Chris Holder is a Doctor of Medical Qigong studying with the legendary Kung Fu and Qigong Grand Master Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, where he has blended disciplines of both East and West.
Holder has created a holistic training environment for his athletes and is at the forefront of Qigong research at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California.
- How Medical Qigong is different from other forms of qigong
- A look into the results of scientific research on the effects of qi gong with college athletes in strength training, stress and more.
- The energetic and emotional side of cancer
- This simple routine will help you sleep better…guaranteed.
- Can anyone learn to feel energy?
- Cancer diagnosis? Here’s what to do…
- And much more
Want to learn qigong? Here are Chris Holder’s recommendations:
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.
Logan: Welcome to the Vital Way podcast. We have another exciting episode for you today. I’m pleased to be on the line with Dr. Chris Holder who is a doctor in medical qigong. He’s also a senior RKC. He has worked with NFL players, getting them ready for the NFL Combine and then done a whole actually quite extensive array of different things. What’s really interesting is with the medical qigong and everything else, he has blended the east and the west together so we’re going to be talking about that. He is also at the forefront of qigong research at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California where I actually lived there for a little—not Cal Poly but San Luis Obispo so I know the area. I have the friends that went to that school. I just want to say welcome to the call, Chris.
Chris: Thanks, Logan, and how are you doing? And how much do you miss San Luis Obispo truthfully?
Logan: It was a nice place. I had to move back to Santa Cruz though, my hometown.
Chris: Right. I understand.
Logan: Okay. Well, the first question for people that may not be familiar, what is medical qigong and how is that different from regular or other forms of qigong?
Chris: Well, medical qigong obviously is very much skewed towards the healing pieces of disease in all of that. For those people who don’t know what qigong is, if you think of all the rules that sort of govern acupuncture and all the things that we know in terms of traditional Chinese medicine and some of the rules, the qigong piece of it is actually the energetics. It’s a little in deeper than esoterics but qigong practices are based off of just cultivating energy and/or just the daily practice of kind of cleansing and renewing and centering yourself.
The medical qigong side of it is actually now we’re dealing with people who are sick, I could say the best way possible. I went to school in Monterey, which is just down the street from you. I spent four years in school, going to the International Institute of Medical Qigong just based out of Monterey, right over there by the airport. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It has completely redefined the way I look at the world and we’re bringing it to the athletic world as we speak.
Logan: Excellent. I’m curious; when you’re working with the sick people, does it look the same as the sort of the daily practice which other people may be familiar with and practicing qigong or are there different sorts of applications?
Chris: Actually, it’s very different. A lot of your daily practice work again is going to be self-cultivation based, very much like, for people who aren’t super familiar with anything, almost like a tai chi form. In the medical qigong setting and my specialty is oncology so cancer patients are the ones who seek us out, at least with my specialty, it’s has the appearance much like a normal clinical setting. There’s a table, there’s the doctor and the patient. The patient is on the table. The patient lays on the table. It’s almost like you would if you’re going to get a massage. The qigong doctor or qigong practitioner then manipulates energy for the patient. So unlike you and I going to the park and doing a Daoist Five Yin Organ Exercise form together, you’d be lying on the table and I would actually be doing that work for you.
The idea is you’re investigating energetic fields. You’re looking in and out of—we’re using tactile type techniques and we’re using a bunch of really, like I said, it gets very metaphysical and esoteric at stages but trying to find where your excesses exist, where there could be deficiencies and you’re trying to get that body in that harmonized, very balanced, yin-yang state so that the body can thrive and in the case of someone sick, kind of identifying if what’s calling their illness is most energetic-based versus they just have a terrible diet or they live next to a nuclear power plant or something crazy like that. We could help sort of kind of unpeel the story and figure out, essentially with the cancers, the cancers tend to have the back story is pretty significant and it’s almost like coloring by numbers. You can trace back to where the disharmony began.
Then through the energetic practices, through the treatments that I provide and then through I’ll either refer to a psychotherapist and people like that to make sure that the person’s treated in a very holistic way or we send someone to you for herbs, we’re able to get these people and their entire energetic layout back online so that the body can ramp up its own defenses. And if you have say an emotional-based issue that’s actually giving fuel to the cancer, that’s creating the power behind the growth of the tumor. We can actually cut those fuel supplies off and the cancers tend to resolve themselves.
Logan: Very cool.
Chris: That’s a pretty big answer, right?
Logan: Yeah. There’s one of the questions I want to ask out there and that’s great because something and sort of my own journey and what I’ve learned and you’re probably not aware but I lost my mother to cancer and that kind of anchored me onwards in sort of a healing path that in the many things that I’ve studied, I’ve realized our whole western world is really just focused on the physical and we tend to neglect, at least to some degree, the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. Really I’m with you, what you’re saying, that emotional issues can be at the root of something. I liked how you described that energy was feeding the cancer so very cool stuff.
