Government and Qigong

NCCIH Whole Person Health Initiative and Strategic Plan

NCCIH Strategic Plan FY 2021 2025 cover

NCCIH Strategic Plan FY 2021-2025 (Executive Summary)NCCIH’s new strategic plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2021–2025 expands the definition of integrative health to include whole person health, that is, empowering individuals, families, communities, and populations to improve their health in multiple interconnected domains: biological, behavioral, social, and environmental. The plan has been informed and shaped by an effort to better define and map a path to whole person health by expanding and building on current activities while advancing new research strategies and ideas.

NCCIH Strategic Plan FY 2021-2025 (PDF). Includes investigating the mechanisms of psychological and physical exercise-based interventions, including Qigong.

Considering Whole Person Health as We Develop NCCIH’s Next Strategic Plan. Whole person health considers the whole person and the relationships among numerous factors, including biologic, environmental, behavioral, mental, and social factors, in determining health.

NCCIH Strategic Planning Webinar: Whole Person Health. Join NCCIH and Director, Dr. Helene Langevin, in the launch of NCCIH’s strategic planning process for the next 5-year plan (2021–2025). Dr. Langevin will share her thoughts on the topic of “Whole Person Health,” which considers the whole person and the relationships among numerous factors, including biologic, environmental, behavioral, mental, and social factors, in determining health. She will also focus on how this concept fits into and expands upon NCCIH’s current strategic plan and may serve as a way to inform our strategic planning and future research directions.

Langevin’s “Whole Person Health” and the New NIH NCCIH Strategic Plan: What Might We Expect?

Methodological Approaches for Whole Person Research WorkshopThe National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s strategic plan defines whole person research as including three components: (1) Exploring the fundamental science of interconnected systems, (2) Investigating multicomponent interventions or therapeutic systems, and (3) Examining the impact of these interventions on multisystem or multiorgan outcomes. The Whole Person Research Workshop discusses examples of research studies in these three areas from diverse fields and explore methodologies potentially appropriate for whole person research. 

The National Prevention and Health Promotion Council

On June 10, 2010 the President signed an Executive Order creating the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council). The National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, chaired by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, is charged with providing coordination and leadership at the Federal level, and among all executive departments and agencies, with respect to prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices. With input from the public, interested stakeholders, and an Advisory Group made up of non-federal members, the National Prevention Council is charged with developing a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy (National Prevention Strategy). In 2011, the Council released the National Prevention Strategy, which identifies the most effective and achievable means for improving health and well-being with an overarching goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life

National Prevention Strategy

national prevention strategy cover

The National Prevention Strategy represents a historic opportunity to bring prevention and wellness to the forefront of the national conversation on health. A focus on prevention will offer an opportunity to not only improve the health of Americans, but also help to reduce health care costs and improve quality of care. Concentrating on the underlying drivers of chronic diseases will help to shift the nation from today's "sick-care" system to a "health care" system that encourages health and well-being, while maintaining state-of-the-art medicine. 

The Strategy’s impact will be significant because it will take a community health approach to prevention and wellness — identifying and prioritizing actions across many sectors to reduce the incidence and burden of the leading causes of death and disability. Especially important are requirements that the Strategy establish actions within and across federal departments and agencies relating to prevention, health promotion, and public health.

National Prevention Strategy. America's Plan for better Health and Wellness. The National Prevention Strategy will move us from a system of sick care to one based on wellness and prevention. It builds upon the state-of-the-art clinical services we have in this country and the remarkable progress that has been made toward understanding how to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities through prevention. The National Prevention Strategy encourages partnerships among Federal, state, tribal, local, and territorial governments; business, industry, and other private sector partners; philanthropic organizations; community and faith-based organizations; and everyday Americans to improve health through prevention (.PDF).

woman sitting outside

Healthy Aging in Action: Advancing the National Prevention Strategy identifies specific actions for healthy aging that are continuing to improve health and well-being in later life. Specifically, this report highlights federal and nonfederal programs that advance the four Strategic Directions of the National Prevention Strategy where the older adult population is concerned: Healthy and Safe Community Environments, Clinical and Community Preventive Services, Empowered People, and Elimination of Health Disparities. These Strategic Directions are the foundation for all prevention efforts and form the basis for a prevention-oriented society.

