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
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!