10 years of functioning legs. Thanks to my practice with European Zhineng Qigong I’m celebrating my 10-year anniversary this year. I took my first course in January 2006. It was a cooperation between European Zhineng Qigong and Neuroförbundet in Gothenburg, Sweden. I signed up for the course because I’d seen others suffering from MS get help from the Qigong practice and also I’d been to a lecture where the Qigong teacher talked about improving circulation – something my cold, stiff MS-body was really yearning for. At that time I couldn’t imagine ever walking unhampered again. I just wanted to feel a bit better. If you want to see what I wrote about this a few years ago you can read that here.
Being able to put away my wheelchair is such a clear symbol for my recovery, but MS does not only affect your legs. This 10-year anniversary includes so many other things, like the recovery from neurological pain; MS related fatigue that makes your muscles disabled and numbs out your cognitive abilities, the body’s thermostat and your menstrual cycle, and so on. They didn’t all improve at once. Recovery came gradually over the years with regular Qigong practice. I took the big leap for recovery in the year 2011.
So, what happened 10 years ago?
On Easter 2011 we played the traditional Easter game called ‘Egg relay’ (Äggstafett) in our garden and I felt how I could almost master my right leg, the most disabled leg, when running. I signed up for 18 days of Summer Course, I had previously only done 9 days on two occasions. I had previously had my hearing nerve recover during a training. My hearing nerve had been injured due to MS and I could hear everything – imagine that, no filter. So I thought, when that healed; if my hearing nerve can heal then what else can? Me and my husband of that time decide that I would go to as many courses as possible. It was important for me to have his support since it was also a financial matter. So, I attended as many courses as possible and practiced just about an hour every day at home, and I could feel the positive effect it had on my body. My neurologist and I decided to reduce my medication and even though I didn’t tell anybody about it I had a goal set. Something as silly as to run in a grass field kicking a football.
In 2011 I attended the Summer Course where Dong Yue gave a long talk, and what stuck with me was the words “It’s possible”. I thought to myself that it’s time for my legs to heal completely – it’s possible! A few days into the course it became evident that it was happening. I didn’t dare to tell anybody. I hardly dared to believe it, but I had a feeling of euphoria in both my mind and my muscles. However, the euphoric feeling faded, but the sensation of functioning legs remained. The feeling of concrete and elephant skin was gone. What was left was my “old” legs. Of course, it showed, I couldn’t help but run wherever I was going and my joy was shared by other Qigong practitioners. I was afraid of being called a “miracle”, because that’s not how I perceived it. I had been practising with a determined mind for years and I had felt the improvements happen gradually. Parallel to the Qigong training I had practised walking with canes, thinking “heel – toe, heel – toe” since I didn’t have a normal sensation of my right foot. Dongyue Sue told me already in 2010: “Imagine you can do it”. And I did my best to think like that.
My body as I used to know it
The picture of me actually putting my wheelchair in my car, closing the door never to use it again – I can see that it looks miraculous, and I hope that it can motivate others. I started practising Qigong when seeing others do it and witnessing that they improved their health. This was the beginning of something new and unexpected: trusting that my health would remain. Luckily, your body gets used to being healthy again, used to functioning legs, used to not suffering from fatigue and all the other limitations that once were a part of my life. It was as if I had got back my body as I used to know it. That your body can heal using this practice is a gift and I am eternally grateful for that!
A lot of things happen in ten years, life goes up and down. Practising Qigong has been, and is, very important to me. It’s amazing that no matter how I feel or the circumstances I am in, I can always influence myself and my health by practicing Qigong. I recommend it!
Ellen Jansson Weist