Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Tucson

Qigong For Veterans: Why Do They Love Getting High?

Jun 30, 2016 06:48PM ● By Todd Nichols

Todd Nichols has actively shared Qigong and Power Breathing at veterans’ facilities for five years with outstanding results. Anger and alcoholism are the norm for veterans, and Todd is breaking through by getting them high naturally. Additionally, Todd shares Qigong at several drug rehab centers and even with Baker Act patients. His insights as a Heroic Qigong teacher are profound. 

No mistake in life has troubled me more than not serving in the military. After missing that opportunity, I am sharing Qigong at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals. The biggest challenge in teaching veterans Qigong is to gain their trust. An individual who never wore their uniform cannot understand what they endured. Veterans immediately want to know if you’re one of them. In the beginning this was unnerving. 

VAs are tough facilities. I’ll never forget my first time teaching and being let in the locked door and it quickly shutting behind me. One veteran in a wheel chair was trying to escape. Chairs were full of sand so they couldn’t be thrown. Doctors and social workers were coming in during my class and interrupting. Many veterans were medicated and dealing with obvious challenges. Some appeared physically fine, but their mind waged an emotional war inside. One large man was sitting in a state of shock and sat staring straight ahead making a low pitched sound. Direct exposure to mental health struggles of veterans has enlightened me. Most Americans are unaware that 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each day. I hope my experiences help tutor other Qigong instructors. 

One of the best things to happen to me was to be sentenced to a 6-month drug rehab center where Mr. Todd literally was breathing new life into us.” - Timothy Stewart, U.S. Veteran. 

When veterans do Qigong breathing in a group, trust issues and whether I’m a veteran or not becomes less important. Old mind patterns are temporarily bypassed as the FEELING OF QI is so strong that it gives a natural high. Many veterans report this has been invaluable to replace harmful addictions. My VA teacher’s position actually came from a referral from Westcare of St. Petersburg in Florida, a 98-bed mental health and “Substance Abuse Center”. Some veterans I met at the VA also ended up in drug rehab and therefore they saw me at both places. 

 “For 4 years running, Todd’s Qigong program has uplifted the spirits of many.” - Robert Neri, Westcare Re-hab, Chief Clinical Officer.

Recovering heroin addicts need a powerful approach and I quickly real-ized I needed to wow them immedi-ately with Qigong! To make a memorable, quick and powerful statement, my grand slam is the Breath-Empowerment and the 9-Breath Method exercises as this group of people is challenging to gain trust. They are guarded and apprehensive. I draw them in and challenge them to take huge breaths, swallow it and hold it in their belly. A crammed room becomes momentarily silent, smiles and then scattered giggles.

I love to see students’ resistance turn to wonder. They tell me, “Wow, I feel electricity, and my body is warm and tingling”. Without the breathing tools, many would give up before benefiting from the immense healing rewards. Teaching Qigong at the VA was not very respected in the beginning. Now it has grown from a single class to two classes each week. The doctors, nurses and social workers now respect the group and do not disturb our class! Qigong at Westcare has been received so well that it has grown from one to three classes every week. It is now a part of their curriculum. There is no doubt in my mind that the need for more instructors in this field of Qigong is a must.

August 12-14, 2016 Qi Revolution comes to the Phoenix Convention Center. $99 for two days and one night of Qigong Training! Open to the public. Firefighters, police officers, military servicemen and veterans admitted free. For details, call 800-298-8970 or visit See ad, page 2

Join Our Email Newsletter

COMING IN PRINT: 2020 May Issue
Due Date: April 10. Be a part of our upcoming May issue.
Contact [email protected] for cheerful and efficient help with your marketing!
Missed the print deadline? Try email news!

Email News Exclusives with Social Media pushes; ask us about it today! [email protected]

Current Issue
Visit Us on Facebook
2020 Editorial Calendar


How to Protect Yourself and Others from Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Ways to Calm Your Anxiety with Meditation During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Biodegradable Cooler Keeps Food Cold and Dry