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 Mind/Body Tools for Peak Performance: 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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 About The Author
Roger Jahnke OMDRoger Jahnke has been in the health field since 1967 beginning with body therapies, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation. He turned his attention seriously to Oriental medicine in 1972 with study at the North......more
 
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