Q. Will your Healing Movement System work for my condition?
Healing Movements System will help any condition because it helps to improve your overall health and mobility. It is based on Qigong (Qi, life force energy and gong, work), which is the basis of Chinese medicine. Healing Movements are all about the movement of energy, or qi, in your body. Health is the free flow of energy in the body.
Q. How does Healing Movements System work?
I designed Healing Movements System to work on all the things I needed to recover from a terrible injury. In Chinese medicine, all pain and dysfunction is the result of blocked energy in the body.
I began with breathing exercises to bring in oxygen and energy. Then Tai Chi Kung joint rotations open up areas (near joints) where energy can become blocked. Then there are exercises to move energy along the acupuncture meridians and a beautiful exercise to let energy flow throughout the whole body.
Q. How could you do exercises if you were paralyzed?
That was exactly the question I asked my Qigong masters after my accident! They calmly replied: “Do them in your mind and eventually your body will follow.” A basic premise behind Qigong is: the mind moves the qi. They were right.
Q. What can I do to be free of pain with my back? I have 1 bulging disc and herniated discs L2 and L5.
Do Qigong! I had 16 herniated disks and now I have no pain. You can do it too. The key to relieving chronic pain in your back is to re-train your muscles and your nervous system so they don’t pull the discs out of alignment. When your back is strong and balanced and free to move correctly, it won’t send pain signals anymore.
Unless you have had an accident, which moved the discs out of place, it was your muscles and connective tissue that pulled the discs out of alignment in the first place. Bones don’t move all by themselves! Qigong exercises are perfect for re-training the muscles and nervous system back into balance.
Q. I am trying to avoid back surgery. Now mobile after 3 months and doing well in pool. Would I be ready to try your DVD?
Yes, and bravo for keeping mobile! Now would be a perfect time to get started with Healing Movements System. Start out very gently, never move in such a way to increase pain, and over time your strength and range of motion will increase naturally, and any pain you may still have will decrease.
Q. Alleviating chronic pain – how often would I need to do Qigong to relieve it?
My Qigong teachers had a saying, “Do Qigong for thirty days and it will change your life.” I do it every day because it keeps me healthy and pain-free. Many of my students have made Qigong a part of their lives and they miss it when they don’t do it.
I would suggest doing the Healing Movements System DVD 3-4 times a week and also doing just a little bit every day until it becomes a habit. Take a look at my ebook “Healing Through Movement, 9 Principles to Health and Healing The Natural Way.” It explains the principles necessary for healing chronic pain.
Q. How can I get pain relief for my right hand fingers? And that may include right toes, hip and back now too!
Move them and gently massage them. Do the DVD a several times a week to keep the energy throughout the body flowing well. Then do the joint rotations from the neck to wrists daily. (The nerves that control the fingers start in the neck).
If you are starting to experience pain from arthritis, focus on all the joint rotations. Remember “Motion is Lotion.”
Q. I am focused on clearing out my immune system in preparation for major surgery. What would aid this process?
Unlike the circulatory system, the immune system doesn’t have a pump to circulate fluids. Expansion and contraction of the muscles through exercise is what moves the lymphatic fluid. So keep moving! I suggest that you do the breathing exercises daily and increase the amount of time you do “the shake.”
Keep well hydrated throughout the day and especially while you exercise. And eat very clean foods: organic, lots of veggies!
Q. Although I tried alternative platelet injections for my knee, I am seeing some orthopedic surgeons and will probably have full or partial right knee surgery in the Fall. What movements can I do now and what can I do after the surgery to strengthen my leg?
The one-legged joint rotations will help strengthen the knee before surgery as will the Ba Duan Jin # 6. Don’t do the “Knee Circles” if they hurt.
I had a total knee replacement myself and used Ba Duan Jin #6 to rehab myself. Do this very, very gently holding onto a counter or the back of a chair. Only move as much as you can without pain. I did this 40-50 times a day, just a little at a time.
Q. How do you direct healing energy to a place that is diseased?
The mind moves the qi, or life force energy. As you breathe in, imagine that you are taking healing energy from a loving universe into your lungs. Image that energy as a color that is pleasing to you. As you breathe out, imagine that you are sending that loving color into the area of your body that needs help. Relax your whole body as you breathe out.
Q. At age 72, I am beginning to “break down”. I had the beginnings of PAD (peripheral artery disease) that necessitated surgery to clear the blockage. I have had impingement in my shoulder and now my lower back is giving be problems. Neck is also a concern. What would you suggest to alleviate these problems and prevent a recurrence of them?
