Author: Timmers PC
Conference/Journal: 7th Int Sym on Qigong
Date published: 1998
Other: Pages: 8-14 , Word Count: 3208
A brief history of qigong as a healing practice:
During the Warring States Periods (770-220 BC) an ancient form of fitness exercise, called Daoyin, was very popular.
'Take a deep breath and sink it to dantian (the acupoint slightly below the navel). Hold the breath there for a while and then exhale it like the sprouting of grass until it goes to the top of your head. In this way the yang (masculine or positive) vital energy would go up and Yin (feminine or negative) down. Those whose yang or yin vital energy goes it's own way would live, otherwise they would die.' These words were written on a historical relic from this period. Daoyin is the foundation on which the Medical Qigong of today was based. Although Qigong is suspected of being a much older science, written records of the systemic use of Qigong for healing, have been found on such items as bowls, an eight sided Jade brick and a silk shawl, and on many bronzes as well as the Book of Changes-mostly dating back from this period. From then on, these practices have gathered energy and spread throughout China even to India.
From the Han dynasty (205 -200 BC) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Qigong was widely used in medical treatments and many famous doctors were at the same time Qigong masters, who made great contributions to Qigong therapy. Hua Tro (?-208), a great physician, knew how to keep in good health, and he looked as healthy and strong as a young man even in his old age. He later passed on the methods of Daoyin to his disciples Chao Yuanfang, a famous doctor in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), pointed out that when a man had mastered Qigong, he could release through his palm a kind of vital energy to cure diseases for others. Sun Simao (518-681), another famous doctor in Chinese history who lived for over 100 years, did some research work on medicine. In his 'One Thousand Prescriptions', he expounded the theory and practice of Daoyin or Qigong as we call it today.
The theories and practices of Qigong were developed greatly throughout the succeeding dynasties. As a result of effectiveness that Qigong had in changing and moving the energies of the body and the subsequent healing effects that were generated, many people through the ages thought that Qigong was some kind of magic. However, in modern times, there has been much research into the effects of Qigong and the reasons of why these effects are so beneficial to mankind. Treatments, using a variety or methods, such as exercises practiced by the patients themselves, or treatments where Qigong masters emit Internal Qi into points or channels, or alternatively by having masters direct external-Universal Qi -along the relevant channels, have been found to be effective in the treatment of many health problems. Although all research is very informative and can be used to illustrate the powerful strength of this treatment approach to the Medical World, the prodigious evidence gathered from the positive results of Qigong treatments stands by itself as a testimony to the efficacy of Qigong.
My paper will be based on the treatment of one patient, and the medical impact of her stroke. For discussion, first to be related will reflect traditional information, dealing with her initial allopathic medical treatments. This information will be balanced with feedback dealing with her reaction to the Qigong treatments. To communicate most sincerely, I will incorporate the patient's own words, describing the feelings and the sensations that happened during these Qigong treatments. She believes this approach led to her being able to live a very useful and fulfilling life.
I was living in France, when I received notice of the World Symposium on Qigong. I had treated a patient, Sandra, while living in Australia, where I conducted an acupuncture and Qigong clinic. and taught biweekly Qigong classes in the local hall. I can remember the first time I saw Sandra. She walked towards me at the beginning of a Qigong class. She dragged her left foot, the left side of her mouth was drooping and her left hand was held tightly at her waist. But, Oh! what spirit! It shined through her eyes. I thought, 'Here's a challenge for Qigong'.
Now, she plans to visit me in France, later in the year, three years after the first meeting. She has taken up the challenge of the ordeal of traveling by plane to London for a holiday by herself, and then she will visit me in the south of France. No mean feat for a person who has had a stroke. It is very tiring for a perfectly healthy person. However, I needed all her medical prior to her Qigong treatment, in order to write this paper. In Australia, I had taken notes from the verbal information that Sandra herself remembered. Now I needed her detailed medical history for this thesis. I telephoned and asked her to send them to me.
One day a very long fax was waiting for me. It was Sandra's medical records which she had got from. notes from the 'freedom of information', an act that has been set up in Australian.
March 1992, Sandra was operated on for bowel resection as pre cancerous polyps had been found and suspected of being the cause of a low Hb of 4. Two pints of blood were given during operation and as the blood bank had run out of blood she couldn't have the 4 pints requested by the Doctor. Two days after the operation, she was given the extra pints of blood and her BP was monitored for 24 hours with absolutely no problems. She was home in four days with no complications.
June 28 1992 she was ten pin bowling and was totally unaware of any problems. Her son noticed that she was talking out the corner of her mouth, but he didn't get too anxious as she was talking about a woman in the next lane. However, as she started to walk, her son noticed that she was dragging her foot. She was still completely oblivious to her problems and wanted to go on bowling. An ambulance was rung and she was taken to hospital.
