Qigong helped Ellen living with MS

The text below is a translation of an article in the magazine Allas No 34/2015. You can read the original article here (in Swedish).

I got out of the wheelchair and walked!

Ellen was only 27 years when she got MS. All her dreams about childern, family and career were demolished. But thanks to qigong Ellen can both walk and run-and is also mother to an alert little boy!

Ellen J Weist, 37, lives the usual hectic life with a small child. She, her husband Per, 38; their son Valdemar, 2.5 years; live in the country outside Ljungskile and she works half-time as a web designer. But there is something different for her compared to many others. Every morning and evening she needs to practise qigong to keep her disease in check.

The story begins over ten years ago. Then Ellen lived in Gothenburg and the days were filled with travel, work and studies. A post as a volunteer in Bangladesh was approaching when she suddenly got an inflammation in the optic nerve, which may be a first sign of MS.

The doctors wanted to do an investigation.

- I did not understand why. Apart from the problems with my vision I was of course healthy so I went there anyway.

Got the answer

Back at home there waited an upset doctor and long, demanding tests. The days went by and the announcement was delayed. One day Ellen had enough and called the hospital.

- The neurologist looked in their paper and said: "Yes, you have MS. You need to come here as soon as possible to determine the brake medicine you need." It was quite surreal!

In the space of less than a year (the) everyday life rolled on but then came the day when things changed. Ellen was taking a walk when her legs suddenly became heavy as lumps of concrete. No wonder, reasoned Ellen, because she had had a busy period at work.

The day after the MS nurse noted that it was the disease announcing its presence. If she took life calmly for a period it would pass, the nurse thought. But it did not pass, it just got worse and worse. It would take many years before she could walk normally again

Then came the symptoms – thick and fast: fatigue, muscle fatigue, nerve pain and a leg and an arm which stopped functioning. She needed a wheelchair to get around. Menstruation, urinary tract, blood circulation, sensation and other physical functions stopped working. And the relapse of the auditory nerve that made her extremely sensitive to sounds.

– I could no longer be out in public because the volume of noise was intolerably high. I even needed to wear earmuffs indoors. It was terrible! Amongst the worst of the symptoms was (yet) the mental fatigue. I was extremely tired all the time.

Met love

It is said that relapses disappear, that they come and go, but it was not the case for Ellen. Even if she periodically looked better some effect was left from the relapses to various degrees. Then, in the middle of everything, he suddenly showed up: Per the man in her life.

– It was a real rollercoaster ride. I was really ill and I really fell in love. That he fell for me under the circumstances was completely incomprehensible.

At an early stage the question about children came up but they both knew that it was unthinkable. Ellen herself needed help from home care and also was discouraged by the neurologist from having children.

- I was intent on having to live alone and childless the rest of my life. I was obviously very sad about it, but I had already worked through the grief.

Since Ellen became ill good advice rained down on her, given with the best of intentions. She has long lists of things that would make her feel better.

- I have received hundreds of billions of tips on what to eat, drink, how to sleep, travel and train. Advice on everything! I was so tired of it and just wanted to vomit on them.

But one of the tips she could not let go. A couple of MS guys that Ellen had got to know had become better with Zhineng Qigong. She had noticed that herself, so although she was sceptical she went to a lecture.

There, she heard something that aroused her curiosity: Qigong could improve blood circulation.

- My feet were cold as ice cubes and the physiotherapist always nagged her about improving her circulation. The training in addition consisted of calm movements that I could do as well as I could, even though I was sick.

Ellen joined a project that neuro association NHR in Gothenburg arranged together with European Zhineng Qigong. Even though she felt that the philosophies were a little fuzzy she noticed quickly that she was happier and more alert.

- My balance also improved and my feet got warmer. I was still very ill, but it felt like life came back.

For a few years she trained weekly and her health spiral slowly turned upward. Although she could not walk, had nerve pain and problems with the auditory nerve she felt better than before.

- When I became more alert there were a lot of things that I wanted to do, that I had not been able to do before, and then I stopped practising. I did not understand how important qigong was.

Sat down and practised

A relapse hit with full strength and all the old symptoms came back. Ellen became really ill and at 31 years old, she had to stay home on the couch.

But one day suddenly a thought appeared:- Oh yes, it was qigong - and she took up the training again.

- I was really sick so I sat down and did the exercises, but it did still help me. Suddenly I had the energy to concentrate two, three hours, it was a huge step forward.

By the autumn she and Per decided that the next summer Ellen would go on a longer course and train intensely for nine days. Summer in 2009 she went for the first time. And it paid off!

- I pinched my cheek and it hurt. The feeling in my face had come back. And I reached my goal: I was able to walk through the church with my husband when we got married a little later in the summer.

The body healed

Then something crucial happened. During training it started with the itching in the ear. Only afterwards did Ellen understand that it was the auditory nerve that was healing.

- It was absolutely incredible and very obvious that it happened when I practised. Suddenly I could live among people again. It was a real eye-opener. Although I understood that the training was good, it was only now I realized that qigong not only was good for my balance, blood circulation and energy level but also it could help my body to heal in every way.

She continued to attend summer courses and another milestone was when, during a course, for the first time in many years she felt her foot as she put it on the ground.

- Ever since I had started walking again, I had dragged around my leg like a heavy concrete colossus. I was totally euphoric with having feeling in it again!

Then a thought came up. If qigong had helped her this much so far, how good could she be if she really focused on training? What if she could walk freely again? What if they could have children? She and Per took a decision:

- In a year I would practise as much as possible, just go to all courses and practice at home. We would prioritize my exercise to see how healthy I could become.

After that year, the nerve pain disappeared. She could not just walk but run and play football. Her brain worked again and her energy was back. She managed to work halftime - although previously Social Insurance had wanted to offer her a disabilitypension. Per got to know her again.

- I had been sick ever since we met, he had never met this Ellen before, the original Ellen. He was surprised at all my energy, she laughs.

Became a mother

And the doctor said: "I no longer see any neurological barriers to having children. " A year later Valdemar was born.

- It was incredible! We had been set not to become parents!

Now Ellen no longer notices that she has MS and the wheelchair is at the back of the garage. She is confident that it is thanks to Qigong.

- I can feel that my body heals when I practise. Other forms of exercise I've tested made me more tired. Qigong gives me energy instead.

In consultation with the neurologist she no longer takes the medication for fatigue and nerve pains. She continues to regularly take her medication which puts a brake on the illness. Ellen assumes that it is as helpful as the doctors say, but she connects the physical improvements to the training.

- During Valdemar's first years I did not manage to train as much as before, and then I started to feel a bit inferior. So to feel this good it is not enough to practise a short while each day in combination with the brake medicine. I need to practise more.

Every morning she does qigong, before the rest of the family has awoken, and in the evening,while Per puts their son to bed, she trains again. Sure, it requires discipline, but it benefits everyone.

Valdemar knows how important Mom's workout is. One night Ellen wanted to put him to bed and was ready to go to sleep.

- I was going to bed at the same time as him, but that was not ok with Valdemar. "Dad going to put me to bed," he said. ”You should practise."


Ellen i Allas