Darby Melnik, ACE CPT, HHC, AADP Certified Zen Wellness Medical QiGong Instructor
I first got involved in the fitness industry in 1993, first as a group exercise instructor then as a personal trainer. I always struggled with how the traditional way of personal training never really got the results my clients wanted or needed. They would lose inches initially then the weight would come off slowly but nothing really got them to where they wanted to be; to be rid of the self sabotaging behaviors that kept getting in the way, the uncontrollable cravings, back pain, knee pain, hip pain… the list goes on for all the reasons that stopped them from exercising.
After contracting Lyme disease in July 2008 and again in 2013, I began my own journey into how to heal myself. For those of you who haven’t had Lyme disease, the symptoms are vague and they come and go. For someone who is active and healthy, symptoms may not be apparent to the outside world. One minute you feel fine and the next you feel like someone hit you in the back to the head. Others find it hard to even get out of bed, everyday activities are a chore. One moment you feel like you are coming down with the flu and the next minute you feel okay. But when exerting any effort then the realization sets in and you say to yourself “what is wrong with me?” Three weeks of antibiotics did nothing and I was not going to have a needle stuck into my back for spinal injections. I knew there had to be another way.
Well my path led me to many people who showed me another way. The technique called Muscle Meridian Method and also referred to as Resistance Flexibility Method helped me discover my own power of healing and transformation through meridian stretching, and the healing powers of whole food through completing the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching Program. These were the two components missing in my work.
After 2 years of training in the Muscle Meridian Method I came up with my own version of this technique I call Stretch to Strength as a method to strengthen and stretch muscles by using ones own resistance or assisted resistance using yoga and qigong postures and principles. Resistance strength and flexibility training is a smarter way to stretch and strengthen your body, unlocking trapped tension and providing an awesome body/mind tune-up. My Stretch to Strength classes run periodically throughout the year. I also work with people privately to get the most benefit for their time.
In January 2009 I enrolled at the Institute for Integrated Nutrition. For 6 months, 10 full weekends, I learned from nutrition experts like Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Andrew Weil. These are just a few of the world’s leading experts in the nutrition and holistic healing realm that spoke during those weekends. I also studied all of the dietary theories out there and learned there is no “right diet” for everyone. I studied counseling techniques, the most important one being the technique of listening. I also spent 2 additional years in the Ambassador’s program assisting and coaching new health coaches. I am still an IIN Ambassador and continue to offer private and group programs.
To pull this all together, I have since been studying the ancient healing practices of Medical Qigong through Zen Wellness a Medical Qigong practitioner training facility. I am now a 200 hour certified instructor and qualified to take others through the Zen Wellness Medical Qigong process. I am also on my own process through the Master’s Path 1,000 hour Apprentice Program.
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