NQA Qi Talks - Tai Chi Chuan: Four Dimensions of Purpose - Self Healing, Spiritual Unfoldment, Self Defense, and Psychological Change. Dr. Michael Mayer. Thursday, September 10, 2015 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. Tai Chi Chuan is connected with an ancient lineage of postural initiation which includes four dimensions of purpose: self-healing, spiritual unfoldment, self-defense, and changing your life stance psychologically. This perspective, stemming from Dr. Mayer's research, imaginal mythopoetic exploration, and thirty years of practice from some of the world's most respected Tai Chi masters, was outlined in his book, Secrets to Living Younger Longer: The Self-Healing Path of Qigong, Standing Meditation and Tai Chi (2004). After having presented on this topic in his 2004 keynote address to the NQA, Michael will talk about what's current for him on this path: He'll share how Tai Chi/Qigong movements naturally arise at key moments in psychotherapy; how Tai Chi, from a postmodern perspective, is a means to experience personal meanings and transpersonal healing as one practices the set; and how Standing Meditation Qigong is the foundation of Tai Chi.
Reduced Cognitive-Motor Interference on Voluntary Balance Control in Older Tai Chi Practitioners.
Tai Chi practitioners expended fewer motor and cognitive resources than older nonpractitioners during a fairly complex (dynamic) postural equilibrium task while performing a verbal working memory task. They exhibited lesser cognitive-motor interference and thus better allocation of attentional resources toward the voluntary balance control task. Given that dynamic balance is a crucial prerequisite for walking and dual-tasking ability is considered to be a significant predictor of falls in older adults, our results might point at the possible long-term benefits of Tai Chi practice to counteract age-related decline in dual-tasking ability.
An article published in the American Journal of Cardiology reports that Tai Chi was found effective for hypertension in older adults by reducing blood pressure and body mass index, maintaining normal renal function, and improving physical health of health-related quality of life. Dr. Ken Sancier, founder of the Qigong Institute, published 'Anti-Aging Benefits of Qigong' in 1996 in which he reported the beneficial effects of Qigong for hypertension.
The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies. Neuroimaging studies have studied the effects of meditation on brain structure and function and findings have helped clarify the biological underpinnings of the positive effects of meditation practice and the possible integration of this technique in standard therapy. Meditation leads to activation in brain areas involved in processing self-relevant information, self-regulation, focused problem-solving, adaptive behavior, and interoception. Results also show that meditation practice induces functional and structural brain modifications in expert meditators, especially in areas involved in self-referential processes such as self-awareness and self-regulation. These results demonstrate that a biological substrate underlies the positive pervasive effect of meditation practice and suggest that meditation techniques could be adopted in clinical populations and to prevent disease.
Mind–body therapies and control of inflammatory biology: A descriptive review. The use of mind-body therapies, including Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, and meditation, has grown steadily in recent years. These approaches have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life, and research has begun to examine the impact of these therapies on biological processes, including inflammation. A review of 26 randomized controlled trials was conducted to describe the effects of mind-body therapies (MBTs) on circulating, cellular, and genomic markers of inflammation.
Social Regulation for Human Gene Expression (video 1:08:24). Speaker, Steven Cole, Ph.D., professor of medicine and psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences (University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine) discusses how socio-environmental conditions can affect human gene expression. This is an excellent overview of how epigenetics, especially a practice or lifestyle such as Qigong, can modulate short- and long-term gene expression.
Aesthetic Quality versus Technical Skill in Movement Evaluation of Tai Chi. Both expert and non-expert observers are able to discern a good from a mediocre performance; however, only experts discriminate the technical from the aesthetic component of the action evaluated and do this independently of the level of skill shown by the model (high or middle level performances). Furthermore, observers rely on specific movement kinematics (e.g. movement amplitude, jerk and duration) for action evaluation. These results provide evidence of the complementary functional role of visual and motor action representation in movement evaluation and underline the role of expertise in judging the aesthetic quality of movements.
Mobile phones: time to rethink and limit usage. Radiofrequency waves generated from mobile phones cause potential public health problems. Short-term effects like changes in sleep, heart rate, and blood pressure, and long-term effects like carcinoma are well documented. The need for stringent enforcement of laws for prevention of phone usage while driving and guidelines of medical regulatory bodies regarding rules and regulations of phone usage while at class or attending patients is of utmost importance. This should be supplemented by mass media to raise awareness among people regarding the possible health effects of radiofrequency emissions from mobile phones and the guidelines to minimize its exposure. It is the need of the hour to teach young people to be structured, to know when to have the cell phone on, and to avoid becoming the slave of technology instead of its mastery.
Meditation has stronger relationships with mindfulness, kundalini, and mystical experiences than yoga or prayer.
Meditation, yoga, contemplative prayer, or a combination of practices all were found to be associated with enhancements of mindfulness, kundalini effects, and mystical experiences, but meditation had particularly strong associations and may be the basis of the associations of yoga and prayer with these outcomes. The results further suggest that the primary association of contemplative practices is with the real time awareness and appreciation of sensory and perceptual experiences which may be the intermediary between disparate practices and mindfulness, kundalini effects, and mystical experiences.
Qigong Self-Healing Retreat for Cancer Patients. This comprehensive retreat for cancer patients is designed to maximize your body’s self-healing ability and help you cope effectively with the cancer journey, while helping you build a healthier lifestyle and a positive life perspective. Watch Cancer Conquerors -- A documentary of cancer self healing... (YouTube 48:57). "Cancer Conquerors" is a documentary on the true-life experiences of cancer self-healing utilizing Qigong. From East to West, from medical experts to advanced-stage cancer patients and their family members, this documentary focuses on revealing a new path which brings cancer patients hope to defeat cancer – This same path can help all of us improve our health, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.
Nonpharmacological therapies for chronic pain. Effective noninvasive treatment modalities for chronic pain include behavioral therapy for short-term pain relief; cognitive behavioral therapy for reducing long-term pain and disability; hypnosis as adjunctive therapy; guided imagery, diaphragmatic breathing, and muscle relaxation, especially for cancer-related pain; mindfulness-based stress reduction for patients with chronic low back pain; acupuncture for multiple pain conditions; combination manipulation, manual therapy, endurance exercise, stretching, and strengthening for chronic neck pain.
Editing the brain: How new epigenetic tools could rewrite our understanding of memory and more. The practice of Qigong regulates the expression of genes and creation of proteins through the production of transcription factors, such as hormones, that act as catalysts to gene transcription. New DNA technologies allow sampling the mix of genes that are being expressed at any moment. An analogy would be scooping up a glass of water from a rushing stream and testing how clear it is. Researchers can now identify whether genes are being expressed for stress and inflammation or for relaxation and regeneration. What gets expressed depends upon what someone is thinking or doing, and this is where Qigong becomes epigenetics. Epigenetic changes are implicated in a host of neural conditions, from Alzheimer's-related memory loss to depression. Now, a revolutionary set of molecular editing tools is allowing scientists to alter the epigenome like never before. If the human genome is the book of life, then the epigenome is its editor. Epigenetic marks -- chemical tags that switch genes on and off -- allow the body to produce more than 200 cell types from the same genetic code. Creating a neuron, for example, involves silencing a third of the genome.
Live a Healthier Life with Tai Chi - a webpage filled with links to interesting articles on Tai Chi, including history, physical health, emotional wellbeing, and how to get started.
Qi Talks: Francesco Garripoli - Qigong Meets Epigenetics. Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. A fun exploration of how the emerging science of gene activation and deactivation smoothly maps into Qigong principles and serves to help explain why energy work works. Francesco, a wellness advocate, musician, Qigong instructor, and Chairman of the Board of the Qigong Institute is the author of "Qigong - Essence of the Healing Dance" and "Tao of the Ride". Francesco lived in China for years during an intensive study of martial arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities, including acupuncture and Qigong. While there he produced and directed the one-hour documentary titled "Qigong - Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century," which airs nationwide across the PBS Television network and has been seen by over 88 million viewers. His instructional Qigong DVDs with Daisy Lee are respected around the world with over 450,000 copies sold. His WujiTech venture provides brainwave feedback tools for personal empowerment.
Qigong for the Classroom. A study published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Chinese Medicine has found that including a particular type of qigong exercise program helped calm and energize the students, as well as improving health and reducing aggression.
Self-Regulation of Breathing as a Primary Treatment for Anxiety.
The authors suggest that reversing homeostatic alterations with meditation and breathing techniques rather than targeting neurotransmitters with medication may be a superior method to address the whole body changes that occur in stress, anxiety, and depression. Detrimental effects of stress, negative emotions, and sympathetic dominance of the autonomic nervous system have been shown to be counteracted by different forms of meditation, relaxation, and breathing techniques. These breathing techniques could be used as first-line and supplemental treatments for stress, anxiety, depression, and some emotional disorders.
SUPER QI SUMMIT • MAY 22–25. For the first time at Omega, Omega is bringing together some of the world’s masters of qigong, tai chi, and qi cultivation—from masters in qi healing and martial arts to experts in creativity and sacred sexuality. Whether you are just starting to explore qigong or tai chi, or have been practicing for years, this exciting gathering of masters offers a profound experience in qi cultivation and healing.
Psychosomatic Medicine in the 21st Century: Understanding Mechanisms and Barriers to Utilization. Clinical barriers, in terms of time pressure upon physicians and the current separation of mental health services from primary care settings, continue the dualistic treatment of many conditions where psychological factors are important. It is not clear whether a mandate for the integration of behavioral health into primary care will remedy this partition and finally maximize a psychosomatic approach to medical care.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day t-shirt deadline. April 1 (international) and April 7 (U.S) are the last days to order to receive t-shirts by World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Saturday (April 25) 2015. T-shirt purchases help support Bill and Angela in their amazing effort to make this event happen year after year.
Qi Talks: An Evening With Mark Johnson: My Life - Playing With Qi - Thursday April 9, 2015. Mark will discuss a wide array of topics including the beginning days of the NQA (Mark was one of the founders), his fascinating background and life in the world of the energetic arts, how his qigong cultivation affected his own healing after his plane crash and Mark's current work on the primal causes of disease. Mark has extensive Taiji/Qigong training with teachers including - Grandmaster Ni, Pat Rice, Steve Rhodes, Chen Xiaowang, Dr. Yang Jwing Ming, Liang Shouyu, George Shu, Ben Lo, and Jou Tsung Hwa. He has judged more than 55 Taiji Tournaments since he was certified as a judge in 1988. In 1982 he had the opportunity to teach a group of Hollywood celebrities which included Frances For Coppola, Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Mickey Rourke, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Esteves and many more. Since 1982, Mark has founded Qigong and Daoist centers in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Taos, New Mexico; New York City and in California - Sacramento, Chico, Mill Valley and Santa Rosa. He was one of the first people to introduce Qigong and Taiji to Cuba, and since 1996, has traveled there over 20 times lecturing in every major hospital and city on the island. His Taiji/Qigong DVDs have sold over 700,000 copies both in the U.S and internationally. [note: it might take a few days for the NQA to update their registration form to the new talk).]
Tai Chi Health and Meditation Helps Prisoners (YouTube 4:10). 20 Years ago, Bruce Kumar Frantzis was asked and then volunteered to teach Wu style Tai Chi at the New Mexico State Penitentiary (which had just undergone extremely violent riots). The experiment of learning Tai Chi had a profound effect on the prisoner's lives, both by fixing long standing ailments (and stress) with Tai Chi's Medical Aspects and by rehabilitating the prisoners (and in turn contributing to calming down the violence in the prison) through practicing Tai Chi as meditation.
NCCIH says chronic pain can be reduced by nonpharmacological interventions. Much evidence from pain patients and animal models shows that chronic pain does not exist in a vacuum but has varied comorbidities and far-reaching consequences. Patients with long-term pain often develop anxiety and depression and can manifest changes in cognitive functioning, particularly with working memory. Longitudinal studies in rodent models also show the development of anxiety-like behavior and cognitive changes weeks to months after an injury causing long-term pain. Brain imaging studies in pain patients and rodent models find that chronic pain is associated with anatomical and functional alterations in the brain. Nevertheless, studies in humans reveal that lifestyle choices, such as the practice of meditation or yoga, can reduce pain perception and have the opposite effect on the brain as does chronic pain. In rodent models, studies show that physical activity and a socially enriched environment reduce pain behavior and normalize brain function.
Evidence Base of Clinical Studies on Tai Chi. This is the newest, and possibly most extensive analysis conducted of clinical trials of Tai Chi. Note that Peter Wayne from Harvard Medical School and the author of 'The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi' participated in this review. The authors' bottom line is that "Further well-designed and reported studies are recommended to confirm the effects of Tai Chi for the frequently reported diseases/conditions." This is a very conservative result. With their credentials on the line, researchers are sticking with the rigorous western medical definition of acceptable clinical trial results and reporting. So this result can be seen as the lense through which a majority of western medical practitioners would view Tai Chi clinical trials and benefits. Peter Wayne himself, who in spite of writing the definitive book on Tai Chi, is not going to make claims (at least in peer-reviewed research papers) about the benefits of Tai Chi unless he is backed up by results from trials which conform to rigorous trial and reporting standards.
Acupuncture Mechanisms: Anesthesia, Analgesia and Protection on Organ Functions. This review summarizes research progress on the mechanisms of acupuncture for analgesia; its protection against organ function injury in anesthesia; and its effect on analgesia, immunomodulation, neuroendocrine regulation and multiple organ protection. The current evidence supports that acupuncture analgesia and its organ protection in anesthesia is associated with the integration of neuroendocrine-immune networks at the level of neurotransmitters, cytokines, hormones, neuronal ensembles, lymphocytes, and endocrine cells. Although the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia and its organ protection are still not completely understood, basic as well as clinic research on the mechanisms and applications of acupuncture and related techniques are being carried out. This article is from the first issue of the World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine launches first issue.
