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Cancer Support Community provides free Qigong classes to patients and caregivers

With the support of Zhineng Qigong Community of St. Louis, Cancer Support Community of Greater St. Louis has provided valuable free Qigong lessons to cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers for the past eight years.

Zhineng Qigong practice at CSC
Zhineng Qigong practice at CSC
Violet Li
Qigong group at CSC
Violet Li

Located in Des Peres, Cancer Support Community (CSC) of Greater St. Louis, formerly known as Wellness Community, is a non-profit organization. Marketing Director Linda Novak stated that CSC offers professionally-led support groups, networking groups, educational workshops, nutrition and gentle exercise programs, and stress-reduction classes to empower and educate individuals affected by cancer. All programs are offered at no charge to cancer patients, cancer survivors and their loved ones.

I recently visited CSC during a Qigong practice. In a beautiful facility, there are activity rooms set up for classes. A classroom was warmly dimmed. Zhineng Qigong certified instructor Harrison Beard was leading the class. They started with a sitting meditation with guidance. Participants learned how to relax and let go of worries and concerns. Gradually, they warmed up with Zhineng Qigong movements some sitting and some standing. You can watch a Zhineng Qigong demo via the attached video. The instructor gave instruction to each and every movement. He not only told them how to move their arms, legs, and body but also how to focus their Qi (life energy) and circulate it through pressure points and major parts of the body. Once they completed the individual exercise, they formed a circle to share the Qi field with each other.

In a previous article, I reported that Zhineng Qigong proved to reduce depression for cancer patients and survivors. To understand how Zhineng Qigong helps this group, I interviewed the participants after the class. Peggy, who joined the practice three months ago, commented that Qigong made her calmer and helped her to sleep better. Ginny, who had been with the group for two years, admitted that it was hard for her to meditate but with Zhineng Qigong, she was able to focus. She said that she had seen good results from the practice. She expressed that Qigong practice was spiritual especially when they were in a circle like a family. Betty has survived cancer for 12 years. She learned Qigong before and recently decided to come back to practice it. Even though she was gone for a few years, she picked up the movements without any difficulty. Betty stated that Harrison and other instructors made the art easy to learn. Elmer was a long-time cancer caregiver and took care of two family members who had cancer. Now he had Parkinson’s Disease. He was with the Qigong group for years and practiced daily at home. “I feel close to God during practice,” said Elmer. All participants thanked Harrison and other Zhineng Qigong instructors for their selfless dedication to share the knowledge of this healing art.

According to instructor Riki Howard, Ron Rain started the Qigong program at CSC eight years ago. Sue Ashwell, a cancer survivor, also joins Ron, Harrison, and Riki teaching the program. Harrison said even though he did not have cancer but he had another major health issue before practiced the art. Once he was benefiting from the practice, he wanted to share the knowledge. Riki mentioned that besides teaching voluntarily at CSC, they also offer free lessons at Eliot Unitarian Chapel, Ron Rain’s Center of Wellness, First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, and Glendale Presbyterian Church. You can see the schedule and location via the web link here

In 2013, 1714 people participated in CSC’s life changing programs, 406 people attended the 467 support group sessions, 253 people received free wigs and supplies, 274 people took park in 51 educational workshops, 163 people attended cooking and nutrition classes, and 433 people participated in 622 fitness sessions including Qigong. The results were astounding. Program Director Renata Sledge said “We at CSC are quite lucky to receive the gift from our Qigong team. The practice makes such an impact in the community.”

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