Reporter: Shannon Samson
Web Producer: Amber Griswold
Americans are discovering a centuries-old Chinese relaxation technique called Qigong.
It seems to be helping cancer patients. Cancer changes a person. Stephanie Fowler says her lowest point came after treatment.
Stephanie Fowler, a breast cancer survivor, explained, "You've got treatment, treatment, treatment. Treatment, treatment, treatment and tons of doctors visits and then everything stops. So it's like your body's going, what do I do?"
Now, it's doing Qigong (pronounced chee gung). Qi is vitality, energy and life force. Gong means to cultivate or refine. The ancient Chinese believed this refining of one's life force restores balance in the body and promotes natural healing.
And those are just the physical benefits.
Amy Stange, a Qigong master, said "What it does for the human spirit is very hard to describe, but it does create a space and place for hope and empowerment in a situation where people could be very challenged and disempowered."
Stange studied for three years at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine to be qualified to teach others what she calls "contemplative exercises," that can stir up just as much energy as calisthenics.
Two-time cancer survivor, Dora Rawlings hopes some of that energy will combat her arthritis.
Rawlings said, "I have an 85-year-old body and it's already coming on, but I'm going to get rid of it through this."
Deep-breathing and muscles contracting, Stange says it's therapy that doesn't replace western medicine, but certainly enhances it.
Because Tiger Woods is rumored to practice Qigong, many golfers are trying it.
Saint Mary's offers classes to both cancer patients and the general public.
The Hope Cancer Resource Center offers Qigong for individuals with cancer and their support people on Monday mornings from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., and Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Please call 812-485-5725 to register.
St. Mary's Health Matters offers Qigong to the public on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m. and starting September 1st, Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Cost is $50.00 for 5 week session or $15 a class. For more information, contact St. Mary's Health Matters Fitness Center at 812-485-4110.