World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (WJTCM) is a quarterly, peer-reviewed open access journal and sponsored by the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies. WJTCM aims to introduce clinical effects and functional mechanisms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including acupuncture and moxibustion to the doctors or biomedical researchers around the world and provide new thoughts, methods or measures in order to solve complex and intractable diseases. The journal includes reviews and original articles focused on the following aspects of TCM: 1) Modern research on Chinese materia medica; 2) Research on TCM basic theory; 3) TCM clinical study; 4) Acupuncture and moxibustion.
Colorado Yogis Balk at State Regulation of Teacher Training. With respect to state regulation of Qigong teacher certification, yoga can be seen as the canary in the coal mine. In recognition of the long-term potential of state regulation, about fifteen years ago some very insightful people in the Qigong community developed a 200-hour professional Qigong certification level which is essentially equivalent to the 200-hour professional yoga certification level. Professional certification of teachers by the respective communities has undoubtedly helped teachers pursue their careers and provided an often necessary level of job credential. But Qigong teachers, especially in Colorado, need to be aware of possible state meddling with certification. They are after yoga now because it's more widely recognized. Strange that they're not after mindfulness teachers yet. There are some compelling arguments on either side of the regulation issue as can be seen by reading the article. However, given the yoga and Qigong communities' pro-active development of standards that have worked so well for so many years, state regulation comes across as unnecessary. More information on the development of the 200-hour teacher certification as well as relaxing these standards to be able to get Qigong and Tai Chi to larger numbers of individuals and more communities, listen to Professional Qigong and Tai Chi Teacher Certification: A Discussion with Dr. Roger Jahnke. For additional information see the National Expert Meeting on Qi Gong and Tai Chi (especially the Consensus Report).
What are the benefits of Tai Chi? A short article on the benefits of Tai Chi which appeared in the New York Times. Scientists haven’t yet determined whether tai chi is substantially better for you than other types of light-to-moderate exercise, such as walking, yoga or weight training, said Fuzhong Li, a principal investigator at the Oregon Research Institute, who has studied tai chi, but he notes that tai chi is definitely better than no or very light activity. “Our work does suggest that tai ji chuan“ produces far better outcomes compared to low-impact activities such as stretching,” Dr. Li said.
Meditation Can Change Your Brain for Better and Longer. This survey of recent meditation research
compiled by Kevin W Chen, Ph.D. summarizes reports on how meditation could slows the aging process, rewires the brain, and how meditation can lead to actual structural changes in the brain! This can be seen in brain imaging research even after a simple 20-minutes meditation.
On Taking Notice — Learning Mindfulness from (Boston) Brahmins. This is a short article written by Michael Kahn, M.D. of the Harvard Medical School and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He observes that "Proficiency at promoting mindfulness will never be evaluated on the objective structured clinical examination, but I believe it has always been and should remain part of a doctor's clinical toolkit."
How To Meditate (And Get The Most Benefit Out Of It). This is a good standard introduction to mindfulness and meditation. However, the author states that mindfulness is a Theravada tradition. This is only partially true. Mindfulness can be traced back to the notion of dhyana (sanskrit), or "meditation", which is at the core of all Buddhist and Buddhist-derived traditions and not just Theravada. Alternatively, some academics have traced the origin of the current mindfulness craze to the 1950's in Burma where mindfulness practice was created for lay people (see Geoffrey Samuel - The Relevance of Non-Self in Pre-Modern Asia to the Contemporary Mindfulness Movement (ASI 2013). Also, the notion of mindfulness is not limited to Buddhism. Jon Kabat-Zinn who is credited with bringing mindfulness to western medical practice was influenced by at least Mahayana Buddhism as well as Zen. Zen originated in China as 'Chan Buddhism' along with Taoism and Qigong which incorporated their own mindfulness practices. Also, the article goes into some detail on how to meditate -- in particular places, in particular ways, and for particular times. Qigong can be practiced like this, but one of its greatest strengths is its flexiblity. The beauty of Qigong is that mindfunless meditation becomes a part of your daily life. You practice it and receive the benefits through normal living, not by setting aside arbitrary amounts of time in particular places during the day to do it.
NCCIH survey finds 8% of U.S. adults used some form of meditation. In the 2012 survey, meditation included Mantra meditation, Mindfulness meditation, Spiritual meditation, and meditation used as a part of other practices (including yoga, tai chi, and qi gong). In 2002 and 2007, use of meditation was asked broadly and not if practiced as part of other complementary health approaches so the data is not comparable between surveys. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the main source of information on Americans’ health. It’s conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2002, 2007, and 2012, the NHIS included a section, developed by NCHS and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), on the use of complementary and integrative health approaches. Information was collected on adults in all three years and on children in 2007 and 2012.
NIH reports increase in children's use of complementary health approaches. The complementary health questionnaire was developed by NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (formerly NCCAM) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The questionnaire is administered every 5 years as part of the NHIS, an annual study in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. There was a statistically significant increase in the use of movement therapies—which included yoga, tai chi, and qi gong—between 2007 (2.5 percent) and 2012 (3.2 percent). Most of this increase can be attributed to the increased use of yoga (approximately 400,000 more children used yoga since 2007).
Managing Menopause With Qigong. Some women hardly notice the changes that come along with menopause. Other women experience the changes as uncomfortable or even unbearable. Either way, studies show that women can benefit from the ancient wisdom of qigong, a form of meditative movement that originated in China and helps balance and cultivate qi, or energy, within the body.
NQA Qi Talks - Thursday March 12th, 2015 - Guest: Kathy Levac - Inclusive Exercises for People with Dementia, Developmental Disabilities and Cognitive Impairment. With the "Aging of America", seniors 80 years and over, frail elderly, and people with dementia are the fasting growing populations in USA. Seniors and adults with disabilities benefit greatly from simple qigong exercises. Outcomes include not only improved physical benefits (such as flexibility, ROM, strength, mobility), and mental and emotional benefits (release stress, calm the mind), but we can use of qigong as for senior wellness and as a healthy coping strategy. Simple qigong movements can be adapted for people with cognitive or physical impairments. Everyone can benefit - anti-aging benefits to facilitate healing of chronic illness (bringing the body back into balance so it can heal itself). Join us to hear real life stories of the positive effects qigong can have for people with special needs. Qi Talks airs the second Thursday of the month from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. It's FREE and open to anyone and everyone interested in learning more about Qigong and the Energetic Arts.
At Aetna, a C.E.O.’s Management by Mantra. Aetna is at the vanguard of a movement that is quietly spreading through the business world. More than one-quarter of the company’s work force of 50,000 has participated in at least one class, and those who have report, on average, a 28 percent reduction in their stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and a 19 percent reduction in pain. They also become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which Aetna estimates is worth $3,000 per employee per year. Demand for the programs continues to rise; every class is overbooked. Companies like Google offer emotional intelligence courses for employees. General Mills has a meditation room in every building on its corporate campus. And even buttoned-up Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and BlackRock are teaching meditation on the job. The aims of such programs are eclectic. Some, such as Aetna’s, are intended to improve overall well-being; others to increase focus and productivity. Most of the programs — from yoga sessions for factory workers to guided meditations for executives — aim to make employees more present-minded, less prone to make rash decisions and generally nicer people to work with. Adoption of these unconventional practices in the workplace coincides with growing interest among the American public. More than 21 million people now practice yoga, double the number from a decade ago, according to the National Institutes of Health. Nearly as many meditate, according to the N.I.H.
The first 2015 issue of the e-magazine Yang-Sheng is now available. Yang-Sheng (Nurturing Life; ISSN: 2326-277X) is an E-magazine and a network for all healthcare professionals of preventive medicine, practitioners of mind-body exercise (such as meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Reiki, and mindfulness), true health seekers, and spiritual cultivators. It promotes philosophy and methods of self-healing, positive mind and health preservation, and shares knowledge and experiences with those who are interested in the subjects and their applications in everyday life.
How Meditation Primes The Mind For Spiritual Experiences. While the stillness and connecting with one's inner self cultivated through mindfulness are certainly an important part of a spiritual practice, feelings of wonder and awe -- the amazement we get when faced with incredible vastness -- are also central to the spiritual experience. And according to new research, mindfulness may actually set the stage for awe.
How to Meditate While Walking. Son Buddhist meditation can be performed in several common physical positions such as sitting in a chair, standing up, sitting down, and while walking. Qigong goes further by incorporating meditation regardless of what you are doing. With respect to walking meditation, world champion race-walker Jack Bray has developed a winning training strategy that is built upon a foundation of Qigong. To learn more, read Walking With Qi: the Nine Jewels of Qigong Walking.
Systematic review finds yoga reduces prenatal depression. There were two kinds of yoga: the physical-exercise-based yoga and integrated yoga, which, besides physical exercises, included pranayama, meditation or deep relaxation. The results showed that the level of depression was significantly decreased in the integrated yoga group but not significantly reduced in the physical-exercise-only-based yoga group. This is another verification of the power of integrated meditative movement practices such as Qigong.
Clinical indications for acupuncture in chronic post-traumatic headache management. Current evidence shows that acupuncture is at least as effective as drug therapy for migraine prophylaxis and neurovascular and tension-type headaches. Because of its safety, cost-effectiveness, and long-lasting benefits, adjunctive acupuncture should be offered to patients with chronic post-traumatic headaches and may be a valuable primary treatment alternative for those with contraindications to pharmacotherapy.
East Palo Alto: Yoga coming to Ravenswood City School District. Thanks to a partnership with the Sonima Foundation, which is based in Southern California, 3,400 students from five schools in East Palo Alto and two in Menlo Park will join more than 24,000 boys and girls across San Diego County, New York, Houston and Florida in a yoga-based health and wellness program aimed at improving their mindfulness and nutrition.
Why Doing Nothing Is the Key to Happiness.
Attention and focus are hard to come by. Starbucks built a $13 billion business because we need help paying attention. Psychiatrists increasingly diagnose "adult attention deficit disorder" and prescribe Ritalin for grownups who can't focus or pay attention. But are coffee and prescription speed the answers to our modern distractions? What matters most in life is the quality of our experience, the ability to be awake to what is real and true in our lives, for the difficult and the happy times, to be awake to each person we touch, to our own experience, to this very moment, to the simple sweet and alive gifts of a smile, a kind deed, the breeze on our skin, the firefly flickering the early summer night. The point of meditation, of doing nothing, is not an end in itself but a way to calm the mind, to see the true nature of things, and reduce the impact of suffering -- while increasing love, kindness, wisdom, fearlessness and sympathy. From that stillness, your life becomes more rich, your actions more clear, your words more direct and powerful and your capacity to be fully engaged in life enhanced. It is not a retreat from life, but a way to go fully into it and cultivate your own power and happiness. The article could be titled: 'Why Doing Qigong Is the Key to Happiness".
Effects of Jazz and Silence on Postoperative Pain and Stress. Overall, the results showed that patients responded not only to music but also to silence in the postanesthesia care unit. Using music and/or noise reduction could decrease opioid administration, promote relaxation, and improve patient satisfaction.
FREE download of the summer issue of The Empty Vessel from the Abode Tao. The Empty Vessel, the Journal of Daoist Philosophy and Practice is published quarterly (since 1993). It covers Chinese medicine, Daoist (Taoist) studies, qigong (chi gong), taijiquan (tai chi), meditation, herbs, martial arts, internal alchemy practice, Yi Jing (I Ching), Daode Jing (Tao Te Ching), feng shui and other aspects of Eastern philosophy.
Can Meditation Improve Your Brain? Harvard Says So! A review study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine found that not only does regular meditation alleviate stress symptoms, but that it’s efficacy may actually rival the medications used to treat anxiety, depression and pain! A new study at Harvard asserts that those calming effects, the stress relief, the pain reduction and even the cellular alteration is actually the result of changes in brain structure due to meditation!
Mindfulness meditation melts away work-related stress. Work-related stress is reaching epidemic proportions in America. It has a negative effect on our health, our relationships and our lives. Studies have found that 30 to 40 percent of workers consider their job extremely stressful. Since its introduction to the West in the late 1970s, mindfulness meditation has been drawing devotees seeking peace and balance in their lives. At its core, mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, clearing your mind of the stresses and distractions of a typical, frenetic workday.
US Department of Veterans Affairs(VA) recommends Mindfulness. The VA's Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) was established to provide timely and accurate syntheses of targeted healthcare topics of particular importance to VA managers and policymakers, as they work to improve the health and healthcare of Veterans. The ESP disseminates these reports (i.e. the Evidence Maps) throughout VA.
HSR&D provides funding for four ESP Centers and each Center has an active VA affiliation. The ESP Centers generate evidence syntheses on important clinical practice topics, and these reports help develop clinical policies informed by evidence, the implementation of effective services to improve patient outcomes and to support VA clinical practice guidelines and performance measures, and set the direction for future research to address gaps in clinical knowledge. The Evidence Map of Mindfulness reports the most consistent effect for depression but published meta-analyses also indicated effects compared to passive control of MBSR on overall health, chronic illness, and psychological variables; MBCT for mental illness; and mindfulness interventions for somatization disorders. Limited evidence is also available for mindfulness interventions for pain, anxiety, and psychosis compared to passive control groups. More detail is provided for priority areas post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, depression, and wellness. The evidence map provides a broad overview (not detailed or definitive effectiveness evidence) over the existing research to help interpret the state of the evidence to inform policy and clinical decision making.
Jack Ma's bodyguard: master of tai chi. With an average height and plain looks, Li Tianjin does not impress at the first sight, but he has an eye-catching role: the bodyguard of business tycoon Jack Ma.
