Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guest Author: Still as a Mountain Flowing Like a Great River

                 Managing Type II Diabetes with Tai Chi Chuan

                Robert W. Mann Empty Circle Tai Chi Chuan Fa

I began my martial arts practice during my service in the US Marine Corps in the early 1970s in both traditional and innovative Chinese and Filipino martial arts. Coming full circle I began training in authentic Tai Chi Chuan in 2005 and was fortunate to find masters in both the Chen Family and Yang Family arts. Over the years my practice had become intermittent. It wasn’t until I woke up night and found my heart racing and was short of breath due to my life style at that time of excessive alcohol abuse, extensive travel over work and lousy food.

The next morning I went out to my back yard and began to go through my Chen Family Chan Si Gong (Silk Reeling Chi Kung) and Four Sided Tai Chi. I stopped drinking, gave up junk food and started making better dietary choices. As time progressed I began to work with my other Tai Chi forms to include the Chen 13 Postures and Yang Ben Hou and Yang Lu Chan forms. I eventually integrated my combat conditioning program using Russian Kettle Bells and Body Weight training while continuing my acupuncture and herbal treatments that I receive from Dr. Patrick Sullivan, A.P. at the White Crane Clinic in Tarpon Springs, FL. I began losing weight and was feeling great but I was very thirsty and my weight loss was at a rate of 3 to 5 pounds a week. At first I thought it was a good thing but had some concern as diabetes runs in my family. So after a couple of months I thought it was time for a checkup to include blood work to be done at my local VA clinic. After my blood work I was notified that my A1C was 11 and my sugar was 326. I immediately arranged to meet with Dr. Sullivan who informed that I had what in Traditional Chinese Medicine is referred to as Jiao Gar “thirsting and wasting” essentially my body was eating itself. The VA classified my condition a Type II Diabetes.

The funny thing was I was feeling great getting stronger, how could I be sick? I didn’t even get colds or flu and I hadn’t had a flu shot in over 10 years. Over the next several months I continued to lose weight and my sugar continued to sky rocket and my VA M.D. thought I should either be in a Diabetic Coma or dead, as my sugar levels topped out at 650 and my weight bottomed out at 149 pounds. Curiously I continued to feel good and my strength continued to improve. At the time I was taking both allopathic and traditional Chinese medicine and continue to use both treatments with the intent of eventually getting away from the allopathic medicines all together.

At this point with my consistent daily Tai Chi practice along with the other 7 pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine my A1C and sugar levels are within normal ranges and continue to feel great and have a strong immune system free of colds and flu. I’m living proof that Tai Chi Chuan when used along with Traditional Chinese Medicine is both a remarkable martial and healing art.