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Francesco Garripoli: From Pre-Med to Crash Patient to Eastern Healer
Francesco "Garri" Garripoli almost became an M.D. But when he realized soon after beginning pre-med in the mid-1970s that Western medicine was missing something for him, he walked away from a full scholarship at the University of Colorado — and moved to Hawaii to study with an 81-year-old master of Eastern healing.
Later in his life, a life-altering accident would galvanize Francesco's deep desire to help open Western culture to mind-body medicine.
In addition to extensive studies in Eastern healing methods and decades of work as a qigong instructor, Francesco's unique diversity of training and experience includes success as an author and as a producer of Emmy award-winning TV programming. He lived in China for two years, intensively studying martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine modalities including acupuncture and qigong. While traveling throughout China, he wrote television and film scripts, articles for martial arts magazines, and books including Tao of the Ride: Motorcycles and the Mechanics of the Soul and Qigong: Essence of the Healing Dance.
After a serious motorcycle crash left Francesco in the hospital fighting for his life — doctors told him he'd never walk again — he had an incredible transformative experience. His state of health and quality of life hinged on his ability to draw on his training and practice in Eastern healing. After a long journey of the soul, Francesco amazed his doctors with his physical recovery. And he became even more passionate about bringing his knowledge and gifts to Western cultures.
One way Francesco has lived out this goal is as producer of the PBS documentary Qigong: Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century, seen by more than 88 million viewers. He filmed this extraordinary program in China, gaining rare camera access to daily life in monasteries and Eastern healing centers, to en-masse qigong practice in city squares, and to demonstration of advanced qigong technique by some of the practice's most revered masters.
Francesco and his wife, Daisy Lee-Garripoli, have created several Gaiam qigong instruction programs including Qigong Beginning Practice and Qigong for Cleansing. Francesco and Daisy are dedicated supporters of health-related nonprofit organizations. The couple spearheads Kahuna Valley, a nonprofit energy-healing workshop facility in Kauai, Hawaii, and the annual Kauai Peace Project, dedicated to educational initiatives for children and adults, promoting peace and well-being from the inside out. Francesco teaches workshops, appears on radio and television programs and lectures around the world, and leads groups of travelers each year to study qigong in China.
Francesco believes qigong holds the self-healing power Westerners are searching for. “People come to me to learn qigong because they want to take control of their health,” he says. “Western society has just forgotten that the body has its own health intelligence -- that this is the way human beings are made."