I had many reasons for wanting to apply to the Zhineng Medical Qigong program. And, not knowing exactly what I was signing up for didn’t dissuade me. Those who know me would agree that this is my par for the course. All I need is that spidey-sense about a person, place or thing and I leap.

I decided long ago to adopt the broadest healing spectrum possible as long as there was a focus of deep healing and not just symptom management.

It’ll come as no surprise that qigong is not trendy, trending or widely practiced in the US — not even in my professional circles. Because of my commitment to deep healing, I’m always looking for modalities to add, sometimes ones that aren’t well-know yet.

As a licensed acupuncturist though, it’s not a stretch to add yet another Chinese medical modality to my running list of skill sets. I’ve been in business for eight years and it’s been year after year of training: 5 Elements, 8 principles, TCM, Drs. Tung & Tan, e-stim, motor points, aesthetic acupuncture, use and appropriateness of moxibustion, gua sha, cupping, bloodletting, essential oils and last but not least, herbal and nutritional training. Plus, a three-year apprenticeship in the Art of Conversation with the late, great and dearly missed Bob Duggan and his teachings of how body symptoms are wisdom and the pathway to heal.

All of this training fits nicely together, each a piece of the wellness puzzle.

I look forward to all my training. I do it because I believe expanding my knowledge is not only enjoyable, but good for you, good for me, good for business, and at the very least, my state license and national accreditation requires it.

Yet, my latest modality was chosen mostly as a long-term investment in My Own Health Care.

I don’t have health insurance. I’ve not had health insurance consistently for 15 years even though I’ve had a serious illness. Since the advent of the Affordable Care Act, (which is deeply flawed but I absolutely agree with in principle) I participate minimally. Before the ACA, choosing the least expensive option was equally a thumbs down on its design as well a cash flow issue. I now have a catastrophic plan and a health share. I don’t pay for the continually inflating premiums and deductibles that so many Americans do while simultaneously having their scope of coverage reduced.

I’m in the business of health and well-being so I’m rigorous with how I stay well.

Common sense prevails. I’m very sensitive to how I keep the basic systems in check – sleep, food, drink, movement and healthy heart connections. The body is my Fitbit. I practice what I preach.

If it isn’t apparent already, I trust in the methods and practices of Eastern Medicine to heal more than I do in the Western Medical system.

This isn’t a rant against our current paradigm. Because of this system, I’m alive, gratefully. There’s room for diversity in this area, too. Western Medicine is admitting, for example, that it is reaching some of its limits with treating pain with pills. There is an obvious role for Western Medicine and its strength is clearly in urgent care. Having a heart attack? Sliced off a finger cutting vegetables? Car accident that caused severe back pain? Go directly to the Western Medicine experts when time is of the essence.

Chinese Medicine’s strength is when things don’t heal 100% or when you want a methodology to keep systems and stress in check.

The what-do-I-do-now when the lumbar still hurts after the car accident, the finger’s scar tissue won’t allow you full range-of-motion or use of the finger, or you really are afraid of another heart attack are all where Chinese Medicine shines. Plus, all those other things that WM scratches its head at, does its best to help, but in the end, doesn’t.

Chinese Medicine is a complete medicine, from colds to cancer. Yet in North America, many practitioners aren’t schooled in all of its eight branches.  Right now I’m working with four of the eight. The most recent branch on the tree is Zhineng Qigong. I chose the program as a long-term investment for me, yet I am sharing the theories and practices because they are so effective! I’ll talk about that next.

Until then, enjoy the warmth and joy of summer!