We’ve all come across the doctor with nicotine-stained hands that tells you to quit smoking, the nutritionist that pounds candy bars after office hours, and the red wine-chugging dentist who advises cutting out coffee to avoid staining your teeth.

Oh yes, the world is full of health care practitioners who don’t practice what they preach.

Today, my friends, let me tell you…I’m more than a little relieved that I’m not one of them.

Becoming my own patient.

If you’ve read my previous blog posts or attended one of my classes you’ll know that the spine scroll is a delicious little movement that does wonders for your back health. Usually. So imagine my surprise when I was doing my own qigong practice and suddenly felt excruciating back pain, right in the middle of a spine scroll.

I’d love to tell you that this was immediately followed by a Zen-like moment of acceptance but naturally I freaked out — I’m only human, right?

Luckily, my panic only lasted a moment. My years of training soon kicked in and I got to work on my own healing.

Every qigong session starts with a special meditation so this was the ideal place to begin. I then applied some topical CBD, lay flat on the floor, and continued the meditation until that “oh crap!” feeling began to subside.

And it did subside…briefly. Until I realized that I might not be able to teach my Wednesday evening qigong class. How could I possibly tell my students class was canceled because I had back pain? Even worse was the fact that a planned trip to Kentucky meant I was going to have to endure the ultimate test on Saturday — an 8-hour car journey, with limited opportunity for stretching and movement. Not ideal when you have a back injury!

I knew I was in trouble.

Yet somehow, despite the odds, I was able to teach my Wednesday class. Even more surprising, I was more or less pain free from Saturday and even managed to practice qigong in the beauty of that Kentucky farm I was so worried about traveling to.

So how did I manage to overcome my back injury so quickly?

There was no magic bullet, no one thing that helped me heal. As is so often the case when it comes to our health, it’s about having a toolbox of healthy habits that you can call on when times get tough. And people you can call on to help.

Happily, my healing toolbox is stuffed with a combination of practices that helped me say “so long” to my back pain.  Heat pads, topical treatments, acupuncture, and massage all had their place, for sure. Even more powerful, I believe, was the healing ability of qigong itself. I treated the pain as a warning message — a message to be more present with my body and how it’s feeling as I continued to practice.

And for outside help, I looked to my qigong colleagues to send healing qi my way; I know it sounds a bit “out there” but I’m convinced that this, more than anything else, is the reason that I can sit, stand, walk, and spend 8 hours traveling, all pain free!

The preventative power of qigong.

For me, the whole episode, as unpleasant as it was, is such a beautiful reminder of why I teach qigong.

Sure it’s amazingly healing in the here and now, helping us beat the stress we’re already under, the back pain that plagues us, and the headaches we’ve become used to.

But more than that, qigong is an insurance policy. It’s our protection against future ailments and injuries. When you practice regularly, your default mindset becomes one of calm and clarity — when pain or stress hit, you automatically know what to do and where to look for help so that you have the best chance of healing your hurts before they take hold.

And as for outside help and healing? That’s what I’m here for…

If you’d like to start working on your own healing insurance policy, I’d love to welcome you to one of my classes!

We’ve got a new one starting on September 11th, find out how to sign up for it (and save $50!) here.