The Many Benefits of Chow Qigong
Chow Qigong was the open doorway to hope and healing for me in the face of growing health problems. Qigong taught me to cultivate my own core energy (life force), breathing and posture for remarkably improved health. Along with acupuncture, lifestyle changes and regular Qigong practice, I recovered from fibromyalgia! As a nurse and certified intuitive healer, I have learned that healing happens when we give our body, mind, and spirit what is most needed. Now I have the joy of teaching this health-generating practice to others.
J. Gordon (R.N.)
I was introduced to "Chow Qigong" over three years ago. I have MS, and was
using a cane a lot of the time. With the help of the positive energy that comes from the regular practice of Qigong, I have been walking unaided for over eighteen months. I think that the positive feedback from the teachers and students has definitely played a big part in that healing. Now, I am able to do a lot more than I thought I could do with MS. In fact, I feel good!
The Dr. Effie Chow healing Qigong exercises have been a blessing to me. Due to sports injury of my head and neck I suffered from inflammation in my limbs and a troubled neck and shoulders. One carpal tunnel operation was performed to relieve chronic pain. I became afraid of pain and did not exercise enough after the operation. I was unable to make a fist in my right hand. A good friend listened to my troubles and introduced me to Chow Qigong exercise classes at the McNabb Center. After attending regular exercise classes, I could make a fist again and soon also the inflammation in my limbs disappeared. . I am delighted that I lost considerable weight due to regular Qigong exercises combined with healthy diet. The healing energy flow during Chow Qigong exercises and meditation in group sessions did wonders to rejuvenate my mind and body. Thank you, Dr. Effie Chow, Qigong teachers and friends!
I have been a regular participant of Chow Qigong classes since 2005. Qigong has been of great benefit to me in many aspects of my life. It has taught me about the mind- body- spirit connection in relation to health and how to improve my core energy through breathing, exercises and meditation. Practicing Chow Qigong helps me participate in and have a positive influence on my own healing.
Straight from the Heart of a Nurse
As a Registered Nurse for 25 years, I had seen and experienced the advancement of modem western medicine in diagnosis and treatments, both medically and surgically. Many of these advances were considered "miracles" even 5-10 years ago. Due to the excellent research being done, many patients are able to lead a longer and better quality of life.
I also saw the drawbacks. Side effects from the long term use of drugs could be worse than the original problem. The permanent loss of an organ or a functional part of the body could lead to other health problems. Moreover, there was not enough emphasis on self-care in looking after one's health.
In the past, I had always been very negative about alternative medicine. When I worked in a local hospital, I saw patients who were sick because they had been to an incompetent practitioner or they hadn't followed proper instructions.
I didn't see a lot of patients who were helped by a competent health care practitioner, such as an acupuncturist, naturopath, homeopath etc. It wasn't until later on that I met some practitioners and witnessed the benefit on patients from their work, such as improving general health conditions, eliminating or reducing side effects of medical treatment (be it chemotherapy or radiation) and enhancing the treatments.
As a word of caution to anyone considering to try alternative or complementary medicine, I recommend that you be very careful in selecting a practitioner. Always get recommended by somebody you can really trust. I found a system called the Chow Qigong System which incorporates the Western concept of medicine with the Eastern, mainly the Traditional Chinese medicine, for a truly holistic system. In her system Dr. Chow teaches the students or clients tools they can use for the rest of their lives.
"Qi" means vital energy and "Gong" means work. At the beginning I was very skeptical about qigong because I couldn't see or feel it.
I first met Dr. Chow in 1995 at her introductory seminar here in Ottawa. I was the first to run up on stage when she asked for volunteers. I was so skeptical, I had to experience personally to believe it. I was impressed but not totally convinced and wanted to find out more.
I then attended the Chow Qigong basic workshop in Toronto and I watched Dr. Chow work on some of the participants. The first person was a journalist who attended' the course with her physiotherapist. For over six months, the journalist had suffered from pain in her right shoulder in spite of physiotherapy and taking different medications. In a matter of 15-20 minutes Dr. Chow had helped her to release the muscle tension on her shoulder thus relieving most of her pain. This was further confirmed by the physiotherapist who examined the shoulder and found that the rock-like muscle mass had softened.
Another person was a professional dancer who had stopped performing because of a persistent hip pain. Dr. Chow was able to help her do a back somersault. When the dancer realized what she had painlessly done, she cried out with joyful surprise.
At this point I was convinced. I went back to take the intensive Chow Qigong training in February 1997. After the first weekend I was able to feel my qi between my palms. My energy level was up and I was generally feeling much better.
In the March session, one of the students brought in a friend who suffered with ALS (Lou Gehrig' s disease). He had only finger movement in his right hand and toe movement of both his legs. He was able only to lift his left forearm with the elbow supported by his armrest. Dr. Chow talked to him, getting his case history, teaching him diaphragmatic breathing technique and showed him the importance of a positive attitude before starting the physical or technical aspect of her system (acupressure, massage etc.). We students (including the man's friend and his 15 year old daughter) also participated in helping him while learning the different techniques. After three hours, he was able to lift his left arm up straight (he even scratched his head), move his right arm across his body and bend both legs. We were all in joyful tears. As a follow-up, the techniques learned at the session were to be continued at home.
