NATURAL HEALING WITH QIGONG [2004-06-06]
A HOLIDAY WITH NATURE
I am writing this article while on a working holiday in the beautiful land of Sabah. Right now I am in Sandakan, which has just been declared Nature City. The city is built with nature carefully preserved, with extensive green parks and beautiful tree-lined roads. This morning I took the opportunity to do the Qigong walk along the shaded boulevard near my hotel. The air is clean and fresh, as is also true for the other towns ( Tawau, Keningau and Kota Kinabalu ) that I visited. Except for Keningau, these towns are by the sea, and the refreshing breezes certainly add to the healthy ambience.
The shorelines of Sabah are famous for the pristine beaches and clear waters that are rich with brilliant flora and fauna. The variety of exotic fishes of Sabah is matched by the equally exotic animals and plants. The land is undulating with endless stretches of forests and plantations. Its magnificience can only be fully appreciated from the vantage point of an airplane window-seat. The azure sea surrounding it is a priceless sight, hiding beneath it treasures of colours and life-forms that only the adventurous divers truly know about.
The Kaamatan (harvest) festival, celebrated with gusto in the splendours of the traditions of the indigenous races, has just concluded. The people of Sabah are indeed a potpourri of colours and cultures, just like the flora and the fauna. Everything about Sabah is diverse and exciting.
A visit to the Sepilok Orangutan rehabilitation center brought to reality the intricate interaction between us and nature. I saw how the people tenderly cared for the young Orangutans, and how the extensive clearing of their habitats in the name of human progress and development had deprived them of their natural homes and their parents, and made them vulnerable orphans.
The trip to Keningau provided the contrast typical of life in Sabah. From the sea-side city of Kota Kinabalu it was over an hour of mountain climbing in a four-wheel drive. The climb was not over until we literally reached the clouds. Then it was another hour downhill towards this interior town. Every district has its own unique dialect and custom. But the people everywhere were equally friendly.
One of my fondest memories is that of practising Qigong at a resort in the highlands of Kundasang, at the foot of Mt Kinabalu (not far from Kota Kinabalu), several years ago. The cool clean air was infused by the fresh aroma of the pine trees and the beautiful flowers that lined the resort. The excitement was more with the awe of having the mountain peak towering right over my shoulder as I happily did the Qigong walk and other exercises. It was an intensive Qigong retreat and we practised Qigong in the wee hours of the morning, in the afternoon, and again at night. The qi that I harvested during the retreat lasted for weeks. The immense health benefits must have also been felt by the others as well.
During my previous trip to Tawau, I met the owner of the resort on Mataking Island, acclaimed by many visitors as the most beautiful island off Sabah. Perhaps I should take up his offer for me to conduct a Qigong class on its beautiful beach. What had happened was that as soon as I had checked into my hotel room, I got onto the internet to check my emails, and there was one from a reader of this column living in Tawau itself. So we met, and in return for teaching him several Qigong exercises to improve sexual health, I got an extremely informative tour of Tawau since his father was one of the founding fathers of the town. I also met his friend who owns the resort.
Practising Qigong is really enjoyable when done in the healthy places like parks, forests, beaches, lakes and mountain resorts. Around Kuala Lumpur, among the best places to practise Qigong is among the huge trees at FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) in Kepong, and in the cool resorts on the way to Genting Highlands. Where the environment is cool, sheltered and fresh, we can practise Qigong at anytime of the day. Otherwise we are restricted to practising in the lake gardens and parks only in the mornings and evenings when the air is fresher and the sun is not bothersome.
HEAL NATURALLY WITH QIGONG
Qigong is one with nature, and those who have faith in the body's immense ability to recover naturally from ill-health will be rewarded when they practice this natural healing art.
Cik Fauziah ( not her real name ) was under medical treatment for her nervous condition. She was put on drugs that did calm her, but also made her sluggish. When she came to me for consultation, she was miserable, and could hardly taIk. I also found that several of her hormones were abnormal. I took her off the drugs, and prescribed Qigong exercises and some nutritional supplements instead. She complied and practices Qigong regularly. Now three months later, she is healthy, cheerful and not nervous anymore. Her hormone levels have also returned to normal.
