Healing Gifts: Qi Gong in Breast Cancer Recovery combines the gentle, restorative movements drawn from the Chinese practice of Qi Gong with spiritually uplifting visual images to heal the body, mind, and spirit.
Designed especially for post-surgical breast cancer patients, these gentle, meditative exercises would also adapt well as an activity for older adults and others seeking a low-impact, upper body exercise program. The movements are slow and gentle, requiring minimal physical effort, making them ideal for those experiencing cancer-related fatigue.
Unlike most exercises offered in recovery, the authors of Healing Gifts use their many years of combined experience in physical therapy, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and other Asian martial arts to create a gentle, nurturing approach that emphasizes the ability of the mind to affect the body’s healing through imagination and visualization.
Each exercise is illustrated with photographs and described in detail. Chinese calligraphy and poetry provide a focal point for visualization and imagery.
While the market is deluged with books written for women with breast cancer, Healing Gifts is one of the few that empower women to take control and participate in their healing process. The authors, a physical therapist and an expert in Tai Ji and Qi Gong, believe that the practice of Qi Gong fills the body with a positive life force, harmonizes the organs and calms the inner spirit. In a conversational style, the art of Qi Gong is explained as well as how it combines posture, breathing, meditation, and gentle movement to release negativity from the body and open it to healing. Photographed, easy to follow breathing exercises and movements are provided, starting with exercises that can be initiated shortly after surgery and progressing to more difficult movements. The personal, non-threatening tone makes this much more than a typical workbook. Emphasis is placed on listening to the needs of the body and working at a self-pace. An illustrated guide to acupressure points is included to help with pain and other cancer-related symptoms. Visual imagery is noted, but healing sounds often associated with Qi Gong are not addressed. Relaxation techniques and meditations round out the book. Included are a glossary of Chinese calligraphy, poetry and a list of resources.
Nancy O’Brien, Iowa Health — Des Moines, Health Sciences Library, Des Moines, IA