Mindfulness equity and Western Buddhism: reaching people of low socioeconomic status and people of color. This study presents the findings of the first pilot series of the Mindfulness Allies Project (MAP), and focuses on the intersection of mindfulness, Western Buddhism, socioeconomic status (SES), and race. While much has been published about the efficacy of mindfulness meditation with various clinical and non-clinical populations, understudied populations still include people of low SES and people of color. Additionally, while care is often, and appropriately, taken to differentiate mindfulness from Buddhism, the fact remains that Buddhism directly influenced the creation of leading clinical uses of mindfulness, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. MAP proposes a model for Western Buddhist centers and teachers, as well as professional mindfulness providers, to offer annual secular mindfulness series in partnership with local organizations serving marginalized populations—those not benefitting from privileged identity factors—particularly in relation to race and class.
NQA Qi Talks - Zhou Xuan Yun - The Dao of Qigong - Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. In this Qi Talk, Daoist priest Zhou Xuan Yun will be talking about the role of qigong in Daoist practice. We will begin by discussing Daoist history and philosophy. What is meant by the Dao? How has Daoism been practiced in China over the years? Xuan Yun will discuss his personal experiences growing up in a Daoist temple on Wudang Mountain. You will learn what the daily life in a Daoist temple is like, and about the years he spent "cloud traveling" as a wandering monk. We will talk about Daoist qigong and internal alchemy practices. How do Daoists think about the human body? What types of Qigong are practiced by the Daoist community in China? Daoist monk Zhou Xuan Yun grew up in a temple on Wudang Mountain, China where he was a student and later an instructor of Taiji and Kung Fu. He belongs to the Orthodox Unity sect of Daoism, and is trained in ritual arts, chanting, divination, and internal alchemy. At the age of 20, Xuan Yun left Wudang Mountain to live as a wandering monk and traveled alone around China for four years. Now based in the United States, Xuan Yun offers regular classes in the Boston area and travels to teach workshops on the traditional Wudang martial arts, Qi Gong, and Daoist philosophy. He is the author of a series of DVDs including Wudang Tai Chi, Wudang Kung Fu, Wudang Sword, and Qigong for Healthy Living.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION: STUDY SHOWS IT CHANGES YOUR DNA. The study followed a group of practiced meditators and a control group of untrained subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness meditation, the meditators showed a range of genetic differences in levels of pro-inflammatory genes. “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article. Specifically, the genes in the meditating group showed less inflammation and faster recovery from stressful situations.
Acupuncture For Military PTSD Found Effective. Acupuncture effectively treats posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers conducting a randomized controlled study of active duty US military service personnel concludes that acupuncture significantly improves patient outcomes for PTSD patients. Acupuncture also induced secondary improvements: reduced depression and pain, improved mental and physical health functioning.
Yang Yang training tip: Taiji and balance/fall prevention: my perspective. Balance and fall prevention are among the most studied outcomes of taiji research, and most review papers conclude that there is significant evidence that taiji can improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. However, I believe that the potential maximum benefit of taiji practice remains significantly underestimated and misunderstood by researchers and the general public. The reason is curriculum: still today most researchers (and the general public) equate taiji practice with slow choreographed movement only. Taiji is much more than this.
Movement therapies for the self-management of chronic pain symptoms. Two of the movement therapies, tai chi and yoga, received weak recommendations in favor of their application to chronic low back pain, osteoarthritis pain, fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, and tension headaches. Both were demonstrated to be safe and variably effective. Additionally, there is a moderate likelihood that further high-quality research could enhance the confidence in recommending these therapeutic approaches and refine the magnitude of the effectiveness for the specific pain syndromes to which they could be applied. Not too surprisingly, the authors could not recommend Qigong per se due to a lack of RCTs.
Can you inherit experiences? Inside the weird world of epigenetics. It's nice to see that the mainstream media is starting to report on epigenetics. This article gives a pretty good overview of epigenetics, but it still presents the very healty skepticism of conventional mainstream science. As a result of increasingly popular practices such as mindfulness, people are beginning to accept the mind-body connection: Thoughts and emotions can actually affect one's physiology, all the way down to DNA. Psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology are two sub-fields of neuroscience that started roughly in the 1980's that are proving the effects of mind-body practices. Epigenetics is a good decade behind these two, so it's going to take longer for people to understand and the media to report on how your lifestyle affects your physiology and DNA. There's already a lot of research on epigenetics; one of the best-known authors is Bruce Lipton. Note that Qigong is both a mind-body practice (psychoneuroimmunology/endocrinology) and a lifestyle (epigenetics), so the benefits being discovered through research in these fields of neuroscience and biology are proving the benefit of Qigong. More information: Epigenetics, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Qigong.
Changing Our DNA through Mind Control? This Scientific American article reports that meditative and social approaches are mental means toward better physical, and not just psychologic well-being. Breast cancer patients who practiced mindfulness meditation had better preserved telomeres. This isn't the first study that has shown the relationship between mindfulness and other stress reduction pratices and telomerase activity. Telomerase is the protein that actually does the work of preserving telomeres at the end of chromosomal DNA. Longer telomeres are associated with improved cell health and longevity. However, it's possibly a good thing that the lead author of the study hedged his bets by commenting that “The meaning of the maintenance of telomere length in this study is unknown." This is especially true in the case of cancer. Whereas increased telomerase activity is associated with more robust health of normal cells, other research has indicated that it is also associated with cancer activity. Find out more about telomerase and cancer in the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™.
Acupuncture helps sick wise owls fly wild again in Spain. Most orthodox medical doctors tend to dismiss the idea that acupuncture can help living beings, be they animals or humans. Yet veterinary acupuncture is not all that unusual, and has been used for years to treat pain in horses, with results so positive even orthodox vets have had to acknowledge the benefits. The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society says the use of the ancient Chinese therapy using super thin needles to stimulate specific energy points in the body is growing worldwide. A Spanish vet has found it useful even for owls.
Can Anyone Really Meditate in This Age of Kali? Although the article highlights the difference between the practice of meditation historically and now, meditation as described is more of an esoteric practice that must be learned in its original," authentic" form through long study only with a master. The author misses the point about how the benefits of meditation are readily available through practices such as Qigong. He finishes by arguing that meditation should be integrated into your lifestyle, which is a main point about mindfulness and meditation as practiced in Qigong.
Tai Chi as a spiritual practice to balance energy. Though Tai Chi, also translated from Chinese as Tai Chi Quan and Taijiquan, is marketed in the U.S. as an exercise for senior citizens, one local trainer says it’s more of a spiritual exercise. In the Chinese tradition, Tai Chi is both an internal martial art and a spiritual practice which compliments health and well-being. The article points out that "Tai Chi is the philosophy but Taijiquan is the internal martial arts practice and exercises according to the philosophy of Tai Chi". When considered in the context of Qigong, Tai Chi is also a health or medical practice in addition to being a martial art and a spiritual practice.
BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF). An international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals (The BioInitiative Working Group) has released its report on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. It raises serious concern about the safety of existing public limits that regulate how much EMF is allowable from power lines, cell phones, and many other sources of EMF exposure in daily life. Electromagnetic radiation from such sources as electric power lines, wi-fi, cell phones, interior wiring and grounding of buildings and appliances are linked to increased risks for childhood leukemia, may set the stage for adult cancers later in life. In addition, EMF affects gene and protein expression, damages DNA, increases stress protein response, adversely affects immune function, and is indicated in Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer promotion. Today’s public exposure limits for telecommunications are based on the presumption that heating of tissue (for RF) or induced electric currents in the body (for ELF) are the only concerns when living organisms are exposed to RF. These exposures can create tissue heating that is well known to be harmful in even very short-term doses. As such, thermal limits do serve a purpose. In the last few decades, it has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that bioeffects and some adverse health effects occur at far lower levels of RF and ELF exposure where no heating (or induced currents) occurs at all; some effects are shown to occur at several hundred thousand times below the existing public safety limits where heating is an impossibility.
The Cell Phone Poisoning of America.
The Qigong Institute's mission is to promote a scientific understanding of the basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine. The Energy Medicine part of the mission doesn't appear much in What's New on the website or on the Facebook page because it is such a big subject and the main focus is Qigong. However, every now and then, postings such as this one are made to help inform people about both the good and bad side of "Energy". More information can be found on the Qigong Institute Electromagnetic Pollution page.
Systematic review finds Tai Chi beneficial for anxiety management. Anxiety has become a global public health problem. Tai chi offers one possible way of reducing anxiety. The purpose of this study was to examine studies from 1989 to March 2014 to assess whether tai chi can be an efficacious approach for managing anxiety. Despite the limitations of not all studies using randomized controlled designs, having smaller sample sizes, having different outcomes, having nonstandardized tai chi interventions, and having varying lengths, the authors found that tai chi appears to be a promising modality for anxiety management.
Newest issue of Yang Sheng is now available. This issue is dedicated to longevity. Yang-sheng is an E-magazine and a network for all healthcare professionals of preventive medicine, practitioners of mind-body exercise (such as meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Reiki, and mindfulness), true health seekers, and spiritual cultivators. It promotes philosophy and methods of self-healing, positive mind and health preservation, and shares knowledge and experiences with those who are interested in the subjects and their applications in everyday life.
The contemporary mindfulness movement and the question of nonself. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and other "mindfulness"-based techniques have rapidly gained a significant presence within contemporary society. Clearly these techniques, which derive or are claimed to derive from Buddhist meditational practices, meet genuine human needs. However, questions are increasingly raised regarding what these techniques meant in their original context(s), how they have been transformed in relation to their new Western and global field of activity, what might have been lost (or gained) on the way, and how the entire contemporary mindfulness phenomenon might be understood. The article points out that first-generation mindfulness practices, such as MBSR and MBCT, derive from modernist versions of Buddhism, and omit or minimize key aspects of the Buddhist tradition, including the central Buddhist philosophical emphasis on the deconstruction of the self. Nonself (or no self) fits poorly into the contemporary therapeutic context, but is at the core of the Buddhist enterprise from which contemporary "mindfulness" has been abstracted. Instead of focussing narrowly on the practical efficacy of the first generation of mindfulness techniques, we might see them as an invitation to explore the much wider range of practices available in the traditions from which they originate. Rather, too, than simplifying and reducing these practices to fit current Western conceptions of knowledge, we might seek to incorporate more of their philosophical basis into our Western adaptations. This might lead to a genuine and productive expansion of both scientific knowledge and therapeutic possibilities.
Qigong and Fibromyalgia: Randomized Controlled Trials and Beyond. Note the research shows that "Benefit appears to be related to amount of practice". Another reason to make Qigong part of your lifestyle. Qigong is currently considered as meditative movement, mindful exercise, or complementary exercise and is being explored for relief of symptoms in fibromyalgia. Aim. This narrative review summarizes randomized controlled trials, as well as additional studies, of qigong published to the end of 2013 and discusses relevant methodological issues. Results. Controlled trials indicate regular qigong practice (daily, 6-8 weeks) produces improvements in core domains for fibromyalgia (pain, sleep, impact, and physical and mental function) that are maintained at 4-6 months compared to wait-list subjects or baselines. Comparisons with active controls show little difference, but compared to baseline there are significant and comparable effects in both groups. Open-label studies provide information that supports benefit but remain exploratory. An extension trial and case studies involving extended practice (daily, 6-12 months) indicate marked benefits but are limited by the number of participants. Benefit appears to be related to amount of practice. Conclusions. There is considerable potential for qigong to be a useful complementary practice for the management of fibromyalgia. However, there are unique methodological challenges, and exploration of its clinical potential will need to focus on pragmatic issues and consider a spectrum of trial designs.
Can Mindfulness Rewire Our Brains? One of the most revolutionary and empowering insights coming from cutting-edge neuroscience is the fact that we can change our brains by thinking different thoughts. Positive, productive thinking can actually change the biological structure of our brains.
How to Meditate Standing Up. Quiet meditation commonly refers to traditional seated meditation but includes any meditative form where you're not moving. Active meditation refers to meditating while in motion in the midst of daily life.
Mindfulness intervention boosts brain activation for healthy pleasures. How can people who are dependent on prescription opioids reduce their cravings? Learn to enjoy other aspects of their lives. That's the key finding in a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine by Eric L. Garland, associate professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work. Garland and colleagues studied how an intervention program for chronic pain patients called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) decreased patients' desire for prescription drugs.
Two members of Parliamentary protective services credit Qigong for ability to stay calm and focused during recent attack in Ottawa.
"The Parliament was under attack on October 22, 2014. For over 20 years I held a very responsible position and this was my first such an encounter! The sounds of shooting and people scurrying and screaming greatly frightened me initially. The safety of the Prime Minister, the Members of Parliament and the people were uppermost in my mind. To help me think clearly, I started doing the deep breathing as taught by Dr. Chow. The fear left, then an inner peace came upon me like what I feel during and after Chow Qigong classes! I was able to calmly execute my responsibilities and help calm others. That day and the days after, I taught everybody Dr. Chow’s therapeutic philosophy of giving at least 8 hugs and have 3 belly-aching laughs daily. Everybody appreciated it as it helped to reduce the stress from the fearful event.
"These few words are simply to acknowledge the great wisdom and rewards acquired from your healing classes. During the incident of Oct. 22, 2014 and as I bestowed upon my duties to Serve & Protect our Parliamentarians, the calmness within my “Qi” served me well. Only a few seconds of deep breathing, searching to claim the calm of my spirit ..., my own “Qi” restored my confidence, energy and guidance. These are the reflections in life`s moments of crisis that we realize where our great Teachers & Grandmasters really made a difference. A great believer & student of the “Chow Qigong”.
