of the universe into the body of the student.
This emitted qi is so powerful that one experiment showed it to effectively destroy Staphylococcus bacteria more efficiently than carbolic acid in tests over eight minutes. Powerful stuff that is available to all of us if we can learn to connect and work with it.
A form of qigong which has great relevance for cancer patients is that developed in China by Dr Pang Ming during the time of the revolution in China. At that time there was a great deal of poverty and Dr Pang Ming wanted to help those who couldnt afford medicines. He created zhineng qigong and set up the largest medicine-less hospital in the world; the Huaxia Zhineng Qigong Centre, where between 4000 6000 people would practice qigong at any one time. Whilst the older methods of qigong relied heavily on the passing on of knowledge through family members, zhineng qigong is openly discussed and taught in China, partly to allow more rigorous examination of the results obtained. Zhineng is an open form of qigong, working not just with the energy in the body, but the energy of the universe that is all around us all the time.
Many seemingly miraculous healings took place at the clinic and Chinese statistics showed a 95% improvement ratio on over 450 diseases including cancer, MS, ME and diabetes. Although these statistics are unverified by Western scientists, the practice is gaining popularity around the world, especially with cancer patients.
Dr Pang Ming had an exceptional student named Luke Chan who, with his brother Frank, was tasked with taking zhineng qigong to the West. Luke Chan is the author of 101 Miracles of Natural Healing, which contains the stories of people who were cured of so-called incurable illness through the practice of qigong.
One fan of the technique is Miami-based acupuncturist Dashi Chu Tocica, a qigong teacher who also teaches in the UK and comes recommended by integrated cancer doctor Etienne Callebout. Dashi traveled to China, to the Huaxia Centre, to train in qigong, but also to get some healing for herself, I went to find out if qigong could cure the 50% hearing loss in my left ear that I had developed over 3 years. I practiced qigong from 5:30 am until 9:00 pm every day for three and a half weeks, and then, just two days before I was due to leave the Centre, my ear "popped," and my hearing was suddenly, and completely, restored!
Unlike Western hospitals where patients are told to "get plenty of rest" and are treated with drugs, special diets or surgery, here the prescription for health was eight hours a day of qigong exercise. Patients take an active role in their recovery by becoming students of self-healing methods, and through "sweat, love, and plenty of qi," they fight their disease with the help of fellow students, family members and instructors.
Although based in the US, Dashi teaches courses in the UK from time to time, having personally benefited from qigong and in a desire to share the practice with others. She has experienced its many applications from strengthening the immune system to creating inner peace.
The practice of qigong seems to be a practical method of working with what we know but only half-understand that all healing begins internally. Jeremy Leach a UK-based practitioner says It changes peoples mentality from looking for an external source to cure them to being the source of their own healing.
It does take time and practice; but if you are dealing with cancer all this is relative. When Jeremy pointed out to a client he was teaching that hard work was required, she retorted that he should try chemotherapy!
Dashi and Jeremy are both teachers in the line of Dr Pang Ming and the medicine-less hospital in China. In the US the term used for this type of qigong is chi-lel, and in Europe it is called chi-neng. Donatus Roobeek is another UK teacher of chi-neng, who teaches in Ringwood, Hampshire. He has a number of clients with cancer. The system used is generic for all types of cancer, he says, And a certain amount of inner resolve is required. If someone has been pronounced terminally ill they need to practice up to six hours a day. The way he works is that after an initial session clients would go away with a DVD and a book to practice at home. They would return a few weeks later to ensure they were on track with the movements.
Jan Lively is a testament to the power of the practice. She was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in the liver in 2001, with a very high tumour marker count of 4500. Her oncologist told her to forget about a full recovery. Encouraged by a friend she read the Luke Chan 101 Miracles of Healing book and began to practice chi-lel for just 20 minutes each day. Six weeks later her tumour marker was down to 2500 and her baked potato-sized tumour had shrunk to the size of a golf ball. She gradually increased the time she spent practicing to an hour a day and began to experience many positive emotional / spiritual benefits such as a really clear intuition and sense of knowing.
She continued to have chemotherapy on and off over the years in conjunction with the chi-lel and believes that the two work well together, with the chi-lel helping bolster the immune system and detox the chemotherapy. She says, Chi-lel has given me new life, and most importantly, a deep inner peace. Whereas I used to feel unhappy and unsatisfied most of the time, I am now a happy person. Breast cancer no longer scares me. Today she jogs daily and has great energy, teaching chi-lel to a group of women with breast cancer who come together with the aim of empowering women with cancer to help themselves.
Qigong is clearly not for those who would like to take a pill and wait for the next instruction from the oncologist. But for anyone who has found their diagnosis has led them to a deeper enquiry into the subtler energetic levels of health and healing, this practice has a proven track record and can provide excellent results for those with the discipline for daily practice.
Donatus Roobeeks website, www.the-natural-life.co.uk contains information about classes and links to other sites.
Details of Dashis UK courses are available on www.asianhealingarts.org
Information on another type of qigong hua gong (not discussed in this article) can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
101 Miracles of Natural Healing by Luke Chan is available on Amazon