Why do they Love Getting High?
Todd Nichols has actively shared Qigong and Power Breathing at veteran facilities for five years with outstanding results. Anger and alcoholism are the norm for veterans and Nichols is breaking through by getting them high, naturally. Additionally, he shares Qigong at several drug rehab centers and even with Baker-acted patients. His insights as a heroic qigong teacher are profound.
by Todd Nichols
No mistake in life has troubled me more than not serving in the military. Missing that opportunity, I am sharing qigong at Veterans Hospitals. The biggest challenge in teaching veterans qigong is to gain their trust. An individual who never wore their uniform cannot understand what they endured. Veterans immediately want to know if you’re one of them. In the beginning, this was unnerving.
Veterans’ facilities are tough. I’ll never forget my first time teaching, being let in the locked door, and it quickly shutting behind me. One vet in a wheel chair was trying to escape. Chairs were full of sand so they couldn’t be thrown. Doctors and social workers were coming in during my class and interrupting. Many veterans were medicated and dealing with obvious challenges. Some appeared physically fine but their mind waged an emotional war inside. One large man was sitting in a state of shock and staring straight ahead making a low pitched sound. Direct exposure to the mental health struggles of veterans has enlightened me. Most Americans are unaware that 22 U.S. vets commit suicide each day. I hope my experiences help tutor other qigong instructors.
“One of the best things to happen to me was to be sentenced to a six-month drug rehab center where Mr. Todd literally was breathing new life into us.” – Timothy Stewart, U.S. Veteran
When vets do qigong breathing in a group, trust issues and whether I’m a vet or not become less important. Old mind patterns are temporarily bypassed as the feeling of qi is so strong that it gives a natural high. Many vets report this has been invaluable to replace harmful addictions. My VA teacher’s position actually came from a referral from Westcare of St. Petersburg, Florida, a 98-bed mental health and substance abuse center. Some vets I met at the VA also ended up in drug rehab and therefore they saw me at both places.
“For four years running, Todd’s Qigong program has uplifted the spirit of many.” – Robert Neri, Chief Clinical Officer, Westcare Rehab
Recovering heroin addicts need a powerful approach and I quickly realized I needed to wow them immediately with qigong to make a memorable, quick and powerful statement. My grand slam includes the Breath-Empowerment and the 9-Breath Method exercises as this group of people is challenging to gain trust. They are guarded and apprehensive. I draw them in and challenge them to take huge breaths, swallow them and hold them in their belly. A crammed room becomes momentarily silent, then smiles and scattered giggles.
I love to see students’ resistance turn to wonder. They tell me, “Wow, I feel electricity and my body is warm and tingling.” Without the breathing tools many would give up before benefiting from the immense healing rewards.
Teaching qigong at the VA was not very respected in the beginning. Now, it has grown from a single class to two classes each week. The doctors, nurses and social workers now respect the group and no longer disturb our class. Qigong at Westcare has been received so well that it has grown from one to three classes per week and is now a part of their curriculum. There is no doubt in my mind that the need for more instructors in this field of qigong is a must.
November 18 to 20, 2016 Qi Revolution comes to Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. $99 for 2.5 Days Qigong Training! Open to the public. Fire, Police and Military Service admitted free. For details, call 800-298-8970 or visit QiRevolution.com.