Natural Healing for Children: Qigong

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Our mettle is never more tested than through our children’s health.

In fact, maternal and pediatric medicine is predicated on fear. That innate and primal, mama bear, I’ll do anything for my kid, impulse has been systematically captured by a near religiously upheld practice of aggressive and proactive management of the human body. (Have you heard of families being kicked out of pediatric practices for not “complying”?)

It begins with the medicalization of pregnancy and transfers to the newborn and child, soon seen as a mini-adult rife with the same mechanical defects, germs, and disease-fostering proclivities, necessitating “unfortunate but necessary” interventions and preventions.

From antibiotic eye goop to vitamin K shots, vaccinesTylenol, steroids, and more antibiotics, our children are messaged from the moment of their birth about their bodies. And we are the messengers.

I believe that each and every interaction with the medical system deserves a conscious assessment: what does this express about my beliefs around health and the body? What am I saying to my child? What sociocultural or familial lore am I passing on?

Because of our deepening understanding of the placebo effect, we now know that the beliefs we bring to our medical care are critical if not even primarily impactful.

Back in the day, pediatricians had a reverence for the body. My friend Dr. Larry Palevsky discusses the appreciation of milestones met after childhood experiences of illnesses labeled as Measles. You read that right – illness serves a purpose. From his perspective (and mine), it primes the immune system and stimulates its evolution and development as an adaptive stressor. Perhaps illness even plays a role in detoxification processes that become necessary at times. Here’s what’s unlikely: that pediatric illness is some kind of malfunction of a flawed machine that is to be avoided at all costs and wrestled into submission if said avoidance strategy fails.

This approach to parenting is driven by FEAR and reactivity.

And it’s only natural because of our evolutionary wiring, but we have outsourced our trust to authorities that reflect back to us a harrowing tale of our health prospects, and a new normal of chronic disease. And we have to stop to witness how this strategy is taking us down a road of nut-free lunch tables, multiple prescriptions by age 10, and neurological disability.

It’s time to reconnect to our inner compass. To come into deeper contact with what our souls know to be true: that our response to illness, from a place of deep faith in the body, is our best treatment, and that mindful living is our best prevention.

How to support your child when they are sick, injured, or struggling with their bodies

I have a Pharma-free household, and my daughters have never been to a doctor or emergency room for an illness. That said, having trained in functional medicine, I spent years trying to negotiate with them to choke back supplement tinctures of fatty acids, probiotics, minerals, and herbs. But soon, after one too many battles and a growing sense that I was overly attached to their cooperation in this arena, I realized that the more I pushed their vitamins, the more I was sending a message to them that their bodies needed these vitamins and were incomplete without them. While I have grave concerns about soil integrity and global food transport compromising the nutrient density of our foods, I also believe in quantum healing – tapping into the energy field to source an effect that is inexplicable through an A+B=C model.

And so we have settled on energy medicine. They take flower remedies and homeopathy without resistance, when needed, and they are in charge of self-administering.

I couldn’t have been more inspired to have the opportunity to ask Master Mingtong Gu, during my first Qigong training, about how and what this ancient practice can offer children.

If conventional medicine is the push-pull, Newtonian, body-as-machine model of health, then Qigong is the non-linear, Quantum, soul-as-body model of health. Through this ancient practice, visualization, sound, and slow movement allow each person to engage in radical self-healing of stuck energy and cellular memories of trauma – also known as illness! The outcomes from the Medicine-less Hospital in China are right up my alley – documenting an effectiveness rate in 99% of 200,000 cases.

No risk, high yield hope for healing. Sounds like something I want to transmit to my little ladies.

Here were Mingtong’s recommendations for bringing this energetic practice to your family:

  1. Model body confidence. When a child trips and falls, what’s the first thing they do? They check for your reaction. If you freak out, so do they. If you reflect confidence in their resiliency, they get up and keep running! Check your fears, always, and everywhere. Know that when you “worry” about your child and their symptoms, you are transmitting your fear…and the message that you don’t have confidence in their body to heal itself. This fear is the real contagion. So, use phrases like “Your body can handle this…it knows exactly what to do…let me help you listen to what your body is saying.”
  2. Stay with the body. Help your child embody by asking them where they feel what they feel. They can point to it, describe it, and share what it’s like. You can even ask them to imagine that they are traveling within their own body…what does it look like in there? What do they see?
  3. Bring the love where it’s needed. The inner smile practice is exactly what it sounds like – bringing the energy of a smile, to where it hurts. This is the foundational practice of moving towards, not away from the pain, struggle, and challenge. Being with it, even loving it. Imagine a warm light traveling from your smiling face, inward toward the heart and then to every organ and cell in the body, leaving each smiling. This simple practice can act as the foundation to a lifetime of embracing what is.
  4. Meditate together. Lachi is one of the foundational meditative practices of Qigong, and it is demonstrated in this video

Kids love meditating! And they love chanting. So spend a few minutes feeling the “chi ball” and chanting Hao-la which means “All is well…getting better” or Kai-Her for expansion and gathering. Invite them to bring this activated chi ball to where it hurts in their body to move that stuck energy.

If symptoms are reframed, not as a nuisance, not as a problem, but as an expression of the body, that requires attention, support, and focused intention, then self-empowerment, self-confidence, and personal trust are amplified. These are the keys to unlocking an entirely different relationship to health and healing…a more beautiful story. Conscious parents have a precious opportunity to shift the consciousness of the next generation through these simple practices.

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About Dr. Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your OwnOwn Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. Learn More