Fibromyalgia, T’ai Chi and Qigong Q: Sarah writes: I would just like to introduce myself to the group as a new comer. My name is Sarah and I am a 29 year old Fibromyalgia sufferer. Three years ago after an extremely difficult time in my life I developed Fibromyalgia to a point where I also lost a lot of my muscles and was practically wheel chair bound. However, I joined my local pain clinic where together with medication I was introduced to alternative therapy. I was always a believer in aromatherapy and had been practicing this on myself for some time with some quite effective results. My pain clinic then introduced me to Tai Chi Chuan and acupuncture.
I have been practicing Tai Chi for 8 months now and WOW what a difference to my life it has made. I am now fitter than I was before my illness and although I still have a few worse days and some amount of pain my life has become completely fulfilled and manageable…I meditate daily and am a calmer, surer, more steady and patient person than I ever was before. I have 3 children and they are amazed at the difference in me now and the amount of patience that I now have. So to all you suffers out there, there is hope, believe me.
A: Thank you so much, Sarah, for sharing your story. Qigong (Chi Kung, Chi Gong, Chi Gung) and T’ai Chi (taiji), which is a form of Qigong, have proven remarkably effective at controlling various forms of stress, pain, autoimmune disorders, among many others. These practices create vitality, empowerment, groundedness, serenity and freedom.
Forms of Qigong and T’ai chi Chuan are often recommended for persons with cardiac conditions, allergies, asthma, addiction, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other symptoms of stress and aging. These practices are also a good complement or introduction to Taoist Tantra and Kundalini work.
T’ai Chi is one of the Master forms of Qigong in that within its practice is contained most of the higher aspects of Qigong. This makes T’ai Chi tremendously efficient, albeit quite subtle and complex. Of course benefits are readily apparent to those who invest commitment in mastering it’s complexity.
I have taught these forms for over 30 years and over that time period a couple of dynamics have become apparent that I would like to comment on, i.e. Intent and Practice.
Intention The character of one’s Intent will shape and direct the life force and consciousness that is created. This is a very personal issue, though I believe it is up to the teacher to attempt to set a general tone in this regard. In my classes I endeavor to focus on rejuvenation, open hearted empowerment, and evolution in the spiritual sense. I also seek to present the esoterica of the Taoist, Yoga, Tantric, and Bioenergetic traditions in a manner that is non-sectarian, non-dogmatic, and readily available to the western mind set.
Spiritual Practice The quality and quantity of time put into your practice is crucial to receiving any benefit, let alone mastery of these forms. T’ai Chi, Tantra, and Yoga are Master Systems for health, longevity and Enlightenment. As such, they are complex and demanding, especially as they evolved in a cultural and historical framework radically different than our current Western experience.
One thing I have noticed over the years is that as our pace of daily life continues to increase, people seem less empowered to create significant blocks of time to pursue their own healing and awakening. We seem to know, or notice, less about ourselves, our world, and the ramifications of our actions. The faster we go, the less we know. This is the paradox of the “information age.” There is faster and easier access to data, and seemingly less and less Wisdom in its application. Click the remote, surf the next website, scan the next radio station, walk or drive nattering on and on with our cell phones… Our constant mental and physical movement betrays a deep restlessness, and perhaps a shark-like fear that stillness is death.
Spiritual Tradition Many Teachers are most comfortable within the structure of their traditional schools and lineages. Most of the time this is perfectly acceptable and efficacious in that one attracts students mainly from the spiritual tradition or religion indigenous to that culture. More problematic is the process of transferring practice and wisdom cross-culturally.
The dilemma is that although a tradition may have precepts and practices invaluable to the modern western world, its cultural trappings ensure the assimilation of its wisdom will be difficult, if it’s wisdom is recognized at all. My teachers have mainly been Masters who came to the U.S. to bring the insight and technology of their respectful schools to Westerners. These Masters were motivated by the dire need to bring wisdom to the most technologically advanced and spiritually confused populace in history. They knew that it may be that our personal and planetary survival would require an acceleration of awakening, and that cultural and religious predilections would make this much more difficult. Knowing the limitations of our material civilization, they decided that long-established cultural and religious methods were inappropriate and inefficient. We needed to get it, and get it fast!
If it takes more than 10 minutes, I’m outta here! Would you wait more than 10 minutes in line at the 7-11 or McDonalds? When was the last time you watched a music video that eschewed strobe-like edits for a clear steady view of the artist? Or waited patiently, without fidgeting, at a traffic light, DMV, or in a waiting room?
Often it seems our patience and attention span is decreasing so profoundly, it will soon be measured in nanoseconds! I love the practices of Qigong, Tantra, T’ai Chi, Zen. Yet, I am painfully aware that our mind-set requires a non-traditional and efficient methodology adapted for westerners. That is not to say that one cannot accrue benefit through a traditional technique, many have. I am merely observing that to attain the deepest benefit of these conventional approaches requires a lot of time and commitment, hours each day, and our material culture is not very patient or supportive in this. We feel we have “no time.” Really what is going on is that we spend all of our waking time in outwardly directed agendas. Nonetheless, this is how it is for most of us.
So, to “bring the mountain to Mohamed” so to speak, I have created a course of study that requires only 10 minutes each day. Mental, physical, and emotional health is quickly improved through highly effective Taoist, Bioenergetic, and Yogic techniques. Easy, efficient and powerful, it gets the job done in minutes. © 2002 Keith E. Hall. all rights reserved.
See also: Qigong and Fibromyalgia
Plantar Fasciitis, Fibromyalgia, Tai Chi & Qigong
Qigong & Fibromyalgia: From the Arthritis Care and Research study
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