Notes from hospital records based on The Freedom of Information Act:
BP 160/100 pulse rate 77. Normal power right arm. Severe weakness left.
Bp146/90 pulse rate 77. Normal power right arm. Severe weakness on left side of body-normal power-right leg. Eyes open spontaneously oriented obey commands.
CT Scan normal treatment anticoagulation drugs given.
Diagnosis-thrombosis or embolic stroke.
Brain stem infarct. (this was to be proved a wrong diagnosis.)
29.6.92 2.30 pm was conscious and alert but nauseous and vomiting
Bp180/110 Marked weakness still on left side.
30/6/91 Patient fell out of chair and bumped head on bed-observation only.
1/ 7/ 92 Heparin infusion continued at 1300u/ hr. Commenced on Warfarin l0 mgs at 1000 hrs
2/7/92 Heparin ceased and from then on Patient mobilized with assistance until she could shower with assistance. Still no improvement on left side. At times had no control of bowels.
Doctor decided that nothing more could be done in the way of therapy and tried to persuade the family that they would have to look after her just as she was. Another Doctor was called in and did some studies on the case, or as Sandra puts it, did the only studies on the case. First of all, the diagnosis was wrong. There was no brain infarct, otherwise she would have had weakness on both sides. The stroke was caused by a hemorrhage on the right side of the brain, most likely caused by a clot triggered off by the late blood transfusion after the bowel operation. It did not involve BPI, cholesterol, carotid classification. Probably just bad luck. This was found out from a new CT scan. Result of CT- appearances are consistent with a large area of haemorrhagic infarction in the right temporoparietal region in the distribution of the right middle cerebral artery. Thought to be a delayed result of a mistake in the timing of the doses of warfarin. A lesson well learned.
One morning, not long before leaving the hospital, the new Doctor asked Sandra how her leg was. She looked down and said 'Fine,' and promptly lifted it up and down. His comment was 'I didn't know you could do that,' and she didn't either.' This had happened before, when a helium balloon had fallen on her foot and she had automatically kicked it away. Sandra realized that although her brain was saying she couldn't move her leg, somewhere in her memory, her leg remembered how to move. As she said, 'A lesson well learned'. While having physiotherapy Sandra found that she could walk quite a distance without being supported as long as she put her right hand above the hand of the physiotherapist-without touching. Once again she learned that her problem was partly psychological. I always teach in my Qigong class that everything in this world is just some type of energy, even thoughts. Therefore if you can train your mind to think the required thoughts for moving your leg ! or your arm or whatever is not able to move, then powerful energies are released, that will aid in the healing.
Sandra, never one to be kept down, started back at work as a Doctor' s typist. She typed with one hand. It so happened that there was a very good acupuncturist who had an office on the same floor as the Doctor that she worked for. When she had told him that she had a great deal of pain in her left shoulder and left leg, he suggested that he give her some acupuncture for the pain. It was indirectly through him that Sandra came to my Qigong class. The acupuncture had helped with the pain but so far there was no improvement with the movement of' the limbs on the left side of her body.
Sandra could not lift her arm above the waist without much difficulty and a strong movement of her shoulders. The first really strong reaction she had from Qigong was from a Qigong Meditation Therapy, which I call 'Zhongind' . We practice the meditation in pairs in the class. One person sits on a stool with their hands on their laps, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed, while the other person stands behind and touches the person on a series of points. As each point is touched the person in front, inhales. As the hands are removed, she exhales and says the word 'zhong' in a long drawn out, low sound. There are three series of points: side, front and back. At the end of each series the person then concentrates on a special point without saying zhong. At the end of the practice the patient concentrates on Dantien. While the person is concentrating on these special points, the person behind can work on the patient if she so wishes. Sometimes I just smooth the external energies so allowing them to enter the body with a free-flowing motion. Sometimes I emit Waiqi to the required areas.
Sometimes I just think about what needs to be done, such as, how the arm should move, perhaps upward or downwards. This often has a very powerful reaction. In Sandra' s own words, this is what she said happened that first time she practiced 'Zhongind'. Sandra says, 'It is hard to explain the feeling. It was a warm feeling in a part of the body and if I completely relaxed and thought nothing, the arm would then react as it felt it needed to. It would go to one place and if it found it couldn't go as far as it wanted, like the muscle wasn't strong enough and it was like hitting an obstacle going back in a totally different direction'.
I later found that if I stood behind her and worked on the energies of her arm or leg (such as emitting Qi into the limb or moving the energies surrounding the limb into the arm and or leg), the limb would move just that little bit further.
