A life consumed by Chinese healing arts
Name: Joe Pinella
“You can do anything with your mind and your body will follow.”
Background: Joe Pinella began his Qigong training as a boy on the East Coast. “I had an unusual opportunity to learn Qigong as a youngster growing up in New Jersey,” he says. “This was before Chinese martial and healing arts were readily available to non-Chinese Americans.” He was granted entry into a Chinese temple in New York after a friend’s older brother, who returned from the Korean War a Buddhist monk, requested it. “I was very taken by the practice and continued it until I went off to college,” he says. “Later, I became a very successful businessman and sometimes practiced and sometimes not.”
When He’s Working Out: Today, Pinella performs a daily practice, and he advises students of both Qigong and Tai Chi Kung. After breaking his neck in an auto accident, being told he would be paralyzed and that there was no hope, he asked his first teacher in New York what he should do. He told him he had the power to heal himself. He visualized the motions, because he couldn’t move. He worked out on land and in the pool. “Over the course of seven years I regained full use of my body and now am in the shape you see today,” he says.
When He’s Not Working Out: “My life revolves around this,” Pinella says of his practice. He works out every morning and teaches many different classes to help those with arthritis, diabetes and balance issues. Not many people can do the long workouts that he does, but he’s as dedicated to his practice as he is to leading others through theirs. “I’ve devoted my whole life to helping people,” he says.
Staying Motivated: After being disabled for many years, Pinella is healthy and fit, and plans on staying that way. “I enjoy seeing others who have been given no hope by Western medicine,” he says. “Or see those who have gotten only limited recovery from conditions like arthritis, Parkinson’s, injuries and balance losses regain the use of their bodies and ease their pain through what I have learned.”
At Meal Time: Pinella has been a vegetarian for most of his life. “I eat a clean diet,” he says. “I eat very, very healthy foods, because I am convinced it is an integral part of healing.”
Goals: Pinella’s goal is to establish a teaching program that will spread the use of these ancient healing arts to as many people as possible. “I will eventually build a Qigong healing institute here in Tucson for retreats, workshops and classes, which will combine the best of Eastern and Western healing modalities,” he says.