Healthy Aging in ActionAdvancing the National Prevention Strategy was prepared by the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides ongoing administrative, scientific, and technical support for the operations of the National Prevention Council.

Qigong and Tai Chi would be highly effective additions to the National Prevention Strategy.

Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches

(.PDF)

ebook cover on pain from NCCIH

This 2019 eBook on complementary health approaches for pain from NCCIH has a short section on Tai Chi. It only mentions Qigong in the references, one of which is Jahnke and Larkey's 'A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi' that was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion in 2010. Although Qigong is not mentioned per se, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, which are all part of Qigong, are included.

NCCIH Publications on Qigong, Tai Chi, and Energy Medicine

January 16, 2015 - On December 17, 2014, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a federal agency under the National Institutes of Health, adopted a new name - the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The primary responsibility of this Center has been and still is for research on unconventional approaches for health such as Tai Chi and Qigong. 

Tai Chi and Qi Gong: In Depth

backgrounder: Tai Chi for Health Purposes 

backgrounder: Tai Chi: An Introduction

backgrounder: Relaxation Techniques for Health: An Introduction

backgrounder: Meditation: An Introduction


backgrounder: Yoga for Health: An Introduction

Yoga

Meditation

CAM basics: What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Mind-Body Medicine: An Overview 

Acupuncture 

get the facts: Acupuncture for Pain

get the facts: Magnets for Pain

6 Things You Should Know: The Science of Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Practices

NCCIH - National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (formerly NCCAM)

"The most common health problem for which people turn to complementary and alternative approaches is chronic pain. Pharmacological management of chronic pain, while important, has hazards. Evidence is showing, based on carefully controlled studies, that there is promise in certain complementary treatments as adjuncts to conventional pain management. For example, the pain of osteoarthritis may be relieved by acupuncture; tai chi has been found to be helpful in reducing the pain of fibromyalgia; and massage and manipulative therapies can contribute to the relief of chronic back pain." Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., Director, NCCAM.

In recognition of the need to amend conventional medicine, Congress formally established the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1993 and funded it with an initial outlay of $2M. In 1998 Congress expanded the mandate and responsibility of the Office by creating the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The importance of CAM is evidenced by the increasing investment in NCCAM to roughly $128M in FY2012. Also, according to the most recent government survey on CAM use in the United States, over 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over used some form of CAM. For the statistics on CAM use in the United States, see the National Health Statistics Report: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. An analysis of this report can be found in Update on Qigong Practice and Qigong Research in the United States. The 2012 National Health Interview Survey provides the most comprehensive and most recent information on the use of complementary health approaches in the United States. In 2015, NCCAM's name was changed to NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).

Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractic by Adults and Children. Data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)* found that U.S. adults’ use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractic increased between 2012 and 2017. And, not only did the use of meditation rise, it more than tripled during this time. Further, the data showed that from 2012 to 2017 the use of yoga and meditation significantly increased among U.S. children (aged 4 to 17 years). The percentage of children using yoga more than doubled and the percentage of children meditating showed an almost tenfold increase. 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Shown To Be Cost Effective for Chronic Low-Back Pain. The researchers calculated societal cost effectiveness by adding the incremental health care costs and productivity losses over change in quality-adjusted life-years. They also calculated costs from the perspective of a health care plan (payer). Compared to usual care, MBSR reduced total societal costs by $724 per person, and reduced individual health care costs to the payer by $982.

Department of Health and Human Services

Healthy People 2020 Report

 

Healthy People 2020 is a set of science-based health objectives for improving the health of Americans over the second decade of this century. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leads this interagency effort. Over the past 100 years, the Nation has seen a great deal of change in the leading causes of death. At the beginning of the 1900s, infectious diseases ran rampant in the United States and worldwide and topped the leading causes of death. A century later, with the control of many infectious agents and the increasing age of the population, chronic diseases top the list. The report's bottom line is that seventy percent of all disease is preventable. Preventing illness, promoting health, and aiding the treament of chronic conditions is what Qigong is designed to do.

Administration for Community Living's Administration on Aging

administration on aging

The Administration for Community Living's Administration on Aging provides grants to States and Territories based on their share of the population aged 60 and over for education and implementation activities that support healthy lifestyles and promote healthy behaviors. Evidence-based health promotion programs reduce the need for more costly medical interventions.

