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Popular teacher was bound, not broken
A decade's worth of North Bend Elementary students were able to stand eye-to-eye with their first grade teacher
until she miraculously grew several feet.
For the past 10 years a chronic medical condition has bound
Jane Nelson to her wheelchair. The injury stemmed from improperly
stretching before walking and first emerged as shin splints that later moved down
to her ankles.
Although she didn't lose the ability to walk, the severe tendonitis
in Nelson's ankles and legs allowed minimal movement, only a couple
of steps at a time.
That is until she met "Qigong" (pronounced chee-goong)
Grandmaster Dr. Effie Poy Yew Chow.
Before meeting Chow, Nelson spent more than six years hoping
that modern western medicine could heal the damage that had been done,
but the experience only left her frustrated, disappointed and faced with
the thought that she might be stuck in a wheelchair forever.
"It was hard to adjust from being active to being confined," Nelson
said. "When I started having no progress in therapy, they discharged me
from orthopedic care and a sports medicine doctor said I wouldn't walk again."
But Nelson wasn't ready to take the news sitting down, at least not
in her mind. She was determined to find a doctor who knew how to treat
her condition and who wouldn't give up on her mission.
At about that time, alternative medicine was gaining momentum
and Nelson decided to try acupuncture and herbs to soothe her ailments. The
Chinese healer was able to decrease Nelson's pain, but after three years
of therapy, Nelson still couldn't get herself out of the wheelchair.
It was then that Nelson decided to find someone with more refined
acupuncture and healing skills. She contacted Chow's East West Academy
of Healing Arts in San Francisco and learnt that the doctor would soon
be in Seattle for a Health Expo. In the meantime, Nelson was directed to
read Chow's book, "Miracle Healing From China Qigong."
According to the book Qigong is "based on the classic Chinese
theory that a powerful energy system exists in the body if qi (energy)
patterns are disrupted by emotional distress, environmental exposures, or any
number of factors, a person becomes susceptible to disease. When this
disruption of energy is rebalanced, health is restored."
And that's the key to Qigong, Chow said.
"We have to deal with the total person of body, mind and spirit at
all times," she said during a phone interview. "You can't isolate entities
and that's why it hasn't worked [for Nelson] before, because they
During their first encounter, Chow was able to have Nelson walking
back and forth several times across a room _ a feat that she hadn't done in
But it wasn't a one-time miracle that got Nelson walking again
it took an overhaul of attitudes and actions to slowly heal her body.
Nelson learned basic acupressure points and deep breathing exercises,
nutrition tips, as well as positive thinking techniques to retrain the emotional side
Chow said an important aspect of her relationships with her clients is
that it's her duty to teach them how to help themselves.
"You might help them walk, but there's a greater risk for her to
fall back," she explained. "The key is
to develop her emotionally and physically to help her heal herself."
By the third treatment, Nelson was able to walk into a Chinese
restaurant for the first time in years. At the
sixth session she walked to the lookout at Snoqualmie Falls. After the
eighth time Nelson went wheelchair-less the entire day. Then on the 10th
treatment, she strolled the streets of San Francisco.
"I felt like a little kid let loose in a candy store," she said. "I got my
And now, almost one year after the first treatment, Nelson is totally
free from her wheelchair. She can maneuver easily around the tiny desks of
her first grade classroom and now she actually towers over her young students.
In addition to the physical changes, Nelson experienced an
emotional transformation, as well. In the few short months of therapy
with Chow, Nelson overcame many phobias that haunted her for years
including the fear of flying, heights (Chow's San Francisco office was on the
21st floor), exploring an unfamiliar city, and speaking in front of an
audience (she presented her story at a conference in November).
"Not only did my physical muscles and tendons need to be
stretched," Nelson said. "But my whole self
was needing to be stretched to face and conquer some of my inner fears
and blockages too."
"That was pure joy," she added.
Nelson will be "stretched" once again in April when she gives her
testimony at a Qigong summit in Washington D.C.
"A lesson I learned was how to have more compassion for others.
I want to have a better attitude and share what I learned," she said.
And over the years Nelson will need to continually learn how to
keep her body healthy and ailment free, Chow said.
"The body can test us," she said. "It starts with pain and if Jane
doesn't do what she learns, the body can say, `Oh, good, she's jumpy' and it
might kick her a little bit more.
"It sounds like a game, but that's what it is. Life is a game and
healing is a game. And we're tested all the time."
For more information about Dr. Effie Poy Yew Chow or the
summit, visit her Web site at
www.eastwestqi.com. Or, for more information about Jane Nelson's
recovery, call her at (425) 831-8365.