Loving-kindness meditation is associated with stress reduction in inexperienced meditators. Stress levels fell significantly with meditation while relaxation increased in the inexperienced group. Experienced meditators had higher nitrate levels, trended toward having higher nitrite levels, and had significantly lower stress levels than inexperienced meditators. Nitric oxide metabolism may be involved in the cardiovascular effects of persistent meditation practice. Nitric oxide is a signalling molecule associated with important body functions, including blood pressure, blood flow to tissues, and supply of oxygen to mitochondria which generate cellular energy.
QI Talks - Dec 11 2014- Mark Reinhart - Energetic Psychology, The Five Phases and You! Author of "Tune Up... You're on in Ten Minutes," Mark is the founder of San Qing He Dao, The Path of Three Pure Rivers a system dedicated to the re-balancing of the person through education, cultivation and self-empowerment. His extensive and ongoing training in the Classical and Traditional Chinese healing, philosophical and martial arts include: Masters Degree in Medical Qigong, Numerous styles and systems of Taijiquan and Qigong, Certified instructor of Tai Chi For Health®, Extensive study in Chinese Herbal Medicine (Tai Ping - Royal Academy tradition - Institute of Chinese Herbology), Chinese Dietary, Essential Oil and Stone medicines, Student in the Jade Purity Tradition of Daoism.
Human Body Microbes Make Antibiotics, Study Finds. Each of us has a microbiome which is a component of our 'healer within' and is a major beneficiary of Qigong practice. Our microbiome can be considered part of our internal "pharmacy" where we can get safe and natural personalized drugs. New research, funded in part by NCCAM, suggests that some of the bacteria that share our human bodies manufacture antibiotics and that these substances may be capable of fighting infection. The researchers, from the University of California, San Francisco; the University of California, Santa Cruz; Indiana University; Washington University School of Medicine; and Harvard Medical School, published their findings in a recent issue of the journal Cell: A systematic analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters in the human microbiome reveals a common family of antibiotics.
Eight weeks to a better brain. Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress. Stronger study designs are needed to determine the effects of meditation programs in improving the positive dimensions of mental health and stress-related behavior. JAMA Internal Medicine.
Mindfulness treatment as effective as CBT for depression and anxiety. Group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in patients with depression and anxiety, according to a new study from Lund University in Sweden and Region Skåne. This is the first randomised study to compare group mindfulness treatment and individual cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with depression and anxiety in primary health care.
6-month Tai Chi Qigong program helps cancer survivors. Qigong improved neck mobility, maintained temporomandibular joint and shoulder joint mobility, and reduced sleep problems for nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) survivors. Tai Chi Qigong could be an effective nonpharmacological intervention for managing progressive trismus, chronic neck and shoulder hypomobility, and reducing sleep problems among NPC survivors.
Meditation for Health: NCCAM Clinical Digest for Health Professionals. November 2014. This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about meditation for health conditions, including cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, anxiety disorders, smoking cessation, and ADHD. NCCAM Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS. NCCAM Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.
Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease. All types of meditation are associated with blood pressure control, enhancement in insulin resistance, reduction of lipid peroxidation and cellular senescence, independent of type of meditation. This review presents scientific evidence to explain how meditation can produce beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, and particularly regarding vascular aspects.
US Department of Veterans Affairs(VA) recommends Tai Chi. The VA's Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) was established to provide timely and accurate syntheses of targeted healthcare topics of particular importance to VA managers and policymakers, as they work to improve the health and healthcare of Veterans. The ESP disseminates these reports throughout VA.
HSR&D provides funding for four ESP Centers and each Center has an active VA affiliation. The ESP Centers generate evidence syntheses on important clinical practice topics, and these reports help develop clinical policies informed by evidence, the implementation of effective services to improve patient outcomes and to support VA clinical practice guidelines and performance measures, and set the direction for future research to address gaps in clinical knowledge. The Evidence Map of Tai Chi provides an overview of Tai Chi research and describes its volume and focus. It combines a systematic review of systematic reviews with a scoping review for the Veterans Administration priority areas pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and fall prevention. The evidence map summarizes patient outcomes reported in reviews of studies in patients practicing Tai Chi for health-related indications. Statistically significant effects across existing studies were reported for hypertension, falls outside of institutions, cognitive performance, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pain, balance confidence, depression, and muscle strength.
Is Mindfulness a Religion? The fact that so many of our traditions -- religious and secular, spiritual and philosophical -- come back to these fundamental practices of compassion and awareness suggests that mindfulness is simply part of the human experience.
Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation. The term "neuroplasticity" refers to the fact that the brain can be dynamically reconfigured. The two main indicators of this plasticity are changes in the amount of grey matter and/or white matter. Grey matter consists of neurons (nerve cell bodies) and white matter constitutes the connections between neurons. This paper describes a four-week meditation program that resulted in white matter changes. Included is an in-depth description of the functional changes in the white matter and brain regions affected as measured by MRI. Changes include alterations of the quality of connections between neurons, number of neurons, and a part of the brain network related to self-regulation.
Reiki helps cancer patients during chemotherapy. Reiki was rated relaxing with no side effects. Reiki and companion groups reported improvements in quality of life and mood that were greater than those seen in the usual care group. Interventions during chemotherapy, such as Reiki, are feasible, acceptable, and may reduce side effects.
Harvard Scientists Have Good News for People Who Meditate. The news: It turns out meditating is good for more than just quiet time: It can actually help us fight the cripplingly high stress levels we experience during our busy lives, in the office or elsewhere. Scientists from Harvard University and the University of Sienna recently found that meditation is so powerful it can change the physiology of a person's brain, resulting in positive changes like a decrease in anxiety and depression.
Healing touch. The word “healing” is closely related to the word “holy”. We live a holistic lifestyle when we find equal time to nourish our body, mind and spirit. When we are whole we are holy and healed. Healing is the remembrance of the wholeness of our being. Healing is when we realize we are not a drop in the ocean; we are the entire ocean in a single drop. Healing is when the memory of this wholeness returns to us. When we are whole, we can heal even the incurable cancer! The miraculous experience of Veronique Gossweiler who kicked cancer out of her body just by practicing regular meditation and changing her food habit and lifestyle is a case in point.
UCLA: Tai Chi Can Help Breast Cancer Survivors. UCLA researchers have discovered that the Chinese practice of tai chi can reduce inflammation in people who have had breast cancer, thereby reducing a risk factor for the recurrence of the cancer.
Acupuncture benefits breast cancer survivors. Researchers at Penn Medicine and other institutions found that electro-acupuncture (“real” acupuncture) helped reduce joint pain by as much as 40 percent in women with breast cancer, whether the patient expected it to work or not. The study also found that “sham” acupuncture – which involves nonpenetrative needles and no electrical stimulation – provided pain reduction as high as 80 percent if patients had a high degree of expectation that it would work. The study results provide important implications for future treatment of breast cancer patients with joint pain. Patients who reported pain relief had increased expectancy that it would continue to work over the course of their acupuncture treatment as compared with nonresponders, suggesting that positive responses during the process of real acupuncture increased the expectations of further positive outcomes. “These findings certainly challenge the notion held by some that acupuncture is ‘all placebo,’” said the study’s lead author Joshua Bauml, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine in the Abramson Cancer Center. “If it were ‘all placebo,’ patients receiving real acupuncture who had low expectations that it would work would report little or no reductions in pain. But that’s not the case.” Sham acupuncture only produced clinically important pain reduction for those with high onset expectancy. But patients with the highest expectation that it would work reported as much as 80 percent reductions in pain – twice the rate of patients receiving real acupuncture. Sham acupuncture patients with low baseline expectancy scores did not report any significant pain reduction.
Steps to Avoid an Accident. This is a companion article to 'A Tiny Stumble, a Life Upended'. Both articles appear in the Science section of today's New York TImes. This second article recommends Tai Chi for falls prevention. Preventing a fall, and the resulting injuries, isn’t simply a matter of being more careful. Indeed, experts who have studied falls wish that people would take measures to protect themselves much as they do against heart disease or viral infections. Judy A. Stevens, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stressed the importance of exercise. Among those who do fall, she said, “if you’re in better physical condition, you’re less likely to be injured.” Regular exercise classes can help, especially those that include balance drills, such as standing on one foot, or working with Bosu balls, the squishy hemispheres seen at gyms. The regular practice of tai chi has also been found to help. Tai chi involves very slow, purposeful movements in coordination with breathing and muscle activity, which in turn affects respiration, balance, and gait.
A Tiny Stumble, a Life Upended. The number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious injuries has soared. More than 2.4 million over the age of 65 were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls in 2012 alone, and in the decade ending in 2012, 201,000 Americans over 65 died after falls. Geriatricians generally agree that some older people possess an exaggerated sense of what they can still do, even as hazards lie in wait: staircases, throw rugs, slick bathtubs, concrete bumpers in parking lots, tree roots, their own pets. And medications like hypertension drugs and antidepressants, which can cause dizziness, are increasingly the cause of falls.
NQA Qi Talk: Dr. Ted Cibik. What do Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and Depression have in common? A Qigong Perspective. Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. Qi Talks airs the second Thursday of the month from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST. It's FREE and open to anyone and everyone interested in learning more about Qigong and the Energetic Arts. This lecture will unveil one of the root causes of these three diseases and how to begin to prevent them. In Classical Chinese medicine, Dr. Cibik will translate how these diseases are not new ones, but very ancient ones that have had much success in treatment, when using these ancient principals. Three of the four branches of Chinese medicine will be discussed: Herbs/Food, Acupuncture and Medical Qigong and how they can be used in combination.
Compassion meditation helps reduce pain severity and anger, and increases chronic pain acceptance. The emergence of anger as an important predictor of chronic pain outcomes suggests that treatments that target anger may be particularly useful within the context of chronic pain. Eastern traditions prescribe compassion cultivation to treat persistent anger. Compassion cultivation has been shown to influence emotional processing and reduce negativity bias in the contexts of emotional and physical discomfort. Patient reported reductions in anger were corroborated by their significant others. The significant other corroborations offer a novel contribution to the literature and highlight the observable emotional and behavioral changes in the patient participants that occurred following the compassion intervention.
Tai Chi to be included in the 2015 Florida Senior Games. The Senior Games are a national program that encourages recreation and activity for older adults by organizing competitions. There are local Senior Games, State games and the (USA) National Senior Games. From Morris Sekiyo Sullivan (http://www.volusiabuddhist.org/?page_id=8): This is just for the Florida games, but we hope that what we are doing in this state will become a blueprint for other states, and hopefully eventually even the National Senior Games. If you're a tai chi practitioner or teacher in Florida and you want to know more, please let me know. Also, if any of you are interested in how we do getting the first ones organized so you can try to bring Tai Chi into your state's Senior Games, let me know. With all the interest in the benefits of tai chi among agencies like Council on Aging and the Veterans Administration, this seems like a real natural. A lot of people don't realize tai chi is a martial art and have no idea that the camaraderie and personal development opportunities that come from tournament style competition is even available. We think this will go a long way toward getting more older adults interested in tai chi.
Exercise programme aims to cut number of falls across Europe. Here's another indication that Tai Chi is going mainstream because it is being promoted through the Prevention of Falls Network Europe. Experts from an international research group recommend that older people should practise strength and balance exercises such asTai Chi to reduce falls and fracture risk. The Prevention of Falls Network for Dissemination provides training for exercise instructors who then teach coaches in their local regions. It aims to extend exercise programmes to 84,000 older people across Europe by 2016. Older people who have conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia or arthritis, take four or more medications or have problems walking are at increased risk of falls. Falls cost the health service £2.3 billion annually and one third of people aged over 65 and half of those over 80 fall every year.
Reevaluating the placebo effect in medical practice. Recent findings on placebo research corroborate the evidence that the placebo effect represents a promising model to shed new light on the brain-mind-body interactions. In particular, this research has partially elucidated the role of how patients' expectations and the quality of physician-patient communication can influence the efficacy of interventions and overall clinical outcomes. Accordingly, the study of the placebo effect should be incorporated in the core clinical practice curriculum of all health practitioners. While the growing knowledge of the placebo effect points to it as an irreducible primary reality of the medical sciences, an ethical analysis aimed at avoiding the misuse of placebos is needed, while maximizing the opportunity for beneficial placebo effects.
Acupoints Initiate the Healing Process. Needling is the first step of traditional acupuncture therapy. Needling reactions- neuronal, biophysical, and biochemical-are the beginning of healing. The messengers of the three reactions involved may include neurotransmitters, cytokines, hormones, and inflammatory factors. Healing may be potentiated through these messengers in neuronal and humoral pathways. The reactions manifest as erythema and De Qi-both of which are common phenomena used as positive signs in acupuncture treatment.
NCCAM recommends yoga for a variety of health conditions. OCTOBER 2014. This issue of the NCCAM clinicaldigest summarizes current scientific evidence about yoga for health conditions, including chronic low-back pain, asthma, and arthritis. The scientific evidence to date suggests that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low-back pain. Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might confer other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help alleviate anxiety and depression. Other research suggests yoga’s deep breathing is not helpful for asthma, and studies looking at yoga and arthritis have had mixed results.
Mind-body practices in cancer care.
Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease such as cancer and undergoing treatment can cause unwanted distress and interferes with quality of life. Uncontrolled stress can have a negative effect on a number of biological systems and processes leading to negative health outcomes. While some distress is normal, it is not benign and must be addressed, as failure to do so may compromise health and QOL outcomes. We present the evidence for the role of stress in cancer biology and mechanisms demonstrating how distress is associated with worse clinical outcomes. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network states that all patients be screened with the single-item distress thermometer and to also indicate the source of distress and to get appropriate referral. In addition to the many conventional approaches for managing distress from the fields of psychology and psychiatry, many patients are seeking strategies to manage their distress that are outside conventional medicine such as mind-body techniques. The Department of General Oncology, Integrative Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports that mind-body techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong have been found to lower distress and lead to improvements in different aspects of quality of life. It is essential that the standard of care in oncology include distress screening and the delivery of different techniques to help patients manage the psychosocial challenges of diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
What meditation can do for your mind, mood, and health. Meditation is an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. There are many different forms of meditation, including transcendental and mindfulness. Women are encouraged to experiment until they find the meditation form most effective for them. This article is in the Harvard Women's Health Watch which requires a subscription to read the entire article. However, this article is yet another reminder that Harvard Medical School is at the forefront of promoting meditation practices to the medical community and the public.
Initiating a Reiki or CAM Program in a Healthcare Organization-Developing a Business Plan.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services, such as Reiki, continue to be offered to consumers in many hospitals and other health care organizations. There is growing interest among nurses, doctors, and other health care providers for the integration of CAM therapies into traditional settings. Health care organizations are responding to this need but may not know how to start CAM programs. Starting a Reiki program in a health care setting must be envisioned in a business model approach. This article introduces nurses and other health care providers to the basic concepts of business plan development and important steps to follow when starting a Reiki or CAM program.
Abridged Mindfulness Intervention helps First-Year Medical Students. Medical students experience a high burden of stress and suffer elevated rates of depression, burnout, and suicide compared to the general population, yet there is no consensus on how to address student wellness. This study found that an abridged MBSR intervention improves perceived stress and self-compassion in 1st-year medical students and may be a valuable curricular tool to enhance wellness and professional development.
Yang-Sheng is calling for submissions to the November-December issue with the theme Harmony With Nature. Articles will be due on November 1. High-quality, original short articles are preferred. However, you are welcome to continue submitting any articles related to Yang-sheng subjects. Please email submissions to email@example.com Articles between 500 and 1500 words are best, no more than 2000 words please, and try to select related images with your submission and send them as attachments. You are welcome to send your previously published articles. Especially with the holidays coming up, early submissions are requested so that there will be more time to edit and publish the magazine on time. Michelle K Wood Editor-in-Chief.
Meditation Covers Scientific American November 2014 Issue. In 2013, the New York Times declared that mindfulness was "having a moment" (pun intended), and just a few months later, a January 2014 TIME cover story announced that a "Mindful Revolution" was underway, challenging the stressed-out, tech-addicted American status quo. This month, Scientific American has featured meditation on its November 2014 cover, representing another major step toward a meeting of the minds between ancient Eastern wisdom and Western science.
Students Relieve Stress Through Meditation. “Meditation is not just for the spiritual or religious being,” meditation practitioner Kurt Valle says. “Meditation is about the release of the mind from the physical world and the opening of the heart. This leads to a healthier lifestyle.”
Music therapy provides benefits for people with dementia. Dementia is a progressive illness that to date has no cure and currently affects over 35 million people worldwide. This figure is predicted to increase significantly over the next two decades. There is growing interest in identifying non-pharmacological therapies effective in improving quality of life and reducing challenging behaviours with a dementia client group. To date, research into non-pharmacological interventions has been limited. This manuscript reviews the literature that has reported evaluations of the effects of music therapy, a non-pharmacological intervention. The results of six studies reviewed suggest that music therapy may have potential benefits in reducing anxiety, depression and agitated behaviour displayed by elderly people with dementia as well as improving cognitive functioning and Quality of Life. Furthermore, music therapy is a safe and low-cost intervention that could potentially be offered by mental health nurses and other carers working in residential settings.
Zazen meditation versus no-task resting.
Meditation is a self-induced and willfully initiated practice that alters the state of consciousness. The meditation practice of Zazen, like many other meditation practices, aims at disregarding intrusive thoughts while controlling body posture. It is an open monitoring meditation characterized by detached moment-to-moment awareness and reduced conceptual thinking and self-reference. This study found enhanced automatic memory and emotion processing, reduced conceptual thinking and self-reference on a less judgmental, i.e., more detached moment-to-moment basis during Zazen compared to no-task resting.
Yang-Sheng needs contributors. Dear Friends of Yang-Sheng, I would like to get your attention and input before I decide what to do next for the Yang-Sheng community. It seems that we do have a big audience out there (a lot of positive feedback to our web site), but there is a lack of positive energy and support from within....For the last quarter of 2014, we have two more issues to come -- Longevity (Sept/Oct) and "The Healer Within -- Self-Healing" (Nov/Dec). Our Sept/Oct issue (Longevity) is still short of articles, If you have anything at hand, please send to the editor ASAP. We are seriously short of hands and active participation from the columnists and associates, if this situation continues, we may have to change the way of our operation by following the "Dao". If you feel the Yang-Sheng community is meaningful, and works more efficiently than writing individual blogs in different web sites, we need your immediate action and support by sending us more of your contributions or your favorite articles in the field. We are actively searching for investors and financial support to make Yang-Sheng financially more sustainable; meanwhile, we would appreciate you take advantage of Yang-Sheng platform to advertise for your events and products. Thank you very much for your help and support! Send you peace, Qi and blessings! Kevin Chen.
Qi Talks Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM EST featuring Annie Roberts. Centering: The Fundamental Practice of Qigong (And Your Life). Annie will talk about the importance of Centering before beginning your Qigong form. Centering, or going into the Qigong State, is a continually evolving practice of learning how to quiet your personal mind and connect with your core self, the I Am or Dao. This allows you to move from a place of peace, connection and balance at all times and in all areas of your life.
Mind-body skills groups for medical students: reducing stress, enhancing commitment, and promoting patient-centered care. For several decades, psychological stress has been observed to be a significant challenge for medical students. The techniques and approach of mind-body medicine and group support have repeatedly demonstrated their effectiveness at reducing stress and improving the quality of the education experience. Mind-Body Skills Groups provide medical students with practical instruction in and scientific evidence for a variety of techniques that reduce stress, promote self-awareness and self-expression, facilitate imaginative solutions to personal and professional problems, foster mutual understanding among students, and enhance confidence in and optimism about future medical practice. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, which developed this model 20 years ago, has trained medical school faculty who offer these supportive small groups to students at more than 15 US medical schools. This paper describes the model, surveys its use in medical schools, summarizes published research on it, and discusses obstacles to successful implementation as well as its benefits. Mind-Body Skills groups have demonstrated their effectiveness on reducing stress in medical students; in enhancing the students' experience of medical education; and in helping them look forward more confidently and hopefully to becoming physicians. The experience of these 15 institutions may encourage other medical schools to include mind-body skills groups in their curricula.
Biofield therapies and cancer-related symptoms: a review. This article provides a study review of the main BTs (i.e., therapeutic touch, healing touch, and Reiki) in the treatment of cancer-related symptoms. Although BTs are among the most ancient healing practices, data on their effectiveness are poor and additional multicenter research with larger samples are necessary. BTs may eventually become an autonomous field of nursing activity and allow professionals to build a relationship with the patient, thereby improving motivation. The idea that this method can be self-managed and may effectively reduce pain for patients with cancer can improve satisfaction challenges experienced by the current healthcare system.
Acupuncture reduces knee injury and osteoarthritis pain. This study using fMRI at Massachusetts General Hospital found that verum (true) acupuncture showed significantly greater pain improvement compared to sham acupuncture. The results suggest that acupuncture may achieve its therapeutic effect on knee pain by preventing cortical thinning and decreases in functional connectivity in major pain related areas, therefore modulating pain in the descending pain modulatory pathway.
Qigong as a Portal to Presence: Cultivating the Inner Energy Body. Gunther Weil, Ph.D. In the Daoist tradition, a healthy body and longevity -- the goal of most Qigong and Daoist healing arts -- is regarded as the foundation for spiritual realization. The message is a simple one: the longer one lives in health and well-being, the greater the potential for realization. There is no obvious parallel in the Buddhist or Hindu traditions, which, with a few exceptions, view the body as an impediment to spiritual realization. More on spiritual qigong can be found on the Qigong Institute Spiritual Qigong page.
Advancing the Science of Mind-Body Interventions: a Comment on Larkey et al.
The past decade has seen burgeoning interest among researchers, clinicians, and the public in the potential benefits of mind-body interventions such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, and mindfulness-based stress reduction for patients with cancer and other medical conditions. An informal literature search reveals hundreds of studies conducted in the past 5–10 years, most of which suggest that mind-body interventions lead to improvements in physical and/or psychological functioning. The study by Larkey and colleagues adds to this literature by comparing the effects of a simplified version of tai chi called Qigong/Tai Chi Easy (QG/TCE) to a “placebo” control condition, sham Qigong. The use of the sham Qigong control condition is a noteworthy feature of this study, as most previous studies have used standard care control groups. Selecting an appropriate control condition for studies testing mind-body interventions is complex given their multicomponent nature. The article being commented on is: Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong/Tai Chi Easy on Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors.
Study Revealed That Vajrayana Meditation Techniques Associated with Tibetan Buddhism Can Enhance Brain Performance. Contrary to popular belief, not all meditation techniques produce similar effects of body and mind. Indeed, a recent study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has demonstrated for the first time that different types of Buddhist meditation – namely the Vajrayana and Theravada styles of meditation - elicit qualitatively different influences on human physiology and behaviour, producing arousal and relaxation responses respectively.
Amazing acupuncture: So many benefits of getting needled. The World Health Organization says acupuncture may help ease digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea, chronic sinus and lung infections, all sorts of pain from headaches and migraines to back pain and osteoarthritis, infertility, and even urinary and menstrual problems.
Pain and sensory detection threshold response to acupuncture is modulated by coping strategy and acupuncture sensation. The interaction between psychological coping strategy and acupuncture sensation intensity can differentially modulate pain and sensory detection threshold response to EA. In a clinical context, our findings suggest that instructions given to the patient can significantly affect therapeutic outcomes and the relationship between acupuncture intensity and clinical response. Specifically, acupuncture analgesia can be enhanced by matching physical stimulation intensity with psychological coping strategy to acupuncture contexts.
The Development of a Mind-Body-Spirit Certification Program in Nursing.
Stress and anxiety experienced by patients particularly during hospitalization can be positively affected by an approach to care that emphasizes the uniqueness of the patient, the patient-provider relationship, and mind-body-spirit interventions. Although patients seek care that addresses stress and promotes relaxation within the hospital environment, there is evidence that there are lost opportunities aimed at addressing these concerns within the current health care environment. Nursing leadership at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions recognized a need to address this gap in knowledge that exists in the practice setting. The purpose of this article is to describe and discuss the development and implementation of a program in mind-body-spirit nursing that was developed collaboratively between the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions and the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
How Does Qigong Work? One of the primary ways that Qigong practice affects us is through its almost immediate moderation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Breath practice alone will change the neurtransmitter profile from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode to slow breathing, enabling the wellness benefits of a relaxed, mindful state. Besdies its affect upon the ANS, Qigong affects us through modification of the expression of our genes. Epigenetics is a new branch of science which verifies that lifestyle, behavior, and environment have a major influence upon the expression of our DNA (There is a more complete discussion of lifestyle, behavior and enviornment on the Qigong Institute website: Epigenetics, Psychoneuroimmunology and Qigong). Researchers have just discovered that mice react differently to stress due to their life experiences, and these differences are programmed in to the expresssion of their DNA. Likewise, Qigong practice is the type of lifestyle that creates similar beneficial DNA expression. Earlier research confirms these changes. The newswise article for this research from Rockefeller University: Research Hints at Why Stress Is More Devastating for Some. The pubmed abstract is Mind the gap: glucocorticoids modulate hippocampal glutamate tone underlying individual differences in stress susceptibility.
Nontouch Biofield Therapy: A Systematic Review of Human Randomized Controlled Trials Reporting Use of Only Nonphysical Contact Treatment. The pilot study nature of essentially all the identified nonphysical contact biofield therapy (external qigong, Healing Touch, Johrei, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch) RCTs, as reflected by low sample sizes alone, precludes drawing robust conclusions. Given this perspective, the finding that two thirds of the higher-scoring trials demonstrated at least partial effectiveness favors a continued research effort, especially in light of the translational value of biofield clinical trials for studies exploring the nature and physiologic basis of biofield healing.
Mindfulness Training Benefits Patients With Progressive Cognitive Decline and Their Caregivers. New strategies are needed to help people cope with the repercussions of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Patients and caregivers face different challenges, but here we investigated an intervention tailored for this combined population. The program focused on training skills such as attending to the present moment nonjudgmentally, which may help reduce maladaptive emotional responses. Patients participated together with caregivers in weekly group sessions over 8 weeks. Pre-post analyses revealed several benefits, including increased quality-of-life ratings, fewer depressive symptoms, and better subjective sleep quality. In addition, participants indicated that they were grateful for the opportunity to learn to apply mindfulness skills and that they would recommend the program to others. In conclusion, mindfulness training can be beneficial for patients and their caregivers, and it can be delivered at low cost to combined groups.
Inhalation/Exhalation Ratio Modulates the Effect of Slow Breathing on Heart Rate Variability and Relaxation. This study determined that the ratio of inhalation to exhalation has a greater effect than respiration rate upon the autonomic nervous system. The study examined the effects of four ventilatory patterns on heart rate variability and self-reported dimensions of relaxation. Thirty participants were instructed to breathe at 6 or 12 breaths/min, and with an i/e ratio of 0.42 or 2.33. Participants reported increased relaxation, stress reduction, mindfulness and positive energy when breathing with the low compared to the high i/e ratio. A lower compared to a higher respiration rate was associated only with an increased score on positive energy. A low i/e ratio was also associated with more power in the high frequency component of heart rate variability, but only for the slow breathing pattern. Our results show that i/e ratio is an important modulator for the autonomic and subjective effects of instructed ventilatory patterns.