A number of Tai Chi based programs have met varying degrees of criteria for inclusion in the AoA's list of effective evidence-based interventions for improving health and wellbeing or reducing disease, disability and/or injury among older adults; and being ready for translation, implementation and/or broad dissemination by community-based organizations using appropriately credentialed practitioners.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong for Health and Well-Being (NCCIH video)

The following video is intended to be an educational tool that features tai chi and qi gong as an activity to enhance wellness. These exercise therapies are generally considered safe, self-care approaches used to promote a healthy lifestyle. As always, talk to your health care provider if you are using or considering using any CAM modalities so that they can help safely coordinate your care. Tai chi, which originated in China as a martial art, is sometimes referred to as "moving meditation"—practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness.

 

NCCIH Integrative Medicine Research Lectures

Introduction to Medical Qigong—Mysteries & Wonders of Chinese Medicine.

nih bioimaging and engineering

The mission of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. This is achieved through: research and development of new biomedical imaging and bioengineering techniques and devices to fundamentally improve the detection, treatment, and prevention of disease; enhancing existing imaging and bioengineering modalities; supporting related research in the physical and mathematical sciences; encouraging research and development in multidisciplinary areas; supporting studies to assess the effectiveness and outcomes of new biologics, materials, processes, devices, and procedures; developing technologies for early disease detection and assessment of health status; and developing advanced imaging and engineering techniques for conducting biomedical research at multiple scales.

NCCIH Online Continuing Education Series

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is offering *free*, comprehensive videolectures about research in complementary health approaches. These online videolectures provide an in-depth perspective on the current state of science, as related to complementary medicine. The previously posted lecture 'International Perspectives on Acupuncture Research' is part of this series. This series was designed for physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals interested in research and learning about complementary medicine. Researchers, students, and members of the public are also welcome to view the online lectures and learn about NCCIH’s research. Other lectures in this series include Integrative Medicine, Health and Spirituality, Neurobiological Correlates of Acupuncture, and Neural Basis of Mind-Body Pain Therapies. Health professionals are eligible to receive continuing education credits (CME and CEU) and a certificate of completion at no cost.

Integrative Health & Wellness Caucus Focuses on Putting Health Back in Healthcare “This caucus is the start of an important conversation to shift our healthcare paradigm from a reactive model to whole-person preventive outcomes,” said Len Wisneski, M.D., Chair Integrative Health Policy Consortium. “Americans have spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on complementary and integrative care. It is time that Congress and healthcare payers and systems respond by including all credentialed and licensed providers and evidence-based care approaches into the choices available to all Americans.”

The Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC)

The Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) was formed in 2004 as a project of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), an organization dedicated to promoting policies and action to advance integrated health care. ACCAHC was part of a broader IHPC educational initiative entitled the National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground (NED).The goal of both efforts was to fulfill on educational directions recommended by the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and the IHPC's National Policy Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care.

Meeting the Nation's Primary Care Needs Current and Prospective Roles of Doctors of Chiropractic and Naturopathic Medicine, Practitioners of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and Direct-Entry Midwive (.PDF). The United States faces a growing shortage of primary care providers. An emergent theme in many, if not most, of the proposals to address this need is the importance of examining the use of non-medical doctor (M.D.) practitioners. However, workforce analyses and healthcare delivery practices have not to date engaged the potential contributions of four licensed disciplines that are already frequently accessed by significant numbers of people as their first choice, primary provider of care. These are the doctors of chiropractic and naturopathic medicine, practitioners and doctors of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and direct-entry midwives.

Legislating, Regulating, and Standardizing Qigong and Tai Chi

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED IN MASSACHUSETTS

As of July 2021, the State of Massachusetts is promoting two poorly thought-out bills which will severely and needlessly limit the practice and teaching of Qigong.  Qigong is being lumped in with "Asian bodywork therapies", "Energy and somatic healing practices", and "massage therapies" for the ostensible purpose of addressing human trafficking. The legislation is clearly not informed by science because it completely misunderstands and misrepresents how Qigong is taught and practiced. People who are residents of the State of Massachusetts are urged to contact their legislators to express opposition to H 350 (House version) and S 221 (Senate version). Non-residents are encouraged to sign the change.org petition. MORE INFORMATION:  

Massachusetts Bills Summary. 