At your age, it is important to make healing movements a regular part of your life. It is not enough just to repair certain problems and go back to doing the same things you have always done. Great health is still possible for someone like you, but a different kind of commitment is necessary. We eat every day. We breathe every day. It’s important to move every day too. I would suggest developing a Qigong life-practice that becomes part of your daily life.
Q. How to be more in the moment and advice on meditating. (Frenetic mind)
A lot of people have trouble with seated meditation, including me! I would suggest doing a moving meditation like Qigong. The Healing Movements System DVD has a 40-minute “workout” which is actually a moving meditation. Focusing on the slow, precise movement of your body takes your mind away from frenetic thoughts. Like any skill, it takes practice. A great side effect of doing Qigong meditation is better overall health!
Q. Is the Healing Movements DVD the only QiGong workout I need to do for full benefits or would I need to incorporate other movements?
There are hundreds of other forms of Qigong and thousand of different individual movements! Healing Movements System is actually a blend of different Qigong styles.
The exercises on the Healing Movements System DVD are great for healing and maintaining a healthy body. If you are looking for greater strength and vitality, or looking for greater athletic ability, there are other forms of Qigong that I use with more advanced students.
Q. Do I need to do something else for cardio or strength training?
I get this question all the time from beginning students. They always ask if I do any weight training or cardio myself. The answer is NO! I only do Qigong.
This question reflects a common misconception about health and fitness perpetuated by Western authorities. Qigong is a complete system for health, healing, strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Q. I would like to know more about the work you did on your own mindset to get you past any emotional blocks and thought patterns that could have impeded your progress. I would also ask for ways to use those strategies not only in the areas of health, but also in relationships and in financial areas. I feel your mental and emotional strategies for success could be applied in all areas of life.
Great question! Yes, Qigong is a complete life-practice, not just an exercise program. It principles apply to all aspects of life. The basic premise is to work with the natural way of things, called the Tao, not trying to force your own will on an outcome.
In my own recovery, this meant allowing and encouraging the blocked energy to flow in its natural patterns. It meant releasing negativity and going with the flow.
I don’t want to tell you this is easy or that I was always in the right mindset. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. There were times I wanted to give up and times I thought the naysayers were right. But I kept coming back to the Taoist teachings: let go and just do.
Q. Why you do what you do?
After I recovered, I looked back on what had happened to me. I survived a 200-foot fall and landed on my head. There was an off-duty paramedic in a truck behind my car. It happened one mile from a level-one trauma center. I was in the hospital emergency room 20 minutes after the accident. There was a world-class neck and back surgeon on call that afternoon. I survived a 27-hour surgery. I had a background in medical Qigong.
That’s a lot of help from the Universe! I felt like I was saved for a reason, and that reason was to help others through pain, despair and suffering.
Q. I would ask you about how you kept your faith that your body would recover despite all the experts telling you otherwise.
I was lucky enough to have seen the power of Qigong when I was very young. I knew that amazing things were possible. But it wasn’t easy and I didn’t stay on track all the time. I had periods of depression, despair and anger. I just kept coming back to the practice again and again and again.
Q. Hi Joe, You always have been very positive about the healing potential for anyone who works at it (like your story). I have more work to do- I am a massage therapist now for almost 23 yrs., & I have some pain/numbness in upper body & extremities (fingers and thumbs, shoulders, arms, neck, & Head). I have been to massage therapist, acupuncture practitioner, your DVD, my husband works on my – hands, body, back, & neck, and I am realizing that in order to love this body- heal this body, I need to do the work- knowing these issues in my body need a lot of positive energy from me & that takes focus: dedication: care/effort & time/commitment. I have talked to you a couple times and it has been a good advice yet…how does one follow such a regime (unless you just do it- even though the “relief factor” is always shifting to something new or seeming to be very small effect)? What have you done for you to get better and better right along with your age- really? What does that honestly feel like (please describe? Can one get beyond small effects to big ones that last? Sincerely, CM
Don’t look at it just as relief from pain. Look at it as a Practice that is an integral part of your daily life. That is what I do. Qigong is a deeply spiritual practice that integrates body, mind and spirit. It is a practice that is ever evolving as your life evolves. Bring it into everything you do.
I have morning rituals that are spiritual practices and I bring that spirituality into very movement I make during the day. My life, my health, my fitness and my spiritual connection are all getting better as I age.
Q. A friend attends one of your classes regularly and benefits greatly from it. I had rotator cuff surgery last March. My shoulder is still tender and I have 2 knee replacements, another shoulder repair, neuropathy in my feet and a pin in my ankle. Is there something that I can do to help myself? I don’t think I can keep up with a regular class.
Whether you are in a class or doing the DVD at home, always work within your current limits. Never strain, push yourself or do a movement that causes pain. Do only what you can, and over time your limitations will decrease.
