25 September, 2021       LISBON - MAX. Nice with sun and some cloudsº, MIN. 03º

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Folders  |  Qigong & Reiki: Alternative therapies
Qigong & Reiki: Alternative therapies
Sanda Samitca
Qigong & Reiki: Alternative therapies
To find out a bit more about these practices, we met Hervé, a Qi Gong teacher from Lisbon, and Virginie, a Reiki therapist, also from Lisbon. But before we meet them, here is a friend’s tale of the unique set of circumstances that led her to experience these practices. Here is her personal account of what happened
« One day, when I put my hands in the air to tie my hair I saw a blue shadow in the mirror, on the outer rim of my breast. The tumour was a little more than 2 cm big and was of the sort that would double in size in three months. My mammography two years before had shown nothing out of the ordinary. The surgeon removed the tumour; he cut into the armpit to remove the lymph glands for analysis to see if the illness had spread further. The news that there were no metastases relieved me of a weight that had been strangling my heart.

The diagnosis and protocol were then explained to me. I was given details and technical support at every phase of my treatment. But the absence of clear questions such as :

- How do you catch cancer?
- What are the mechanisms by which the illness progresses?
- Are there ways of preventing it?
- How can one reduce the side effects of treatment?

left me helpless when faced with the physical and psychological trauma caused by the radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, two books did give me some basic avenues for investigation as I tried to understand the illness:

 « Anticancer – prévenir et lutter grâce à nos défenses naturelles » (in French) by David Servan-Schreiber, Ed. Robert Laffont, 2007
 « Vencer o cancro » (in Portuguese) by Patrick Holfold, Ed Lua de Papel, 2007

Chemotherapy was to my eyes an extreme experience, for it can make you lose control of your body, and the side effects it causes make you feel ill, exhausted, unable to eat and with a drastic loss of energy.

It was when I lost my energy that I understood the basic link that exists between spirit and breath and that I felt the need to channel this precious energy that we have in our body.

I learned that the Asians have an approach to medicine that is very different from our approach in the west. They are holistic  and work on an energy skeleton that was developed thousands of years ago, that focuses on a network of vessels and meridians linked to the organs by energy pathways. Preventing illnesses is a fundamental axis and controlling energy (called the Qi) is one of the main tools in this process.
On a friend’s advice I started to learn the basics of Reiki.

Reiki involves regularly doing breathing exercises and focusing the mind and treating yourself by placing hands on various parts of the body. The aim is to reactivate and rebalance both the energies we have inside and those that pass through us. I finished my chemo sessions using this technique as support and I feel it helped me to deal with the side effects better. Today I practice  Reiki to treat myself or on my close family whenever needed and I am always surprised at the relief it gives me.
In order to further help strengthen my immune system and to reduce the risks of relapse, I also practiced Qi Gong.
Qi Gong is a Chinese form of gymnastics that strengthens and circulates energy within the body. The positions are sometimes difficult to maintain, the body trembles but the energy circulates.  Through concentration one can unify the body in order to gain better strength and resistance. Breathing is always in harmony with the movements.
I am convinced that Reiki and Qi Gong have contributed to making my recovery more speedy. These disciplines are now an integral part of my everyday life and continue to bring me a profound sense of well-being. ».
Qi Gong

Hervé, a Qi Gong teacher based in Lisbon, started learning in France and then in Lisbon with a Vietnamese master. He presents this technique that he both teaches and practices. Let’s follow his lead!
What is Qi Gong ?

Qi Gong (Qi = energy and Gong (Kung) = work over a long period of time, or way of living) is in fact a way of life that centres on energy. Also sometimes called «interior boxing» or «boxing of the mind», Qi Gong is an internal work in energy that helps one perceive and consciously manifest one’s movements.
The practice comes from China (and even further back can be traced to forms of meditation in India) and its aim is to maintain harmony. The technique involves carrying-out slow movements, making the various meridians and surrounding areas of the body work, accompanying these with breathing exercises. The positions are immobile and geared towards strengthening the nervous system, and also to provide relaxation. For Hervé, this basic definition can be reinforced by stressing that the movements and positions all have an impact on breathing, the blood, lymph and nervous systems.
How does Qi Gong work?