This seems to release the muscle of the strain and just let the normal body movement take over. It is an example of Qigong using the Mind, Body and Breath to heal the Body. Sandra began to improve rapidly. Each week she came to my clinic in the afternoon after the Qigong lesson and had a massage and acupuncture treatment according to the reaction that she' d had at the class that morning. Often she would lie down on the floor after Zhonging and she would roll around in spontaneous movements-Spontaneous Dynamic Qigong-moving quite freely, parts of the body that otherwise were difficult to move. She also practiced many Dynamic forms of Qigong. At first she was not able to move her left arm into the required movements of the exercises that she was practicing. However after a very short time she was able to perform most of the exercises.
There is just one warning when using such a powerful energetic therapy as Qigong. The practitioner or master must not have a strong ego. You must not take the credit for the healing. You are only there to help and guide. Sandra had a Qigong treatment from a visiting Italian Qigong master. He told her that he, and only he, could heal her. He used a very powerful form of Qigong (perhaps you shouldn't call it Qigong) on her. He had her hold her knees very straight and held tightly and tried to use his strong ego on her-with disastrous effects.
This kind of treatment is something like ESP. It severely effected her energies. The next morning, the left side of her mouth had dropped. This is something that had not happened since the beginning of her therapies. Her left arm became terribly bruised and she was unable to move it and was again dragging her leg. It was a very worrying time. However with positive Qigong treatments and lots of Zhonging, etc., she was once again able to move her arm and leg and her mouth went back to normal. Sandra said that if someone works on her using Qigong as a healing-not an extension of their personality-then she feels this allows her to pick up on their thoughts and energy.
Another warning for practitioners is this. You should never work on a patient when you yourself are not relaxed and feeling strong. A practitioner must practice their own Qigong exercises daily and must have a real instinct to care. You are only good for people if you have a real instinct to care.
Returning to the Qigong practices that Sandra used for improving her health. While practicing the Lesser Circulation of Qi, she held the tips of her fingers together in Mudras. First she would hold the tip of her small finger to the tip of her thumb, while standing in a static position. When she felt ready she could change fingers until she had held all her finger together with the thumb separately. As
each finger touched the thumb she practiced the Lesser Circulation of Qi. This is what Sandra said happened to her when she practiced the therapy. 'Each finger had a different reaction. Sometimes I would find myself rocking backwards and forwards. Sometimes my arm would rise spontaneously. If I tried to concentrate on my left arm, which I wanted to do, the effects would stop. I found I had to concentrate on the moving of the breath throughout the body. The spontaneous movements stop if I don't. I know what is going on around me but I have to keep focused on what is within me. Sandra has kept up her Qigong practices by herself now that I am living in France. She has also kept together the class that I had while living in Brisbane, Australia. Another student usually takes the class but at times when no else is available, she leads the class in their practices. Quite a formidable challenge for someone who the Doctors said, would never have any movement in her arm and very little in her left leg.
This is what she writes about the class in Brisbane. 'We did a static exercise, lying down on the floor. I just thought of my breath coming up from my feet to the top of my head and then back to my feet again in a cycle. I don't know if it was right to do this but I found after a while, as the breath came to my chest, I had to take in a long drawn out breath. As my chest raised and filled up, it was like a wave that swept down to my feet-something like a Mexican wave.
Sandra has never studied the theory of Qigong. She said she did not want to have any thoughts about how Qigong should work. She just wanted to let the Qigong therapy work naturally. And so it does-in just the same way the Daoyin Masters described all those centuries ago. Qigong unblocks stagnation of qi and lets the qi flow in the right direction for perfect health. Sandra's Qigong practices and treatments allows just that.
While working in India, I was the director in an Acupuncture Hospital. Actually, except for my husband who oversaw administration from the desk, I was the only one working in this hospital. Each day, I would see about fifty patients (very poor people who could not afford treatment elsewhere). It was very hard work but very rewarding. I used acupuncture treatments, combined with Qigong treatment on many of the crippled children. These young people were doomed to become beggars if they did not learn to walk. Sadly I could not give all the children Qigong treatments. There were a great number of patients and I only had so much energy. However, I can recount to you some remarkable recoveries.
One child had been diagnosed as having Cerebral Palsy. She could not walk or talk and she dribbled on account of her tongue being enlarged. I treated her with acupuncture and gave her Qigong treatments and exercises to practice at home. She was only four years old but she learned those exercises perfectly. After two months of treatment, she was running around the hospital, and counting to 100 in English. Another small girl of eleven years, with a badly deformed hips and terrific pain caused by dragging herself around on the ground. This girl could not walk as a result of a polio infection that she'd caught as a very small child, yet after treatment she began to gain strength in her legs. We had braces made to straighten her hips so as to enable her to use her legs. Soon she was walking with the aid of a stick and her twisted hips straightened. Her legs became stronger and she was able to walk up the road from the bus for her treatment. She still had to have treatment when I left India, but both she and her father were very keen practitioners of Qigong by now. I'm sure she will one day walk without the brace and be able to live a normal life.