Massachusetts Bill Overview and Fact Sheet

National Qigong Association Letter of Opposition submitted to Massachusetts Joint Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee.

How to Stop this Bill from Passing

Qigong practitioners in Massachusetts should contact their legislator and senator to establish a relationship with them and to let them know how this proposed bill would affect their income and family. They are elected officials and they listen to their constituents. The following is a link to the find my legislator site.  

https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

The following is a link to a change.org petition that has been started in opposition to the bills.  Every time someone signs it, an email goes to each member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.  To date there are 11,000 signatures, but 15,000 are needed to get their attention. Residents and non-residents may sign the petition.

https://www.change.org/protectholistictherapies

first page of standards article in qi journal

The summer 2019 issue of Qi Journal contained the article, “Regulating The Teaching and Practice Of Qigong and Tai Chi,” a collaboration between Qigong Institute President Tom Rogers and Healer Within Foundation President Josie Weaver. This important article focuses on current regulatory legislative actions, the pros and cons of standardization and regulation and how you can best stay informed of related issues. Read the article.

cover page qi journal summer 2019

More information on legislation affecting Qigong and Tai Chi can be found on the National Qigong Association Legislative Update page.

COMMENT ON Accreditation Standard Guideline Initiative for Qigong Instructors and Training Institutions. Weaver and Rogers. 2019. The initiative to form and organize the International Medical Tai Chi and Qigong Association (MTQA) described in the concept paper, “Accreditation Standard Guideline Initiative for Tai Chi and Qigong Instructors and Training Institutions [1],” seeks to assume the authority to license and regulate Tai Chi and Qigong (TQ) teachers as professional practitioners and to impose its standards on any member of the TQ community who wishes to teach in clinical settings or to be recognized as a valid instructor by the medical and health care community. In particular, the proposal articulates the guidelines and the formation of the MTQA as a “necessary first step as primary resource to serve and guide health care professionals and consumers, as well as the [TQ] community.” We do not believe that this proposal is either a necessary or essential step in the direction of serving and guiding health professionals about these practices. Read the Article.

NAOEP - National Alliance of Energy Practitioners. This is a new organization formed in 2018 "as an alliance of associations and training programs in 2018. Our purpose is to share information about quality energy practices, educate the public on the styles of energy work, their use, the research on energy practices and the limits of what a professional practitioner can do. For the professional practitioner we hope to provide information that is relevant to their experience, which expands their knowledge and improves the quality of care which they provide. For training programs, we invite you to join our organization and support the growth of our community so that we may promote a more compassionate, joyous and knowledge based world." They include Qigong.

NCCOEP. National Certification Center of Energy Practitioners. This is another new organization formed in 2018 "as the result of a series of meetings within the energy practitioner, associations and training program community, we are a test center dedicated to providing assessment of the energy practitioner and supporting the development of national standards for the energy practices which result in trade boards for energy practitioners in each state." It seeks to regulate energy practices including Qigong by providing certification. Under division requirements they make the following claim: " *Please note that this process is only intended for practitioners who are using the skills to support individuals in health care situations. This is not intended for individuals who are teaching or training, or for individuals who are doing the practice for self-care or personal reasons." This proposal does not take into account the scientific research on Qigong and Tai Chi and can contribute to roadblocks in dissemination to those populations that need them the most. For more background on the issues involved with regulation of Qigong and Tai Chi, read Regulating the Teaching and Practice of Qigong and Tai Chi and COMMENT ON Accreditation Standard Guideline Initiative for Qigong Instructors and Training Institutions for more information

National Qigong Association Legislation Position

The National Qigong Association (NQA) recognizes that Clinical/Medical Qigong is considered Complementary Integrative Medicine by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is recognized by the National Center for Education Statistics (NECS) as “Energy and Biologically Based Therapies” (CIP code 51.3799 ). The NQA chooses to use the term Clinical Qigong rather than Medical Qigong. Nevertheless, because other institutions and/or practitioners still use the term Medical Qigong, it's included in the NQA Position Paper.

