Qigong: A Healing Art as a “Life Force”

Qigong: A Healing Art as a “Life Force”

Holistic health and fitness has been a huge part of my life, both from the perspective of accomplishment, as well as healing and overall health and wellbeing. I love seeing the transformation my clients go through and how sharing what I have learned so far in this lifetime makes a positive difference for others. It gives me a sense of purpose and is one of the most rewarding things that I know.

A large part of my holistic health journey started in 2011, when I was dealing with severe health issues, chronic knee and joint pains and an under-functioning thyroid. I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and western doctors told me that I’d have to take a medication every day for the rest of my life because there was no cure.

After years of pushing my body to its limit in the fitness industry, as a body builder and cover model, my body started to take a toll. I wasn’t living a balanced life, even though I thought it was a healthy one. The stress on my body caused an autoimmune disease called vasculitis. I was treated with several different drugs to suppress my immune system. This, in turn, had an effect on both my thyroid and my adrenal glands. I couldn’t function as a normal human being unless I was taking thyroid medication. 

The thyroid is a gland that controls the function of all the organs in the body including your metabolism by releasing hormones. When it doesn’t work properly, it affects your entire body, including your organs, digestion, hormones, energy levels, and overall wellbeing. In a nutshell, I was a mess. Even though it seemed impossible, I had heard that the body has the ability to heal itself and I chose to believe that. My new mission was to figure out how.

I started researching Chinese medicine and what in the western world is called “alternative healing modalities,” even though these practices have been around for several thousand years.

Through my research, I discovered QiGong. I was introduced to the art and practice by a QiGong Medical practitioner and Grandmaster of the art, Grandmaster Zhou Ting Jue (aka Master Zhou). At first, I thought I would have to travel to China to meet him, but it turned out he moved to Los Angeles 30 years ago and was teaching QiGong and offering QiGong healing treatments. Master Zhou had learned this ancient practice at age 7 from an uncle in China, and he grew up in temples. He studied and practiced daily in the temples of the legendary Wudang Mountains, which I have been blessed to visit. Today Master Zhou is 83 and living a happy and healthy life. 

QiGong is one of 3 healing arts in China, along with acupuncture and herbology. Qi means “life force”. The life force that is in all living beings and in nature all around us. Gong translates to “cultivation”. The full translation of QiGong means “life force cultivation”. It is an ancient moving meditation involving, movement, breath and intention. The purpose of QiGong is to align, build and balance one’s “Qi”, meaning one’s life force.

The belief is that when your Qi is balanced, the body functions at its optimal level and will restore all the cells and functions in the body for healing to occur. The benefits go beyond healing, we can see that in the feats of the Shaolin monks who can do remarkable things with their bodies.

I started seeing Master Zhou once a week for treatment. Without telling him what was wrong with me in the first session, he diagnosed the problem and through his translator told me that my Qi was imbalanced particularly around my Thyroid. I explained that I was on a medication, and Master Zhou told me to take half my medication for the first two weeks, then stop it completely. He invited me to come and learn QiGong with him once a week with the requirement that I practice every day on my own. At that point, I committed myself to his teachings and became his student.

Within 3 months my thyroid normalized itself and I haven’t been on any medication since. Not only did my thyroid recover, but all chronic pains I was dealing with have vanished over the years.

I have been a student of Qigong ever since and I can say, without a doubt, that I can do things physically that would have been impossible in 2011. In 2016 I was blessed to represent the United States and win the martial arts World Championship in the art of Escrima/Arnis; a Martial Art from the Philippines that you see in films such as the Bourne Identity, Deadpool and many other popular action movies.

I feel better today than I can ever remember, both physically, mentally and emotionally. I credit the daily practice of QiGong, holistic nutrition and exercise.

I am excited to bring QiGong to the WELL Learning Library because it is an amazing platform that allows many people access to extraordinary health, fitness and wellbeing modalities. I believe this is important to a balanced life, especially in a world where stress has become a norm, increasing the importance of having practices, like the ones offered on the WELL Learning Library, to cultivate a strong and balanced mind, body and spirit.

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Being Well Over the Holidays

Being Well Over the Holidays

Being Well Over the Holidays

Let’s be real, we all want to indulge over the holidays. And to be honest, you deserve it! The holidays are a time that we love to spend with family and friends, rest and recharge, and maybe even let loose with a holiday cocktail or two.

Champagne. Hot Toddies. Peppermint Mochas. Pie. Ice Cream. Chocolate. Cheese and Crackers. Ham. Gingerbread Houses. Turkey. Sugar Cookies. Prime Rib. Stuffing. Peppermint Bark. Yum yum.

Are you hungry yet? The point is, most of us are going to splurge a little this holiday season and that’s ok. Here are 5 habits you can implement for improved well-being during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, while still indulging in some holiday treats. 

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Drinking water and staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your well-being. Make sure to drink lots of water and carry your canteen with you so that water is right there when you need it. Many health experts agree that being dehydrated can cause reduced energy, that drinking lots of water can help you lose weight, and that increased water intake can prevent certain health problems. So, always stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water every day.

2. Eat Sugar in Moderation.

Most of us are going to indulge in some sweets, maybe some holiday cocktails, and most likely a lot of food. Try to eat and drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, especially foods that are high in sugar. WebMD says that too much sugar can affect body weight, sexual health, organ health, tooth cavities, skin inflammation and aging, brain functioning and mood, and joint pain. Enjoy in moderation, but don’t go overboard!

3. Get Lots of Sleep.

Getting enough sleep is vital to our well-being. Use the holidays as a time to get lots of it. Most of us don’t get enough sleep throughout the year. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults 18-64 years old. And WebMD says that getting more sleep increases your brain’s sharpness, boosts your mood, increase heart health, improves athletic achievement, steadies blood sugar levels, fights illness, aides weight control. The holidays are busy and packed with commitments, but don’t forget to treat yourself and get the sleep you need.

4. Be Active.

You may not have time to work out or go to the gym, but you can always find activities to do with your friends and family that have you get out and move around. Go for a hike or walk around the neighborhood. Use the stairs. Park further away and walk to your destination. Or, check out these clever ways to get some quick exercise in, no matter where you are. None of them require a gym or anything other than your willingness to try them out!

5. Connect With Family and Friends.

Connection is something we need as humans, although many of us often forget this. According to Psychology Today, social connection strengthens our immune system, helps us recover from disease faster, increases our self-esteem and emotional well-being, and may even lengthen our life. Take the time to be with your friends and family. Find out what they are up to. Share what you’ve been up to. Come from love, gratitude, and acceptance, and this will create the space for connection to occur.

Take on these wellness tips and you will be ready to hit the ground “running” in the new year!

The WELL Learning Library team would like to wish you and your family a very special holiday season! However you choose to celebrate this time, be generous with yourself and others.