Chris: And it’s heartbreaking and my condolences to you, too, for your mother. I lost my mother also, not to cancer but this is one of these fields where if I had known what I knew then what I know now, we could have helped her and potentially prevented her demise eventually. But what people need to understand, your listeners to understand who are looking at this, and this is not any slam on western medicine because obviously I am an American-born guy who sees the genuine value in everything that the western and we also do it, but western doctors are purely looking at the physical.
And the qigong is based out of Daoist training. We Daoists look at the body as three completely different bodies. There’s the physical body, the energetic body and the spiritual body and the interplay between the three is what creates a healthy body. That same interplay, if one of those three bodies is out of whack, it’s going to disrupt the other two. When we talk about holistic, it’s truly holistic. 9 out of 10 times the western-trained doctor is only looking at one of those three major pieces. We can just run simple statistics but more often than not they’re probably not going to be looking in the right place when they’re looking for treatment possibilities and cures.
Logan: Absolutely. Yeah, I actually have studied, not to the level that you have, different forms of energy, training. I’m curious; when you talk about when someone’s on the table and you’re doing this, are you working with the meridians, which is at least one energy channel that many people have heard of or are there different layers of the energy architecture in the human body?
Chris: Yes, yes and yes. I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible but we’re trying to look at the entire being from every vantage point. So it starts out very sort of rudimentary and very physical in the beginning. Believe it or not, in qigong treatment there’s not a tremendous amount of touch involved so everything is based off of being able to actually sense and feeling energy. At the beginning, think of it like raking through the body and feeling where you can feel blockages and where you can feel there’s an absence where there should be something and/or there’s way too much here and we need to kind of purge it out.
Then we get into the meridians. So if we know, hey, we’re specifically looking at this disease, say for example, you have somebody who is having small intestinal based stuff or how about we go with the large intestines? You have someone with colon issues. We know that the colon and the lungs are actually a paired organ so whatever is happening in the colon could be manifesting in the lungs. So what you do is you investigate those organs. You’re looking for signs and you’re looking for evidence of an issue and then you start working your way through that. Yes, like I said we do use the meridians but we spend a lot of our time, or at least in my training, looking at the five yin organs which are the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver and spleen. Those set the stage for all the elements in the body. They set the stage just sort of the creation of the cycle that establishes the harmony in the body so that the body can thrive. That’s where we begin most of our investigation.
Then as we get through those pieces and we do a little more actual interviewing with the patient so that their stories will start to unravel and you can see the patterns, why they’re happening the way they are. I’ve worked with patients where we’ve traced things back to talking about when their mother was pregnant with them and they were in utero. This is the embryonic developmental energetic stage of month three and she lived through this sort of traumatic event and you can sort of see how the evolution of this person. Even when their mother was pregnant with them, you can trace back those things and start to create the story around what’s happening. It’s quite remarkable actually.
Logan: I’m curious because each of the yin organs, each of those elements kind of have different emotions and generally there seems to be more focus on the negative emotions even though they also have the positive aspects. How much do you see, for instance with the lungs you were describing which is part of the metal element and that has to do with grief, how often do you see that connection between those things and those stories that come up with people you’ve met?
Chris: All the time. All the time. Even though our western contemporaries would call this potentially quackery and they would say that it’s hocus pocus, it’s ancient stuff and it’s outdated, the likelihood of all these things making sense and the story, the way we put it together, it’s all just fitting very neatly in a tight little box almost 100% of the time and you’re talking about the emotions. So we’re talking about the lungs. We’re talking about sadness and grief or you’re talking about the heart, that anxious, nervousness type of energy and it’s literally coloring by numbers. You’ll have a person come in who we call rage-holics, people who are like fiery, angry people, wood element and the liver is associated and you can just see the patterns of how that liver energy is disrupting the cycle, the way the elements are operating sort of correspond with one another and those emotions are literally at the forefront of everyone that I’d ever worked with, and this includes healthy people.
For example, I worked on a distance runner today. We have a young lady who’s running for us who transferred from Harvard. I’m doing work with her and we’ve done a lot of work, taking the knowledge that we have based off of the illnesses, based off of all the qigong practices and I’ve spent the last six years refining ways to increase performance enhancement in athletes. The sick person and an athlete, they have certain things in common and what most people don’t understand is athletes are pretty much running the red line the whole time. They’re training so hard. In a collegiate setting, they’re probably not eating well. I mean it’s almost guaranteed. They’re not getting their rest and obviously emotionally they’re being pushed to their limits because of their competitive stuff. So they’ll appear and they actually present very similar to someone who’s sick.
Anyhow, this young lady that I’ve been working with, she’s a very anxious person. She has a lot of that nervous energy. So from a medical stand, she’s got a lot of heart energy. We’ve got to control all of that. We have to kind of hamper it, purge it and balance it back out so that it doesn’t become the prevailing thing going on in her body. And it allows her to perform at a higher level because we’re balancing the system back and we’re allowing the system to do what it does best when it’s in harmony.