Amongst other things, Qi Gong works on the central nervous system, the body’s media system that distributes vital information. The exercices are carried out in a conscious manner, using the mind to transfer the movements to the body. By giving intention (for example pushing a wall)  energy moves and that information is passed on to the nervous system that will in turn pass it on to the cells, which in turn react to the information given.  Hervé adds that the intention given to a movement makes the energy carried by the blood circulate. And this is how the positions manage to heal a range of problems. 
A regular practice of Qi Gong gives the cells different information which in turn help transform the body. Qi Gong therefore has therapeutic qualities, making it act on serious diseases, even cancer.

Where can you practice/take lessons/see a specialist?

Hervé gives lessons at the APAMCM, Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Mulher com Cancro da Mama, Av Marechal Craveiro Lopes 1 (Colégio das Doroteias), 1749-012 Lisbon, www.apamcm.com; tel: 217 585 648

- Espace Anjocas: Av Almirante Reis 106, Lisboa http://www.anjocas.com/home: Qi Gong and traditional Chinese therapies
- Brahmi Oriental Wellness, Av. Dos Platanos n°51, Loja C, Jardins da Parede, Tel 214 675 478, info@brahmi.pt; http://www.brahmi.pt/ Qi Gong
- Jardim dos Sentidos, Rua da Mãe d'Água, nº 3, 1250-154 Lisbon. Tel: 213 423 670 / 71 - Fax: 21 342 36 72 - Email: geral@jardimdosentidos.com
Contact: relaxing massages or Qi Gong and healthy eating.
Contact : Hervé Cameleyre, hervecameleyre@sapo.pt

We met with Virginie who practises Reiki in Lisbon and asked here more about this technique. Here are her answers.
What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese word meaning the universal energy of life. It is a natuaral means of chanelling  energy through hands that treats a patient in its inner self. It was discovered by Doctor Mikao Usui at the end of the 19th century in Japan and brought to Europe in the 1980s. Reiki is a means of regenerating and revitalising the body. The energy that it uses balances the body both  physically and mentally. 
How did you discover Reiki?

In 2002 when I lived in Brazil. At the time I was going through a rough patch having lost my eldest son. I met a wonderful Brazilian woman who used to give me shiatsu massages. She felt my distress and suggested I try Reiki.
This was the first time I heard the word and experienced my first session. It was a revelation. I felt things move within me and I went back to see her with joy each week. I wanted to learn Reiki and met up with a master in Rio who taught me the basics. For two years I worked my way through the various levels until I became a master myself. Reaching the level of master means one can initiate others, but I feel more of a healer than an initiator. 
What did Reiki change for you?

A lot of inner peace and I experience the present more vividly. I also have the feeling of owning a powerful tool as I progress through life. Reiki still surprises me every day: to see pain disappear after laying my hands on someone always fills me with awe. I find it hard to speak about Reiki because words seem unable to explain it.
Who would you recommend tries Reiki?

I would recommend it to all people who want to better manage their emotions and find inner harmony. Reiki is also suitable for all people who want to live in better physical and mental health.
What does a Reiki session entail?

One session can be enough to feel changes, but you usually need to follow four sessions in close succession, and then renew sessions as you feel necessary.
One session lasts 45 minutes. The patient remains clothed and lies down on their back on a massage table. The therapist then lays their hands along the whole body, from head to toe, stopping a few minutes on each part of the body/organ. During this progression, the energy will flow and be rebalanced.
To conclude, you do not need to be ill in order to try Reiki, the technique can be effective in a preventive way and relieve all sorts of stress, sleep problems, pains and illnesses.  Reiki works on physical problems, but also helps with emotional ones.
If you are interested, here are Virginie’s contact details.
Contact: Virginie Galfré, 966 466 668, Principe Real
Practical precisions : 35 euros for a 45-minute session.
For both Reiki and Qi Gong, we have only presented one practitioner here, but there are of course other schools and practitioners operating in Lisbon.

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