Train the healthcare professionals Chow Qigong: A successful Alaska model

Article from National Tai Chi Examiner by Violet Li
Read full article and pictures here

Central Peninsula Hospital (CPH), the first Planetree affiliated hospital in Alaska, is a community-owned non-profit organization located on the Kenai Peninsula. It is dedicated in the offering of quality patient-centered care in a healing environment. They are becoming a regional medical center focused on improving individual and community health, while achieving national standards of excellence. To bring new tools to help their patients, CPH’s goal is to integrate Chow Qigong into the operations. They have been methodically implementing this program since 2008 and enjoying success.

CPH’s program is rather extensive. Bonnie Nichols, Director of Marketing and PR and Planetree Coordinator, said that they included a few components: hosting community presentations (physicians, employees, community), increasing student class size, coordinating workshops, housing students from Anchorage, self practice/discipline, developing regularly scheduled exercise classes, holding regularly scheduled meditation sessions, and assisting in the creation of a DVD sharing the Integrative Therapies Program at CPH and the long-term care Heritage Place. The program includes 100 hours of intensive training with the world renowned Qigong master Dr. Effie Chow. It started in 2008 and continued in 2009. CPH facilitated the following presentations:

  • Grand Rounds for physicians with CME for providers, and the topic was “Chow Medical Qigong – The Doctor Within”.
  • An interactive demonstration was held for staff and volunteers and directors.
  • A community education session through CPH’s “Dine and Discuss” program was held with Dr. Chow titled, “Improve Your Body, Mind and Spirit with Chow Medical Qigong”. Eighty attendees from the community came to the program.
  • Healing sessions with Dr. Chow as she offered Chow Qigong demonstrations. The results were astonishing:
  • A nurse in the community was able to become pain free from a migraine headache that had kept her in bed for three days vomiting. You can witness the healing process by clicking this link.
  • An employee with recent rotator cuff surgery left with greater mobility and reduced pain.
  • A volunteer who had been hospitalized after a fall and could not walk was able to get out of her wheel chair and walk.
  • A fireman with chronic low back pain was in 10 minutes able to move and danced for the group freely without pain.
  • A 4-year old girl who was having multiple “hot flashes” per day for the past year, and had seen several specialists, was referred to Dr. Chow after her Pediatrician came to the Grand Rounds. Dr. Chow utilized the brush techniques to relieve the symptoms.
  • Mim Tauriainen, age 87 had broken her right wrist 10 years previously and had a metal plate in her wrist had her ring finger folding under her middle finger so her hand could not lay out straight. She was unable to pick up anything with her left hand or to put on a glove or pick up a coffee mug. After ten minutes with Dr. Chow working on her hand, tendons and joint– her fingers straightened out and she could open and close her fist with her fingers spreading out and laying down normally. She could hold a cup to drink and put on gloves. Mim was singing and dancing at the end of her second private session. See photos in the slide show.
  • The student class sessions yielded good results as well. Bonnie stated that students practiced and worked hard daily to improve their general health, by experiencing greater discipline, losing weight, improving vision, reduced allergy symptoms, decreased chronic pain, gaining more energy, and becoming more flexible and positive. Debbie McKay was a participant with long-term scoliosis and had her spine straighten out during a 10 minute demonstration of Chinese massage techniques by Dr. Chow. She continues to report it feels straighter after the Chow massage. There were success stories all around.

After the training with Dr. Chow, CPH has utilized Chow Qigong and Chinese massage method to provide healing services to the community. Below are few applications:

  • Carol Tauriainen-Ernst, an Occupational Therapist at the long term care facility uses Chow Qigong everyday in her practice. She has seen amazing results with her patients. For example, Louise is an 86 year old female who has had multiple CVAs over the past several years and has left-sided hemiparesis. She is sometimes able to ambulate with a walker, especially after application of the lower extremity tracking qigong protocol. A young man in his 30’s sustained bilateral lower extremity neuropathy, weakness, and pain after back surgery to correct a bulging disc. He ambulated very slowly to these symptoms. Hip flexion during ambulation was approximately 35 degrees and his gait was slow and painful. After just one lower extremity tracking treatment he reported “Wow, I can feel my legs!” The therapists reported he ambulated faster and his hip flexion was decreased to approximately 20 degrees. The list just goes on and on.
  • Eunice Zech, a Respiratory Therapist, has used Chow Qigong on emergency and asthma patients, by helping them breathe properly. She has also instructed patients to activate their pericardium 8 point, and has used brushing and directing Qi to bring calm to patients in the emergency department or on the floor awaiting other interventions by medical professionals.
  • Leah Stanford, a drug and alcohol counselor continues to teach individuals undergoing drug and alcohol treatment of some of the basics of Chow Qigong. She has on numerous occasions used the lower and upper tracking points to help clients get relief from stress, fatigue and pain. Many clients suffer from stress headaches as they become sober and many have not dealt with their emotions in such a long time that they get cluster headaches and pain in their shoulder areas and neck. She has been able to use Chow Qigong to relieve their discomfort and pain and in turn teaches them how to help themselves and others.

According to Dr. Chow, CPH is the first health care organization that adopted Chow Qigong into their healing practice and actively have their medical professionals trained to integrate Qigong and Chinese medical massage into their practices.

CPH also has worked hard to develop a schedule where employees and citizens in the community are able to attend regular Qigong practice several times a week. They have seen countless positive results from practitioners. This fall, they will begin meditation classes weekly as well. With certification, they plan to increase its marketing efforts to get the community more involved in coming to practice sessions and meditation groups.

Since they have witnessed so many incredible results, Bonnie, Physical Medicine Director Teresa Robinson and Behavior Health Director Kristie Sellers is trying to establish a research project that all Chow Qigong students from Soldotna can participate and report their results. At this point, this project is awaiting administrative approval.

To expand their effort, CPH is hosting a follow-up training planned for April 14 – 15, 2012 with Dr. Chow to allow many more individuals to learn from Dr. Chow.


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