Bob Ellal knows a lot about Survivorship – I dare to say he is an expert. Diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1991 and given six months to live, Bob Ellal read everything he could about cancer survivors. He practised visualisation and breathing techniques along with his treatment. At the end of 6 months, against all odds, he was cancer free; but over the following five years the lymphoma would return three more times. His treatment; double doses of CHOP (chemotherapy) was targeted at the disease that returned in his pelvis and fractured hip. Remission. Then another recurrence in his shoulder and a stem-cell transplant. Bob found Qigong and used it to successfully add to his survival strategies ‘tool-kit’. Remission again and recurrence; a second transplant was required. Throughout his crisis Qigong became his focus – the perfect partner for Bob helping him to withstand the side effects of drastic treatments, allowing him to gain resilience, calm strength and centredness. He persevered and found authentic hope in the combination of the best conventional medicine had to offer and what he could do to help his body, mind and spirit to survive and thrive.
Bob Ellal is a true Survivor and his story and writings come from a place of deep wounding that has been transformed into a way of mindful living based on Martial Arts principals.
As time went on Bob committed himself to the practice going more deeply into the mind/body connection – he trained with a Boston kung-fu master in the art of Qigong. Bob’s Doctors gave him a 10% chance of survival. He immersed himself in a disciplined daily practice of Qigong. Against all odds, he finally beat the disease in 1996.
He’s been cancer-free for 17 years and continues to practice Qigong. In his working life Bob was writer/editor for a division of a major publisher and now works as a freelancer. In addition to co authoring Energy Warriors: Overcoming Cancer and Crisis with the Power of Qigong, he is completing his second book, The Leavings of the Wolf, a collection of short stories about the real-world challenges of cancer survivors.
Bob is co author of “Energy Warriors – Overcoming cancer and Crisis with the power of Qigong” I interviewed him recently on my Voice America radio show:
Visit Bob’s website for more info/articles: http://www.bobellal.com
Visit Master Lawrence Tan’s website: http://www.tandao.com/energy-warriors/
Qigong in the news: This week I also discovered a newly published study that found that the practise of Qigong reduced symptoms of depression and improved quality of life in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer reports Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, professor of General Oncology and Behavioral Science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of its Integrative Medicine Program, and a co-author of the study.1
Professor Lorenzo Cohen explained, “It is important for cancer patients to manage stress, because it can have a profoundly negative effect on biological systems and inflammatory profiles.”1
The study enrolled 96 women who were being treated at Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center in Shanghai, China.1 All of the patients were a mean age of 46 years, had stage I-III breast cancer, and were undergoing 5 to 6 weeks of radiation therapy. The qigong treatment group was comprised of 49 patients who attended five qigong classes a week; the control group consisted of 47 women who received the normal standard of care. The qigong used in this study was a modified version of Chinese medical qigong, in which the patient synchronized her breathing with various exercises.1
The severity of the participants’ depressive symptoms was evaluated at the beginning of the study to see if the women with more severe symptomatology would derive greater benefit from the practice. The researchers noted that the women who reported high baseline depressive symptoms found practicing qigong especially helpful; they demonstrated a clinically significant improvement in their fatigue symptoms and overall quality of life compared with the control group. No significant differences in sleep disturbance or cortisol slopes were noted. The participants who had low levels of depressive symptomatology when the radiation treatment began experienced good quality of life during their treatment, which continued 3 months later regardless of which group they were in.
Cohen’s group noted that qigong was most beneficial for the participants after their radiotherapy had concluded.1 The researchers suggest that qigong may work by speeding up recovery, especially for those women whose depressive symptoms were elevated at the beginning of treatment. Qigong might also prevent patients from experiencing a delayed symptom burden. Another explanation for the delayed impact could simply be the need for a cumulative effect before patients realize the benefits.1
The group concluded that qigong may have therapeutic effects in managing quality of life among women who are receiving radiotherapy for breast cancer.1
1. Chen Z, Meng Z, Milbury K, et al. Qigong improves quality of life in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer: Results of a randomized controlled trial [published online ahead of print January 25, 2013]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.27904.
REVIEW Energy Warriors: Overcoming Cancer and Crisis with the Power of Qigong
Buy the book
“Energy Warriors, by Bob Ellal and Master Lawrence Tan, is a tremendous look into the experience of a four-time cancer survivor (Ellal) and his personal experiences in surviving one of the modern world’s most dreaded diseases with the aid of Qigong. Ellal writes about his innermost feelings as a cancer patient and the private battles fought in the hearts of his family. His story does not mince words about the suffering associated with the disease, but it also shines an unflinching light of hope on the future for cancer patients through Qigong.
Tan, a well-schooled martial artist with decades of teaching experience, takes the second part of the text and fleshes out the energetic exercises of Qigong in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step fashion for the reader. Starting with the most fundamental aspects of Qigong (breath, posture, and intent), he goes on to teach the reader how to apply those fundamentals in other Qigong routines. This singular text gives you an insight into what may be one of the most powerful ancient tools in combating a modern-day scourge.”
Dr. Mark Cheng, L.Ac., Ph.D., FMS, TRX Sports Med, Sr RKC; Chief Instructor – Kettlebells Los Angeles; KettleBellsLosAngeles.com