First Do No Harm















Qigong – Reviews
From our book Bypassing Bypass, published in 2002

There is enough medical proof concerning the cardiovascular benefits of Qigong (and its little brother, Tai Chi) to fill this book [Bypassing Bypass], and many more. There is a focus (in this edition) on the scientific studies concerning Transcendental Meditation. Instead of trying to convince you of Qigong’s benefits, we’re going to review some of the books, videos, and practitioners available to you.

Qigong has many translations. For our purpose here, we will call it simply, “Energy Work.” Our bodies are much more than organs, tissue, blood, and bone. We are energetic bodies as well. Ten years ago, Dr Bill Mannahan stated in a lecture I attended: “Energy medicine is the medicine of the future.”

The future has arrived. Today we have well over 10,000 practitioners of Qigong in the Twin Cities area alone. By practitioner, we mean, individuals who practice Qigong exercises.

For a good introduction to Qigong and some powerful, simple exercises, including a Qigong massage and Qigong meditation, visit: Qigong.

We will begin our reviews with a look at a video we received from Dr Roger Jahnke, OMD. Roger is one of those pioneers who has done as much as anyone to bring Qigong to America. He studied in China, he returns often, and he writes volumes on using Qigong to heal. As a writer, he is fluent, uncomplicated, and brilliant. I have often felt very peaceful reading his words. If you search the web for information on Qigong, much of what is written there was written by Dr Jahnke. He has a new book out called, The Healing Promise of Qi. His best seller The Healer Within is one of my favorite books on Qigong.

Dr Jahnke sent us his QIGONG - CHI KUNG video (with a sub title: Awakening and Mastering the Medicine Within You.) The video takes you on a tour of China visiting some beautiful and remarkable sites. The exercises Dr Jahnke demonstrates are quite simple and very powerful. He explains the benefits of each and discusses their internal effects too. He teaches us how to gather energy from our surroundings, to use that energy: molding it, refining it, and sharing it with others. Though the good doctor is very advanced in his knowledge of natural medicine and self-healing, his explanations are simple and easily understood. In fact, as I shared this video with a friend, she made the remark that she had  “felt” the understanding long before she “grasped” the understanding with her mind.

Dr Jahnke runs the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi in Santa Barbara, California. To order books or videos you may call 800-824-4325 send an E-mail to, or visit his web site:

Richard Leirer from the Qigong Academy in Taos, New Mexico sent us two videos.

Now, when you take a course in Tai Chi or Qigong, one of the first things your instructor will tell you is that you cannot learn either of these from a video. The next day, the instructor mentions that s/he has a Qigong video for sale.

So, what’s with this? It’s very simple. You cannot learn these lessons “perfectly” from a video only because we all need an instructor to correct our posture. Until you are well versed in all the movements and the Qi finally flows and you can feel the Qi and work with the Qi and project the Qi, you will need an instructor (to make minor corrections). So, with this in mind, once you’ve had introductory sessions with an instructor who can correct your postures, then you can probably pick up some more Tai Chi or Qigong forms from videos. And Richard Leirer’s videos are among the best we’ve seen. Why? They are simple. The music is simple, the background is simple, and the instruction is simple. At times the camera angles change to help you see the form from a different perspective, and oftentimes Richard employs a split screen so that you can see the movements from two different angles at the same time.

I learned one of his full forms with a friend correcting me. I learned each movement by watching it over and over and trying it while facing the television. Then I turned away from the television (so that I was facing the same direction as Richard) and while listening to his spoken instructions, I practiced the movement and my friend (being able to watch both Richard and myself at the same time) corrected me.

Richard always gives you some very good warm up exercises. The warm up exercises are actually Qigong exercises. Tai Chi is the martial arts form of Qigong, though one can learn them without ever learning about the martial art applications. Some of the best Qigong exercises I’ve ever used in my daily routines come from Richard’s tapes. They are very powerful, they open up and loosen the joints (places where energy often gets trapped), and they are great exercises just by themselves.

To order tapes from Richard or learn about his programs, you can write him at

Mark Johnson is another big name in the world of Qigong. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor, and it is a true pleasure to watch him do a workout. The fluidity of his movements can mesmerize onlookers.

With over 30 years of experience in the Chinese arts of Tai Chi, Qigong, Taoism, and Chinese calligraphy, Mark is a highly respected master of Qigong. He has created his own forms and modifies existing forms for the elderly or disabled. One of his videos has sold over half a million copies as of 2002. His students have included Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, Patrick Swayze, Mickey Rourke, and more.

Mark has a light sense of humor. His Tai Chi for Healing video is very, very thorough. He emphasizes a complete detoxication program for the organs and then, after you’ve practiced this for three months, you can rebuild the organ system the same way, only the forms are just slightly different. After watching his video, I took a course in Chinese medicine and was amazed at how much Chinese medicine (philosophy and theory) I had already picked up from his video, without ever really knowing it. For instance, there is an order to his exercises. I later learned it was called the “Cycle of Creation.”

To order Marks videos, you can call 800.497.4244 or visit his web site: or send him e-mail:

Finally, we come to a book we received from Yanling Johnson. Yanling and Dean Johnson run the Qigong Association of America in Corvallis, Oregon. (

Yanling’s writing is a treat. You can almost “feel” her writing in Chinese calligraphy with a brush. The book is called, Qi, The Treasure and Power of Your Body. It is an introductory book to Qigong, its history and philosophy. She gently leads us by the hand up through the ages (much of what she tells us comes from ancient writings). She gives you cautions; tells you how to find a good instructor, teaches you to pass on this healing to others, talks about the meridian system and special points to focus on, passes on stories of Qigong and Tai Chi, and even teaches us a few short forms. There is a chapter for Instructors and Healers, and three chapters on the feminine arts of raising a family, cooking, and looking beautiful. The chapters were not only delightful but amazingly informative. She has a lot of clear wisdom to pass on. Finally she ends the book with some macrobiotic dietary advice, pointing out foods that should not be eaten together.

 She and Dean have been teaching a form of Qigong called Soaring Crane for about 11 years now. For more information on their association, lectures, classes, or to order Yanling’s book, you can call: 541.745.2013, visit their web site:, or send e-mail to

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