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LifeStyle with Tai Chi and Qigong >> Tai Chi Qigong for Daily Life

Tai Chi and Qigong, My Passion for Life!
by Barbara (Bobbie) Purvis, the First Place winner in the Student Group of ATCQA 2012 Writing Contest
When I tell people I practice Tai Chi and Qigong, I might as well say I practice magic; such is the general perception of these energetic exercises derived from ancient Chinese medicine. While I am not saying Tai Chi and Qigong are magic, if you look at where I started and how far I’ve come, the cumulative effects of practicing these arts may certainly seem “magical.”  My struggle with several major health issues has spanned 28 years, and although doctors literally saved my life with experimental forms of chemotherapy, it has only been since I started practicing Tai Chi and Qigong that the quality of my life has improved dramatically.

In 1984, I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a severe form of bone marrow failure, and was part of a clinical study to test a new drug therapy.  What was thought to be a cure turned out to be a remission, so I receive additional rounds of chemo in 1987 and 1990, with new combinations and higher doses of the potentially lifesaving drugs.  Over time, I developed conditions directly related to the chemotherapy:  Avascular Necrosis from an interruption of the blood supply to the bones resulting in joint damage; and Gastroparesis, a paralyzed stomach from damage to the Vagus nerve that controls stomach function.

During my third chemotherapy session, I wanted to try one of the complementary medical practices I’d read about like positive visualization, meditation, or a breathing therapy, but very little information was available back then.  Drawing from scant information in several disciplines, I created a simple practice that years later, I discovered was eerily similar to Xi Sui Jing, a form of Qigong known as “Bone Marrow Washing.”  About that time, I also happened upon an instructional Tai Chi video and while watching it noticed that my breathing slowed, my body relaxed, and my thoughts settled down, which made me want to do more than simply watch.

I searched for years, but had trouble locating a school or teacher in my area.  Three years ago, I FINALLY found the perfect place to learn and practice these wonderful health-giving and healing arts – Columbia Tai Chi Center.  I only wish there had been a school like this back when I first started looking.  What I love best about Tai Chi and Qigong is that they are among the few types of training where age or how healthy and physically fit you may be are NOT predictors of how well you will do.

I didn’t start practicing Tai Chi and Qigong until I was in my mid 50s. Today, while I still have multiple medical issues, in the years since I started practicing Tai Chi and Qigong, all but one of my blood counts and lab values are normal, and every major symptom has abated.  So, when people ask why I practice Tai Chi and Qigong, I tell them it’s my passion for life!




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