Madam Chan (not her real name) has kidney failure and has been on dialysis for several years. She was continually tired, and spent much time resting at home. There was nothing more that medical science could do for her, but she refused to accept the daunting prognosis. She learned Qigong from me about 6 months ago, and now is full of energy, and spends much time "catching up on shopping", something she did not have the energy to do previously. I had also prescribed her nutritional supplements and am very pleased to see her getting better each day.
Auntie Chen (not her real name) is a pleasant elderly lady whose tremors really make life difficult for her. Her entire body and limbs shake badly, and even talking is very difficult. The doctors diagnosed her condition as "essential tremors", meaning that they do not know what caused it. They have also failed to cure her. After 3 months of practising Qigong, her arm tremors have significantly reduced, though she herself did not realise it! The healing effect of Qigong can be slow in the beginning, when the qi is just "recharging" the cellular "battery". Once the charging is complete, the repair process will proceed fully, and the recovery rate will be exponential. So if she diligently practises her Qigong exercises, I expect her to slowly but surely progress in the next few months, after which the improvement will be more rapid.
I recall the case of a lady in USA who had terminal ALS ( amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease ). She was almost totally paralysed, except for her chest and swallowing muscles. So she could still breathe and drink using a straw. She was under the care of the UCLA ( University of California at Los Angeles ) medical school but modern medicine has absolutely no effective answer for this disease ( our national footballer, the late Mokhtar Dahari, also succumbed to this disease ). In desperation, she went to a gifted energy-healer and their perseverance illustrated the slow but exponential progress that happens through this method: it was only after three months of daily healing sessions that one of her toes twitched, but within one year she was completely cured, against all odds. This case was fully documented and confirmed by the UCLA doctors. So where modern medicine fails, energy-medicine can still offer hope. The same is true for the hundreds of terminal cancer patients, and those suffering from other chronic and "incurable" diseases who have recovered after practising Qigong.
Doctors make many diagnoses of "essential" diseases and conditions. Essential hypertension is perhaps the commonest of these. I totally disagree with the terminology and the implication that these health problems develop without any underlying cause, as opposed to the "secondary" conditions/diseases which are consequents of other ("primary") problems, eg. Secondary hypertension following primary renal disease. Although our genes, diet and lifestyle ( including lack of exercise, smoking, stress, etc.) are some of the recognized risk factors attributed to many of these "essential" conditions, medical science has failed to acknowledge that there is nothing "essential" about developing these conditions.
What actually happens is that the body's homeostatic mechanisms ( that keep the body's physiology and functions within the healthy normal range ) and healing systems ( that repair any aberration or injury ) have finally failed and things start to go haywire. But this does not happen overnight. It happens due to persistent and accumulated nutritional deficiencies, continual and cumulative damage to cellular systems (especially by free-radicals), and the depletion of qi, the vital life force that sustains these systems. So it is in fact secondary to all these. Even the impact of hereditary or genetic diseases can be reduced if we understand the underlying factors and work to prevent or reverse the defective cellular functions. Diseases of aging can also be delayed if we make sure our diet is nutrient-rich ( including supplements when necessary ), exercise ( including mind-body exercise like Qigong) is adequate, and lifestyle is conducive to health and healing.
The healing role of qi is certain because there have been so many cases of patients with chronic diseases who have improved or completely recovered after practising Qigong, although their conditions were stagnant, or getting worse with the best of what modern medicine can offer.
Just as the health of the earth depends very much in preserving the natural state of the seas and the forests, it is important that we keep ourselves fully alive and healthy by preserving the body's natural metabolic functions and healing systems. And one sure way to ensure this is by learning and practising Qigong. If you have not yet discovered this beautiful and graceful natural art, now is the time to start. Don't wait till you are sick and stiff and the exercises will become an unavoidable chore rather than an enjoyable experience!
Dr Amir Farid Isahak