Teaching without words.
Sharing Rehabilitative Qigong & Tai Chi from a solid personal foundation.
Welcome to this month’s IRQTC Q&A newsletter. This month’s question comes from Larry; a NY based Physical Therapist who asks, “How do you convince patients and doctors that Tai Chi is an effective treatment?”
A: Great question, Larry, one that many of us ask during trainings as well as upon returning to the clinic with new treatment strategies that seem a bit “bizarre.” I have dealt with this issue myself several times when introducing Qigong & Tai Chi to both clients and doctors. In the past I often felt anxious about sharing my Tai Chi practices for fear of being marginalized and misunderstood. This makes sense when we look at most rehabilitation practice environments where the focus is on how many patients can be seen in an hour and what therapists can do to “fix” them. Inside the rehabilitation box we are encouraged to diagnose, prognose, standardize, and protocol clients back to health. Outside the box we guide, teach, support, and allow unique individuals to heal themselves holistically—meaning all aspects of their being. Both views are valid and necessary. It is our work to find balance in these approaches so that our clients may find maximal opportunity to heal.
In speaking with both professionals and clients it helps to remember that people have different value sets, allowing us to tailor messages and speak directly to what they value most. The seven primary value sets are: spiritual, vocational, financial, intellectual, physical, family, and social. People who have a strong family value will be best motivated if the subject matter is good for their whole family, while people whose primary value is financial will only do something if it adds dollars to their bank account. In general the health care industry places great value on research; fortunately, there is an abundance of studies focused on Tai Chi. When speaking with cardiologists, we can point to cardiac rehab and blood pressure studies. When talking to hospital administrators we can point to the large database of Tai Chi for balance research, highlighting how much money these programs can save the hospital. A large part of raising people’s awareness to new possibilities is to first understand who they are and what they value most.
There is a classic saying from the Tao Te Ching, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” While we can advocate for the efficacy of Tai Chi by knowing other people’s value sets, it becomes even more effective when we know our own. Over the years I have discovered that the less I try to convince others and the more I simply convince myself through sincere and regular practice, the more clients and colleagues naturally invest themselves in Tai Chi. The example we set can be very powerful: when we move slowly and smoothly with clients they want to move like that too; when we calmly respond to public criticism, witnesses want to “have what you’re having”. When we know for ourselves, in our own experience, that something has a profoundly positive effect on our health and life, it naturally overflows from us and inspires others to invest more fully in themselves as well.
Do you have a question for our IRQTC community? Share it with everyone and we can continue to support a community of professionals who know that it’s time to become the change we wish to see in health care.