Joe’s Story, narrated by himself

Posted by Annika Heitmann on

I am a very fit, active 66-year-old man. This is remarkable considering that 20 years ago I was diagnosed as a quadriplegic. Now, I stay active by teaching other retired people how to move and stay active without pain. I teach the ancient Chinese healing arts called Qigong (pronounced “chee” “gong”) and Tai Chi Kung. 

In 1991, I broke my neck and back in a catastrophic auto accident. My car plunged 200 feet down a mountainside, and I landed on my head. My vertebrae C4 & C5 were shattered and my head flopped three inches over my left shoulder. Surgeons removed these two vertebrae and four discs. Doctors saved my life but told me that was all they could do.

When I insisted that I had feeling several days later they scoffed. My doctor told me that even so, I would be disabled for life and that I would be better off accepting my limitations. I knew in my heart that they were wrong. They didn’t know my background. 

I had had the unusual opportunity of being admitted to a Chinese Buddhist temple in NYC as a youngster. This was before Chinese martial and healing arts were readily available to non-Chinese Americans. I was only permitted to study in the temple at the formal request of a family friend: a Buddhist monk from Taiwan. There, I practiced QiGong and Tai Chi Kung, which are healing arts. I was very taken by the practice and continued it until I went off to college. Later, life happened, and I became a very successful businessman. Sometimes I practiced and sometimes not.

After the accident, I called my original teacher back in New York and asked his advice. He said that I already had the power to heal myself if I used my knowledge of Qigong. I complained that I could not do Qigong because I could not move. He told me to visualize the movements he had taught me so long ago, and that my body would eventually do what my mind envisioned. 

I started in a swimming pool so that my body would be buoyant and feel like it was doing the movements while I visualized them in my head. Over a period of time, my body did start moving. Seven years later, I had regained full use of my body with no pain and no limitations. 

Feeling I had been “saved for a reason”, I developed a 50-minute program based on my recovery process and began teaching it to others in retirement communities. My “Healing Movements System” helps people take charge of their own health and recovery. It is much easier to learn and do than Tai Chi. It follows the same principles as acupuncture, using specific slow movements to open blocked energy channels instead of needles. Ironically, to keep from slowing down in later life, you have to move slowly and precisely until your body recovers its youthful ability to move freely without pain! Trying to do too much, too fast will actually sabotage your health and vitality.

I enjoy seeing others, who have been given no hope by western medicine, get better. I love working with retirees who have gotten only limited recovery from conditions like arthritis, Parkinson’s, injuries, balance losses and physical trauma, regain the use of their bodies and ease their pain through what I have learned. And I do my exercise program every day.

This is what keeps me young and vibrant!

 

Health and Happiness!

Joe Pinella


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