Qigong in the Clinic

 

1. Introduction

Hello. I am Dean Johnson. I have an acupuncture clinic in Corvallis, Oregon. I practice Chinese medicine – a holistic medicine and use many natural therapies including diet, exercise, nutritional supplements and qigong.

I also teach qigong to my patients. I teach mini-forms or remedy routines in the clinic. My wife, Yanling, and I teach ongoing classes on qigong in the community.

In these few minutes I would like to briefly explain the medical philosophy used in my practice and describe how qigong fits into that philosophy. If there is time, I would like to show you one or two of the remedy routines I teach my patients.

 

2. Philosophy

Chinese medicine is the original holistic medicine – both in the way we look at the body and how we treat medical conditions.

In diagnosing conditions we see the body as interconnecting organ systems. Through reading the pulses and tongue, asking questions and palpation, we try to fit your symptoms into the Chinese medical model. This is a medical model that attempts to get to the root of the problem. From the Chinese model, most Western medicine is just treating symptoms.

In holistic medicine we have a few basic precepts:

Nature is the great healer – at best, the physician can only give nature a helping hand.

The patient is responsible for his or her own healing – the physician acts as coach and teacher.

The patient is a total being – body, mind and spirit, and all aspects must be addressed for healing.

Do no harm.

There are many others, but these are the basics.

In treating medical conditions, we see a hierarchy of treatment modalities:

Spirit

Attitude

Diet

Exercise

.

.

Herbs

Acupuncture

.

.

Drugs

Surgery

In this hierarchy, those higher up the list are better for long-term health and get to the heart of most disease processes.

Those further down the list and more dramatic, make a fast change but have only short-term benefit. When you get into trouble, you need these treatments, but they are to be seen as emergency treatments meant to give you a second chance – not as a cure.

Real cures are found higher up the list. Interestingly, these treatments are performed by the patient. So, the job of the doctor is to provide his skills to get the patient out of immediate trouble, but for long-term relief the patient must be taught to change their life.

There is the philosophy in Chinese medicine that the superior physician keeps the patients well and when patients are sick, it means the physician has not been doing his job.

This means that it is our duty to the patient to do more than just treat symptoms. If you treat the symptom the problem will likely return. We must treat the patient at a deeper level to really do our best for the patient.

3. Examples

As an example, a patient comes in with an achy back. We of course will treat the back, but we must ask why did the patient get this problem? Why hasn’t it gone away? Perhaps he developed the problem through poor posture – we must look at his posture and help him correct it with exercises. Perhaps the problem didn’t resolve itself because of poor nutrition – we must educate the patient about diet. Why didn’t the patient know he was not treating his body well? Perhaps he is not in touch with his body – we must teach him qigong.

Another example, a patient has high blood pressure. She is given a drug for the symptom. She makes no changes to her life. The problem is still there. 10 years later she develops breast cancer. In Chinese medicine, both of these problems come from the same source – stagnant liver qi. Qigong would have helped her – allowed her to control her blood pressure and prevent the cancer.

 

4. Qigong

This is where qigong comes in. Qigong is a body/mind/spirit exercise system that addresses the top-end of the treatment hierarchy and helps keep your patients well.

Qigong does a few things:

Moves the body and provides for the flow of blood, lymph and qi – aids in healing.

Relaxes and calms the body – brings peace.

It enhances the mind/body connection. This means that the patient becomes more in touch with his/her body. The patient is then more sensitive to minor imbalances and can take action before the minor problem becomes worse. This increased sensitivity also allows the patient to notice other things in their life that may be disturbing them - diet, work, environment, relationships, etc. – and make changes.

It gives people back responsibility for their own health

 

5. Qigong Exercises

The exercises I teach vary from the very simple to complex forms like Soaring Crane Qigong.

Of the simple forms taught in the clinic:

Meditation – to help relax. Explain the use of a mantra to help calm the mind.

Simple movements – flexing and extending. Later adding complexity and visualizations.

More complex forms taught in the clinic:

Liver Cleanse Remedy Routine (from Soaring Crane) – good for many patients with liver problems.

Gathering Qi Remedy Routine (from Soaring Crane) – good for general strengthening.

Greater Complexity (often taught piece-by-piece in the clinic or in ongoing classes):

Soaring Crane Qigong – a great hour form that exercises all the joints in the body plus moves the qi. The form is reasonably complex and requires some agility.

Fragrant Qigong – for those that can’t move as well. Not as much training needed – the patient can follow along while watching a video.

 

6. Conclusion

Qigong is a wonderful addition to a holistic clinic. It fits in well with the holistic philosophy and provides a great service to your patients. There are many forms of qigong – only a few were described here.

In order to treat your patient well, you must help them lead a better life. If you just treat their symptoms, the problem will just come back – maybe not the same way, but some way. We, as physicians, may not be able to treat the patient’s root problem. But, with qigong, we are able to help the patient treat his or her own problem.

 


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Last changed 11/28/06

Copyright 2006 Qigong Association of America