By Tom Shirley, copyrighted





These words should be tattooed into the brain of every dystonia patient, the entire human race as far as that is concerned.  In this world problems are inevitable and to be fully successful we need the proper tools. Dystonia is no exception!  .


To the person in the mist of a full blown dystonic episode it matters little as to what caused the spasm, they simply want relief and they want it now!  If a hammer was available and it would do the job any reasonable person would use it.  Don’t you agree?


The hammer used in a direct manner is obviously an inappropriate tool to release spasm; however, used in an indirect manner it has great potential. Example: For some, using a hammer to build a doll house for a child can be an effective tool in relieving stress (the most apparent trigger for dystonia)...


The technique taught to us by Dr. Hallie Robbins in the January issue of Dystonia magazine is a very effective “FREE” tool that can be used directly in relieving spasm.  HURRAY FOR DOCTOR ROBBINS!   She taught me the technique a couple of years ago and like the Heimlich maneuver it took a while to learn and remember but once learned it is a great tool.  It is an example of an old tool that unfortunately had not found its way to the dystonia patient.   Perhaps if we called it the DYSTONIA HYOID MANUVER we would all be more inclined to LEARN and REMEMBER to use it.


Here is the primary tool that I use in maintaining a dystonia symptom free life.  The tool is called QiGong. (Phonetically pronounced Chi Kung ).


QiGong is a 5000 year old healing “ART”.   It is considered to be the Grandmother/Grandfather of all Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Martial Arts.  It is a holistic approach to healing that is  based on Body, Mind and Spirit.  It has a rich and colorful history that would fascinate any academic.


There are many QiGong styles but only  two types of QiGong; the Soft (internal) form and the Hard (external) form. The form that I am most familiar with is called Zhineng QiGong and is considered to be an internal form.  It is also often referred to as the intelligent form of QiGong.


Zhineng QiGong was developed by Chinese QiGong Grand Master Pang Ming MD, it is known as Chi-Lel (Trade name) QiGong in the United States. Chi lel QiGong was brought to the United States in the mid 1990’s by Master Luke Chan who is also an international pioneer in this art.


Chi (qi) literally translated means energy, the same kind that Dr. Albert Einstein expressed in his famous formula E=MC2.  Gong literally translated  means work.  The same kind your spouse expresses when they say; “Get to work!” Chi-Lel QiGong is a gentle exercise that allows the practitioner to find the unlimited healer within them in three ways: body, mind and spirit.  Through this art you acquire a higher knowledge of your physical BODY, Dystonia patients are way ahead of the game here. It assists you in finding the SPIRIT (the sometimes illusive invisible doctor).  It is possible to actually feel it.  It quiets the MIND as it searches for your untapped abilities.


QiGong has the unique capacity to heal from the inside out and the outside in.


The beauty of QiGong is that almost anyone can learn it. Once you have mastered  the simple moves it becomes a very powerful tool that is yours for life..   You need no one to practice it..   You can practice it anywhere, any time.  There are no appointments to wait for.   No needles, drugs or scalpels and no paper work or FDA approval.   There is just you and your unlimited abilities.  You can do it without moving a muscle or by moving every muscle in your body. Had enough?  There is more:  You decide the proper dosage and it’s “FREE”! 


Dr. Albert Switzer knew what he was talking about when he said that the only purpose of a physician is to assist the patient in awakening the healer within them.  This means that the patient has the power and the responsibility in the healing process.  QiGong is a way to do exactly that.  It is wise to include your physician’s opinion in deciding if QiGong is right for you.


There is currently a great  deal of interest in TCM by many prestigious  American Medical Institutions. Efficacy testing is being done both in the United States and abroad on the benefits of QiGong and other alternative therapies.    There will be no surprise for me when they discover that there is much untapped  benefit for dystonia patients in the Eastern philosophies.   The East meets West integrative approach has much to offer the dystonia patient  while we silently wait for the scientist to discover the invisible cause of dystonia.


Thanks for being you