This article was written by community partner Courtney Alex Aldor
I started getting chronic headaches when I was 8 years old. When they happened, I was given Advil and was told stories of how my mother and grandparents got them too. I would nod my head but deep down, I did not want to accept that this awful feeling would be part of my life. Eventually I’d have full-blown Migraines for days on end, and it interfered with school, then with work as I got older. Inevitably someone would see me holding my head and ask me, ‘Can’t you just take a painkiller?’ As anyone with Migraines probably knows, it doesn’t work like that.
When I’d go to the doctor, they’d tell me it was a condition I was stuck with, that no one knew how or why these things occur. I started doing my own research. Eventually, I found Acupuncture and it helped a bit. I managed my eating, sleeping, and exercise, I drank teas and took herbs. Though I definitely felt better, the headaches still returned.
One day someone took me to a Qigong class. I didn’t know what it was or even how to say it, but something inside just told me to go. After an hour-long class, I felt like I’d just spent a day at the spa, and knew I had to keep doing Qigong.
Over time, I stopped getting headaches. I can’t even say when they stopped, but I remember the first time someone asked me when I’d last had a headache, and couldn’t remember when. I do remember the day I started to manage a headache using techniques from Qigong. I told my acupuncturist about it and he nodded and laughed, as if to say the condition was now less serious than the life-interrupting head-banging awfulness I had once endured.
Now, research is finally starting to show that Qigong can help manage chronic pain – from back pain to fibromyalgia and even emotional pain like anxiety.
And while the amazing feeling of no longer labeling oneself as the sick person in the room can’t be measured, I’d say that’s an added bonus. I now have more energy more consistently, feel less stress even in difficult situations, and my doctors often congratulate me on having good health, even when there’s been a challenge to work through.
My grandmother used to say, ‘If you don’t have your health, what do you have?’ In other words, when we feel healthy, it’s easier to enjoy our lives and our gifts. Now that I feel healthy on a regular basis, I can see how right she was. I never thought this would be me. I feel lucky to have found this practice, and even luckier to be able to share it with others and see their faces light up as a result of feeling better too.
Book a Session with Courtney:
To receive 10% off your first class when booking through Conscious City Guide, use code: CCG10
More about the author: In understanding how to balance my own chi or energy, how to comfortably sense energy around me, and the response to it within, it seems there is a deeper story to everything. And through the many challenges I have had to date – from health crises to relationship and career transformations – I can see how valuable it is to learn to balance my own energy, connect to my own well of wisdom, and decipher the messages buried within. I feel truly lit up when I am able to share this with others where I live now on Maui and beyond.