How Chinese Medicine Changed My Life

Treating Myself

Extracts from the book "How Chinese Medicine Changed My Life" written by John Dolic

I was to have many occasions in which to test the efficaciousness of various Chinese therapies on myself. Qigong in particular. It is one thing to have intellectual knowledge about a therapy, quite another to personally put it to the test and experience the results.

After arriving back home from China I attended, and gave a talk on traditional Chinese medicine, at an International Congress for Alternative and Orthodox Medicine in Belgrade. It was a high old time. I renewed acquaintance with many friends and we talked a lot, ate, drank and made merry. There was too much of everything. I was unaccustomed to such high living and felt, at the end of the night, bloated, dizzy from alcohol and tired.

I stayed overnight with some friends and when I went to clumsily get into my bed, a sofa with wooden ends, I cracked my knee cap severely against the wood. The pain was sickening. Within minutes the area had swelled considerably and I couldn't bend or stretch my leg.

My friends wanted to take me to hospital but it was after 1 am and a cold, wintry night. I told them not to worry and covered myself with a quilt and tried to sleep. But after a time I became quite feverish and threw off the quilt. I was thoroughly miserable and found the knee agonising to move. The only option open to me was to do Qigong and I began to do a form known as Relaxing Qigong.

I lay there, mentally directing energy from the top of my head, down through my body, consciously endeavouring to feel and relax each part as I came to it. When my attention passed over my knee I felt a strong sensation of something moving, like a flow of energy, but continued on undistracted, as the practice recommends, to cover my whole body down to the toes. I did this cycle three times. After the third cycle I brought my attention back to the injured knee and stayed there, concentrating on the painful area for several minutes. This all took about an hour.

Finally I was aware that my knee no longer hurt. I sat up and examined it. The swelling had gone down completely. The knee was black and blue but I could move it without pain. My friends couldn't believe their eyes in the morning. I felt both relieved and awed. Qigong is a powerful practice. It had worked quickly, I think, because I had practiced the Qigong immediately. Had I left it longer the treatment would have taken much more time to be effective.

Another time I used Chinese methods on myself was when I had, what seemed to be, an acute attack of appendicitis. For a period I had what could be called a ‘grumbling appendix'. I was still in the army at the time and, sometimes when I ran, felt discomfort in my right lower abdomen. But I ignored it.

The problem came to a head on the occasion of a family celebration where there was lots of wonderful food provided. I ate too much.

That night, around 1.00am, I got an agonising pain right in the appendix area. I couldn't straighten up and was forced to lie curled up. I wondered if I should call for help.

The pain got worse and I began to feel nauseous. There is a special point just below the knee, on the outside of the leg which is termed the appendix point. This is an acupuncture point which is not connected to the meridians, but has a specific action on the appendix.

I found it easily because the point had become exceedingly painful. I massaged the area as firmly as I could bear, with one finger. The pain continued but I kept on massaging. After 10 minutes the pain eased and I had a powerful urge to evacuate my bowels and went to the toilet. After that I felt fine and had a good night's sleep.

The discomfort in the area largely disappeared after that episode. But sometimes it would ache when I was lying down. It was not until I did Qigong on a regular basis that the problem vanished for good.

In China, in recent years, this specific leg point has been tested while carrying out western surgical procedures. When it is stimulated the surgically exposed appendix has been seen to move rapidly and eject its contents. Accounts of such tests are written up in many Chinese medical journals.

I am thankful today I don't have to wear glasses but there was a time when I did. After two years of steady reading at medical school I found my eyes were beginning to show the strain. This study was far more concentrated than the language course and not so much fun. At language school we joked and laughed a lot - now the tempo had radically changed.

I was the only foreigner in a big class of Chinese students and though I had my diploma in Mandarin, compared to them, I still had a language problem. To read the board, make notes and follow the lecturer, who spoke in rapid-fire Mandarin, was quite a task. The strain began to tell and manifested primarily with my vision, my sight blurred when I watched TV. When I had my eyes tested I was told there was some short-sightedness but it wasn't too bad. I didn't bother getting glasses then.

In my third and fourth year of medicine I simply had to resort to them. But I noticed, when I relaxed, my sight improved and I began to practice being relaxed as I read. I also did a particular massage for the eyes; a form of which is taught to Chinese primary school students. They do this every morning before classes. I had read about such exercises in various Chinese medical journals and popular magazines. But it was only when I started to do Qigong regularly that my eye sight improved to the extent that I could give up wearing glasses. This is still true today, seventeen years later.

There was another time when I got a real scare. The worst yet ... ... 

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