Safe Harbor Practitioner Exemption Laws - Protecting Access to Qigong, Tai Chi, and Health Care Freedom

The right to freely live and work as you choose is enshrined as the bedrock of our free society in the Constitution of the United States. The State may not restrict your liberty — nor do you need permission — in the pursuit of vocation or happiness as long as you are not causing harm to others or defying existing laws of order. When a risk of harm is identified, it is the State’s responsibility to issue laws and restrictions that protect the public welfare. This is the basis for many types of professional licensing mandated by individual states for services that have been determined to carry a risk of potential harm to the public. Absent this risk, states have no constitutional basis for demanding licensure of personal livelihoods. Read full article.

Integrating Qigong into Healthcare

qi journal summer 2021 issue cover

Adding Qigong Health Care to the Healthcare System

By Tom Rogers and Josie Weaver. Qigong Institute.

Today's medicine is in the midst of an undeniable crisis. Calls to reform healthcare are in the forefront of economic and political discussions worldwide. Economic pressures reduce the amount of time physicians can spend with patients contributing to burnout among medical staff and endangering the patient... Politicians are getting involved as the public is calling for more affordable healthcare. 

The American healthcare industry is in a challenged state because it is an expensive system focused on financing medical intervention for treating disease after people are sick and not on safety, cost effectiveness, prevention, and actual health care before people get sick. The pandemic crisis with COVID-19 has exposed the need for personal and public health-care practices to enhance immunity and resilience. The nation has an opportunity to reimagine health care. Scientific research proves that Qigong is a non-invasive self-care practice that provides physical and emotional well-being and resilience that can be clinically measured. Qigong exercise results in the active creation of health and is a useful health intervention that could be more fully integrated into American healthcare.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Qi Journal [PDF].

cohen petition

Legislation in Massachusetts and other states seek to limit who can practice Qigong and Tai Chi. There are also efforts at the national level. All Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners need to be informed of what is currently happening with regard to legislation, especially in their own states. This petition for Massachusetts was initiated by master teacher and author Ken Cohen. Protect the Right to Practice, Teach and Access Alternative Healing Therapies in MA

Controversial bill regulating bodywork, intended to fight human trafficking, will get a rewrite. 

hearing with panel and participants

“While we want to ensure that we can combat human trafficking however it manifests in our communities, we do not want to burden legitimate practitioners with arduous training and education requirements or redefine industry standards for their modalities,” Beth Keeley, chief of the Human Trafficking Division in Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, told the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure at a hearing on Monday [October 28, 2019]. Read entire article.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 13, 2020:  MA S168 was sent to study by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure (MA S2634) and is dead for this legislative session. The new bill is being presented as a Safe Harbor act (see above) which is good news.

UPDATE MAY 2021: The MA Attorney General, Maura Healey, has redrafted S.168, An Act Regulating Bodyworks, and refiled it as, “An Act Regulating Alternative Healing Therapies.” The identical bill has been filed in both the House and the Senate to ensure its passage. 

Chinese Government Promotes Qigong

Recognizing the healthcare cost-effectiveness of delivering Qigong to a huge population, China is actively promoting and standardizing on Health Qigong as a new public health practice and "traditional Chinese exercise". Under the organization and promotion of the Health Qi Gong Management Centre of China's General Administration of Sport, which was established in June 2001, four forms of Qigong were recreated: Yi Jin Jing (muscle change classic), Wu Qin Xi (five-animal exercise), Liu Zi Jue (six healing sounds), and Ba Duan Jin (eight silken movements). In order to adapt more forms of traditional health Qigong into versions that are suitable for common people's daily exercise, the Health Qi Gong Management Centre started to create new forms of health Qigong in 2007. Five forms of health Qi Gong, namely, Tai Ji Yang Sheng Zhang (Tai Ji Stick Health Preservation Exercise), Shi Er Duan Jin (twelve silken movements), Dao Yin Health Preservation 12 Methods, Mawangdui Dao Yin Exercise, and Grand Dance, were eventually created. Dao Yin (a.k.a. Qigong): Origin, Development, Potential Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications [PMCID: PMC6854271].

The International Health Qigong Federation was created by the Chinese Health Qigong Association to actively promote Health Qigong around the world, including the U.S.,  and encourages online practice daily through their website. As "traditional Chinese exercises" Qigong and Tai Chi are taught in China as physical education and exercise and practiced the same as any western exercise sport, including competitions.

