Dr. Copperman Interview

Dr. Copperman at his clinic

Interview with Dr. Terry Copperman

Terry Copperman, M.D., is the Director of the Personal Kiatsu School and an instructor in the school since it was started in 1993. He is 5th Don rank in Ki Aikido and Joden rank in Ki training.

Tell us about your medical background.

I graduated from the University of Hawaii School of Medicine in 1975. After I completed one year of residency in internal medicine, I moved to Eugene, Oregon, where I have practiced family medicine for over 40 years.

I have tremendous respect and appreciation for the science of evidence-based medicine, and apply it with love and humility to serve my patients.

How long have you been a student of Ki training (Kiatsu)? What got you started?

I have long been interested in the impact of the mind on health, but didn’t begin Aikido training until 1978. One of my family practice mentors introduced me to medical hypnosis early on. When I first entered the dojo, I observed Aikido students doing things as training exercises that I had been taught were only possible with the deep relaxation induced by a hypnotic trance. I found this fascinating and became involved in Ki and Aikido training.

What are some of the experiences you have had personally with Kiatsu that make you feel it is worth investigation?

In 1981 I attended a seminar with Master Koichi Tohei, the founder of Ki Aikido and Kiatsu. A woman in the audience stated that since a whiplash injury sustained in a car crash 15 years ago, she had been unable to bend her neck. Tohei Sensei pressed her and her neck immediately became flexible, and she regained full range of motion.

Several years later, I observed an overweight 12 year old child who sprained his wrist at the beginning of a children’s Ki Aikido camp. The wrist was immediately painful, red and swollen. In my professional medical judgment, I anticipated the child would need to remain in a splint for four to six weeks. Tabata Sensei pressed him for 45 minutes after class and sent him to bed. The next morning, the child’s wrist was pain free, normal in color, and without swelling. He rejoined the morning classes, and trained uneventfully for the rest of the weekend. Medically, this was miraculous.

Years later, after I had trained Kiatsu for about 10 years, I burned my left palm. Two-thirds of my palm was blistered, red, and painful—a second degree burn which ordinarily takes two weeks to heal. I pressed it for about three hours, by which time the pain and blisters were markedly improved. The next day, I pressed it for 30 minutes, resolving the residual swelling. My hand was pain free and fully functional. The burned skin was leathery. It peeled seven days later, leaving normal skin underneath.

This and many other experiences have led to my hypothesis that Kiatsu may change the body’s immediate response to an injury from inflammation to repair, decreasing the extent of tissue damage and speeding the healing process.

Recently, I helped a family member go through traditional chemotherapy for lymphoma. During those chemo cycles, when I pressed him for 30 to 45 minutes on days 1 through 4 of the cycle, he experienced approximately a one-third reduction in nausea and fatigue. Weight loss was a common phenomenon with this chemo, but his weight stayed stable through the six months of treatment.

How do Kiatsu and Western evidence-based medicine interact? Are they in conflict?

Consider the case of high blood pressure and stroke. Western medicine will help you to make the correct diagnosis and has developed many medicines to complement lifestyle improvement. Ki training and Ki breathing can have a major effect on stress levels and may decrease the number of medicines required to control blood pressure, thus decreasing side effects. If a stroke does occur, we believe that Kiatsu may complement medical treatment of the stroke and improve the speed and degree of recovery, based on our experiences. Western medicine, Ki training, and Kiatsu are complimentary.

In the Kiatsu school, we always rely on Western medicine to establish an accurate diagnosis and work with people’s physicians for all serious medical problems.

What are your plans for future research into Ki and Kiatsu?

I am excited to define how Kiatsu can help treat medical problems. Our first project is a pilot study on migraine prevention, and I hope to follow the first study with several additional studies on migraines. Strokes, concussions, burns, and injuries are areas of future interest. Perhaps the most important research in the future will be to determine the biological mechanisms that create the dramatic recoveries we have witnessed, which has the potential to help improve everyone’s health and well being.


Dr. Copperman Interview August 31, 2017

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