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Volume 10 Issue 6
March/April 2005

Universal Symbols of Potential and Transformation

Cranberries: Food and Medicine

Harvesting Plants From a Native Wild Environment

Seeds of Zen in the Prairies
Introducing Maurine Stuart

The Healing Power of Zhong Guo Hui Gong Therapy
Chinese Wisdom Qi Gong



The Healing Power of Zhong Guo Hui Gong Therapy
Chinese Wisdom Qi Gong

by Laura Burkhart
Laura Burkhart

A short walk outside the village of Hawi, on the north end of the Big Island of Hawaii, the Kokolulu Farm and Wellness Centre welcomes visitors, work-study volunteers, and those who suffer from chronic illness, addictions, and other disorders. Nestled in seven acres of rolling green pastures and spectacular water gardens, the peaceful atmosphere of the Centre is enhanced by breathtaking ocean views, vistas of Mauna Kea volcano, and the exuberant presence of two golden retrievers.

I first met the founders, Karin Cooke and Lew Whitney, when I arranged to attend a Buddhist creativity workshop in their Chinese temple in January 2004. Their open hearts and generous spirits soon led to an invitation for me to become their first work-study volunteer and help them set up that ongoing program. They introduced me to Zhong Guo Hui Gong therapy (Chinese Wisdom Qi Gong) which they had been studying intensely since 1997. Their Master, Zhang, Yu Lei, designed a personalized program to help heal my eyes and Lew and Karin facilitated my daily participation.

Unlike other forms of qi gong, the Earth Immortal Qi Gong involves full-body movement that activates and moves qi by rolling. As well as acting on acupressure points and massaging the body, it brings up impurities of mind, spirit, and body to be released for better health. An added and unexpected benefit for me was losing weight!

I wondered how Lew and Karin had come to incorporate this unique (to the West) form of healing into their wholistic programs. It all began on a trip to China when their qi gong teacher introduced them to Master Zhang, who then invited them to study with him and bring this treatment to the West. Master Zhang has treated, with success, over one million “students” in China who have suffered from 150 chronic illnesses, as well as mental illness and behavioural disorders. His work has made major contributions to the literature of the psychiatric and mental health communities in China.

Lew’s first rolling experience was transformational. He felt a fireball spin from his stomach and go out the top of his head, and was able to see more vividly and hear more clearly. “It felt like my brain had been wiped clean,” he said. He’s been rolling daily ever since and says the benefits have been bountiful. He is more grounded, can see himself more clearly, and has developed greater sensitivity to other people. As an educational psychologist and massage therapist who has been doing his personal healing work for thirty years, Lew claims that this form of qi gong has been transformational in his work and his spiritual life. Still, both he and Karin stress that good nutrition, exercise, meditation, and other spiritual components form the larger context within which Wisdom Qi Gong is able to work. They travel frequently to China to study with Master Zhang.

“I really enjoy my daily morning roll.
I would do it in my pyjamas. It was like a massage
first thing in the morning.”

Karin was not as easily converted as her husband to the rolling experience in China. She gets dizzy easily and didn’t want to roll on the rocky ground in 35ºC weather. She was one of the last to roll on first meeting Master Zhang and stopped the process part way through. She was then very sick for twenty-four hours. However, after they returned home she witnessed others rolling with very positive outcomes. Finally she decided she wanted to do it and went in with a positive attitude and a willingness to follow the guidelines. She immediately felt negative dark energy leaving. “Mother Earth was holding me and it was very cleansing, nurturing, peaceful,” she said. She now rolls each morning to get grounded and to release negative energies and thoughts in preparation for her busy day ahead. A nurse and reiki master, she also coordinates two alternative healing research projects on the Big Island. “Rolling gives me a daily experience of all the universal energy and nurturing around me,” she adds. Karin also believes that the turning and vibration of rolling promotes healing at many levels.

Although my personal goal in rolling was to help heal my eyes, there were many other unexpected blessings. My vision became clearer and colours brighter. I started to notice more details, like the fronds on palm trees and individual branches in the bamboo shelter-belt. Cellular memories from my childhood were dislodged and I was able to release patterns that kept me from experiencing joy. Although rolling was not my favourite pastime, I was able to see the concrete results and my partner claims I even became more calm and centred.

As a consulting psychologist in the school system, Lew tells the story of a grade four student (we’ll call him Joey) who was on six different kinds of psycho-pharmaceuticals because of hyperactivity. When he was challenged on the play ground he “would go ballistic, and it would take five or six adults to subdue him.” His mother was a crystal methadone addict so he was living with his grandmother, who asked Lew to help wean him off his medication. They started a rolling program three to four days a week and Joey loved it. Working with his psychiatrist, Joey was medication-free within six months and had no more violent outbursts.

A bit less dramatic, but still significant, was 25-year-old Sheenru’s experience of rolling while she was a volunteer at Kokolulu. She had come from New York, where she had “burned out as a dancer”. She rolled for two months, and after that excitedly said, “I really enjoy my daily morning roll. I would do it in my pyjamas. It was like a massage first thing in the morning.” Sheenru recommends rolling to people of all ages, even if they don’t have specific health concerns. She added, “Although it might seem like a weird idea at first, it feels really natural and it makes intuitive and bodily sense to roll/rotate. Kids do it naturally. I felt that rolling massaged my whole body, including my internal organs.”

Laura Burkhart, a Saskatchewan psychotherapist and writer, now works part-time with Lew and Karin in the Kokolulu treatment program in Hawaii (www.kokolulu.com). She spent time in Hawaii during the winter of 2004 to finish her first book of poetry, Venus Rising, which was published by Hagios Press in the fall of 2004. To contact Laura, email: LauraLBurkhart@aol.com.


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