Randomized, Controlled Trial of Qigong for Treatment of Prehypertension and Mild Essential Hypertension. Hypertension treatments include sodium restriction, pharmacological management, and lifestyle modifications. Although many cases of hypertension can be controlled by medication, individuals may experience side effects or incur out-of-pocket expenses, and some may not comply with the treatment regimen. This randomized, controlled trial found Qigong to be an effective intervention in reducing blood pressure in prehypertension and mild hypertension. Qigong Institute founder Ken Sancier first explained the beneftis of Qigong for hypertension in his ground-breaking paper 'Anti-Aging Benefits of Qigong', published almost twenty years ago.
Movement Therapies and Relaxation Techniques help manage health conditions among children. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by children under 18 y of age in the United States is becoming more prevalent. According to an analysis of procedures in chiropractic practices in 2010, more than 96% of chiropractors in the United States recommended use of movement therapies (MT) and relaxation techniques (RT) to their patients. The current research suggests that early training on MT and RT can be seen as a useful tool that can help prevent or manage certain health problems, including anxiety, stress, and attention deficit disorders, asthma, and back/neck pain.
Learning to BREATHE: An intervention to foster mindfulness in adolescence. During adolescence, young people are traversing exciting and also challenging stages in their development. Mindfulness, if taught in a developmentally appropriate way, has the potential to be an asset in adolescents' lives. Developmentally appropriate approaches of mindfulness intervention during adolescence need to consider adolescents' social contexts (for example, school setting, peer group, family), their cognitive and emotional stages in development, and age-specific strength and vulnerabilities.
Breath meditation: A great way to relieve stress. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to simply focus your attention on your breath. It's a form of "entry level" meditation that anyone can do. You'll notice an immediate sense of relaxation that could help protect your health over time. If you enjoy it, breath meditation can be a gateway to a broader practice of "mindfulness," in which you learn to accept and appreciate what comes in life and stop fighting your own thoughts and feelings. "Many people take up mindfulness practices thinking they'd like to relax more, but where it leads is a very different approach to life and its inevitable challenges," says Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Tai Chi lowers depressive symptoms. This study demonstrated that long-term Tai Chi training is independently related to a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. These results suggest that long-term Tai Chi training may have a beneficial effect on the prevention of depressive symptoms.
Tai Chi helps psychiatric patients to improve their health, healing, and recovery. Learning Taijiquan is highly challenging for the novice, especially those with chronic psychiatric illnesses. However, after familiarization with the postural actions and key concepts of this exercise, Taijiquan facilitated body relaxation, heightened perception, and postural balance. Consequently, this exercise stabilized the mood, disease status, and capacity for handling interpersonal relationships of participants and consequently may enhance their long-term life quality and disease recovery status. Results of this study recommend strongly that Taijiquan be included as a therapeutic activity for psychiatric patients to improve their health, healing, and recovery.
Tai Chi improves limits of stability in older adults. Limits of stability, defined as the ability to maintain the center of gravity within the boundary of the base of support, is critically important for older adults in performing their activities of daily living. However, few exercise programs specifically tailored to enhance limits of stability exist. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether a therapeutically designed intervention, Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance (TJQMBB), could improve limits of stability in older adults. A secondary purpose was to examine concomitant change in limits of stability and physical performance as a result of the intervention.
Transforming traditional Tai Ji Quan techniques into integrative movement therapy-Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance. Because of its roots in the martial arts, transforming traditional Tai Ji Quan movements and training approaches into contemporary therapeutic programs and functional applications is needed to maximize its ultimate utility. This paper addresses this issue by introducing Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance, a functional therapy that involves the use of Tai Ji Quan principles and Yang-style-based movements to form an innovative, contemporary therapeutic approach that integrates motor, sensory, and cognitive components to improve postural control, gait, and mobility for older adults and those who have neurodegenerative movement impairments. It provides a synergy of traditional and contemporary Tai Ji Quan practice with the ultimate goal of improving balance and gait, enhancing performance of daily functional tasks, and reducing incidence of falls among older adults.
Swedish study finds Qigong helps patients on sick leave for burnout. Most rehabilitation studies on sick leave due to burnout have employed a rather short time to follow-up. Thus, there is less knowledge of longer-term affects on f post-intervention work ability. One of the few such investigations is a prolonged follow-up study three years after completion of an intervention comprising 1-year-long treatments with either Qigong combined with cognitive behavioral rehabilitation or Qigong only. After the 3-year follow-up, Return To Work rates from the original 1-year follow-up improved from about 60% to about 75% in both groups. However, those who had received the combined treatment had reduced burnout symptoms, were taking less anti-depressive medication, and had increased their use of cognitive tools learned in the program.
Tai Chi & Qigong as Modern Healthcare. A step-by-step instruction into how to expand
Tai Chi & Qigong into Mainstream Healthcare from Bill Douglas, founder of World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day and the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Tai Chi & Qi Gong.
Chen Style Tai Chi body requirements. During the recent 2014 International Tai Chi Symposium, Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei shared the secrets of authentic Chen style Tai Chi (Taiji) by describing the detailed body requirements.
Acupuncture, Connective Tissue, and Peripheral Sensory Modulation.
Although considerable controversy surrounds the legitimacy of acupuncture as a treatment, a growing literature on the physiological effects of acupuncture needling in animals and humans is providing new insights into basic cellular mechanisms including connective tissue mechanotransduction and purinergic signaling. This review summarizes these findings and proposes a model combining connective tissue plasticity and peripheral sensory modulation in response to the sustained stretching of tissue that results from acupuncture needle manipulation.
When the Caregivers Need Healing - Qigong Provides a Solution. In a randomized controlled trial, mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disabilities experienced significant reductions in stress, depression, and anxiety, and improved sleep and life satisfaction, with large effects in depression and anxiety in a six-week mindfulness practice. Effects were maintained in a follow-up six-months after treatment. The NY Times article describes the practice used as "meditation, breathing exercises, and qigong practices". Note that qigong includes the combination of meditation and breathing. MBSR is a wonderful treatment and tool, but people should be aware that its foundational practices are built into qigong. The article in the July 2014 issue of Pediatrics is Reducing Distress in Mothers of Children With Autism and Other Disabilities: A Randomized Trial. More information on mindfulness and meditation can be found on the Qigong Institute website: Meditation.
How nurses and their patients can benefit from Tai Chi. A mind-body health revolution is occurring in America, and Kansas health institutions are at the forefront of it. “ABC World News” reported that 40 percent of Americans have now turned to alternative and complementary medicine, primarily meditation. Tai Chi and Qigong are at the vanguard of this mind-body health revolution. This article which appeared in Kansas City Nursing News was written by Bill Douglas, founder of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.
Dr. Lissa Rankin, "Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself" (YouTube video 54:29). Dr. Lissa Rankin was a skeptical physician, trained in evidence-based academic medicine and raised by a closed-minded physician father, but she had an epiphany: The body has an innate ability to heal. Since this revelation, she has been evangelizing this idea through such means as Ted Talks, PBS, and a book. In this video she discusses how everyone has the power to connect with and be the doctor within; the empowering of patients; and how to reduce the stress response and initiate the relaxation response so that the body can heal itself. Towards the end she leads a relaxation response practice and urges listeners to add more relaxation response to their lives. This talk at Google was last year. It is a precursor to her PBS special which is airing now on some stations, e.g. KQED in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although it's wonderful that there's this charasmatic and energetic western MD having an epiphany and introducing new audiences to the idea that the mind can heal, it would be more wonderful if she would get turned on to Qigong. Everything she advocates is basically Qigong. She could name this talk "Mind over Medicine: Scientific Proof that Qigong Can Heal Yourself". Dr. Rankin is yet another person who has rediscovered Qigong and the practices that the Qigong community has been promoting for millennia.
Maori healers' views on wellbeing: The importance of mind, body, spirit, family and land. From an indigenous and holistic perspective, the current dominant biomedical model of health and illness has a limited view of people and their wellbeing. This study explores Ma'ori spiritual healers' views on healing and healing practices, and the implications of these for conceptualisations of holism, health and wellbeing.
Many ancient non-Western cultures embrace a holistic approach to health and illness which includes a focus on inter- connections between the mind, body, and spirit (MBS). Cultures around the world offer perspectives on the relationships between spirituality, healing and illness that differ from perspectives in mainstream Western culture. However, although some literature has shown how different understandings of health might be important for Western medicine, these ideas have had relatively little impact. This paper reviews ideas about the MBS and the nature and importance of holism in indigenous worldviews on health and wellbeing. In addition, it explores M'aori spiritual healers' views on healing and healing practices in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ), and the implications for understandings of MBS, health, illness and wellbeing.
This paper was published in 2010 and the abstract for it is in the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™. A more recent article based on this same research was just published in Explore - The Journal of Science and Healing: Conceptualizing Mind, Body, Spirit Interconnections Through, and Beyond, Spiritual Healing Practices.
Arousal vs. Relaxation: A Comparison of the Neurophysiological and Cognitive Correlates of Vajrayana and Theravada Meditative Practices. Consistent with Tibetan scriptures that described Shamatha and Vipassana techniques as those that calm and relax the mind, and Vajrayana techniques as those that require 'an awake quality' of the mind, this research shows that Theravada and Vajrayana meditations are based on different neurophysiological mechanisms, which give rise to either a relaxation or arousal response. The authors conclude that it may be more appropriate to categorize meditations in terms of relaxation vs. arousal, whereas classification methods that rely on the focused vs. distributed attention dichotomy may need to be reexamined.
THE MYSTERY OF QIGONG. This succinct article introduces Qigong through the observations of someone taking his first course in Qigong. The description of the introductory course reveals an effective way to introduce people toQqigong.The author became acquainted with Qigong over fifteen years ago at a Unitarian Universalist church service, and has some key advice to novices: mastery of this discipline takes years and it is wise to seek a practitioner who has years of experience. The author recommends learning and practicing with practitioners with years of experience (as opposed to say "masters" or "teachers"). The 2005 The National Expert Meeting on Tai Chi and Qi Gong Consensus Report concludes that there is a need to train basic lay leaders who can provide introductory Qigong programs. More information on the National Expert Meeting can be found on the Qigong Institute website: http://qigonginstitute.org/html/taichihealth.php.
Spinal FMRI of interoceptive attention/awareness in experts and novices. Interoception is the sense of the physiological condition of the body derived from sensitivity to stimuli arising from within the body and external to it. In other words, interoceptive attention/awareness (IAA) depends upon the evaluation of sensory input. Interoception is fundamental to Qigong practice. These research results showed that neural activity in the spine increased in experts when they practiced IAA and that this increase was significantly larger for experts versus novices in each of the sessions. The significant effects of IAA and expertise on spinal neural activity are consistent with and elaborate on previous reports showing similar effects on cerebral neural activity. As the spinal cord directly innervates body parts, IAA has an instantaneous and beneficial effect on the physical body after extended training. This research confirms how some main benefits of Qigong practice are derived, especially due to the fact that the IAA in this research was combined with constant deep breathing.
Do side-effects/injuries from yoga practice result in discontinued use? Results of a national survey.
Less than 1% of individuals who had ever practiced yoga (n = 2230) reported an injury from yoga that led to discontinued use. Of those reporting injury, less than one-third (n = 4) reported seeking medical attention. The most common side-effect was back pain. Approximately, half of those reporting back pain sought medical attention. Injury due to yoga is an infrequent barrier to continued practice and severe injury due to yoga is rare.
NQA 2014 Conference - Online Registration Ends Midnight, Tuesday July 22! OVER 20 Workshops and Presentations taught by leaders in the world of Qigong and Taiji... This year's Conference Keynote Presenters: Li Junfeng (Friday Evening) and new for the NQA, Saturday evening entertainment with cosmic comic, Swami Beyondananda Other presenters include: Michael Winn - Shoshanna Katzman - Mark Johnson - Jianye Jiang - Vicki Dello Joio - Mark R. Reinhart - Rona Cordish Saten - Yuanming Zhang - Jampa Mackenzie Stewart - Cari Shurman - Paul Martin and many, many more!
Acupuncture improves menopause symptoms. This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials confirms that acupuncture improves hot flash frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and quality of life (in the vasomotor domain) in women experiencing natural menopause.
Yoga reduces PTSD symptoms. Yoga significantly reduced PTSD symptomatology, with effect sizes comparable to well-researched psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic approaches. Yoga may improve the functioning of traumatized individuals by helping them to tolerate physical and sensory experiences associated with fear and helplessness and to increase emotional awareness and affect tolerance.
Exploring Shamanic Journeying: Repetitive Drumming with Shamanic Instructions Induces Specific Subjective Experiences but No Larger Cortisol Decrease than Instrumental Meditation Music. A significant decrease in the concentration in salivary cortisol was observed across all musical styles and instructions, indicating that exposure to 15 minutes of either repetitive drumming or instrumental meditation music, while lying down, was sufficient to induce a decrease in cortisol levels. However, no differences were observed across conditions. Significant differences in reported emotional states and subjective experiences were observed between the groups. Notably, participants exposed to repetitive drumming combined with shamanic instructions reported experiencing heaviness, decreased heart rate, and dreamlike experiences significantly more often than participants exposed to repetitive drumming combined with relaxation instructions. The findings suggest that the subjective effects specifically attributed to repetitive drumming and shamanic journeying may not be reflected in differential endocrine responses.
25 Minutes of Meditating Eases Stress. The researchers speculate that there's the possibility that "mindfulness can become more automatic and easy to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training". Clearly they need to get turned on to Qigong.