I know in the original question we’re talking about emotion but in everyone I’ve ever treated, typically even if we don’t have like a big interview, so Logan, if I laid you down on the table right now and you don’t talk about what’s going in on your world, typically the energy will present and then I can say okay, this is like boom, boom, boom, talk to me about how your sleep has been. Talk to me about any one of the telltale signs about this and we together can put the story together and it’ll fit very neatly into a tidy little box.
Logan: So it seems to me that when you’re sort of accessing energy that they’ll come up, whatever physically is going on and also whatever is mentally and emotionally going on. So that’s kind of your access route to, because the body is a holistic system, all those other things going on.
Chris: Yes. Usually what I’m doing an intake with a living person, it’s a little intimidating because usually, I get one of two patients. I have either an athlete and we’re tuning them for them performance or I have someone who is gravely ill who is running out of options. I will typically tell them in an interview listen, I’m going to ask you some questions. Some of them might be a little bit tougher to answer than others. You can answer them if you want to but the energy is going to tell me one way or the other. So you can either tell me now or I will tell you later and it happens that way. So yeah, you can’t hid it. If someone’s in any distress at all and they’re experiencing anything that’s technically going to become a level where it can actually change their energy around, there’s no hiding it.
Logan: Yeah. Sort of a realization for me the other day, you were talking about how a lot of people would see this as quackery and in our awesome society, we kind of only okay, it needs to be a double blind placebo-controlled study and that’s the only form approved but when I think of Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, this is thousands of years of clinical practice which definitely these people that see people over and over again like you’re doing, there’s a lot of experience. There’s proof in that. Not that any system out there is really perfect, they certainly can be flawed but that is a form of proof, the clinical practice.
Chris: Well, western medical science and science in general will be considered to be science here in the west, the way they look at clinical studies and stuff, they’ve made it very difficult to do anything that’s fringe. What I’m doing is considered fringe.
Logan: Just like what I’m doing, right?
Chris: Yeah, exactly.
Logan: For me, too.
Chris: And someone who is doing this type of work, they’re using their intuition a lot. If I said that to an MD, well, how do you know this? Well, that’s my intuition tells me, immediately that will disqualify me from having any kind of merit when it comes to a conversation when in reality, I’m sure practices that you’ve done, the things that you’ve practiced and all the herb stuff that you know which is just the same for your listeners, I know the herbal stuff and how difficult and what a lifetime can be spent studying that but the wringer that they put you through to get anything published is amazing.
I’m sure we’ll get into it then I want to answer your questions but we just finished a study here in Cal Poly where we looked at a regular daily qigong practice and how it impacts strength gains over an eight-week period. We have complete support of the university. We have complete support of the Kinesiology Department. The young man who actually headed the study is Chris White. He’s one of my assistants in the weight room. So we are going to get probably the first of its kind, really legitimate research and hopefully the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research or something along those mainstream lines where people are going to have to start looking at this.
That was our intention going into it from the beginning. We needed to get valid research, something that was very testable, something that we could repeat and something that we knew we were going to get great numbers from and actually just pulled it off and we did it. So I’m trying to, on some level, just bang on doors and let them know hey listen, you need to look at this. From a performance side, it’s something that everyone needs and if you want to perform your best and you want to be at your absolute best, you have to consider these pieces.
Logan: Absolutely. Because when we were talking with the sick person, you have to look at the physical, the emotional, mental, spiritual and the energetic, the same is true with high levels of performance. I like how you described the two different people you were seeing. You’re seeing the very sick and also the sort of elite performance people, which is kind of a polarity but really the same things are at play in both of these. Can you share some more of the results of your research there?
Chris: Well yeah. So we started out and it was voluntarily based. So what we did is we kind of courted three teams. We took our entire football team, our entire women’s soccer team and our entire volleyball team. That’s a total number of around 145 kids. We began to let them know that we were going to be doing this research in the winter of 2015. We just started doing this in ’14. We let them know we were looking at two things. I had done some work with some of the athletes and obviously the work that I do is so mysterious to them and the effect of it is so immediate that it’s kind of undeniable what’s happening. So the buzz around the athletic department started to grow about what I was doing.
We took all three of those teams and what we did was we developed a very streamlined, very general GPP weightlifting program, something that every one of those three teams, women’s soccer ball, volleyball and football could benefit from. So you understand that all three of those teams are holiday sports so come wintertime after they return from the holidays, they’re immediately back into an off-season training mode and it’s very normal for all those teams to go through several weeks of just resetting the foundation, going back to the gross motor movements and just to getting things reestablished.
So Chris and I sat down and we thumbed through some programs that we’d written. I’d written a program a couple of years ago. That’s something that he had asked a favor of me to put together and to investigate mitochondrial stuff. So we looked at that. We had used it before. We had success with that one and it was so cut and dry and so clean as far as the way the programming was set up and as far as how the list was designed that we wouldn’t get jammed up with any committees or anything about our weightlifting program.
So we took that program, we established baseline percentages on every single day of that program for eight weeks and then we tested everyone. So we got members, front squat members, bench press and deadlift members on every one of those kids, on all three of those teams and we’d taken volunteers like listen, how many of you guys would be willing to wake up at 6:00 AM the entire winter quarter, Monday through Friday, and come do a morning qigong recharge with us? We had a tremendous turnout. We ended up with 50% to start. So we had about 65 to 70 kids that showed up day 1.
