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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Tomm Voss is an actor, stuntman, world champion Martial Artist, public speaker and a professional holistic fitness consultant who has worked with major Fitness publications and with CBS on popular television shows as well as American TV ads revolving around fitness. After achieving several international fitness-related awards and PROPTA certifications, Tomm is currently spending much of his time devoted to Qigong teaching as well as teaching the art of communication to kids.