Q. I bought the DVD on the advice of my counselor. I am stressed out. It is hard to get motivated when I am skeptical that the exercises will help. I am a software engineer by trade. I know there is no magic bullet, but there may be something simple to do daily that shows some results in a short period of time. Do you think the 12 minute warmup would suffice, even though no physical activities are to follow?
I would suggest doing the breathing exercises to start. Breathing and slow motion is the key to dealing with stress, not the amount of time you put in. Do the breathing exercises along with the DVD. That will take you only 12 minutes too.
Q. Why are you barefoot in the DVD?
Inner awareness of our body is important to health, healing, balance and vitality. It all starts with our feet. Over the centuries of wearing shoes, human beings have lost touch with basic sensations of contact with the earth through our feet. Those sensations in the feet (and elsewhere) are called proprioception. We wake up our dormant sense of inner body awareness by working barefoot.
We also have muscles in the feet and ankles that have become weak from lack of stimulation. Going barefoot gives our feet the stimulation we need.
Q. How is Qigong different than yoga?
Most Yoga is composed of stationary poses and most Qigong uses moving poses.
Qigong also uses standing poses, but they are held for a much longer time than is typical for Yoga poses. Yoga emphasizes flexibility and strength. Qigong emphasizes fluid movement sequences.
Although a lot of Westernized yoga works on the physical body as an exercise, Qigong works on the body as a healing path which can then lead to spiritual enlightenment.
Qigong and Yoga have different movements and poses, but they both use the breath to move energy and quiet the mind.
Q. I am 53 and have been doing high energy work outs in combination w running since I was 16 years old. My hips ache constantly. I’m afraid that I’m already in the same shape the DVD wants to get me in. What can you tell me?
I’m also looking for something for my mom who is a diabetic and just had major by pass surgery. She is unsure of her mobility.. More fear than anything else..
If your hips ache constantly, you are definitely not in the shape my program brings people! It is a common misconception that being physically fit and being healthfully fit are the same thing. High intensity workouts and running are what Chinese medicine calls ‘Yang’ exercise. Too much Yang exercise depletes “chi” (energy) over time and leads to pain- like achy hips. Pain relief only comes with rest – or with Yin exercise. The Healing Movements System, based on the Chinese healing art called Qigong (Chi Gung) is “Yin” exercise. A balance between Yin and Yang will make you healthfully fit.
Yin and yang are relative, so for your mother, the Healing Movements System would be yang for her. A good solution for both you and your mother would be to do the Healing Movements System DVD together: balance for you and strength and mobility for her.
Q. At a talk of yours, I think you mentioned that you aren’t in favor of using weights. I wanted to double check on that. My typical workout is about 30 minutes of recumbent bike and/or treadmill followed by 20 to 25 minutes of strength training. I alternate, doing upper body strength and lower body strength on different days. I try to do each a couple of times each week. This is the regimen my PT had put me on.
How much of this can your full workout replace? I went through your explanation of each exercise this morning as well as the 10 minute brief workout. I know this isn’t aerobics but I got the feeling that doing the full 45 minutes would definitely be a workout! If a person does your full workout regularly what do you recommend adding to that? Just aerobics?
One other question. The Qi Gong dvd I’ve been using also incorporates 10 minutes of chi self-massage. What is your thought on that? All I know is that it feels “really good.” A Qi Gong class I went to at one time at a gym incorporated bongers for the self-massage. Do you approve of those? I have one but actually haven’t been using it except when I have a very tight neck and shoulders.
I’m really looking forward to using your dvd!
My issue with weights is twofold: 1. Weights do not offer functional benefits, they are linear movements, not the spiral movements humans and other animals use. No animal in the woods lifts logs for strength training. Animals use functional bodyweight movements!Most people work out with too much weight and put microscopic tears in muscles in order to build muscle strength. This eventually causes stiffness and decreased range of motion. That being said, if you are using very light weights and not getting sore after a workout you are probably ok. But you are much better off if you use functional strength training, which uses circular or spiral motion.
The recumbent bike is wonderful- keep it up. As is walking around the block, preferably on grass or uneven terrain. Be careful of treadmills though. Research shows that suggests that many of the people requiring hip replacements previously worked out on treadmills.
My DVD is a full workout and if you were to do this every day, I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how fit and healthy you feel. It does actually offer great aerobics benefit. A research study at Oxford showed that Tai Chi (similar to what I do) gave much greater aerobic benefit that power walking!
So if you feel the need to add anything, I would suggest increasing that amount of time you do the shaking exercises. Work up to 5-10 minutes and then tell me how you feel!
Chi self massage is absolutely wonderful! Bongers, fists, hands anything that feels good!