And then we knew we were going to have some attrition for whatever reasons. We had very strict parameters about inclusion and all that. If you miss more than four sessions, which ended up being anything over four sessions would be more than 90% then you had to attend 90% of the get-togethers, then you’re immediately eliminated from the study. Long story short, we go through those eight weeks. We ended up finishing with total people in the study, front to back, both the control and the experimental group, we ended up finishing with about 74 people and it’s cut right down the middle.
What we’d also done was every Friday during this, we’d give the kids these intakes. They were like mental health intakes. How do you feel about other people? Very generalized questions. There was a question, had they been used in other studies in the past? We were following their wellbeing. At the end of it, long story short, the qigong group basically blew the control group out of the water in all areas that we looked up. We had broken—the statistics ended up being over 10,000 individual pieces of data that we ended up plugging into our database and as we’re investigating the numbers, we broke the groups up into as many different configurations as you can imagine, looking for where the outliers would exist and trying to really streamline the numbers so that when we actually turned the manuscript in to the scientific journals which we’re in the process of putting together right now, we weren’t going to get a lot of pushback.
I tease the kids. I’ve said it in a lot of things I’ve written because of course, you’re getting the hot information right now because I haven’t actually put in on paper and put it out yet but we had guys put on front squats in eight weeks like over 100 pounds. So you’re talking about steroid-level members. And of the guys who made it through the whole qigong thing and didn’t have little injuries or because they didn’t attend enough things, they were excluded and the same thing went with the weight training sessions. You could only miss 10% of the weight training sessions or you’re immediately taken out of the study. We had several pockets of people that were having just crazy increases in strength. Across the board, the way it looked all the numbers were in favor of the qigong.
The wellness stuff was really remarkable because during that eight-week time, especially towards the end when you start getting closer to finals and the stresses of school and the stresses of just all those things like amount, you could see the control group starting to lose themselves a little bit and their numbers started to jump around all over the charts whereas the qigong group stayed very steady and mostly they stayed very level. They were able to just kind of plug along even though they were the ones waking up earlier than everybody else. Most of those kids, especially after the study was over, will tell you that although they hated getting up—and I’ll be the first one to say I didn’t like it either five days a week; for me, I have a 20-minute drive so I’m getting up at 4:30 every morning; that starts to wear on you—but the qigong actually made it so that it wasn’t that bad. You’re able to go to sleep at a nice time at night, sleep deep the entire time. It was just amazing. Once we get the manuscript turned up, we’re hoping to actually have several suitors for this work, which then of course will just push more of the study out there.
Logan: That’s pretty amazing. So all these people had stress reduction, felt better, felt healthier as well becoming massively stronger?
Chris: Yeah, but two of these, two strength guys, so you and I are sitting here, we’re just jaw jacking up about weightlifting. I say to this to all the athletes I’ve ever worked with, especially the elite level people. I’ve worked with 49ers. I’ve done a lot of work with them. I ended up when I was at the San Jose State, that’s where you and I met years ago, during the wonk out season of 2010, the 49ers sent their guys to me and I got to work with them the entire summer. So I got to do qigong with Alex Smith and their receivers and a bunch of those guys. But the one big underlying thing, and this is just a very small selling point but to people who understand weight training and performance, the one thing that the qigong always guarantees is your sleep is going to improve dramatically.
So if I told Tiger Woods, for example, who also probably needs a copy of your book, what he’s been going through, if I told Tiger, “Listen, Tiger, I can guarantee you’re going to get the most restful, deep sleep without having to take any drugs or do anything crazy other than spend two times a week on a table with me for 20 minutes and/or go out 15 minutes a day and just do this practice and it will dramatically increase your recovery, it’ll dramatically increase just your state of mind because you’re rested,” I would think at least in my mind, that’s where it’s laid in gold. That’s just one of the may little things that the qigong work is going to actually facilitate for athletes. It’s insane. Everybody needs to know about it and that’s what we’re trying to do right now.
Logan: I’m sure people listening are interested in getting these sorts of benefits themselves. I know probably talking over the phone is not the best way in which to teach this but are there any sort of takeaways or places you would point people to if they want to begin this sort of practice, the daily sort of qigong sleep edge?
Chris: Well, I have two places that I consider to be authorities who are accessible, obviously mostly through the gentleman by the name of Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson. I don’t have the language to express to you; it’s just insane the impact he’s had on me. I’ve started to just teach the things that he’s taught me and just created opportunities for me through this practice. He’s a godsend for me and I will never be able to repay him for what he’s done for me. He has a DVD out called Chi Kung: The Healing Workouts which you can get on Amazon which is loosely similar to what we did with the athletes. I had to tailor some things with the athletes. They’re a little bit different than what you find on that DVD but it’s fundamentally what we had done and it’s basically the Daoist Five Yin Organ Exercises and how he set everything up.
