From the Battlefield to Breathwork
Upcoming Qi Revolution Offers Renewal for Veterans
by Jeff Primack
Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures and breathing techniques. Because of its ability to stop mental thinking immediately and encourage the mind to become energy aware, the practice is especially beneficial for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Qigong master I trained with was imprisoned by the Chinese government. During that time, he practiced Qigong and was strengthened by Qi in the air. His incredible energy in his mid-80s further reveals Qigong’s potential use in military training and reintegration of soldiers back into society.
Energy is tangible in the hands, much like a magnetic field pulsing with life. Veterans who are missing an arm, for example, practice Qigong and can feel the other arm’s Qi. Bullets that have passed through bone create a lifetime of real pain, but Qigong allows people to eliminate pain in a matter of minutes with Qi-holding postures. While memories from the battlefield are not erased, their grip on muscles, jaw and mind is temporarily lessened long enough for veterans to realize they have control over their mind and body via their breath. The technique “9-Breath Method” oxygenates to the core, creating a wave of peace that shuts down over-thinking.
Todd Nichols, a certified Qigong instructor, has worked with more than 1,000 veterans in facilities across the country. Sometimes, he shares, it can be challenging to lead Qigong breathing in lockdown facilities where chairs are held down with bags of sand. Frequent outbursts and flickering florescent lights compound the difficulties of teaching in the veterans’ hospitals themselves. Veterans are also often guarded and apprehensive. Todd draws them in and challenges them to take huge breaths, swallow them and hold them in their belly. A crammed room becomes momentarily silent before smiles and scattered giggles emerge. All it takes is participation, and the vibration is assured.
Teaching Qigong at the VA was not very respected in the beginning. Now it has grown from a single class to two classes each week. Alina Mayo, a physician in Florida who works with veterans, says Todd’s work has been highly successful. When vets do Qigong breathing with him in a group setting, trust issues and whether he’s a vet or not become less important. Old mind patterns are temporarily bypassed as the feeling of QI is strong enough to give a natural high. Many vets report this has been invaluable to replace harmful addictions. Todd says without the breathing techniques many veterans would give up.
Qi Revolution is the event most people first encounter us. When many hundreds of people practice Qigong under one roof, a massive group energy field forms. Last year, more than 200 veterans attended for free, and their transformation was palpable.
Qi Revolution comes to the Asheville Civic Center on March 10-12. The cost is $149 for three days of training. Fire, Police and Military are free. For more information, call 800-298-8970 or visit QiRevolution.com. See ad, page 3.
Jeff Primack has practiced Qigong for 20 years and trained more than 50,000 people at Qi Revolution seminars across the United States.