 

National Institutes of Health

In 1997, NIH issued a Consensus Statement which officially approved acupuncture for use in medical treatment.

To see which energy medicine research is currently underway, go to ClinicalTrials.gov, and search for 'Qigong', 'Tai Chi', 'Acupuncture', etc.

Awaken the Healer Within - NIH Interview with Dr. Roger Jahnke. How Qigong and Tai Chi -- Chinese Mind-Body Wellness Practices -- Promote Healthy Function.

List of grants for Yoga and Meditation research

List of grants for Qigong, Zen, Taiji, and Reiki research

ihpc logo

Integrative Health Policy Consortium

The organization's mission is to eliminate the barriers to health through focusing on public policy. http://www.ihpc.org/

Public policy is part of the solution. It is the part that IHPC attends to. For patient-centered, prevention-oriented health care to flourish, many core public policies that govern today’s healthcare system must be fundamentally redesigned. It is true that activity in the private sector has recently produced measurable benefits in fostering health promotion and disease prevention. However, these incremental shifts remain on the periphery of a much larger dialogue on US health care that needs to be completely redirected. Expanding such initiatives to affect the public’s health over the long term requires a strongly supportive policy environment focused on integration and wellness.

New Study Links Mindfulness, Brain Changes, and Pain Sensitivity

stylized image of human head

People who are naturally more mindful (e.g. people who regularly practice Qigong) report less pain and show lower activation of a specific region of the brain in response to an unpleasant heat stimulus, according to a new study supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The study, conducted by researchers from Wake Forest University and collaborating institutions, was published in the journal Pain. More. 

State Insurance Coverage Issues

Analysis of State Insurance Coverage for Nonpharmacologic Treatment of Low Back Pain as Recommended by the American College of Physicians Guidelines. Other than spinal manipulation, evidence-based, nonpharmacological therapies recommended by the 2017 ACP guidelines (which included meditation and Tai Chi) were routinely excluded from state health benefits plans. Insurance coverage discourages multidisciplinary rehabilitation for chronic pain management by providing ambiguous guidelines, restricting ongoing treatments, and excluding behavioral or complementary therapy despite a cohesive evidence base. Better plan coverage of nondrug therapies may be a strategy to mitigate the opioid crisis. Global Adv Health Med. 2019.

Veterans with Back Pain Have Treatment Options

back muscle schematic

In a survey of back pain sufferers, eighty percent said that yoga, tai chi, massage therapy or a chiropractor helped them. Those options can help as much as surgery or drugs, with fewer risks.

Qigong and Tai Chi at the Veterans Administration

Patient-centered care approach offers exciting alternatives

Qigong at the VAVeterans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are experiencing a powerful new program “Training Mindfully with Qigong Principles,TM” to manage their post-combat stress. It’s part of a new patient-centered health care initiative sponsored by the VA.

Qigong at the VA II

pubmedVA study finds loving kindness meditation reduces symptoms of PTSD and depression.

Samueli Institute Health Reform Initiative

Although the Samueli Institute is not a government organization, it creates initiatives and supports research that is aligned with government policies, concepts, and documents. The Institute is proposing the Wellness Initiative for the Nation (WIN). The purpose of WIN is to proactively prevent disease and illness, promote health and productivity, and create well-being and flourishing for the people of America. The WIN concept paper addresses strategies for creating health, saving costs, and enhancing wellness through a concerted focus on self-care, core lifestyle change and integrative health care practices. In addition, WIN can prevent the looming fiscal disaster in our health care system. For more information, see A Wellness Initiative for the Nation.

National Expert Meeting on
Qi Gong and Tai Chi

First Standardization Meeting for Qigong and Tai Chi

National Expert Meeting  on Qi Gong and Tai Chi Consensus Report In 2001, a coalition of organizations released a national planning document in the area of aging and physical activity. The National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Aged 50 and Older was developed to serve as a guide for multiple organizations, associations and agencies, to inform and support their planning work related to increasing physical activity among America's aging population.

