Ask The Shifu - Part 2
How to train with ill-health or injury
Q: A doctor told me that my shoulder injury is fully healed but I still have pain and stiffness, what would you recommend I do?
A: Injuries usually take about 100 days to recover but this doesn't mean you don't do anything for 100 days. Stretching and practicing the Qigong from my "The Way Of Qigong Volume 1, 2 or 3" will help your body to recover properly. The only Qigong that wouldn't be suitable is Qigong for Lower or Upper Body as this would be too hard for your injuries. As the stiffness starts to ease, you can start to slowly factor in doing some push-ups and squats. But you need to be careful and listen to your body. Don't be too impatient to start training again. If your joints feel pain then this means you are doing something incorrectly and you should stop.
Q: Is it okay to go straight into Qigong without a warm up?
A: Maybe you don't need to do a body warm up but you need to do a mind warm up because you need to make sure your mind is there so that you have quality in your practice.
Q: You train so hard, how do you remain injury free?
A: The first thing is, Shaolin Temple training means I know my body very well. The training is my meditation so I don't zone out, I am always awake and aware when I'm training. But most importantly, I do Qigong and I use the massage brush after I've finished. This brush doesn't just make my body strong, it also helps to make my blood and Qi flow and move and work properly. I know many Western people are sceptical about self-massage but I would say, try it and make up your mind. You can't look from the outside and make a judgement. Massage is an important part of my training. Self-massage has a long history in the Shaolin Temple. If you do self-massage, this means it's difficult to get an injury.
Q: I want to lose weight, how often should I train and which DVD can I use?
A: It depends on how much desire you have to lose. The first thing is, write down your plan: I will train for one hour three times a week. Do Qigong on one day and Kung Fu on another day. I would recommend training six times a week for the first eight weeks to really lose. Use your willpower to make you take action. Then after, make your action become a habit so that you no longer need willpower. Will power runs out but habit can't.
Q: I am 51 years old, female and have palindromic rheumatism and fibromyalgia. This has made me overweight and completely unfit. What can I do?
A: Firstly I can only give you very general advice as I can’t see you, and I trust you are taking advice from your doctor too. Many patients find exercise an essential part of arthritis treatment. Physical therapy can help patients cope with pain and disability caused by arthritis. Because there is no cure for arthritis, the focus of treatment is on disease management. If you are completely unfit then a good way to start is doing a regular Qi Gong workout – my DVDs show you how to stretch, do a form, and also a self-massage. Combine this with walking and over time your body you’ll be able to do more aerobic exercise. Age is no obstacle to fitness, and Qigong will help you to balance your mind and body and work your way towards your goal of health and happiness. This will be the key for you to get healthy in mind, body and spirit. Don't make too high a target, don't think about losing weight, just do exercise and focus on making your body happy. You need to control your diet and give yourself no choice. You have to eat breakfast, this is very important, try to eat frequently but less, eat six times a day rather than three times a day.
Q: I have bought your Qi Gong Level 1 DVD and have been trying to practice it but I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Sciatica in my back so it is very difficult to perform the exercises. I was wondering if you could recommend any form of Qigong that someone who is unwell would be able to do, or some gentle exercises.
A: My suggestion would be to do some stretching then do one or two of the sequences from The Eight Treasures but not the whole form. Mix some of these movements with the sitting Qigong and always finish by doing the Instant Health Massage. I teach how to do this massage in Qi Gong Volume 2. You may find it easier to do the Qigong from this DVD, as it is a sitting Qigong that can be done from a cushion or a chair. Once again, I would suggest starting with some gentle stretching, do a few sequences from the form then finish off with The Shaolin Energy Massage. I think that despite your health issues, it’s important to keep moving and Qigong done on a daily basis may help to alleviate some of your pain. As you start to gain energy you can do a little more of the form and keep increasing it day-by-day, step-by-step.