Dr. Roger Jahnke on the New Patriotism of Wellbeing

 Michael and Dr. Roger Jahnke come to you from Washington, D.C.  Dr. Jahnke of Health ActionInstitute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi, and the Healer Within Foundation.


Dr Jahnke – Health Action

Dr. Jahnke focuses on the natural and inherent capacity of human beings to flourish and recover from personal challenges.  Dr. Jahnke references statistics from public documents and research that 70%-90% of diseases and of medical visits are preventable by actions and lifestyle changes individuals pursue at home for FREE.


Dr. Jahnke, a health care industry consultant and doctor of traditional Chinese Medicine, began his medical career along the traditional Western route.  He studied a pre-medical regimen at the University of Cincinnati and worked in practically every hospital in Cincinnati Ohio in the 1960s.  Dr. Jahnke was shocked to observe that most medical practitioners were focused on treating the diseases and ailments the patient suffered rather than focusing on supporting people in maximizing their well-being.  He was disheartened to find pretty much everything in what we call health care — perhaps better to say disease care — was focused on waiting until an ailment struck before taking intervening measures. He abandoned his traditional Western medical studies.

He engaged on a self-sustaining path by growing his own food and sourcing locally produced agricultural products.  When his wife got hired by the University of Hawaii as an instructor, Dr. Jahnke moved to Hawaii and after visiting a school that taught traditional Chinese medicine, he became enamored with the paradigm of  Chinese Medicine — a system based on maximizing what is right rather than attacking what is wrong.  He enrolled in the school and finished his medical studies there.


Dr. Jahnke laments that Americans approach Chinese medicine in the same manner that they approach Western medicine. Essentially, when Americans are sick, they seek out treatment. They rarely pursue personal behavior modification to prevent disease and enhance function. This approach results in trillions of dollars of unnecessary costs for medically treating diseases that are widely known to be preventable, according to Dr. Jahnke and the statistics of numerous health oriented agencies.  He maintains that many of the illnesses for which Americans seek treatment are actually fairly easy to prevent through personal behavior shifts and lifestyle change.

According to Dr Jahnke’s training in the Chinese medicine, which is a form of wellness medicine, “The most profound medicine is produced within the human body for FREE!” In the Chinese tradition this medicine is actually referenced as “elixir”.

Dr. Jahnke abandoned clinical medicine in order to teach individuals, groups, agencies and institutions  regarding best practices (choices) and how to incorporate these health enhancing methods to help naturally manage and neutralize the possible causes of disease. Two keys: 1. Wellness enhancement methods have no cost – AND – 2. When citizens do this in can reallocate trillions of dollars to solve other challenges of our nation.

He declares — “The essence of the American Ideal is love of family, community and country — when a citizen sustains their wellbeing they are a patriot in the grandest sense.”


Dr Jahnke enthusiastically points to the fact that the telomeres, associated with our DNA, provide the “essential resource” necessary to allow cells to express, replicate and perform their responsibilities. These important components of our DNA while they are tragically depreciated by oxidation and inflammation, they can also be rehabilitated by activating the Relaxation Response.  Damaging internal influences and external pollution influence function through food, beverages, breath, rest and – through a negative mindset – what is called chronic hyper sympathetic syndrome, the state when stressors excite the nervous system.  Mindset can impact the manner in which our bodies respond by the production of chemicals that can result in the aforementioned oxidation and inflammation of cells.  Dr. Jahnke explains that stress, exhaustion and dehydration can have a negative bearing on how we function and that rest/sleep and even meditation can help maximize our body functions.

Dr. Jahnke provides an example of going to the airport to catch a flight.  If a person chooses not to leave at an appropriate time, she experiences a stressful journey to the airport which can wear down her system.  Choosing to leave early for a flight allows the traveler to avoid the stressful, breakneck trip to the airport, preserves wellbeing and saves health care dollars.

Recovering the wellbeing of our telemeres is like the Fountain of Youth within!


Society has commercialized, monetized, and popularized the things that result in these preventable diseases. Americans are under rested, over caffeinated, and over glycemic (simple carbohydrates, especially sugar).  Dr. Jahnke points out the tremendous American market for things that we eat that are not foods, but rather are derived from foods, including sugar infused drinks and pre-prepared foods.  Dr. Jahnke encourages soft drink manufacturers to explore alternative methods for sweetening their beverages that don’t contain oxidizing elements.  Cookies, cake, doughnuts (often available at early meetings), Dr. Jahnke offers, are another super-high glycemic foods.  How do we get people to give up such foods in favor of higher levels of wellbeing and decreased chronic disease?  Dr. Jahnke himself, fairly aware of the negative results that such products have on our bodies, simply stays away from them.  He’s not so opposed to doughnut consumption, rather he is intent on supporting people, if they choose to consume foods that are widely know to raise risk for costly disease, to make a conscious choice to do something good for their bodies as well, like focus on their breathing and letting the complexity of life be less trying.

He explains that the research evidence base shows that there are positive medical benefits to deeper breathing. In addition exercise and practices like Tai Chi Qigong and Yoga also show very positive evidence of reducing disease risk and saving money for our society.


It is true that the behavioral trends of our family of origin and our society can condition us to develop  disease inducing reactions to stress without teaching us to manage our lives mindfully. However, it is actually not that complex to cultivate a sense of perspective which includes the value and relevance of sustainable wellbeing which can support our capacity to reach higher levels of functioning and reasonableness. It is not expensive and the outcomes are profound — sustained wellbeing, clear thinking, greater productivity.

Dr. Jahnke advocates that we explore a few deep breaths. You will notice, if you take a moment to do this that something shifts within. Deep breaths before performance in sports and academic competitions are known to contribute to capacity.  He advocates the practices of Tai Chi and Qigong and his organizations have trained over 1000 Practice Leaders and Teachers to bring these simple practices to communities and institutions internationally. Didn’t your grandmother advise that you take 3 deep breaths before you beat up your sibling? Just the practice of deepening the breath is a profound addition to anyones daily life that has no expense and takes no extra effort. It does require remembering to do so — that is that we have to be conscious to take the breath and derive the benefit. Intense exercise and athletic activity are great, but often we are in a meeting or behind on a deadline.

The good news is that it is actually so much easier than we probably imagine to sustain wellbeing, recover health and significantly reduce the cost disease treatment with a free health care system based on simple self-care.

The military, athletic enterprises, and the corporate world are beginning to look into some of these simple activities, like breathing, movement, diet, and other integrated practices, in order to enhance performance.

Dr Jahnke suggests, “Spread the word! Health and performance maximization — these are a national resource, an aspect of our lives that transcends politics and can turn us all into a new kind of patriot.”

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