This isn’t just theory; he said he has seen it work.
“We initially start with them in the hospital and after 10 weeks, the oncologist is asking me, ‘What is going on with my patients? It’s a miracle.’ I told him, ‘It’s not a miracle. We are teaching them to heal themselves,’ ” he said.
Jahnke said the healing powers of Qigong and Tai Chi is something he has known for decades, but there is an important subtext to the conversation: preventable treatment and economics.
“The statistic for this nation in terms of costs to preventable disease is, well, embarrassing,” Jahnke said. “We spend medical money on people who could be keeping themselves well at home for no additional cost. It’s odd that the most sophisticated society in the world would overlook this simple but exquisite economic idea that self-directed human beings can do all kinds of amazing things.”
ASU microbiology student Hussein Hadid, who participated in the training session, said “mindful practices” such as Qigong and Tai Chi should be incorporated in all future oncology rehabilitation programs.
“Stress does so much more to our bodies than people can ever know,” Hadid said. “It impedes judgment, it impedes our immune system and can lead to heart disease and even cancer. Tai Chi relieves that stress hormone and allows you to be in the moment.”
Being in the moment is important to Maja Pedersen, a first-year doctoral student in the College of Health and NutritionThe College of Health and Nutrition is in ASU's College of Health Solutions..
“Everybody needs a reminder to check out of the daily stresses of life and take some time away from that to connect with our bodies and become aware of what’s inside of us,” Pedersen said. “I find the type of movement in Tai Chi to be very helpful. When we think of physical activity, we have a tendency to think of straight front-to-back movement. From my experience, that doesn’t leave open [space] for a creative flow of energies in our bodies. So I’m looking forward to sharing this practice with individuals who are in great need of healing.”
Though he believes in its methods, Jahnke knows the healing abilities of Qigong and Tai Chi could take a while to implement.
"This is a no-brainer and something we've known all along, but to normalize this into an entire society — many mountains to climb."
Recruitment for the study will begin shortly, with ASU working with local community organizations and oncologists. For more information, please contact the Recovery & Rejuvenation study staff at 602-496-2329.