Qigong For Drug Addiction

Qigong For Drug Addiction

Let’s face it, the United States is a drug culture. 14 million Americans use substances such as marijuana, PCP, and cocaine. 104 million Americans drink alcohol, and 65.5 million use tobacco.* Almost everyone will be afforded the opportunity to use pharmaceutical drugs, many of which also have addictive or habituative characteristics.

The usual therapeutic modalities for treating addiction are the “gradual-reduction” and “symptom-specific” methodologies.** In both of these therapies, pharmaceuticals are used to treat the patient. These pharmaceutical drugs themselves have side effects, one of which can be addiction! It would appear that this pharmaceutical approach does not adequately help patients cope with the physical, mental and emotional issues of addiction.

Tantric Qigong, 8 Treasures, Eight section brocade, Self mastery, qigong, Eight twists of silk, eight pieces of silk, An experimental study, published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, used qigong, meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises to restore balance and cleanse the body of unwanted toxins in drug addicts. The researchers concluded that qigong is an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals in supporting addicts recovering from addiction. Patients practicing qigong had statistically significant improvement as measured by withdrawal symptoms, anxiety levels, and sleep disturbances. Recovery occurred noticeably faster in the qigong group as compared to those in the control or medication groups, by a rate of 200% or more.

Anxiety, Sleep, and Qigong.

The Qigong group showed significant improvement by the fifth day of treatment, anxiety scores dropping nearly 80% to 8.2 by the tenth day, mean anxiety scores had dropped almost 98% to just 0.7. In comparison to the medication group taking “detoxification” medication (lofexidine HCl), the qigong patients had 87% fewer symptoms.

Sleep disturbances were appreciably lower in the qigong patients. Within six days, 67% of the qigong patients were sleeping normally. Only 7.6% of subjects in the control group slept normally. In other words, patients practicing Qi gong were sleeping normally at a rate almost 9 times that of the control group.

Table I: Anxiety scores by group, pre- and post-treatment.

Day in treatment……………Control group………..Medication group………..Qigong group
Day 0 (pretreatment)……………35.0……………………….33.5…………………….37.4
Day 5…………………………………..21.3……………………….13.6……………………..8.2
Day 10…………………………………..7.3…………………………5.3……………………..0.7

Withdrawal symptoms***
During the program, withdrawal symptoms decreased more quickly in the qigong group. At the end of a week, every qigong patient had ceased having withdrawal symptoms. In the control and medication groups groups, however, symptoms were still being reported after the end of the program. The researchers reported that “This study shows that qigong practice may accelerate the detoxification process, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and shorten recovery time.” The authors concluded qigong may possibly have “significance and wide application” in treating addiction.****

Recovery from addiction presents severe neurological, mental, and emotional challenges to an individual. My experience with Tantric Qigong is that it tends to have a balancing effect on both the psyche and soma. For instance, if one’s nervous system is hyperactive, Tantric qigong will have a calming effect. If one is hypoactive, even lethargic or depressed, qigong will act to enliven and rejuvenate. In the system that I teach, I have observed that both the invigorating and soothing aspects of this practice are naturally mediated by the requirements of the practitioner. That is to say, whether an individual requires the vital energy to be either stimulating or soothing, Tantric Qigong appears to be able to intervene in the manner appropriate for that individual at that time. As this balance is manifested on physical, mental and emotional levels simultaneously, it would seem that qigong is a particularly efficacious approach to the relief of somatic and psychic stresses associated with addiction recovery, and is well suited to a health care system that is itself in a state of stress. © 2004, Keith E. Hall Inner-Tranquility.com . All rights reserved.

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* 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

**Devitt,,M., “Qigong for Drug Addiction.” Acupuncture Today. May, 2002, 3 (5).

*** e.g., nausea, hallucinations, etc.

**** Li M, Chen K, & Mo ZX, “Detoxification with qigong therapy for heroin addicts.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Jan./Feb. 2002; 8(1): 50-59.

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