Since February 1997, I have been doing the Chow Qigong exercises, practicing diaphragmatic breathing, meditating and have tried to take a more positive approach to life. I have been able to handle problems more effectively, even in dealing with difficult people. I have lost a few pounds and many of my friends comment that I now have a sparkle in my eyes and I look terrific. They are surprised to see the difference.. As a bonus in practicing the different techniques (acupressure, massage, brushing etc.), I have also been able to help my family and friends relieve some aches and pains.
Having witnessed and experienced the positive outcome of the Chow System, I would be selfish to keep it to myself and I have to let the world know. This is why I am writing this to let everyone know so we can all learn from the system and benefit our well being the way I and many others have.
Angela Fung BA (psychology) RN
How Chow Qigong Improved my Physical and Neurological Conditions
About two and a half years ago, I embarked on diagnosis and treatments for physical and neurological problems that included environmental and food sensitivities, and soon celiac disease was added to the list. I was at that time attending Tai Chi classes to improve my spinal flexibility for driving. The tai chi was working, but I switched to Qigong classes because I was looking for a martial art that would also improve my breathing, agility, and thinking, as well as my flexibility. 'Chi' and 'Qi' are pronounced the same; both mean 'energy', while 'gong' means 'working with' - i.e. qigong consists of intentional physical movements and conscious breathing to improve the body, mind, and spirit.
There are many adaptations of qigong available. I chose Chow Qigong because of the four warm-up and the precious eight exercises developed by Dr Chow. These exercises combined with the diaphragmatic breathing effectively help people to regain and improve their health. Some people 'work out' while seated on a chair; for the rest of us all of the movements happen within the span of your arms, while standing. Everyone works at their own pace and level - no movements are strained - and newcomers are always welcome and given special introductory attention. After the physical exercises, I stay for a healing meditation guided by a recording of Dr Chow, followed by a few minutes of Om chanting, which grounds the whole experience and leaves me feeling very centered.
I look forward to the weekly sessions at the McNabb Community Centre (Tuesdays at 9:15 AM, and/or Wednesdays at 6 PM). Chow Qigong instructors are all certified by Dr Chow. I've chosen an annual membership, but other people choose to pay a reasonable drop-in fee only when they attend. From time to time, the Ottawa Chapter organizes a basic weekend course presented by Dr Chow, or an intensive 4-weekend course to train instructors. For me, practicing Chow Qigong is the most beneficial physical/mental exercise that I get - I recommend its gentle effectiveness to anyone looking for a safe, health-enhancing activity in a small-group setting with people who understand and support their efforts towards regaining health.
How Chow Qigong Changed My Life
My father passed away in 1997; and in 2000 I lost my mother after a trying battle with breast cancer. I was working full time at a demanding new job. I had three young children and I was traversing menopause. I managed the care giving of my mother during the last five months of her life – at the time of hospital reforms in Ottawa when the quality and continuity of health services were not at their best. After my mother’s death I arranged the funeral, closed up her apartment and settled her estate.
Therefore, it was not surprising that the combined action of the above stressor events led me to a state of physical and emotional exhaustion -- a total depletion of my qi. I did not want to see anybody. I had no energy to do the basic tasks in the household. I just wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to get better and was searching for an alternative to prescription medications. I went back to my Chinese roots and found Qigong. In 2000, I started going to Chow Qigong classes at McNabb community centre and never looked back. My health improved as my qi started slowly being replenished. I got my health back and even reversed the aging process. Friends and acquaintances who had not seen me for some years asked me what I did to look younger. My answer was simple: Chow Qigong.
Qigong is a 5000 year old Chinese system that was developed to maintain health and to prevent disease at a time when there were few resources available other than natural processes. Chow Qigong was developed by Grand Master Dr. Effie Chow and is one of thousands of types of Qigong. The Chow Integrated Healing System combines modern Western health practices, ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine and Dr. Chow’s original concepts of an integrated approach to health of the body, mind and spirit. Chow Qigong exercises helps to maintain and improve flexibility and the balance of the body, at the same time lubricating all joints of the body.
I got many benefits by practicing Chow Qigong exercises over the last 9 years. Chow Qigong taught me to be positive and let my intuition guide me. I am close to 60 years old and still do not need bifocals; my bone density test showed that of 45 years old. I regularly cycle to work (25min.). Recently, I went to visit a friend and was able to trek 10km down a 600m high mountain. The five elements meditation developed by Dr. Chow provided me with mental and spiritual benefits. I was able to focus in my tasks and eventually went back to work. My presence has given positive qi to my family, friends and co-workers. I am now teaching Chow Qigong classes at McNabb Community Centre and helped to start the Ottawa Chow Qigong Association.
