David George Found His Niche in Atlanta
It’s interesting to see ourselves from a new perspective, the way others might. London native David George, who opened his medical qigong practice in Atlanta this year, was so smitten by our abundant trees and natural setting that he calls it “the city in the woods.”
George wanted to be a doctor from around age 5. He felt it was his calling to help people get better. “Other kids wanted to be firemen and truck drivers, and I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to heal people,” he relates. “My parents were always sick, so that was probably the motivation for me wanting to be a doctor. It’s definitely my path. My life’s purpose is to become more skilled as a healer.”
“I have some workaholics that wonder why their digestion’s messed up when they eat at the computer at all hours of the day and night, and yet they’re running around spending thousands of dollars going to specialists and the answer is right in front of them.”After attending pre-med studies at the University of London, George explains, “I explored Western medicine for a while, but I decided that it wasn’t going to treat the root cause of what was going on with people; that it was more of a symptom-based approach.” He discovered ayurvedic medicine through friends and realized that it was a much more targeted discipline, using a wider variety of modalities and herbal solutions. “You keep opening doors until you find something that resonates,” he says. “The Indian traditional medicine resonated with me because it was treating the whole person.”
His biggest influence in this area was Deepak Chopra, in the 1980s. Since then, George has followed ayurvedic teachers and discovered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), studying with Michael and Leslie Tierra at the East West School of Herbology, near San Francisco. George matriculated from that program and holds a master’s certificate in medical qigong from the International Institute of Medical Qigong, also in California. He also studied qigong at the Academy of Five Element Acupuncture, in Gainesville, Florida.
He apprenticed alongside Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists for many years, including Li Chun Huang, probably the world’s leading authority on ear acupuncture and therapy. George offers auricular (ear) therapy in his own practice. He’s not fond of “slinging needles,” as he puts it, but uses the underlying knowledge of the flowing channels and the pressure points in a qigong-based application. George also offers qigong therapy, reflexology, acupressure, weight management, nutritional balancing and personal qigong instruction.
George is an ordained Daoist priest, which means that his philosophy comes from the Daoist position of balance in body, mind and spirit. He says, “Not only is it my path, but I enjoy assisting others along their path of finding out who they truly are.” Although not overtly religious, he feels that spirit does figure prominently in the balancing equation, saying, “Often, the physical level has roots in the emotional structure, and so when you work with the physical, trying to unwind whatever is going on with it, it usually has an emotional base. In order to get someone to heal their body, we often end up addressing the emotional aspects of why they’re sick.”
George set up shop in Atlanta in May 2012, saying, “I’ve been trying to find the right niche for my skills.” He performs a TCM five-element analysis on new clients and analyzes the results based upon their balance of symbolic wood, fire, earth, metal and water characteristics, concentrating on answering several important diagnostic questions: What was going on in your life at the time you got sick, and what was going on in the year preceding that? How do you feel about yourself and what’s going on in your body?
“Those are real big indicators as to what the root cause of the issue is,” states George. “A lot of the time, the problem can be healed by changing the lifestyle. For instance, ‘I choose to smoke, therefore my lungs are messed up.’ I choose to eat junk food, so my digestion’s not good.’”
George adds, “I have some workaholics that wonder why their digestion’s messed up when they eat at the computer at all hours of the day and night, and yet they’re running around spending thousands of dollars going to specialists and the answer is right in front of them.”
Exercise is an important lifestyle factor, and George says, “Usually, I like to give clients some breathing exercises to really get breath into their tissues. Most people I see don’t really breathe but with a fraction of their lungs. A lot of it’s common sense stuff, but it’s all based in the traditional Chinese philosophy of balance.”
In delving into the esoteric world of what actually comprises the concept of qi, the vital energy flow described by TCM, George explains, “Basically, what I do is akin to nuclear physics, because you go down to the particle level of the body. Everything has a charge—it’s either positive or negative—it has electromagnetic forces that hold together everything around us. I deal with balancing the electromagnetic force within the body. If it’s jammed up, we figure out how to unjam it and show the client how to keep it unjammed. If it’s deficient, we’ll find out why it’s deficient and how the client can supplement it and stop draining it. If it’s in excess, we’ll drain it and show the client why it’s excessive and how to avoid it in the future.”
About the unique benefits of qigong, George asserts, “While acupuncture uses the flow in the channels [meridians], qigong uses the flow throughout the whole body. We go at the organ level, the blood or the tissue level; it depends on what people need.” He explains, “Basically, qigong is balancing and cultivating your life force energy. The fact that it has been restricted to China until the last 20 years makes it seem mysterious, but it’s really based in physics. It’s a scientific thing.”
Although he is not an M.D., George works with the Emory University Hospital group in their infectious disease program for women, and says, “I treat some really low-income, really sick people, and the difference is amazing when they take a moment to breathe and let the energy of the Earth come into their body—absorb the energy of the air—it’s like night and day.”
A program is in the works at Emory to allow George to work with a group of practitioners so they can learn from him how to breathe properly and in turn, teach a class to breathe. He also hopes to work someday with their oncology department to help patients get rid of the side effects of chemotherapy.
What can people do to improve their health and well-being every day? George prescribes, “Taking a breath. If they stop and take a breath and stop being ‘human doings’ and become human beings, as Deepak Chopra has said, that would be great for them.”
The medical qigong practice of David George is located at 1512 Piedmont Ave. NE, Ste. 201, in Atlanta. For more information, call 404-216-7008 or visit tcmbetterhealth.com.
Martin Miron is the editor of Natural Awakenings Atlanta.