Then beyond that if you’re going to go with anybody else that I trust, it’s going to be John McKean and his products that he sells through DragonDoor. There are a lot of people out there who are hustling, whether it be DVD, supplements or whatever, who pretty much are not practicing what they preach. John is a guy who is a martial artist. He’s a qigong warrior if there ever was one and he has put out several DVDs that are very high quality stuff that I would think that any newbie can get their hands on and follow it and have tremendous success with it. So those two guys, if your listeners or your folks out there listening to this, if this sounds interesting to you, check out Chi Kung: The Healing Workout by Jerry Alan Johnson or go to www.DragonDoor.com and just go into any one of their products where they’re selling DVDs and you’ll find a lot of qigong material there.
Logan: I’ll make sure to include links to all that in the show notes because people are listening and can’t write that down at the moment. Also your doctoral thesis was along these same lines. Is there anything you want to talk about on that?
Chris: It’s very interesting. Again, we took four teams. It was football, softball, women’s soccer and then we used our golfers. Again, we used an intake. The way we set it up was myself or any of one of my doctoral candidates/student/friends of mine would treat these individuals who signed up for the study twice a week. They were doing this during the actual competitive season and at the end of every one of their contests, whether it be a football game, they’d literally be sitting with their pads filling out a piece of paper or you get off the course if you’re playing a round of golf and they basically answer the same seven or eight questions after every contest. They were questions based on a little more of the external-based performance thing so less about for softball, did you go three for four and those types of statistical-based things. It was more of how was your focus? And everything was based off of a 1 to 10 scale. How was your sleep the night before? How were your nerves before the game? Then we have a control group obviously who are doing the exact same thing. They just weren’t getting the qigong intervention.
That study is what actually set up the study we just finished at Cal Poly because when we saw the trends that we saw with that one, even the control group of course would have great days so we were putting all that data together and they’re going through just week after week after week of their intakes that you were bringing back, you would see one of the control kids would have tens across the board or something like okay, well great, all the scientists are well, that’s going to screw my data up. But what we ended up seeing was the qigong people obviously at the very end ended up having across the entire scope of their season much better numbers than within the control group.
What the qigong group got the most benefit from was they were not bouncing around the scale at all. So we could get them up into, we’ll say 1 to 10, 10 being the absolute best result you could hope for, they were 7s and 8s the entire time so you weren’t getting any of these sort of fluke and anomaly days where they would go compete and they were just completely whacked out or something was just completely screwing them up. If you’re looking at it like a chart plotted out over a course of X amount of weeks, the qigong people were very steady and it was just very harmonious. That was the most exciting thing that we saw with that one, that qigong stabilizes things. It get the emotions completely balanced out. It gets their focus really level the whole time.
With athletes, and I know that worked with them, I’m sure you’ve worked with lots but with say, for example, a pitcher, say a pitcher gets out on the mound, pitched 20, throws a ball and it’s hit out of the park, that pitcher if he’s thinking about that home run for the next ten pitches, he’s worthless. What we’re able to do is we were able to get them to shake those things off immediately. So when something bad happened, it was okay and they were able to move on and continue to perform at a really high level. That’s again, those sorts of nuance-y pieces that are hidden and you realize wow, I can get these people emotionally level enough where even if something’s really, really good or really, really bad, it doesn’t jar them at all. They’re able to stay very centered and balanced and continue to perform at a really high level.
Logan: So what would you encourage people listening, whether they’re athletes or not, maybe they’re suffering from some sort of disease that they’re trying to overcome, what would you encourage them to do? Should this ideally become a daily, habitual part of their life? How much time does a person spend? What would you recommend?
Chris: Well, it’s something that I think that every human being walking on this planet needs to consider because again, it goes back to our original discussion of not just treating the physical. There are more aspects to see than just the physical side. I think even somebody that’s listening to this podcast, they may not be completely buying into something like this, they’ll understand that mentally if things are wrong, a lot of things are going to go wrong physically for them. I think the consensus will be there.
So people need to consider, I think obviously you need to find what’s going to work for you. Most of these things again are very esoteric. This is a very esoteric statement but most of the things that are going to help you are going to call to you. So if you do just a little bit of the of the energetic practices or if you look at any of those things or if you look at any of those things that are considered to be a little bit more sort of outside the scale of what normal is, there are so many different practices that you could find. I studied with everybody and when I mean everybody, I mean I’ve studied dozens and dozens of systems for all different walks of life, not just the Daoist stuff. I’ve worked with Christian mystics, I’ve worked with pagans and I’ve worked with Buddhists and stuff. They’re all saying basically the same things.
