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BipolarI received an email last night from a man who has a young daughter and BOTH have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

As a parent, I instantly empathized with him.

He asked if Tai Chi and Qigong would help his daughter, and if I thought she would be able to do it. He also asked if the martial aspects would be a problem.

This is not the first time people have asked me for guidance on medical or mental issues, and each time it happens, alarm bells ring in my head.

If you are a martial arts instructor, you should NEVER give guidance on medical or mental issues unless you are also a doctor trained in the field.

Every time someone asks for my input on an issue like this, I tell them that the LAST person they should ask for advice is a martial arts instructor or even an "alternative" medicine practitioner.

Tai Chi and Qigong have benefits that include calming the mind and body. As exercise, and even if you do it for meditation, you can gain valuable benefits, but it takes hard work and mental focus.

But the BEST person -- in fact the ONLY person I would ask for input on an issue related to bipolar disorder would be a mental health professional.

If you are a martial artist or you do some acupuncture or tuina or Reiki or whatever on the side -- if you are going to give people advice on this type of thing you better have a good attorney on retainer.

But most of all, people who are dealing with these serious issues should not ask martial artists or alternative medicine folks for their advice.

Is Tai Chi and Qigong likely to help or hurt his daughter? Well, it probably can't hurt, and it might help, but I am not the person to ask. I can only give a layman's opinion. Serious medical or mental health issues require serious input from a person who is trained in the field.

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