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.
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
CAM basics: What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Mind-Body Medicine: An Overview
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
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). The National Prevention Strategy will incorporate the most effective and achievable means of improving the health of Americans and reducing the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The summer 2019 issue of Qi Journal contained the article, “Regulating The Teaching and Practice Of Qigong and Tai Chi,” a collaboration between and 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.
COMMENT ON Accreditation Standard Guideline Initiative for Qigong Instructors and Training Institutions. Weaver and Rogers. 2019. Read the Article.
“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 and is dead for this legislative session.
More information on legislation affecting Qigong and Tai Chi can be found on the National Qigong Association Legislative Update page.
"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.
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.
Qigong at the VA. Veterans 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.
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.
Lectures include Introduction to Medical Qigong—Mysteries & Wonders of Chinese Medicine, Mindfulness Instruction for Urban Youth: What Do We Know?, The Science of the Placebo Effect, and Heart Rate Variability as a Measure of Sympathetic/Parasympathetic Balance.
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.
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.
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.
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
Veterans share Qigong class impact on their lives.
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.
Military deploys acupuncture to treat soldiers' concussions. CAMP 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."
The David Lynch Foundation is working with military organizations to provide individual and group programs utilizing meditation for PTSD.
Building 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)
Veterans learn about meditation for treating post traumatic stress. Veterans treat Post Traumatic Stress with Meditation
PTSD? Try meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga. VA exploring alternative therapies as big wave of vets hits.
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.
Commentary and Video. Brief Vignettes of Four War Veterans Receiving Energy Psychology Treatments.
Simplified 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.
Combat Veterans Gift from World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. World Tai Chi & Qigong Day's founder is currently working with a Veterans Administration Hospital to provide copies of his acclaimed Tai Chi & Qigong DVD for free to returning veterans, in honor of his father, William Edward Douglas, Sr., who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder his entire life. If your local VA Hospital is interested in this program, have them contact BillDouglas@WorldTaiChiDay.org
Healing Combat Trauma through Qigong. The "Moving Meditation" of Qi Gong -- One Veteran's Opinion on How it Helps
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.
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.
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.
In a survey of more than 3,500 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.
The fundamentals of tai chi, along with the benefits of this practice are explained. Veterans from various periods of service provide personal testimony to the benefits they’ve gained. May 2015.
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."
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.
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
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.
Also see Connectomics.