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Popular teacher was bound, not broken

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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

isolated elements."

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

10 years.

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

of her.

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

life back."

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.

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