Shortly after I first posted the Recipe for Recovery, I received a lot of feedback about how people could or could not do the recipe. Recently, I have received similar feedback, including that I seem quick and flexible on the videos. The videos were filmed after I recovered. When I had Parkinson’s, I was slow and had limited flexibility. In fact, I could not bend backwards for the Medical Qigong for Liver because I would have fallen down.
On January 11, 2011, I posted “Fighting Parkinson’s, knowing your enemy” and I answered the feedback I had been receiving. It is equally applicable now, so here it is again:
“I think we all can agree that Parkinson’s is our enemy…certainly, it is not our friend! It is the type of enemy, though, that is brilliantly crafty. It is the hacker that has downloaded all of our personal information and is trying to steal our identity. We cannot see it, but we know it is there lurking in our bodies, preying on us relentlessly. So, what do we need to do? Fight back.
The way I fought back is described in detail in my previous “recipe” post. I am going to use some of the feedback I have received and my feelings about it as I believe this will be useful for all of us.
Here are the three types of feedback I have received regarding the exercise Medical Qigong for Liver:
1. Did 10 reps first time, felt great, will continue doing every day.
2. Did 10 reps first time, felt nothing, so:
a. Stopped doing it. What’s the point.
b. Will continue for a while to see if something is felt.
3. Felt pain, so stopped doing it.
None of these are right or wrong; just different. No different than the fact Parkinson’s impacts every one of us a little bit differently. Here is what I experienced when I first started Medical Qigong for Liver:
I was unable to do the part where you bend backwards because I would have fallen down as a result of my poor balance issues. When I finished the fourth set, which I only attained with great difficulty, I broke out in such a sweat that I had to lay down on the floor with lightheadedness and shortness of breath.
However, because of my previous years of studying holistic healing, I actually saw this as a good thing. I learned years ago that when the body releases toxins, it is a good thing. I just viewed this as my body releasing an overwhelmingly large amount of toxins all at once. It took me about 6 or 7 days to get up to seven sets of this exercise and another week or so to get up to ten sets.
More times than not, I would do this exercise and feel nothing in particular. For those just getting started, my rule of thumb is that when I start a new Qigong exercise, I do not see anything measurable for a few weeks. That’s where attitude and the mental part come in. It is difficult to stick with an exercise for a few weeks when you see no measurable results. Since I viewed Parkinson’s as more than just trying to work out some kinks in my body, I stuck with the exercises every day even if I did not see any measurable results. I had faith they were healing my organs deep inside and I was okay with that.
This brings me to the issue of pain. Also, what I learned is when toxins leave your body, generally they hurt and you experience pain. This is really a critical issue in recovery. We are taught that pain is not good. When we feel pain, we stop doing whatever it is that we are doing and we do not do it again. Parkinson’s knows this about us — it has hacked into our systems and it knows that if we are trying to get rid of it and it gives us pain, we will stop and it gets to stay.
Think about this: Why would a slow-moving Qigong exercise cause enough pain that it would make you want to stop and never do it again? Qigong exercises often are referred to as “soft exercises.” What I have learned over the years is that this type of pain is “good” pain because it is cleansing your body from toxins. If you are experiencing pain and are concerned, I recommend you discuss it with your doctor.
Remember, pain causes fear…oftentimes, it really is FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). Since Parkinson’s has hacked into our psyches, whenever we try to fight it, it knows where to go…the pain bucket. Parkinson’s says, “Hey, I’ll bet if I give this person some pain in his leg it will get him thinking about a walker and wheelchair, and he will stop doing these exercises.” Or it says, “Hey, I’ll bet if this person starts to get some pain in her shoulders it will get her thinking about not being able to dress herself, and she will stop doing these exercises.” You get the point. This is Parkinson’s exploiting our FEAR. Be strong. Don’t give in.
If you view Parkinson’s as the enemy, then you have someone to fight.”
Most of the time we view progress as always moving forward. I do not see it that way with Parkinson’s. To me, progress with Parkinson’s recovery includes not moving backwards. This is a progressively degenerative disease by definition. If you can stop Parkinson’s from progressing, then it is not moving forward and making progress against you, so you must be making progress against it.
It is all in our attitudes and our faith. Every time we do some Qigong or meditation or eat better food, we are making progress. If we have the right attitude and faith, then we know that every step we take to fight Parkinson’s is progress whether we feel something good at the moment or not. Last week on a Skype coaching call, I saw a sign on the wall behind the person; it read, “Everything is progress.” I smiled.
All my best,