Qigong for M.S., Lupus
Sufferers of M.S., lupus and fibromyalgia can manage and reduce, if not eliminate, symptoms more effectively with a well-designed qigong program to address their needs. Although multiple sclerosis, lupus and fibromyalgia are all very different disorders, sufferers can benefit from the following tai chi qigong regimen.
Begin with yogic breathing to oxygenate and detoxify the body, flushing out mineral deposits and other contaminants in joints and muscles. Also important, qigong (a.k.a chi kung) yogic breathing is essential for generating healing chi energy — the first step to reducing pain, promoting healing and building the immune system.
For yogic breathing, start with diaphragmatic breathing. Once you can do that automatically, you can practice alternate nostril breathing to promote brain activity, mental alertness and clarity, balance hemispheric activity, and promote mental healing.
Sufferers of multiple sclerosis will find alternate nostril breathing especially helpful for detoxification in the brain, healing and rejuvenation. And headache and migraine sufferers often find symptoms alleviated.
Remember also to drink plenty of water purified by distillation or reverse osmosis, first to promote oxygenation in the brain and dilate blood vessels for better circulation, and secondly, to flush out toxins.
When practicing any tai chi qigong exercise including yogic breathing, try to do so under full spectrum lighting, which will help to lower high blood pressure, increase your vitamin D, improve blood circulation, reduce migraine headaches and strengthen the immune system.
Many sufferers of chronic fatigue find full spectrum lighting gives them more energy as well. And if you suffer from arthritis, exposure to full spectrum lighting can alleviate much of the pain and stiffness.
However, because lupus sufferers cannot stand direct exposure to sunlight, if you suffer from lupus, wait until most of your symptoms disappear after several months of tai chi qigong therapy before exposing yourself to full spectrum lighting.
Since low energy and chronic fatigue is common to all three conditions of M.S., lupus, and fibromyalgia, sufferers should practice Shou Qi Fa or Gathering the Chi Qigong upon mastering diaphragmatic breathing.
Gathering the Chi Qigong is gentle on the body, promoting generation and circulation of healing chi energy that is both soothing, relaxing and revitalizing, without being too physically demanding. A great way to start off your morning with a not too strenuous exercise.
Another good one to practice is Taiji Qigong Nuanshen Fa or Tai Chi Chi Kung Warm-Up Exercises. Although these are often practiced as warm-up exercises to more rigorous tai chi qigong exercises, they can be practiced on their own.
Though not very strenuous, they are nevertheless excellent for massaging the internal organs, promoting circulation of blood and chi energy and starting the healing process for all three conditions.
At this stage of your progress, you should be approximately one to three months into the tai chi qigong regimen. You should find the combination of yogic breathing and gentle qigong exercises have ameliorated your condition, reducing your pain and stiffness. You should also feel less easily fatigued, as you slowly build up your energy reserves.
Remember to consult with your physician before considering changing or reducing any medication. Many of my students at this stage find they no longer require as strong a dosage in prescription medication for their condition as they once did.
Continue to make progress with Xueqi Xunhuan Qigong or Circulating Blood and Chi Chi Kung. This particular qigong is one of the most powerful qigong of its kind, building stamina and blood and chi circulation. As a consequence, it is highly valued for both health and self-defence.
By increasing blood and chi circulation, it increases bone density by converting chi into much needed bone marrow. It mends bone and joint deterioration, even corrects bone deformities.
It enriches the blood, strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments, prevents nerve tissue degeneration, promotes cell regeneration and corrects imbalances in energies. Mental health is also vastly improved with the increased circulation and cell regeneration, improving memory, concentration and cognitive functions.
You can also practice San-Yao-Er Jingluo Duanlian Fa or Three-One-Two Meridian Qigong at the same time with Circulating Blood and Chi. 3-1-2 Qigong treats a wide range of ailments, including neurological conditions, arthritis, blood and energy circulation and motor functions.