So ultimately what I would say is what I’ve mentioned to you the most in terms of everything the same thing and then find out what’s happening in that world. These practices whether they be reiki or qigong or body talk or any of those energy-based cultivation or self-care practices, find something that kind of makes sense to you and then give it a try. It doesn’t have to be qigong. For some people, it may not because qigong also has very martial applications to it and a lot of people, especially in maybe in older populations, when you say martial they easily shut you down because hell, we’re not going to be fighting. But there’s enough people out there doing really, really good work, especially if you’re listening and you’re based in the California. Holy cow, there are people everywhere that are doing good things that have tremendous value. Just start looking for things. I think a lot of people don’t know what’s out there and they don’t know what to look for. So again, kind of just follow your gut as far as whatever spiritual slant you have. Even the diehard Christians who tend to be the ones that will look at these things and have the biggest opinions about it, there are groups within the Christian world that have similar practices to these that are fantastic. So just find something that works for you and something that’s attractive to you and then start investigating.
Logan: And what does your own practice look like?
Chris: After we finished the study here, when we wrapped it in I think it was March, the kids who were part of it were like okay, are we going to keep doing this? I was like I’m not going to get up at O dark:30 with you guys anymore so we’re going pick a time every day and that day will be set every quarter and we will do the same practice. So my personal practice, I get up and I meditate every morning. I wake up, go and give myself some kind of half ready for work and then I return to my bed. I meditate and I do something called the Six Phase Meditation based off of an app on my phone from a company called Mindvalley. It’s called Omvana and I do the Six Phase Meditation every morning which is unbelievable. We can do an entire podcast just on that.
Then at 12:15 right now because the way the quarter has played out for us, we get up, we stop what we’re doing, if you’re in a middle of a lift or if I’m in a meeting, I turn Enya on and then I walk out to one of my platforms and the group gathers. We do the same 15-minute practice, which is very similar to the one that you’re going to find on Dr. Johnsons Chi Kung: The Healing Workout DVD. And then of course, prayer is a very big part of my day and I read like crazy so for me, part of meditation or part of almost the spiritual practices is to continue to read and to saturate my brain with absolutely as much stuff as I possibly can. So I’m reading all the time. So the meditation in the morning, the qigong practice in the afternoon. I do a lot of prayer and reading. Those are my go-to’s right now.
Logan: Excellent. Sounds peaceful.
Chris: And trust me, brother, you and I haven’t spent a tremendous amount of time together but I’m a pretty high-strung guy. I desperately need this so this is, like I said, Dr. Johnson has saved my life in many ways and part of it was because I need something just to bring me down.
Logan: I know where you’re coming from on that. I guess this is to kind of remind you a little bit but earlier on we were talking about feeling the energy when people are on the table. Do you believe this is a skillset anyone can acquire? Because I remember personally when I was getting into energetic forms of training—I grew up in the west so I didn’t believe any of that crap—eventually through time, I kind like okay, there’s something going on here. I remember one time in a class when I was working with a woman, doing chakra work which is more of an energy system that comes from India rather than the Chinese, but anyway I’m going over like the second chakra and it feels like there’s not really much there. It’s just fluid and just flowing as I’m moving my hand over it but then I go through the third chakra and it’s literally like I’m going over rocks, which was one of my first experiences in feeling energy and it just completely wowed me. So could you talk a little bit about the experience of feeling energy? Is this something everyone can learn how to do if they wanted to?
Chris: I’m going to give a two-part answer. I’m not going to tell you the story of how I got involved with the medical qigong because it’s another really long story that we don’t have time for. Let’s just say that that the recommendation that I took to actually start studying this was basically on a whim and I went into this completely blind. So I didn’t know who Dr. Johnson was. Truthfully and only one other time in my life done any qigong work and that was with John McKean on a Saturday morning, recharges at RKC. So I had a little exposure to it but it wasn’t enough to actually change my mind about things.
So I when I showed up to school on my very night, again I was going into this truthfully blind and I’d made a deal with myself in the car. I was like listen, for as long as you’re going to do this, because of course I wasn’t 100% bought in, I wasn’t sure if I was going to see the program from front to back because it was a long program, it was expensive, all those things, I told myself and made a deal with myself that whatever this guy tells us, whatever we’re going to learn, I refuse to pass it through my filters and I was going to accept it at face value.
So the first part of my answer to your original question is in order for people to feel energy and to really kind of get into these very deep states of sort of oneness with themselves, they have to take their walls down. So to answer your question, “Can everybody do this?” you bet your butt they can. We saw a lot of people who have a tremendous amount of skill in my class that we went through then we also had those people that took it them a while to kind of get into the mode, very much like the story you told. All of us energy people will say we have that defining moment where holy crap, this is real! I can feel this! I literally can feel the sparks or I can feel like needles or I can feel, like you said, when you were passing over the second chakra when you were first doing that, there’s just nothing in the air. It almost feels like what you would assume a dead person feels like.
For us, when I was going to school, we met twice a week on Thursdays nights all night long and then Saturdays from early morning till the late night and we would just practice, practice, and practice. I was in a very nurturing group. I was in a sea of people who were very like-minded so the skillset for me came quickly because I went in with an open mind. And then you’re being sort of lifted up by the people around you because we’re all in the same boat, sort of rowing in the same direction.