We have Chow Qigong classes on Tuesday mornings (9:15-10:45 am) and Wednesday evenings (6-7:30 pm) at McNabb Community Centre. Maybe you’ll come to join us for a first complimentary class and I will share my passion for Chow Qigong with you!
Qigong and the Chow Integrated Healing System
Since the introduction of acupuncture to North America some thirty years ago, the general public has gradually become aware of other elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). One such element is Qigong, an ancient art predating the practice of acupuncture, which forms the underlying basis of TCM.
For thousands of years the practice of Qigong was veiled in secrecy with the knowledge and practice available only to China's intellectuals, privileged, or elite. The principles of Qigong were transmitted verbally from generation to generation for over four thousand years. Training was conducted on a personal basis, with instruction passed down by word of mouth from master to selected students. Variations in style developed both from inaccuracies in transmission and from improvements learned through personal questioning and observation. The result is some estimated 4,000 styles of Qigong.
In China today, thousands of people, motivated by the healing potential of Qigong, gather in parks to practice the art's graceful exercise movements to increase their energy levels and maintain good health. Detailed scientific and medical investigations into Qigong and its benefits have been undertaken by various establishments such as the Shanghai Qigong Research Institute, and numerous medical schools.
In North America, there is an increasing awareness of Qigong and its promise of improved health. There are a growing number of organizations spreading knowledge of their particular style of Qigong. As in China, Qigong is being investigated by modern Western medicine. The result is an increasing exchange of information on scientific studies into medical Qigong between China and North America.
"Q/' (pronounced chee) means air, breath, or vitality in Chinese; "Gong' means to develop or cultivate a skill over time. The primary components of most Qigong practice are deceptively simple: diaphragmatic breathing; proper posture in sitting, standing, and walking; meditation; a healthy diet; and Qigong exercise. With simple basic concepts easily learned, Qigong is a multi-faceted study and skill that can take a lifetime to master.
Some styles of Qigong exercises are internal, involving no visible outward motion; others involve slow rhythmic walking; still others involve stretching, uttering sounds, rolling objects between the hands, or breathing patterns choreographed to specific body movements. Most Qigong exercises are easy to learn when taught by a Master or reliable instructor.
While the basic components of Qigong seem simple on the surface, the underlying principles and process of development are involved and, at times, seem almost inexplicable. Some of the results can be dramatic; especially those concerned with physical disabilities or the more serious diseases. The range of phenomena with Qigong, from the effects on humans, animals, plants, and inanimate matter, to measurements recording several types of energies from the hands of Qigong Masters in the qi state, is different from anything science has yet investigated.
One individual involved in pursuing the scientific investigation of Qigong and integrating it with Western Medicine is Qigong Master, Dr. Effie Poy Yew Chow, a Western trained Registered Nurse with a Masters Degree in Behavioural Science and Communication and a Ph.D. in higher education. She has studied with Qigong masters in China, Taiwan, and the US, and has been a proponent of Qigong and TCM for some thirty-five years. Dr. Chow founded the East West Academy of Healing Arts in San Francisco in J973, and has been an active participant in The World Conference for Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong, and the International Conference on Qigong since their inception a decade ago.
Over the years, Dr. Chow has developed her own style of Qigong and the Chow Integrated Healing System. As with other Qigong styles, the Chow Integrated Healing System affects the individual on all three planes: physical; mental or emotional; and spiritual. In addition to skeletal components of proper posture, diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, and Qigong exercises, the Chow Integrated Healing System is based upon giving and receiving daily hugs, engaging in laughter daily, a positive peaceful approach to life, a specific sequence of Chow Qigong warm-ups and exercises designed to progressively stretch the body, strengthen the internal organs and open energy meridians to the flow of qi, and the belief that the best facilitator of personal healing is the individual himself.
With traditional training, months, and sometimes years, of dedicated practice are needed before the student gains a sense of qi and can begin to use it. In some practices, the student can spend a year or more learning to breathe before the master or teacher will divulge further information.
The Chow system teaches the student to use and feel qi within a comparatively short time. For some, the sensation of qi can be felt during the first practice. The Chow Integrated Healing System uses a number of components of TCM, including qi emission, meditation, stress reduction techniques, acupressure, acupuncture, physical manipulation, Classical Chinese massage, moxibustion, empowerment of the individual, and various other techniques and diagnostic measures. Dr. Chow has had successes with complaints ranging from headaches, backaches, joint stiffness, and stress, to allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, Parkinson's disease, Cerebral Palsy, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and paralysis resulting from car accidents or stroke. The Chow System has also helped improve the quality of life for many cancer patients.
Qigong is a health care alternative that has survived over four thousand years on empirical evidence of its effectiveness passed mainly by word of mouth. This alone is reason to take a look at what science is just beginning to investigate and validate. Qigong is truly a remarkable approach to holistic health.
Laura G. Ozimek