This article was written by community partner Courtney Alex Aldor
When I started doing Qigong, I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that at the end of class, I felt like I’d had the most relaxing massage, and I wanted more. As I continued to go to classes, I’d overhear students talking to our teacher about medical issues they were having; one woman was practicing Qigong to manage Parkinsons, another told a story about getting over serious back issues when nothing else seemed to help.
I’d been suffering from chronic migraines at the time. I was in serious pain for one week out of every month – often more – since the age of 8. It didn’t occur to me that Qigong would help my migraines because doctors told me there was no cure. So, I continued to do Qigong because I liked it.
As I practiced, I started to feel different. I had more energy, fewer headaches, and a better sense of how to care for myself. I was already pretty good with self-care, because I’d grown up learning about exercise, yoga, meditation, and nutrition, but as I continued with Qigong, my behavior changed to be more self-supportive than before. If I was about to skip a meal or eat something I might regret later…well, I just didn’t. Even my relationships were changing for the better in ways I didn’t know I needed. I had better time management skills. It was strange to think it all came from a gentle movement practice that looked like Tai Chi and felt like a day at the spa.
As I studied to teach Qigong, I understood why it was benefiting my physical health and my mental-emotional health at the same time. Qigong is one of the five branches of Chinese Medicine along with nutrition, massage, acupuncture, and herbs. And while there are many forms of Qigong including Tai Chi and Martial Arts training, I studied Medical Qigong that is meant to reset the body back to its natural state of good health. This includes the whole body – physical, emotional, and mental health – because Chinese Medicine recognizes the relationship between all parts of us. And while many think of Acupuncture as ancient Chinese Medicine, it is thought that Qigong is even older – dating back 3,000 or more years as a way for anyone to care for their health!
Needless to say, I no longer suffer from migraines. I feel stronger, healthier, and more resilient in my body, mind, and heart, even as a highly sensitive person. I have more energy, yet can remain calm and mentally clear when challenges come up. Best of all, I have a healthier relationship with myself, which seems to ripple out into everything I do.
As I said at the beginning, when I first started practicing Qigong, I had no idea what I was in for. My world, my health, my body, have never felt so good.
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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.
- Monday Jun 12| Online