Like most of you, I didn’t have “Global Once-In-a-Century Pandemic” on my bingo card for 2020.
Now, 20 months later, 290 million people have gotten covid, 50 million have gotten long-covid, and 5 million have died. On January 3rd, the U.S. reported 1 million new cases in a single day, shattering all previous records.
As we start our 3rd calendar year of this pandemic, many of us are mentally and emotionally exhausted.
The mental health toll is hard to quantify, but I think we all know it’s not good. Literally billions of people are simultaneously struggling with mental health issues.
It turns out that global pandemics are really stressful. Who knew?
Put a finger down if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms recently:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (also known as “brain fog”)
- Chest tightness
- Fast-beating or pounding heart
- Back pain
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
This list seems like it could be related to mental health, and it totally could be. But believe it or not, all of the above symptoms are also for long-covid.
In other words, that fatigue you experienced may not have been laziness at all!
It may have been an asymptomatic case of covid that turned into long-covid!
(Side note: Remember to be kinder to yourself in 2022. Please stop beating yourself up and calling yourself lazy.)
My Battle with Depression
In my 20s, I survived a life-or-death battle with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). As bad as it was, I didn’t have to worry about whether or not half of my symptoms were possibly caused by a global pandemic. Once I got my diagnosis, I knew exactly what I was dealing with!
Today, it’s not so easy. A diagnosis is not always possible, nor is it always complete. For example, many people have been battling undiagnosed depression and anxiety during the pandemic. For them, a long-covid diagnosis would not show the full picture.
It’s getting harder and harder to separate mental health issues from covid. Like it or not, they are woven together. Teasing apart long-covid issues from mental health issues is going to be a challenge for years to come.
Luckily, there is something we can do in the age of covid that doesn’t rely on a perfect diagnosis!
Qigong, Now More than Ever
For decades, I’ve been passionate about sharing the proven benefits of qigong. A few years ago, I compiled a PDF of these benefits, with links to the research. Click here or on image below if you want to download the PDF yourself.
The list of benefits is long and impressive, but there are some other things that often get overlooked:
- You can practice qigong virtually anywhere.
- You can practice qigong any time of the day.
- You don’t need any equipment to practice qigong.
- You don’t need a gym, studio, or dojo to practice qigong.
- You don’t need a diagnosis in order to benefit from qigong.
All of these are helpful, but #5 is a HUGELY under-appreciated benefit. It is one of the best reasons why everyone should be practicing qigong in the age of covid.
No Diagnosis, No Problem
For years, I owned a brick-and-mortar qigong studio in Florida. I lived in a small college town, and as students began to get awesome results, word quickly spread. Soon, acupuncturists, chiropractors, nurses, and medical doctors filled my classes.
Over time, these medical professionals started to refer their patients to me. In particular, they began to send me patients who weren’t responding well to their treatment methods.
Why did they do this? Why did medical professionals send me their most difficult cases?
Did they expect me, a qigong teacher, to diagnose a rare medical disorder like Dr. House, MD?
Actually, the opposite. They sent me their difficult cases precisely because the qigong I teach does NOT need a diagnosis to be beneficial.
Many therapies require a clear diagnosis in order to be effective, but Flowing Zen Qigong is not one of them.
Qigong is a Help-All
If you’re familiar with my work, then you know I don’t promote qigong as a panacea. This puts me directly at odds with some famous qigong teachers who promote the art as a cure-all. I think it’s irresponsible of them to exaggerate the powers of qigong as a marketing ploy, but that’s a topic for another day.
And yet, let me be clear that qigong is friggin’ amazing!
There’s no need to exaggerate because the proven benefits of qigong are already super impressive. Whether the latest science points to 13 benefits or 20 or even 50 — it doesn’t matter. There are ALREADY plenty of reasons to practice qigong.
Let’s circle back to the list of long-covid and/or mental health issues from above. Which ones can qigong help with?
- Tiredness or fatigue ✓
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating ✓
- Chest tightness ✓
- Headache ✓
- Fast-beating or pounding heart ✓
- Back pain ✓
- Sleep problems ✓
- Mood changes ✓
- Changes in menstrual period cycles ✓
Based on my experience helping over 10,000 students in 48 countries, I can safely say that qigong will help with ALL of the above symptoms. And the best part is that it doesn’t matter what’s causing them!
Is it Long-Covid?
Let’s say that you’ve been experiencing some serious fatigue over the last few months. How can you tell if the fatigue is caused by long-covid, from the stress of the pandemic, or mental health issues?
Certainly, you can go through the diagnostic process and get some answers. But remember that with long-covid, there is no specific test.
The basic definition of long-covid is as follows:
- someone who, 4 weeks after being diagnosed with a covid infection, continues to have signs and symptoms that are not explained by other causes.
In other words, long-covid is often a diagnosis by elimination. When all of the other causes are eliminated but symptoms remain, then it is diagnosed as long-covid.
Meanwhile, mental health diagnoses are also subjective. There’s no blood test to determine if you have an anxiety disorder. Instead, a licensed mental health worker or psychiatrist will ask you a series of questions and then come up with a diagnosis.
My point is that if you are experiencing symptoms that could come from either mental health issues OR long-covid, it’s not so easy to get a clear diagnosis.
Qigong to the Rescue
With qigong, it doesn’t matter if your symptoms are being caused by long-covid or anxiety or ADHD or trauma. If you practice qigong, it will help. Simple!
I should mention that the type of qigong you practice matters. For example, if you practice a style of Martial Qigong that is designed to build internal power, then it may or may not help your symptoms.
The explanation for this is simple: Martial Qigong is specialized, not holistic. It is designed for power, not healing.
However, there are ways to make Martial Qigong more holistic. In my qigong school, we use an amazing technique called Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow (FBSW) to accomplish this.
With this rare qigong technique, we circulate the energy freely through the 12 Primary Meridians.
The best thing about Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow is that it taps into the natural healing wisdom of the body. The healing energy flows where it needs to go, no diagnosis needed. This is why even difficult cases do well with Flowing Zen Qigong.
If the energy needs to clear a blockage in the Lung Meridian, for example, then it will flow there spontaneously as we practice Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow. This will happen even if you have no idea where the Lung Meridian is located!
Learn FBSW for Free
In 2020, I did something I’ve never done before. In response to the pandemic, I gave away a $100 qigong course totally free. I did this to help my fellow humans through the pandemic.
This qigong course, which focused on covid, depression, and anxiety, also taught Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow. In other words, I was gave away one of the rarest qigong secrets — absolutely free. To date, over 6000 people have taken that course.
I never imagined that the pandemic would last this long, but here we are.
If you want to learn some qigong for free, click here. Best regards, Sifu Anthony I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world how to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. As the director of Flowing Zen, I'm fully committed to helping people with these arts. In addition to my blog, I also teach online courses and offer in-person retreats and workshops.