Qigong and behavioral medicine: an integrated approach to pain

Author: Mayer Michael
Conference/Journal: J. Trad Eastern Health & Fitness
Date published: 1996-97
Other: Volume ID: 6 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 20-31 , Word Count: 289

In 1996 the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on The National Institute of Health panel which reviewed numerous well-designed studies of pain relief. The panel concluded that chronic pain could be significantly reduced with a wide variety of behavioral and relaxation methods.

In the present article we have explored how qigong can be an addition to the relaxation and hypnotherapeutic methods that have been used to alleviate the suffering of chronic pain. As a practitioner, I have appreciated seeing the positive effects of these age-old Chinese methods in my private psychotherapy practice on Western patients with a wide variety of acute and chronic pain related syndromes including cancer, multiple sclerosis and back problems. As well, I feel grateful for having the opportunity to stand at a place and time where the streams of Western behavioral medicine and ancient qigong practices can merge together to benefit people in the healing the body and mind in general.

In the past, western culture has looked at the practices of indigenous cultures as something less than Western medicine and psychology. We have treated these age-old practices with an attitude similar to the way the missionaries treated the practices of Native Americans. In the midst of the current health care crisis of dollars and values we may do well to investigate and incorporate the teachings of ancient lineages into our current medical and psychological methodologieshonoring our ancestors and colleagues who learned to heal from traveling pre-technological pathways. By not including ancient sacred wisdom traditions into our approach to the psyche we commit a crime analogous to our cultures running over the Native Americans. We get to occupy the land; but we lose the sacred knowledge of how to be with its treasures.