Diana bends her back without any problems

My problems started 19 years ago, when my son was born. He was very big, and the physicians were forced to break my tailbone in order to make possible the birth. Six months later I suffered from a disk displacement and consequent periods of back-ache, three to four times a year. First I visited doctors and physiotherapists, but when it became clear to me that they could not help me, I also tried alternative methods, such as zone-therapy. However, my back did not get better, whatever I did.

One morning in October 2000, after a period of fierce back-ache, it felt as if my back had completely collapsed and I could barely move. In December that same year I was operated for a double-sided disk displacement. It was an extensive operation: the surgeons had to open my back 10 cm both right and the left of the spine, at the height of the fourth and fifth disk. After five weeks I suffered from a complication. Because of many years of back problems the disks had become instable, resulting in a situation in which one disk slid sideways and caused friction. This was extremely painful.

I attended rehabilitation training four times a week, but because of the instability in my back, I almost did not make any progress at all. Despite the fact that my physiotherapist was very skilled and well informed about new treatments, I did not become more mobile. The only type of exercise I was able to do was a very light form of water gymnastics, since I could barely keep my balance and the muscles around the spines were too weak to enable me to do something else. The purpose of my training was to gather enough strength to leave the swimming pool and start training with work out machines. During this period I needed help with many activities. Something as simple as getting dressed was very hard. Five months after the operation, during a physiotherapeutic treatment, my disks finally slid back to their proper place. Now my rehabilitation could really start. By then I was completely stiff in my back and was not able to bend – at all. At this instance another problem popped up: fear. I was so afraid that my disks would slide sideways again that I did not dear to put more effort in my training.

Ten months after my back operation, I was forced to undergo a new operation. During this operation, my uterus and ovaries were taken out. I suffered from a fierce form of endometriosis, meaning that, in the words of the doctors, the contents of my stomach were completely entangled. The intestines, the uterus, the ovaries and the ureters had "grown into" this endometriosis. Unfortunately, the surgeon cut off one of the ureters during the operation. This was discovered after a week when one of the kidneys was on the verge of collapsing. The kidney was punctured and I needed to wear a catheter on my stomach. In December 2001 a new operation was done, during which the ureter was attached to bladder. In order to get access to this area the surgeons had to open the body from the backbone to the navel. My back rehabilitation was back to zero. All operations had been very demanding for my back and my stomach, and I was in a lot of pain. In many situations I could not function properly without help from other persons. I managed to sit and stand up for very short periods of time and I was able to do light activities in the house such as cooking a simple meal, doing the dishes and watering the flowers.

During the autumn of 2001, I attended a Zhineng Qigong course for beginners. Because of the operations I did not have the possibility to continue with regular training. One year later, during the autumn of 2002, I attended another course for beginners. Unfortunately I was not able to learn the movements so that I could do them by myself and once again I did not start training at home. This was the main reason why I decided to participate in the 2003 summer course in Hamburgsund. My first and foremost goal was to automatize the movements.

During this course I discovered that I did not have one, whole body. There were only parts of me, just like a Picasso painting turned upside down. The outside was whole whereas the inside was a mishmash of bits and pieces. This was the main reason why it was so hard for me to find a balance and do the movements in a proper way.

When I came to the course, my first intention was to automatize the "Hold Qi up"-movements and to get rid of the inflammations in my Achilles tendons. I was forced to wear walking shoes with special insoles in order to reduce the pressure on my Achilles tensons. The orthopaedist who treated me had forbidden me to stand on my bare feet or to use shoes with flat insoles as this would deteriorate the condition of my Achilles tensons even more.

After a while I started to understand that the training and the Qi-regulation did not have the effect I thought it would have. My Achilles tensons did neither get better nor worse, despite the fact that I used shoes with flan insoles during the nine days of the course. But I did have another experience. At the end of the course I got a strong feeling that I did have a spine – even though it still was weak like a thin sewing-thread – and that the parts of my body were linked in one way or another. I also discovered that I was stiff as if made out of concrete in my shoulders and the upper part of my body, so that I could not do my arm training properly.

I decided that I had to loosen my shoulders and decided to do a lot of arm training during the remaining part of 2003. The problem was that I lacked Qi – vital energy. I got so tired when I trained together with other people that the only thing I could do was yawn. I was advised to train more Hold Qi Up, and after that I started using the 70-minutes CD and trained both Hold Qi Up and arm training in the mornings, day after day.

A lot of things happened to Diana during courses in Zhineng Qigong After the summer course I decided not to continue my rehabilitation, which saved me a lot of time. Furthermore, I did not visit my doctors more than once in a while; they were not interested in my qigong training anyway. But I did continue to attend weekend courses in Åland, both in the autumn of 2003 and the spring of 2004. During and after these courses a lot of things happened: my hands, arms and neck straightened out. I was also inspired by a woman from the Finnish mainland who said she attended all courses she could, even those that were organised a bit further away. For me this meant visits to Åbo and Pargas, in addition to the courses in Åland. During this year's summer course in Kvänum, for the first time I really had the sensation that my body started to feel like a unity instead of just separate parts. An important reason for this was that I "made contact" with the right part of my body.

I continued to train by myself every day and in a group as often as my work allowed me to. I also attended the 4-day training course in Stockholm 2005. All the time I have experienced an improvement of my health state and also a change in how I do the exercises. Every time something improves or changes in my body, I feel a new imbalance with regards to how I stand and how I can find the right Qigong posture. This is why I need corrections from the qigong trainers all the time in order to know how to stand and do the movements. This year, during the summer course of 2005, I have not felt pain in my right side or in my right leg, but my left leg still felt like an artificial limb. I also had some problems with my balance and with putting the same amount of weight on both my legs. But now, two days ago, I started to feel – just for a while – that I was a whole human being. It feels as if my body has a goal and will continue working with this goal during the rest of the year.

The above is a description of everything I experienced during the time I trained Zhineng Qigong. I am much stronger now and have the ability to do things that I was not able to do before. Prior to training Zhineng Qigong I had no possibility whatsoever to bend my back – now I bend without any problems and can take things from the floor. My allergy has become much better and I do not need my glasses as often as I did before.

My focus on the training itself has also changed. When I came for the first time, I was an individualist who wanted to find a tool for myself. But what I found out was that what happens to me and all of us is much bigger. This year I feel that this is not my private journey, that there is a much wider sense of coherence. My hours of training here at the summer course in Kvänum and at home are a contribution to this bigger wholeness. And while all this is happening, I get more mobile and healthy all the time!