To this end, the Blueprint partnership organizations held the National Expert Meeting on Qigong and Tai Chi at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on November 14-16, 2005. The National Blueprint Office at the University of Illinois, in conjunction with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), received funding from the Archstone Foundation to explore the opportunities, issues, and challenges of integrating Qigong and Tai Chi into the Aging Network. National and international experts came from three areas: physical activity and the Aging Network; Qigong/Tai Chi research; and Qigong/Tai Chi practice. The goal was to investigate the challenges of translating existing research models into effective community-based programs for the health benefits of older adults, and to make recommendations in the form of a consensus report.

The meeting was a milestone in the long-term vision to make Qigong and Tai Chi as popular among older Americans as Yoga has become in community fitness centers and exercise programs today. Key outcomes of the meeting were the findings that in order to make the health benefits of Tai Chi more readily accessible to the population, shortened and simplified versions of it need to be created; identification of a set of fundamental practices common to both Qigong and Tai Chi; and declaring that Tai Chi practiced for health and Qigong are equivalent. This equivalence was introduced to clinical research with the definition of a new category of exercise called Meditative Movement.

 

National Expert Meeting on Qi Gong and Tai Chi Summary (3:55)

 

Taiji (Tai Chi) For Fall Prevention in the Elderly: Training the Trainers Evaluation Project. A large barrier to dissemination of Qigong and Tai Chi to larger populations, especially older adults through programs such as fall prevention, is the lack of qualified teachers. One of the main conclusions in the 2005 National Expert Meeting on Qi Gong and Tai Chi consensus report was that "The experts were willing to concede that a short, high intensity weekend course (14 to 16 hours) with a clearly defined internship or practicum may substitute for longer formal training activities for individuals with prior knowledge in exercise/health and well-developed teaching skills." This research confirmed that brief, intensive weekend training can increase the available workforce to train the elderly in fundamentals of Taiji for fall prevention [PMID: 28342686].

head shot of woman doing Tai ChiQi Gong and Tai Chi: promoting practices that promote healthy aging (.PDF). Summary of the recommendations and outcomes of the National Expert Meeting.

WHOLE HEALTH: INFORMATION FOR VETERANS

Introduction to Tai Chi and Qi Gong for Whole Health

Whole Health is an approach to health care that empowers and enables YOU to take charge of your health and well-being and live your life to the fullest. It starts with YOU. It is fueled by the power of knowing yourself and what will really work for you in your life. Once you have some ideas about this, your team can help you with the skills, support, and follow up you need to reach your goals

Whole Health Qi gong video

Veterans share Qigong class impact on their lives.

Enhancing Well-Being Measurement

NCCIH enhancing well-being measurement pdf cover

Although health promotion efforts have historically focused on indicators of disease and dysfunction, measures of well-being provide a common language in which all parties (patients, clinicians, researchers, public health officials, policymakers, and others) can define and assess positive outcomes. The Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health convened a virtual meeting on June 14, 2021, to discuss potential strategies to improve measurement of holistic well-being outcomes in research, clinical care, and population health promotion. The meeting provided a forum in which researchers and other stakeholders could learn about different approaches to measuring well-being, as well as the relevance of measuring well-being within different organizational contexts and populations. [PDF]. 

VA Announces Whole Health Flagship Sites

Personalized Plan Puts Veterans in Control of their Health Care

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released the names of 18 facilities designated VA Whole Health Flagship Sites, which are spread around the country within the VA health-care system and are focused on empowering and equipping Veterans to take charge of their health and well-being. 

As VA shifts from a health-care system focused primarily on treating disease to one guided by a personalized health plan that considers the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental needs of Veterans, the Whole Health System acknowledges that health care involves more than the physical human body. 

More on VA Whole Health Program.

Qigong and Energy Medicine for the U.S. Armed Forces

NY Times: The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulness

To treat pain, PTSD and other illnesses, Tennessee vets try tai chi

New Marine correctional unit goes against stereotype with mindfulness and goal setting

pubmed

Yoga for Military Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Yoga helps veterans reduce back pain. 

NCCIH Clinical Digest: Mind and Body Approaches for Health Problems in Military Personnel and Veterans: What the Science Says. This report includes recommendations for tai chi, meditation, the relaxation response, acupuncture, and yoga for various conditions such as pain, stress, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, headaches, stress, and insomnia.

Tai Chi proves feasible and beneficial for vets with PTSD.