For the people who are skeptical out there, who say that this is gobbledygook and you can’t feel those things, I would like to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong and all of us have had those experiences with energy; we’ve never just had the context to define what it is. It’s like walking to a place and you feel like you’re coming home or you walk into a place and it just feels icky and yuck. There’s a reason it feels that way. You’re feeling the energy. You just don’t have the vocabulary to explain it the way you and I understand it. So don’t get wrapped up in the naysayers. I couldn’t be in more disagreement with people who say it’s complete crap because we’re doing it and we’re seeing it. If you want to feel the energy, make an appointment with me and you’ll feel the energy. With the treatments that we use and the protocols that I use, people get up off the table and they look and feel like somebody completely else. And once you’ve had your first big experience with the energy, you’ll never go back. You’ll never go back to being a skeptic because it’s really opening doors you never even understood existed.
Logan: Yeah. It also seems like some largely explored territory, at least to most people. It’s kind of like the blind person who all of a sudden could see. Once again, it opened up whole new worlds so when you realize there’s this other dimension going on, it’s pretty exciting.
Chris: Yeah. In a way, it’s not just the—and it sounds like in the whole time, this past 15 minutes I’ve been slamming the western people. It’s not just the western’s people’s fault because a lot of the people who’ve been doing this practice for so many years, they wanted to bottle up and sort of contain the power of this stuff and they wanted to keep it a secret. They didn’t want to spread it out because if everybody knows about it then everybody’s going to end up doing it. I’m trying to go to the opposite direction.
That’s why we’re doing research that we’re doing is because there are too many people walking the streets right now that have no idea what we’re talking about. You can grab anybody, even on the streets of Santa Cruz where people are very open-minded and there’s just a big spiritual movement in those places. “Hey, when’s the last time you did a qigong practice?” and most of them would look at you and go, “What the hell is that?” So I want to get the word out. It’s not entirely the western doctors’ fault and all those things that these things don’t have any momentum here. It’s because people have been trying to contain it. I’m trying to make it my job to tell everybody. Anyone who will listen, we will talk about it and if you need to be shown, if you need proof, come see me and we’ll prove it to you.
Logan: Yeah, ultimately the best will come when there’s a combination and open communication between different systems. I’ve read some surgeries have their place but ultimately but not the first resort. They should be more of a last resort.
Chris: If we could get western doctors and eastern doctors together to sit in a room and not try to one up each other, we would have a complete system of healthcare. If we just agreed to say hey listen, you’re strong in this strong where we’re very weak; please fill in the gaps there. I’m weak in this area and you guys have the answers to that so let’s get this together and we can fix a lot of people.
Logan: Yeah. I’d like to talk a little bit more about oncology. How did you get involved in that field?
Chris: Basically, when I signed up to go through the program through the International Institute of Medical Qigong, it was the course direction that they were going. The way it sort of played out, the first year was your practitioner year and then your second year was your therapist and master year and then your last year was the doctoral year. Now you could bow out at any point but the doctoral year was purely oncology. So practitioner time, you’re learning the energy and you’re learning sort of what a general practitioner would learn. You’re understanding the relationships between organs and the emotions and you’re starting to develop the energetic skills that you need and you’re starting to learn how to feel the energy. Then the next couple of years, it gets a little deeper and we’re going into energetic psychology. We did all the geriatrics and stuff with kids. It was amazing.
And then that third year, that final push for us was purely cancer stuff, which trust me, brother, is a really heavy topic, way heavier than you can imagine in terms of what therapies people are receiving for cancers here in the United States in contrast to what’s offered in other places. Talk about incomplete. There’s very much a standard, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, next, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, next, same thing here. There are so many other things that can be done to combat the cancer. I’m not saying don’t go out and listen to a western doctor and go straight to your qigong person but we can also be a tremendous therapy for people who are going through those treatments.
Chemotherapy is a nightmare. Anybody who’s been through chemotherapy or anyone who’s been around somebody going through chemotherapy, basically gets to witness somebody having a complete scorching of their human body. You’re ultimately trying to keep them alive while poisoning them. The qigong practices along with the energetic practices will help combat a lot of the horrible side effects of the chemotherapy. I’ve had a lot of patients and I’ve worked with cancer patients who are on therapy and they’ve done radiation a dozen times and had many surgeries.
How can we help? We were almost more of a support for just the nightmare of normal cancer treatments. Ideally, there are better ways to go and you want to partner with someone early so that you can go through the stages and they can make an informed decision about what route they want to take there, their approach to beating it. Sometimes, you get them in the middle of it and they can barely hold their head up and your job is to go back and rebuild them from an energetic standpoint, which the chemotherapy typically destroys. I’m kind of all over with my answer so I apologize.
Logan: No, I think that’s good. What would you recommend to someone who may be sort of starting out and looking at their options? What would you recommend? I understand this is an area you have to be careful in.
Chris: I’ll do some tap dancing. What people need to do is people need to know there are all kinds of different options out there and not all of them are based off of going in and going through the standard procedures of what everybody understands as typical cancer treatments. With that being said, I think there are a lot of people out there doing a lot of really fantastic work and I think there are a lot of western doctors that are amazing. My niece when she was two years old was diagnosed with leukemia and the team of doctors who took over her case saved her life and did an amazing job. The people down at Lomalinda are the most fantastic human beings on this earth. My niece is now 15 years old, in high school and she’s beautiful. It’s amazing.
