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A funny thing happened to me on the way to acupuncture. I discovered a strange phenomenon that I had never before heard of, much less expected to be doing that morning and for many mornings since. A few months ago I went to an acupuncturist to begin treatment in hopes of relieving symptoms related to my MS. I don’t have many symptoms to speak of; just numb toes that tend to ache a bit, tingly legs, occasional fatigue and forgetfulness, with the latter two likely attributed to my peri-menopausal state. I didn’t exactly know what my expectations were in getting acupuncture. My symptoms don’t even really bother me all that much. At that time, my last MRI had shown more active lesions even though I had not had an increase in symptoms and I didn’t want to change medications. I decided to explore alternatives to western medicine. I was told by my MS specialist that acupuncture could help to alleviate symptoms but certainly wasn’t a cure. I went with the idea that my MS specialist was wrong; I was hopeful for a cure or at least a clean, healthy MRI to match the way I actually felt. So I went to my 11:00 appointment dressed in yoga pants, having come straight from my 9:00 class. When I walked in, a petite Chinese woman who looked to be in her mid to late 50’s greeted me and said she would be with me shortly. In the mean time she had been collecting money from a few women who trickled in as I waited in the small foyer. I looked around the room and likened it to a sparsely decorated Chinese Restaurant, complete with a palm tree mural and oddly placed cherry wood furnishings. There as also a cello in the corner, which I found interesting. I didn’t want to judge a book by its somewhat tacky cover and so I instead focused on the warm way the people related to the woman who I later learned was Dr. K, the MD who was to perform my acupuncture. When Dr. K was finally able to get back to me, she asked if I was in a hurry, to which I replied that I was not. She then said that she had to teach a class before my appointment because the instructor had called in with a headache. She invited me to join the class free of charge and said it would last about 30 minutes. My first thought was, “Can’t she cure that girl’s headache with some needles or herbs?” But once I got passed my usual skeptical sarcasm, I said, “Sure, why not?” I was quickly cognizant to the fact that I had not the slightest idea as to what kind of class I had agreed to. I had read about the acupuncture on the facility’s website, but not about the other services available and I surmised from some literature on the wall that Dr. K was a Tai Chi enthusiast. I took my place near the other women who were in stocking feet facing a wall of mirrors. Yoga? No mats. Tai Chi? Maybe though I knew nothing about that either. I turned to the woman on the side of me and asked her what class I was in. She must have thought I was strange, standing there, ready to begin a class, yet unsure about what it even was. She said it was Qi Gong, pronounced Chee Gong. I looked puzzled and repeated the words and she confirmed that I heard correctly. Before I could explain to her that I wasn’t a lunatic who had just wandered in, out popped Dr. K in her sweats and on went the Chinese music. The music was punctuated by a loud man’s voice, which sounded like he was grunting words in a rhythmic pattern. I couldn’t understand what he was saying but guessed that the words corresponded with a count that seemed to follow the movements. I kept thinking in my mind how strange it was that I came for acupuncture and yet suddenly found myself in this class, just going with the flow. Thus I was introduced to the ancient Chinese art of energy cultivation and healing, Qi Gong.

After the class Dr. K came around and placed her hand a few inches away from each of the participant’s hands and proclaimed how she could “feel it”. Everyone agreed. She then came to me with her hand test and said, “You, we gotta work on!” and that is exactly what I’ve been striving to do ever since because apparently my blocked energy hadn’t been released in that first attempt. After my acupuncture appointment that day, I was instructed to do Qi Gong every day. I was sold a DVD that featured Dr. K and I made my next appointment. I felt really relaxed from the acupuncture, but felt like perhaps my relaxed state made me vulnerable to any suggestion. I was persuaded into spending money on a DVD that I thought I likely would never even watch, but one day after having the DVD for a couple of weeks I decided to try it. I kind of enjoyed it. I then played it on a weekend away with some of my friends and invited them to participate. The group dynamic seemed to increase the effect; the effect being a general feeling of well being. Since then I’ve explored ways of getting my energy flowing thereby improving my Qi from Qi Gong, to acupressure, to tapping. There is a lot involved when you start to read about Qi and Qi Gong, but it all seems to come down to the basic premise of unblocking blockages in order to allow energy to flow, thereby promoting healing. I didn’t know it at the time but the “feeling” Dr. K spoke of was the feeling of energy exuding from the palms of the hands of the participants. I have since experienced the “feeling” and it’s almost like a magnetic force field. Apparently acupuncture and acupressure work on the same principal of energy. I strive to do Qi Gong everyday, though I don’t seem to find the time. I do know that the more I do it the better I feel. It’s not strenuous and in the various exercises, there is something for everyone. I’ve seen DVD’s for seated Qi Gong, Therapeutic Qi Gong, Qi Gong for back and shoulder injuries; the list goes on. It’s best done in conjunction with meditation and visualization and the web is full of articles about it. Whether you have been diagnosed with a disease or not, everyone can benefit from good energy, so go with the flow!

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