Army’s New PTSD Treatments: Yoga, Reiki, ‘Bioenergy’

Military deploys acupuncture to treat soldiers' concussionsCAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The U.S. military is applying an ancient Chinese healing technique to the top modern battlefield injury for American soldiers, with results that doctors here say are "off the charts."

pubmedTwo sessions of sleep-focused mind-body bridging improve self-reported symptoms of sleep and PTSD in veterans: A pilot randomized controlled trial.

The David Lynch Foundation is working with military organizations to provide individual and group programs utilizing meditation for PTSD.

pubmedBuilding spiritual fitness in the Army: an innovative approach to a vital aspect of human development. This article describes the development of the spiritual fitness component of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. Spirituality is defined in the human sense as the journey people take to discover and realize their essential selves and higher order aspirations.

Acupuncture Gets Military Support For Gulf War Illness Treatment - The Department of Defense has made a $1.2 million research grant to the New England School of Acupuncture (located in Newton, Massachusetts). The goal of the study is to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of Gulf War Illness (GWI)

Special issue of Medical Acupuncture explores military applications of acupuncture.

Meditation helps military personnel fight stress. Mindfulness training - a combination of meditation and body awareness exercises - can help help soldiers prepare for and recover from stressful combat situations, a study showed.

Alternative therapies like yoga, meditation and mindfulness training are helping to heal PTSD.

Commentary and Video. Brief Vignettes of Four War Veterans Receiving Energy Psychology Treatments.

pubmedSimplified Qigong practices were proven beneficial for service members diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, and Qigong allowed them to control symptoms and reduce their reliance on pharmacotherapy.

Meditation training may help reduce stress disorders among U.S. military personnel.

Mindfulness Training Benefits U.S. Veterans with Diabetes. Program helped decrease diabetes-related distress and lowered blood sugar.

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.

pubmed

Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sports Injuries in an Austere Environment. Current medical literature notes low to moderate quality evidence for the use of acupuncture in lower back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. There is emerging evidence for the use of acupuncture in traumatic brain injury. The U.S. military uses acupuncture in deployed settings to treat battlefield injuries with promising results. This article reviews the military's current use of acupuncture to treat injuries in a deployed setting and how this may translate to the care of a sports injury in an austere environment.

The White House

White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy

Final Report of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In March 2000, the President and Congress responded to public demand and public need by creating the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. The Commission's mandate was to develop legislative and administrative recommendations that would help public policy maximize potential benefits, to consumers and American health care, of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies - chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, herbs, and nutritional and mind-body therapies like Qigong, as well as a host of other approaches. The main goals were "...to engage Americans to participate actively in their own care; to stimulate research that will fairly test promising new and ancient approaches; to fully inform all health professionals and the people they serve about what is, and is not, known about CAM therapies; to make sure safe and reliable products are available to all Americans; to expand all Americans' options for safe and effective care; and to promote the study of approaches that may save us all money as well as enhance our health and well being."

White House Forum on Health Reform March 2009

President Obama called a non-partisan forum to discuss how to lower the costs and improve the quality and accessibility of health care. Participants strongly recommended changing the current paradigm so that prevention of illness and keeping people healthy becomes an integral part of the American health system. They noted that it is much cheaper to prevent disease than to treat it, and that public health and prevention should be interwoven into our society, including schools.

White House Forum on Health Reform Report: Short summary or Full Report.

The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulness

soldier holding back of his head

Mindfulness — the practice of using breathing techniques, similar to those in meditation, to gain focus and reduce distraction — is inching into the military in the United States and those of a handful of other nations. Article. NY Times, Apr 2019.

Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative

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) aref 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 (conneciomics). 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 see The Bioenergetic Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine.

The Brain Activity Map Project (also see NYTimes Connecting the Neural Dots) was envisioned to focus on research in neural networks, including how signals are translated to thoughts and feelings. Hopefully this work will include electromagnetic brain oscillatory activity and not be limited to physical neural pathways

National Science Foundation Participates in White House Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The Human Connectome Project. The NIH Human Connectome Project is an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function. The overarching purpose of the Project is to acquire and share data about the structural and functional connectivity of the human brain. It will greatly advance the capabilities for imaging and analyzing brain connections, resulting in improved sensitivity, resolution, and utility, thereby accelerating progress in the emerging field of human connectomics.

$40 million awarded to trace human brain's connections.

Also see Connectomics.