You might ask, why not start with these two exercises immediately? Because your body might not be ready for it. If not, then your efforts will have been wasted.
Tai chi qigong cannot be rushed or speeded up. Since some of the exercises in Circulating Blood and Chi and 3-1-2 Qigong are very demanding, it is better for you to start with gentler exercises such as Gathering the Chi Qigong and Tai Chi Chi Kung Warm-Up Exercises than to tax yourself with more difficult exercises that your body can't handle.
While Gathering the Chi Qigong and the Warm-Up Exercises might be slower in yielding results, they nevertheless are better at accommodating your weaker stamina in the beginning stages. You don't want to advance too quickly forward, only to wear yourself out.
Secondly, tai chi qigong is very effective in detoxifying both mind and body. If you go too quickly or work too intensely, you may find yourself experiencing negative side effects of too many toxins being flushed out of your system too quickly, or worse, injuring yourself or making your M.S., lupus or fibromyalgia even worse.
Headaches, dizziness, energy blocks, soreness and tenderness in pressure points and lymphatic tissue, hypersensitivity to touch, irritability, depression, and extreme fatigue are some of the more common side effects of too rapid detoxification.
If you experience any of these, you should back off and give yourself a few days' rest, and drink lots of water purified by distillation or reverse osmosis, before continuing again, but at a slower pace.
It may take upwards to a few months for you to build your stamina, but with patience and persistence, you should find your health much improved. Work at a steady rate, don't rush the lessons and you'll find your efforts well rewarded.
There are five exercises in Circulating Blood and Chi Chi Kung. Do not feel you have to practice all five to see results. You can focus on one or more or alternate with different exercises. However, always practice Exercise #1 with or without the others.
Also important to include in your program is tai chi chuan. Tai chi chuan in combination with yogic breathing, Circulating Blood and Chi and 3-1-2 Qigong are the most powerful combination for treating and eliminating even the more severe symptoms of M.S., lupus and fibromyalgia.
Tai chi chuan "greases the joints," so to speak, increasing flexibility and mobility. The complex movements stress balance and coordination. The mental and physical exertion required to correctly perform the movements build stamina, promotes circulation, and heals, tones and conditions both mind and body. And the cultivation and circulation of healing energy promotes deep healing throughout every cell in the body.
However, because tai chi chuan is one of the most complex of all qigong exercises, for optimal results, you should build a solid foundation. Start with mastery of proper qigong stances and either the Zhan Zhuang Jingong or Qigong Standing Meditation Postures or Rooting Qigong to generate powerful rooting energy in the legs.
Songchi Qigong or Loosening Exercises for Tai Chi Chuan is also highly recommended, though not required in this regimen. The Taiji Qigong Shibashi or 18 Postures of Tai Chi Chi Kung is also optional as a warm-up exercise and to increase chi circulation, especially in the limbs.
These exercises are not a necessary part of the tai chi qigong regimen for M.S. lupus and fibromyalgia, as the Circulating Blood and Chi Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chi Kung Warm-Up Exercises meet those needs more effectively.
Lastly, winding down from tai chi chuan, be sure to practice about twenty minutes of jinggong or still meditation, then followed by Baojian Changshou Qigong or Health Preserving Qigong Exercises.
Even before learning tai chi chuan, you can practice both the meditation and the Health Preserving Qigong with your yogic breathing and/or Warm-Up Exercises.
Together, they provide many health benefits: balancing hemispheric activity in the brain, tonifying the organs, improving eyesight, promoting mental clarity, lowering blood pressure, strengthening bones and boosting the immune system.
Tai chi qigong is not a quick fix or miracle cure. You will probably have to practice it for the rest of your active life as a maintenance program even after all your debilitating symptoms disappear.
It takes much time and effort, not to mention faith, positive thinking, determination and persistence, but I have seen so many students recover from their M.S., lupus and fibromyalgia to lead healthy pain-free lives again when they incorporate regular daily tai chi qigong in their lifestyle. You could be one of them.