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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

How Qigong Healed a Wounded September 11 Firefighter

by Jonathan Henderson
On duty the morning of September 11, 2001, New York city firefighter Jonathan Henderson searched for lost friends after the World Trade Center Tower collapsed and then volunteered for 30 days of 12-hour shifts to recover their remains. A total of 343 firefighters died that day and the death toll is still climbing as a result of breathing in toxic particles. The following is an account written by Henderson about his own road to recovery following that day of national and personal tragedy.

My lungs and sinuses suffered major damage at the Trade Towers site. Everything from hearing loss to depression set in, which caused me to balloon to over 300 pounds. At a funeral for a firefighter who died of September 11-related lung cancer, I looked around at the low turnout and mentioned my disappointment to our lieutenant. Looking at the small number attending he said, “I’ll show up for your funeral.” I turned and said, “I’ll show up for yours too, pal.” Seeing we were a dying breed and there was major mishandling of healthcare for firefighters impacted by September 11 is what motivated me to find natural solutions.

During a spiritual vision, I saw my healthy-self on a beach practicing a slow martial art, having had no prior knowledge of Qigong. I moved to San Diego to make the healthiest version of me and ate organic foods and smoothies. I removed toxic food and people from my life for a two-year sabbatical to get well. Soon, I was led to a mind-body studio and attended powerful qigong classes. During a Breath Empowerment session, my lungs never felt so big! My ribcage had expanded and I felt real energy surge through me, like nothing I had ever known. I was buzzing for days after.

The studio was promoting a big seminar called “Qi Revolution” and I attended based on their suggestion. Initially I felt out of place with what seemed like mostly new age people in attendance, but when I did the practices with hundreds of others, it felt even more powerful than what I had known from my small group. Pressing on qi, concentrating on breath and moving slowly had a great effect on me and most everyone else in attendance. I found qigong practice slowed my overly active New Yorker-mind, allowing me to focus on giving my body and soul some long overdue healing energy.

September 11 anniversaries are emotional for those connected. For the 2013 anniversary, I was with San Diego FDNY retirees aboard the USS Midway, reading names of rescue workers and flight crews lost 12 years earlier. That morning I woke up and went to the beach and did Supreme Science Qigong Level-1 healing form with a rising sun. I did it by myself, for myself for the first time ever, and I felt energy pulsing and surging all around me. It was as my spiritual vision showed me. It made the most difficult day of the year easier somehow, and gave me peace and calmness that stays with me now.

Since finding qigong, I’ve not taken addictive prescriptions and I’ve had tremendous results with food-based healing. I’ve lost 80 pounds and my lung capacity shows significant improvement. Everyone can help themselves with qigong, especially my firefighter Family. Anyone seeking improved physical health, specifically better lung capacities will benefit greatly from the Qi Revolution seminar.

Cost: $99 for the two-day, one-night training; free for firefighters and veterans. Open to the public. The Qi Revolution seminar will be held April 7 to 9, at the Baltimore Convention Center. To learn more, call 800-298-8970 or visit


July 2021


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