How holistic healing changed my life
Larry Trott turned to herbal medicines as a teenager, after his appendix nearly burst. Doctors got the organ out before that happened, but could not stop the associated severe pain and cramping.
A Jamaican friend then turned the 17-year-old on to various herbs — and he started doing martial arts to get fit.
“I was introduced to herbal medicine by a friend of my grandfather's,” he said.
“Prior to that I was experiencing severe pain and cramping in my stomach and they removed my appendix because it would have exploded and burst, which would have caused even more complications.
“But after the surgery I kept getting the same pain and cramping and was looking for other ways to heal my body.
“My grandfather's friend was from Jamaica and so I started using herbs that she gave me in my teen years.”
The 61-year-old believes the combination of herbs and exercise changed his life.
In primary school he would blackout at times because his lungs could not get enough oxygen.
Mr Trott was 8 when doctors discovered his heart was on his right side instead of his left. Called dextrocardia, the non life-threatening condition affects about one in every 1,000 people.
In his teen years he suffered from bronchitis, tonsillitis and appendicitis.
Martial artists such as Bruce Lee were all the rage at that time. Mr Trott decided to give the practice a try.
He added yoga, meditation and an Indian breathing system called pranayama to his training.
Years later, he learnt the combination of exercises was similar to qigong.
The ancient Chinese system helps coordinate body posture through specific movement, breathing and meditation techniques.
Promised benefits include relaxation, strengthening and increased flexibility.
“My breathing got stronger and I was able to do things a whole lot easier so it wasn't like when I was a teenager when I was weak and sickly,” said Mr Trott, the owner of a holistic health centre, Sankofa.
“The main reason I did it was so that I didn't have to spend my time in doctors' offices. My grandmother had been given medication that made her ill and my experiences with the medical profession at the time weren't pleasant.
“In my mind there had to be another way to take care of yourself so I didn't end up in doctors' officers or the hospital.”
He started teaching tai chi and qigong in 1997.
Although it is a tradition used by Taoists and Buddhists, Mr Trott maintains that the exercises are not limited to any particular religion.
“It's something anyone of any faith can use and not conflict with their spiritual beliefs,” he said. “It's a system of self-help and healthcare and is now even being practised in some of the major hospitals in the US.
“Some hospitals are now using meditation or tai chi for deep relaxation responses because it's the opposite to the stress response.
“When we're stressed out, our bodies tend to fight or flight and the nervous systems gets faster, the heart rate can increase and it can also raise the blood pressure. So the relaxation response that is brought on my tai chi and qigong is the opposite and reduces blood pressure and inflammation in the body.”
The exercises helped when he became extremely ill on a trip to West Africa in 1999.
“I was dealing with a lot of hot and cold flashes and blacked out — that's how I found out I had malaria and typhoid fever,” Mr Trott said.
Herbs and a strict vegan diet got him through his illness, but it took him a while to regain his strength. He lost more than 50lb, had tremors in his hands and legs and was incredibly weak.
“I had to close my healing practice and once I felt well again I started to practice out of my home and teach classes in the park,” he said.
“It took me well over a year before I was back to being myself again. But I feel incredibly blessed I'm still on the planet with none of the negative side effects.”
He is offering an eight-week qigong course, starting tomorrow.
“I'm hoping people of all ages will be able to take away from this class things they can do on a daily basis that don't take much of their time to improve their health, focus and condition, and also help combat stress-related illness,” he said. “If they already have stress-related illness, this will help to reduce that stress so their bodies can go about doing the full healing it was designed to do.”
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