NQA Qi Talks - Cari Shurman Thursday, July 10, 2014. 8:30-9:30 EST. Shurman has developed a simplified form of Qigong, the Tai Chi Moves program, for schools. Her dream is to give children everywhere the opportunity to experience inner peace, focus, and relaxation. Tai Chi enables students to improve their physical health, balance, flexibility and muscle tone as well as improve their self-control, concentration, compassion and self-esteem. Note that the link to the Registration form is for the talk this week. Shurman's talk is next week. The link should be changed sometime after Thursday to point to the Shurman talk.
You can be a SilverSneakers Tai Chi instructor too. Based on the principle that the benefits of prevention through exercise over treatment, Healthways SeniorSneakers is a leading provider of specialized comprehensive health solutions to help millions of seniors maintain or improve their health and as a result, reduce overall health care costs.
National Qigong Association Qi Talks: Swami Beyondananda - Monday 6/30 - 8:30 -9:30 PM EDT. Qi Talks host Vicki Dello Joio and NQA President Mark R Reinhart will be speaking with Cosmic Comedian, Steve Bhaerman (aka Swami Beyondananda) on Monday, June 30 at 8:30 PM EDT. Billed as "one of the biggest names in comedy" ("Beyondananda" alone has 12 letters), Swami keeps the audience in hysterics with his mixture of word play, seriously funny political and spiritual commentary, and playful silliness. Talks are free, but you must register.
One thing at a time. Dr. Yang Yang explains that by following Laozi’s advice, to improve one's taiji form it is more efficient to focus on one aspect of the movement rather than to confuse ourselves by trying to master the complexity all at once. Taiji is profound, but if practiced with the principle of "one thing at a time" it is simple. However, it can be very confusing if many principles of movement are attempted to be learned at the same time.
Researchers find that Tai chi helps reinvigorate stem cells. The researchers concluded that the tai chi practitioners saw their individual stem cell counts increase by increments of three to five times. Regular tai chi exercises helped the subjects with heart function, reinvigorated neural cells in the brain, balanced excitement and inhibition controls, and helped with mental trauma and nerve exhaustion.
Meditation helps patients with medically unexplained symptoms. Awareness and acceptance of painful symptoms and emotions are key factors in the process of change in patients with persistent medically unexplained symptoms. Change of unhelpful behavioral patterns and increased self-care and self-compassion can also result from this process.
Stanford engineer invents safe way to transfer energy to medical chips in the body. A wireless system developed by Assistant Professor Ada Poon uses the same power as a cell phone to safely transmit energy to chips the size of a grain of rice. The technology paves the way for new "electroceutical" devices to treat illness or alleviate pain. Electroceuticals will make it possible to replace some pharmaceuticals. After focusing on Qigong for more than a decade, Qigong Institute founder Ken Sancier expanded the mission of the Qigong Institute to promote the scientific understanding of the basis of other aspects of energy medicine besides Qigong. As a result, there are postings on topics like acupuncture, yoga, biophotonics, laser therapy, ..., and electroceuticals that don't involve Qigong per se. Although electroceuticals as envisioned transfer energy to the body through devices that in turn receive energy via wi-fi (as opposed to the electromagnetic pulse acting directly on cells, tissues, organs, bones, etc., like laser therapy, for example), this research helps in the mainstreaming of energy medicine. For more information on energy medicine see The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine.
The BRAIN Initiative: A Grand Challenge for Science and Technology.The BRAIN Initiative is one of the White House’s “21st Century Grand Challenges,” which are “ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public's imagination.” The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) ,and the National Institutes of Health(NIH) which includes the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) are the funders for this initiative. NIH has released the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, the inaugural set of NIH BRAIN Initiative projects which contains six funding opportunity announcements. This expected initial investment of $40 million will be focused on advancing technological capabilities for understanding how circuits of interacting neurons function. Awards are expected to be announced in September 2014. The advancement of medical science, the understanding of healing and wellness, and the ongoing treatment of chronic diseases and conditions would have been better served if the government had launched 'The Human Energy Project' to research the more fundamental relationship between bioenergy and physiology. The current project as envisioned is simply too narrowly focused on neural pathways (connectomics). Nonetheless, the BRAIN initiative may actually result in some research into bioenergy that is so fundamental to human function and mind-body/energy medicine. For more background seeThe Bioenergetic Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine.
Russell Simmons makes meditation into mainstream magic. If you think of meditation as something reserved for a small fringe element, Russell Simmons has a message for you: Meditation is for everyone. He talked with Queen Latifah on her Monday talk show about how you can change your own life through the power of meditation.
National Qigong Association Qi Talks - Rona Satten - June 12, 2014 - 8:30 - 9:30 PM EST. This ongoing Qi Talks series is free, but you must register. Rona is a Professional Member of the National Qigong Association and a Certified Level III Instructor. She is certified by Master Li JunFeng to teach Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong, and is a certified Healing Tao Instructor. Rona is a lifelong shamanic qigong student of Master Zhongxian Wu. She is a Medical Qigong Therapist through the International Institute of Medical Qigong, has a healing practice combining qi healing with other energy modalities, and teaches qigong and meditation throughout the greater Philadelphia area.
Endogenous bioelectrical networks store non-genetic patterning information during development and regeneration. This research explores the relationships between bioelectrical networks and cell behaviors, morphogenesis, regeneration, and cancer. The body's bioelectric signaling is an autonomous layer of control not reducible to a biochemical or genetic account of cell state nor is the real-time dynamics of bioelectric communication among cells fully captured by transcriptomic or proteomic analyses. This is a strong scientific validation of TCM Eight Extraordinary Vessels theory which "provides a blueprint of understanding how energy is formed and flows in the body (Fabric of the Soul: 8 Extraordinary Vessels)
". This research provides direct verification of our intrinsic energetic nature (More: The Bioenergetic Basis of Qigong) as well as new insight into the relationship between physiology and bioelectricity, for which there is no current theory.
The vestibular system: a spatial reference for bodily self-consciousness. Proprioception and interoception fans should enjoy this research finding. In Qigong and Tai Chi practice we're always adjusting our posture. One such adjustment is having the head "dangling from a string" to have it centered, upright, etc. to improve structure and energy flow. This research provides a very interesting view of why this adjustment is so important and has such an impact upon our energy and practice.
Yoga Regulates Stress Hormones and Improves Quality of Life for Women with Breast Cancer Undergoing Radiation Therapy. Researchers found that while simple stretching exercises counteracted fatigue, patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone). In other words, when they started doing Qigong in addition to yoga they got the additional benefits.
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. Epigenetics: The science of Human Empowerment. -- How does Qigong really work? A large part of why Qigong is such a profound health practice is explained by epigenetics. Epigenetics defines how the environment (e.g. thoughts, emotions, life experience, and the practice of Qigong) affect gene and protein activity. The person most responsible for bringing epigenetics to public view is Dr. Bruce Lipton. His book Biology of Belief has become a classic. One of his newest videos summarizes how epigenetics works. After you see this video (maybe a couple of times :-), you will be able to explain to someone how Qigong works at the cellular level. Lipton clearly explains why the accepted genome and gene functional paradigm is simply incorrect and out of date. Epigenetics is the most important revolutionary discovery in biology tantamount to the discovery of quantum physics as opposed to classic physics. More on Qigong and Epigenetics can be found on the Qigong Institute website: Psychoneuroimmunology, Epigenetics, and Qigong.
The Qigong Institute will be at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration.
The event is Saturday May 17, 2014 11AM - 6PM in San Francisco. The Qigong Institute booth will be on McAllister Street between Larkin and Polk. The event will feature some amazing Tai Chi and Kung Fu by various masters, experts, and groups.
International Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association publishes Free online Tai Chi Journal - Tai Chi Chuan Masters and Methods (PDF 17.02MB).
This is the first time that the Association has published a digital edition. One of the Association's main contributions to Tai Chi is the sponsorship of the International Tai Chi Chuan Symposiums. The Second International Symposium is being held July 6 - 11 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. The world's foremost authorities on the five traditional Chinese family schools of Tai Chi will attend. The Journal provides information on the Association, a preview of the upcoming Symposium, as well as articles by the experts on the art and practice of Tai Chi.
The impact of Tai Chi on cognitive performance in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Harvard Medical School researchers find that Tai Chi shows potential to enhance cognitive function in older adults, particularly executive functioning in individuals without significant impairment. As a multimodal mind-body exercise that incorporates physical, cognitive, social, and meditative components in the same activity, Tai Chi may impact cognitive function via a diverse and potentially synergistic set of mechanistic pathways.
FREE BOOKS to Celebrate World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2014
Khadi Madama, Founder of
Fa Shen Training Arts, is giving away copies of his book " Taoist Alchemy and Chi Gong." You can download it in PDF at his site:
http://www.yourstrulyyogatv.com/BOOKS-BY-KHADI.html [Scroll to bottom of homepage.]
Also, Just for the asking, everyone can receive a digital copy of Sifu Richard Kosch's
Tai Chi Principles for Massage Therapy, as his gift for participating in the event. His book was very well received last year. All they have to do is simply email Khadi at:
YoursTrulyYogaTV@aol.com and put Tai Chi Massage in the subject and the digital copy is theirs.
Experiencing Wellness Within Illness: Exploring a Mindfulness-Based Approach to Chronic Back Pain. This article explorse how mindfulness-based techniques affect perceptions and management of back pain and discuss these findings in relation to embodiment theory and liminality. Sixteen volunteers attending Breathworks for persistent back pain took part in this study. The theme of "embodied awareness" formed the core category, as all participants reported a change in their experience of pain. Such embodied changes are described in relation to five subthemes: unpacking the pain experience, changing relationship to pain, letting go of the label, self-compassion and acceptance, and wellness within illness. Learning to respond rather than react, and living moment by moment enabled participants to replace a cycle of suffering with one of acceptance. Rather than fearing pain, participants found ways to move through it and live with it. Although some expressed finding a sense of wellness despite ongoing pain, all participants reported greater acceptance and a better quality of life.
Qigong presents a potentially effective and safe method to reduce fatigue in haemodialysis patients. Fatigue is a debilitating symptom in haemodialysis patients. A 6-month non-randomized control trial with six measurement periods was conducted. The qigong group was taught to practice qigong three times per week for six months. The control group received usual routine care. Fatigue in the qigong group showed a continuous decrease, which was maintained until the end of data collection at 24 weeks.
A Close-up Look at Acupuncture for Pain. A growing number of Americans would prefer to stop popping pills and avoid going under the knife to treat a bum knee, achy lower back or sore hip. Instead, they’re turning to the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture to help ease chronic joint pain.
Core muscle function during specific yoga poses. This research assesses eleven yoga poses in specific training and rehabilitation programs via examination of the muscle activation patterns in selected trunk and hip muscles.
Variations in core muscle firing patterns depend on the trunk and pelvic positions during these poses. Training programs can be developed by choosing particular poses to target specific core muscles for addressing low back pain and declines in performance. The High plank, Low plank and Downward facing dog poses are effective for strengthening external oblique abdominis, Chair and Warrior 1 poses for targeting gluteus maximum, and Chair and Halfway lift poses for strengthening longissimus thoracis. And these three muscles could be strengthened by the Upward facing dog pose.
Meditative analgesia: the current state of the field.
This review focuses explicitly on experimental pain studies of meditation and attempts to draw preliminary conclusions based on the work completed in this new field over the past 6 years. Dividing meditative practices into the broad categories of focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) techniques allowed several patterns to emerge. The majority of evidence for FA practices suggests they are not particularly effective in reducing pain. OM, on the other hand, seems to influence both sensory and affective pain ratings depending on the tradition or on whether the practitioners were meditating. The neural pattern underlying pain modulation during OM suggests meditators actively focus on the noxious stimulation while inhibiting other mental processes, consistent with descriptions of mindfulness.
Tai Chi helps older patients with anxiety disorder. After the elder patients suffered from the anxiety disorder are treated with Tai Chi exercise in addition to the drug therapy, their effect is more significant than those who only are treated by the drug. Meanwhile, if the patients are only treated by the drug, their disease is easy to reoccur after curing. However, if they insist on Tai Chi exercise, the recurrence rate is low and the effect is significant.
It's a Gut Feeling - how the gut microbiota affects the state of mind.
The gut microbiota is a dynamic and diverse ecosystem and forms a symbiotic relationship with the host. This research describes the components of the gut microbiota and mechanisms by which it can influence neural development, complex behaviours and nociception. Furthermore, the authors propose the novel concept of a "state of gut" rather than a state of mind.
Music helpls cancer patients. Music interventions significantly ameliorate anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients, especially adults. Music interventions were more effective in adults than in children or adolescents and more effective when patients, rather than researchers, chose the music.
The perceived effects of qigong and exercise therapy on aging as reflected in standardized outcome reporting surveys. This study found that the effects that exercise therapy and qigong have on an elderly population cannot be captured by health-related quality-of-life measurements, such as the standardized Short Form (36) Health Survey. Broader concepts of quality of life that include the concepts of self-efficacy and positive affect may be more appropriate. The authorsreport themes that emerged in the exercise-therapy group related to difficulties associated with aging and staying physically active while emergent themesin the qigong group related to qigong as a method that improved bodily experiences and influenced daily activities.The results presented in this study suggest that for this population group, the approach of patient-centered outcomes is especially pertinent in order to design meaningful intervention studies in the elderly. This means that research questions, interventions, and outcome measurements need to take into account the special situation of elderly people.
Acupuncture for chronic pain.
