Medical qi gong teaching experience in Italy and France

Author: Ferraro Dominique
Affiliation: Via Statuto, 18 Milano 20121, Italy
Conference/Journal: 4th World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1998
Other: Pages: 209-211 , Word Count: 1212

It is with great pleasure that I seize the opportunity of the 4th World Conference on Medical Qigong to provide members and participants with some highlights on 4 years practical experience of teaching medical Qigong both in Italy and in France (1994-1998).

As a long time resident in China and Hong Kong (1982-1994) I soon
developed a very keen interest in medical Qigong and its mighty potential of physical and mental health preservation and healing. I started practicing Qigong and acupuncture with Doctor Yu Wun Pan in Hong Kong, and back in Beijing, I attended acupuncture courses at the Beijing Training Center of TCM. I was then lucky enough to be accepted as a student by Doctor Ma Xu Zhou and trained by herself in her father's famous series - Ma Li Tang Yang Sheng Qigong.

Back to Italy and France I engaged in the process of teaching medical Qigong to Italian doctors who are trained in TCM at the Institute of Holistic Chinese Medicine at the Urbino University, to health practitioners and students in Milan, and to elderly people both in Pavia and Milan. Up to now, I have summed up around 150 students who attend courses on a regular weekly basis, and some 500 for seminars.

According to the feedback I have from my students, a good 90% have
greatly benefited from a regular daily practice of Qigong exercises; and the minority that declines any improvement are usually those who are not steady in their exercises.

My teaching includes fundamentals of TCM, Qigong basic forms, Ma Li
Tang Yang Sheng Qigong: 'Six Sounds' (Liu Ze Jue), 'The Washing of the Bone Marrows' (Yi Sui Jin Jing), Five Animals, as well as Ma Xu Zhou's Qigong for the Eyesight (Jian Mu Gong). I also teach seasonal 5 organs Qigong and massage therapy.

Teaching Qigong in Europe, I found I had to adapt it somehow to the
Western mentality, as in Italy for example, the students were rather unaivare of what Medical Qigong is. So I had to start from the basic principles of TCM, meridians and energy circulation. It took a lot of explaining and talking. At first, I focused on very simple breathing exercices and therapeutic sounds, so that people could sense their energy and learn how to direct it. The main difficulty for them was to believe they could actually get better by practicing a few exercices every day. So, to overcome their own scepticism was the first target.

Then, it was important to teach them how to breathe properly; most people in the West have difficulty with abdominal breathing. They arrive at lessons stressed and tense after a hectic day and are hardly able to relax; so I found it useful to start each session with simple exercices which enable them to let go off the pressure and relax (Ba Duan Jin or Tu Dang Qi Gong). They have to learn the proper stance when standing or sitting. Most people have backache and don't know where it comes from or they don't relate their psychological problems to their body. Moreover, they usually lack discipline and constancy, but once they have started to experience the benefits of regular exercise, they do become very steadfast in their practice.

Most students feel immediate relief to their troubles in practicing the 6 therapeutic Sounds, thereby regulating their emotions and their organs energy. Meridian stretching. Exercises are also very popular to get rid of energy blockage along the meridians; some students were surprised to be able to feel actually the energy circulate along the course of the meridian.

In teaching medical Qigong to acupuncture doctors, I emphasize the
fact that a treatment which consists of both Qigong and acupuncture can heip them hurry up the healing process of their patients. In fact, quite a number of them who took the pain to show one or two specific exercices to their patients were surprised of the rapidity of the result. They found out that apart from the healing, the most rewarding effect was that the patients were soon able to channel their energy, and to participate as protagonists to the healing process thus recovering hope and self esteem.

Apart from relieving current chronic disturbs such as headache,
hypertension, insomnia, nervousness, backache, gynaecological problems, diabetes, and locomotor hindrance, the majority of my students stated that medical Qigong helped them to feel more serene and gave them the ability to be more focused in their professional and private life. After a few months practice, many of them underlined they felt Qigong sharpened their wits and enabled them to adapt better to their work and family issues, as well as to their environment, Quite a number of them acknowledged an increase of stamina and vitality, saying they were able to work more quickly, sleep less, enjoy life and feel fit, getting rid of stress all together. One of Qigong's greatest merits for Westerners is not only to discover a safe way of self-healing but also to put one's life back into perspective and to give you the capacity of reappraising its real values. Some shy and introverted persons said Qigong helped them develop self-confidence in making their own choices and were happy not to let themselves be bullied any longer by their relatives or boss.

Nearly 90% of the present course attendants agree that thanks to
regular practice, they feel better physically and psychologically and can cope adequately with their daily chores. Qigong for eyesight is in great demand, owing to current excessive computer work, stress and disorders of liver Qi. With a few simple self-massages and exercises, 80% of the 300 workshop and course students found benefit in their practice and were able to monitor their feelings and working time on the computer so as to relieve fatigue and avoid further damaging of their eyesight. After one to three months practice, most children and even some adults recovered from their shortsightedness. Quite a number of elderly persons were able to stabilize their eyesight and avoid surgery. All of them became aware of the damage that excessive emotions, wrong diet, inadequate posture and irregular lifestyle could do to their eyesight.

In three documented cases, patients found medical Qigong helped them a great deal through chemotherapy and enabled them to recover quickly afterwards. As far as Aids and HIV patients are concerned it is too early to make reliable statistics, as I hope to be able to start a Qigong project with a Milan hospital soon. Most of the patients who came to me privately have found a variety of benefits.

On the psychological level, they can cope better with their illness and come to terms with it. Moreover, minor disturbances such as diarrhea, fatigue, asthenia and dermatological diseases as well as propensity to catch cold are greatly relieved.

A project of Qigong seminars for training midwifes in assisting women during delivery in a Bologna hospital is currently under study and is to take place next year.

Finally, I have been asked to do a series of workshops in a French
medical school for training nurses in Pontarlier on the following
topic 'Medical Qigong as an Aide to Help Your Patients Overcome Stress' Other projects are under examination in hospitals and professional schools and my best wish is to keep promoting medical Qigong in Italy and France!