But if you’re an adult going through this and you’re facing something like this, understand that you have options. There are a lot of different things you can do that will either be a completely off the beaten path way of therapy or choosing additional routes. The one thing that I do recommend to anyone, and this will help you out, too, my friend, no matter what you’re going to do, if you’re going to go with a western-trained doctor and you’re going to go through the standard protocols that they would prescribe, which almost everyone would go that route and I understand, you need to have an herbalist and you need to have an acupuncturist or a qigong master on your team for the reasons that we had already talked about, about the chemotherapy. In most therapies, what happens to the body it happens energetically. It’s really like dynamite going off and then you’re trying to sort through the mess. You need to add those people as part of your team of healers that are going to be working with you, not only the western-trained doctors but those people, too.
I can’t state to you how important that is because again, you need to have people on your side who are kind of mopping up the mess that the radiation creates or mopping up the mess that chemotherapy has created. I know myself if push comes to shove and someone that I love is sick, I would scour the earth and we would try a little bit of everything. I’m not saying hey, you’re sick; go only to a qigong person and you’re a fool and all that stuff if you don’t and all that. I get it. You’re scared and people are looking for and need the magic bullet.
One thing that I would do if I had someone that I loved that was sick now is listen, we know that these things work. We will start those immediately and these things being the qigong-based stuff, the herbs and the acupuncture. And then we would go and find out with the appropriate western doctors and we would find hopefully open-minded people who are willing to work very, like I said, like a team. It’s truly what it is. We’re going to work together. We’re not going to get in each other’s ways. We’re all fighting and pushing for the same thing. You just want to make sure that you’re covering all your bases because there are a lot of people out there who are getting treatments right now who are not informed completely. They are terrified and emotionally they are in such disarray that it’s almost as if their illness is being fed at a startling rate. You need to know that these are things that are contributing to your illness and there are ways to combat those things so that your body has a chance. All you’re basically trying to do is create a chance. I haven’t mentioned it yet. I did earlier but psychotherapist also, somebody who’s going to be able to talk you through some things and literally putting a brigade of people together who are going to heal you. That’s my take on things.
Logan: Yeah, I really like that because with a diagnosis like that, that’s a time for massive action and not any one piece by itself, I wouldn’t trust any single one piece like just trust herbs or anything like that but you put it all together. It’s not a scientific approach. You don’t know what would work but heck, there’s a time when you definitely don’t care about that. You just kind of what results so throw everything you can at it. I like that emphasis on the team. That’s the thing. All these areas, to become a western doctor, how many years of school? But it’s the same thing with a really good herbalist or a qigong master. It’s a lifetime of study so if you can get the best of the best, different people together then you get good results, assuming yeah, like you said, there’s good communication between then and they’re not fighting each other about it.
Chris: Yeah, I just finished with a guy who hired me on. He had stage IV lymphatic cancer so a pretty gruesome diagnosis. I was a member of the team that he put together. We went through chemotherapy together. I was a support for him. He also had an acupuncturist because he was based out in San Diego. Within about six months, this guy has no sign of cancer right now and that’s a really, really tough one to beat. It’s an aggressive cancer. Once you get into the lymph system, you have access to the whole body. It’s a scary diagnosis and he just put his head down, he did exactly what you said. He was we’re going to try a little bit of everything and we’re proud to say that he’s doing really, really well right now. Obviously, there’s some time that has to go by and several sets of tests to go by after a certain amount of time. He’s doing incredibly well. His doctors are amazed and we were able to contribute to saving this guy’s life.
Logan: That’s very cool. Well, we’re coming up on an hour and we were kind of all over the place here, with cancers, athletic performance and whatnot but there’s a lot of great information and I think people listening to this will agree. Is there anywhere you’d like to point people to find out more about you?
Chris: About me? Holy cow! You’d think I’d be more prepared about this. I don’t have a website because in my day to day life, I work from the university and I’m a strength conditioning guy. So a doctor on TV type thing. If you’d like to get ahold of me, I can give you a direct email address. My email address is [email protected]. Yes, I still have a Hotmail account. Then in the subject line, just put the word “qigong” and I will see it. It will get read and won’t get junked. Then if there’s somebody out there who’s listening who’s interested in learning a little bit more or maybe a little direction, feel free to just shoot me an email. I’m a fairly busy guy but I’ll get to it eventually. So don’t think that I’m stuffing you off or anything like that. [email protected] is the easiest way to get ahold of me and then we’ll just go from there.
Logan: All right. Well, thank you so much and thanks everyone for listening. I hope you got a lot out of this call. I know we dove into some newer territory than what we’ve covered in the past but very information for people. Thank you so much, Chris.
Chris: You bet, Logan. Thank you.
Logan: All right, and thanks everyone for listening. Have a good day!
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