Acupuncture is associated with improved pain outcomes compared with sham-acupuncture and no-acupuncture control, with response rates of approximately 30% for no acupuncture, 42.5% for sham acupuncture, and 50% for acupuncture. What may be most interesting about this article is that it was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
NQA Qi Talks with Bill Douglas - March 13, 2014. World Tai Chi & Qigong Day founder, Bill Douglas, will paint a vision of where our planet is headed and how Tai Chi and Qigong will play a crucial role in our getting there, by examining the mounting medical research, neurological and genetic research, and the sociological data that indicates mind-body techniques such as Tai Chi and Qigong may be part of a global transformation that will dwarf any of the great leaps forward humanity has ever seen in history. Register for Qi Talks.
3rd International Symposium on Qigong in Italy - October 18-20, 2014. The "NeiDao - The Inner Way" Association is preparing and organizing the Symposium, as the third Conference dedicated to Qigong. The first and second events were held in Rome in October 2010 and October 2011. Renowned and famous presenters from all over the world will be meet and share their experience at the Symposium, coming from China, Japan, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, England, Germany and Switzerland, as well as presenters from all over Italy.
Evidence Map of Acupuncture. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research & Development Service Evidence-based Synthesis Program was established to provide timely and accurate syntheses of targeted healthcare topics of particular importance to VA managers and policymakers, as they work to improve the health and healthcare of Veterans. The ESP disseminates these reports throughout VA. This report provides in-depth information on acupuncture derived from systematic reviews.
Happiness Tools: Tai Chi and Qigong. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was an exercise out there that would bring vibrancy and good health to the body, increase stability and improve the quality of life? Well, this actually is the case in regards to the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong.
Historical consciousness and traditional Buddhist narratives. Fascinating exploration of the origins of Mahayana Buddhism in the context of how mythic accounts can be interpreted symbolically and that symbols should not be considered as less important or real than facts. Only those who buy completely into the model of scientific materialism provided by the European enlightenment would not understand that in religions, symbols are as meaningful as facts.
16th Annual International Energy Psychology Conference. This conference is the pre-eminent training opportunity in the field of Energy Psychology and Mind-Body approaches to healing. This year’s theme: A t ACEP we have known for some time that we can go deeper and broader than just talk. The rest of the therapy world is now catching up. The cutting edge of treatment now is learning about bottom-up approaches and other body based modalities. Qigong will be well represented this year by Dr. Roger Jahnke and Dr. Ted Cibik and several others.
THE MiNDFULNESS MOVIE Trailer (YouTube 2:56). THE MiNDFULNESS MOVIE. The documentary collects an unprecedented group of 35 world-renowned experts in the fields of psychiatry, relationships, sports, psychology, quantum physics and neuroscience from around the globe, as well as major bestselling authors. The goal of the documentary is simple—to redefine "mindfulness" for the average person as an accessible and powerful training and educational tool for living a full life with less strife. More: themindfulnessmovie.com.
More Mindfulness, Less Meditation. Don't expect more than meditation can deliver. In the modern world, meditation is far more effective as a technique of self-management than as a means of personal transformation, much less enlightenment.
There is a difference between mindfulness meditation and simple mindfulness. The latter isn’t a practice separate from everyday life. Mindfulness just means becoming more conscious of what you’re feeling, more intentional about your behaviors and more attentive to your impact on others. The real challenge isn’t what we’re able to do with our eyes closed. It’s to be more self-aware in the crucible of our everyday lives, and to behave better as a result. That’s mindfulness in action.
The International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium - Louisville, Kentucky -- July 6-11, 2014. In July of 2014, the world’s foremost authorities on the five traditional Chinese Family Schools of Tai Chi Chuan, as well as other top Tai Chi Chuan practitioners and scholars will come to Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky for an international level Tai Chi Chuan Symposium. The theme of this Symposium will focus on bringing together the wisdom of Chinese culture with the precision of modern science through evidence-based literary review sessions, Master’s workshops and other special events designed to foster an exchange of knowledge and cultures. This Symposium will be the second time this event will be held in the United States. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to study with five of China’s top Masters along with respected scholars carefully selected for their unique and highly professional level of expertise in the scientific study and examination of Tai Chi Chuan.
Yoga Accessible for the Blind with New Microsoft Kinect-Based Program. A team of University of Washington computer scientists has created a software program that watches a user's movements and gives spoken feedback on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose. Researchers hope this will allow people who are blind or low-vision to participate more fully in yoga.
UCLA study finds meditation and imagery therapy helps dementia caregivers. Family dementia caregivers are at high risk of depression and burnout. Central Meditation and Imagery Therapy for Caregivers is a feasible intervention for dementia caregivers. Results suggest that this therapeutic technique can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and increase levels of mindfulness. Early response to meditation practice predicted those with the greatest short-term benefits.
Effect of Meditation on Cognitive Functions in Context of Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases.
Reviewed studies suggested a positive effect of meditation techniques, particularly in the area of attention, as well as memory, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility. These findings are discussed in the context of MRI studies suggesting structural correlates of the effects. Meditation can be a potentially suitable non-pharmacological intervention aimed at the prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly.
Lama Sakyong Mipham on Meditation (YouTube video: 14:24). An introduction into meditation with some deep insights from his book Turning the Mind Into an Ally. Strengthening, calming, and stabilizing the mind is the essential first step in accomplishing nearly any goal. Growing up American with a Tibetan twist, Sakyong Mipham talks to Westerners as no one can: in idiomatic English with stories and wisdom from American culture and the great Buddhist teachers.
Is it possible to bridge the Biopsychosocial and Biomedical models? The author writes: To some of us it is obvious that biological, psychological and social factors are in reality integrated and that biopsychosocial medicine seeks to elucidate this reality. The biomedical, organ-based perspective focuses on disease mechanisms and assumes that the psychological and social are not essential to understanding and treating patients, although humanism in patient care is of course endorsed. Bridging these perspectives is important because the biomedical is the predominant model adopted by those who decide how to allocate health care dollars in the United States and many other countries. This in turn determines what clinical care is provided at the bedside.
Proteomics & Personalized Medicine (YouTube video 59:56). Scientific medicine is beginning to revert back to more ancient, ayurvedic lessons about healthcare. The approach is to treat the body as a system, where balance is the foundation for good health and disease and sickness are the externalities of imbalance. With advancements in proteomics and computing we can begin creating models of what a healthy bodily state looks like. In the same way we might use environmental models to analyze the global climate, we can isolate specific variables that can inform the larger picture. As the data piles up, preventative medicine will become a quantitative endeavour. Hillis believes the doctors visit of the future will be a simple blood test that measures proteins, lipids and some other key signals, which can then be plugged into a systematic database to help us treat diseases long before any symptoms arise. It is a huge upgrade in efficiency, one that could save millions of lives and alleviate the indebted healthcare system in the process. Now if he'd just integrate this approach with bioenergy…. Related info: Qigong and Gene Expression.
Effect of meditation on neurophysiological changes in stress mediated depression.This paper reviews many of the physiological abnormalities found in cytokine & stress mediated depression and the reversal of these anomalies by different meditation techniques.This is another research result that points to the relationship between stress and the immune system (cytokines are cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma.).
The Cultural Relevance of Mindfulness Meditation as a Health Intervention for African Americans. African Americans experience a disproportionate rate of stress-related health conditions compared to European Americans. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be effective for managing stress and various stress-related health conditions. This study explored the cultural relevance of mindfulness meditation training for African Americans adults. By implementing minor adaptations that enhance cultural relevance, mindfulness meditation can be a beneficial therapeutic intervention for this population.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Combines Mind/Body Practice and Nutrition for Cancer Therapy. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the centuries-old practice of yoga is combined with nutrition education to help young cancer patients manage their disease today and lay the foundation for a healthy future. “We’re focusing on all of the benefits of yoga, which include balance, coordination, a decrease in pain and improving quality of life,” said Jessica Sparrow of St. Jude Rehabilitation Services and an occupational therapist trained in providing yoga for children.
UCSD Brings Mindfulness to the Workplace. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness has launched a WorkLife Integration Program for companies that would like to help their employees reduce stress, increase focus and improve productivity. The convenient in-house training program is designed for companies of all sizes and for employees of all organizational levels. Program options include lunch-and-learn presentations, introductory mindfulness training workshops, the flagship 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction experience and programs customized to specific organizational goals. The Center for Mindfulness is a division within the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine and Department of Psychiatry. Since 2000, the Center has taught the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness. The Center is a multi-faceted program of clinical care, professional training, education, research and outreach intended to further the practice and integration of mindfulness into all aspects of society.
Breathing In vs. Spacing Out (NY Times). Are mindfulness and creativity mutually exclusive? Implicit learning underlies all sorts of acquired skills and habits, but it occurs without conscious awareness. The trick is knowing when mindfulness is called for and when it's not. We know that being mindful is really good for a lot of explicitly cognitive functions. But it might not be so useful when you want to form new habits.
2014 SUMMIT OF QIGONG MASTERS - Free online event January 21 - 25, 2014. Lama Tantrapa has organized an online Summit of Qigong Masters bringing together and educating thousands of people about using Energy Arts to help them dramatically improve the quality of their lives. The summit that is coming up next week – January 20 to 25 – will be unique, because it will consist of video interviews with some of top Qigong experts in North America, unlike most summits that have only audio content. The event is free of charge. You will be able to watch the video interviews of two presenters a day, as well as check out their books and multimedia materials, and ask the presenters questions. The presenters featured in this event will be sharing their authentic perspectives on the theme of Abundance through Being in the Flow. The roster of presenters includes:
- Dr. Effie Chow – the founder of the World Qigong Federation
- Bill Douglas – co-founder of the World Tai Chi & Qigong Day
- Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson – the founder of the International Institutes of Medical Qigong
- Mark Johnson – one of the founders of the National Qigong Association
- Dr. Pedram Shojai – producer of the documentary film Vitality
- Dr. George Love – the lineage holder of the Blue Dragon Qigong
- Dr. Philip Yang – the founder and president of the Nine Star University of Health Sciences
- Cathy “TianJia” Mu – the founder of the PureBeautiful Healing Foundation
- Dr. Stanley Ngui – the grandmaster of the Ngui style of Qigong and Kung fu
- Teja Bell – Zen master and founder of Qigong Dharma organization
- Dr. Nadia Linda Hole – a Medical Doctor specializing in Qigong
- Lama Tantrapa – the founder of Academy of Qi Dao and creator of Qigong Coaching, who produces The Secrets of Qigong Masters talk show
The American Tai Chi and Qigong Association (ATCQA) is launching 3 contests and the prizes include ATCQA membership and popular gift certificates. In addition, to show ATCQA's support for the 2014 World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQD), the prizes will also include the WTCQD official T-shirts (valued at $23.50 each). The deadline for entering any of the 3 contests is Feb 15, 2014. Contest information.
Music helps people with dementia. The effects of music go beyond the reduction of behavioural and psychological symptoms. Individual preference of music is preserved throughout the process of dementia. Sustaining musical and interpersonal connectedness would help value who the person is and maintain the quality of their life.
This Ancient Martial Art Can Fight Disease, Calm The Mind And Slow Aging. Americans have no difficulty adopting ancient practices into their health regimens. Take yoga, the ancient mind-body practice and contemporary fitness craze (and $27 billion industry), which continues its prominence in the mainstream -- even after decades of increasing popularity. Many forms of meditation, likewise, have been touted for stress-relieving, health-promoting benefits by prominent leaders in business, media and the arts. And then there's tai chi.
Navy doctor branches out with deployment medicine. Cabrera has been practicing acupuncture alongside traditional medicine for nearly two years now. He’s sold on its effectiveness. The trick is to let the patients try it out and experience the results for themselves. Regardless of the underlying explanations, he’s seen it work firsthand.
Society’s focus on disease is bad for our health. One of the difficulties in writing about wellness and prevention is that our health-care system — in fact, our whole society — is focused on disease. Television shows like House M.D. and ER show dramatic, extreme examples of patients with life-threatening problems. Wellness care just isn’t that dramatic. I doubt there will ever be a TV drama about the chiropractic patient who didn’t need back surgery because of his care, and also didn’t get an ulcer because he was able to stop taking his ibuprofen. Or about the acupuncturist who saved a patient from a hysterectomy because the treatment balanced her hormones naturally. True wellness and prevention restore health and function without serious side effects, or causing other health problems. When a person’s overall health is restored, seemingly unrelated conditions may resolve.
Research partnership brings mindfulness/yoga practices to schools in Middle East. Palestinian educators, health professionals, social workers and refugee service providers recently received training in Transformative Life Skills (TLS) -- a social-emotional learning program that aims to reduce students’ stress and promote social-emotional health and physical wellness through mindfulness and yoga training -- from a team of trainers and researchers from Penn State, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Oakland-based nonprofit Niroga Institute.
Recent Findings from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Provide New Insights into Neurobiology. "Acupoint specificity was regarded as one of the core scientific issues with respect to acupuncture practice at the Society for Acupuncture Research international symposium held in 2007. In this chapter, we reviewed the recent development in basic science and clinical studies on the role of acupoint specificity. The evidence cumulated from brain imaging and many biological studies showed that the point specificity in acupuncture does exist, although acupoint specificity-related issues such as sham acupoint and placebo phenomenon need to be seriously considered." According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "How to optimize the efficacy of acupoint and minimize the impact of sham acupuncture is an urgent issue faced by acupuncture community, and more studies are warranted on the subjects."
Bio-effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) in context of cancer therapy. The therapeutic advantages of EMF could be effectively harnessed for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. This review examines recent findings relating to the mechanisms of action underlying the bio-effects induced by non-ionizing EMF. It's encouraging to see that the study of the use of electromagnetic fields in healing, especially for cancer, is coming out of the closet. Too many tens of billions of dollars have been misappropriated on the pursuit of ineffective genetic and pharmaceutical treatments for chronic conditions instead of more promising energy-based treatments. More information on electromagnetic fields for cancer can be found on the Cancer page on the QI website.