Review of the Neural Oscillations Underlying Meditation. The most commonly studied specific meditation practices are focused attention (FA), open-monitoring (OM), as well as transcendental meditation (TM), and loving-kindness (LK) meditation. Meditation is one type of mental training that has been shown to produce many cognitive benefits. Meditation practice is associated with improvement in concentration and reduction of stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, different forms of meditation training are now being used as interventions for a variety of psychological and somatic illnesses. The current literature suggests distinct differences in neural oscillatory activity among FA, OM, TM, and LK meditation practices.
'Mindfulness' meditation technique finding new fans in Triangle and beyond. "The formal practice of mindfulness meditation is like going to the gym," she said. "You are training your brain toward focus, toward being able to marshal your own attention." Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh showed why this works by looking at MRI images of study subjects who had been practicing mindfulness meditation for eight weeks. The images showed a decrease in the size of the amygdala, which is the "fight or flight" center of the brain.
The neurobiology of focus and distraction: The case for incorporating mindfulness into leadership. Two main neural circuits are contrasted: the mind-wandering default mode circuit and the attentional central executive system. These two systems act in an antagonistic pairing, where the degree of toggling between systems is associated with the degree a person can sustain focus and filter out unwarranted distractions. Excessive multitasking appears to compromise the neural switch of these two systems, thereby diminishing our focus and concentration. In contrast, mindfulness practice is shown to have the opposite effect by enhancing the neural switch, thereby enhancing leadership focus that can lead to greater flexibility, foresight, regulation, and creativity. To conclude, leaders who are excessively distracted, such as with multitasking, may be compromising cognitive brain functioning, while engaging in mindfulness may replenish the brain and thereby enhance leaders' ability to sustain focus and tap into higher cognitive functioning.
Bioelectric signaling in regeneration: Mechanisms of ionic controls of growth and form (morphology). Levin at the Department of Biology, Tufts University is at the forefront of researching the relationship between physiology and bioenergy. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the Eight Extraordinary vessels or meridians are the energy template of the body. This energy template or field is affected by the environment and is the fundamental pattern that provides the basis for human growth and morphology. Levin's work expands our basic understanding of morphogenetic processes responsible for the generation and repair of complex anatomy through researching and understanding our endogenous voltage gradients, ion flows, and electric fields.
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. “American’s 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.”
Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. Qigong practice stimulates the vagus nerve, mainly through diaphragmatic breathing. This review article reports that vagus nerve stimulation is a promising add-on treatment for treatment-refractory depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease. Treatments that target the vagus nerve increase the vagal tone and inhibit cytokine production. Both are important mechanism of resiliency.
The Bioelectric Code: Reprogramming Cancer and Aging From the Interface of Mechanical and Chemical Microenvironments. Cellular membrane voltage (Vm), has been documented to exert control over cellular behavior both in culture and in vivo. Manipulating this fundamental cellular property influences a remarkable array of organism-wide patterning events, producing striking outcomes in both tumorigenesis as well as regeneration. These studies suggest that Vm is not only a key intrinsic cellular property, but also an integral part of the microenvironment that acts in both space and time to guide cellular behavior. As a result, there is considerable interest in manipulating Vm both to treat cancer as well as to regenerate organs damaged or deteriorated during aging.
Inflammatory biomarkers responses after acute whole body vibration in fibromyalgia. A single acute session of mild and short whole body vibration (one form of Spontanous Qigong) can improve the inflammatory status in patients with fibromyalgia, reaching values close to those of matched healthy adults at their basal status. The neuroendocrine mechanism seems to be an exercise-induced modulation towards greater adaptation to stress response in these patients.
Acupuncture 'dose' (number of treatments) and insurance benefits in the USA. An adequate treatment dose, including a sufficient number of acupuncture treatments, is important for the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for common conditions. Nationally, most people who use acupuncture do not receive a full treatment course. Considering evidence of effectiveness, low risk and relatively low cost of delivery, acupuncture could play a larger role in non-pharmaceutical treatment of common conditions such as pain. Policymakers should consider that, without insurance benefits for acupuncture, people are less likely to complete a full treatment course, which may contribute to disparities in use and health outcomes.
VA Promotes Tai Chi as a part of its new Whole Health initiative. The VA describes Whole Health as providing a personalized health plan for veterans, encouraging them to practice "self-care," and providing a comprehensive care that "considers the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental elements that work together to provide the best quality of life."
Yoga in Print Media: Missing the Heart of the Practice. Representation of yoga in articles contained in the most popular yoga magazine is heavily biased in favor of physical practices. Recommendations are offered about how to shift media representation of yoga to make the heart of the practice more accessible to individuals who could experience health benefits but currently feel excluded from the practice.
An Introduction to Tai Chi. A new special health report from Harvard Medical School. Mind-body exercises, such as tai chi and yoga, have been gaining popularity over the past few decades. This is not surprising, given the increasing number of studies on the positive effects of these gentler forms of exercise—everything from lowering blood pressure and managing depression to building strength and improving balance. There is even evidence that tai chi may help you live a longer, more vital life.
Qigong alleviates musculoskeletal pain and improves overall sleep quality in people with chronic illness. Unfortunately, in the abstract and title they call Baduanjin "mindfulness", and do not mention that Baduanjin (8 pieces of Brocade) is Qigong. Fortunately, Qigong is mentioned multiple times in the article text. "Contemporary concept Qigong practices like Baduanjin enhance physiological proprioception by combining a special state of awareness with posture, movement, and breathe control, and thereby improve and strengthen the overall state of vegetative regulation (homeostasis) . Compared to first line treatments (drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy) and other effective treatment alternatives (e.g., aerobic exercise for insomnia), there are a lot of advantage to use Baduanjin exercise as an adjunctive treatment for patients suffering from pain and from insomnia. It is accessible to people of all ages and physical strength, easy to learn, and has few known side effects."
Registration is now open for the next National Qigong Association Conference. Friday–Sunday, April 27–29, 2018 DoubleTree by Hilton, Asheville-Biltmore, NC. Three days of workshops, lectures, seminars, and demonstrations presented by over 20 leaders in the fields of Qigong, Taijiquan, and the Energetic Arts, plus networking with friends in the Qigong community, distinctive vendors & products, and a silent auction.
The acute Effect of “White Ball” Qigong in Perceptual auditory Attention. The correlation between body-mind techniques, practice, and better cognitive performances is a current topic of public interest. Benefits in attention, multi-task management, stress- coping, well-being and general health improvements are documented. Qigong is a therapeutic technique from TCM with great clinical success on cognitive and emotional management. One of the problems with Qigong research is the lack of adequate controls. We recently developed a placebo Qigong and adopted this methodology to the current research study. We were interested whether a single five minutes practice of the White Ball Qi Gong exercise improved the Perceptual Auditory Attention or if a minimum of training is necessary to obtain potential effects.
Defeating Diseases with Energy. Healing with qi. A change in body energy can have a profound effect upon function. “My belief is that mitochondrial dysfunction underlies the etiology of most common complex diseases, as well as aging,” the author says. He explains that a person suffering from chronic headaches might see a neurologist, but there’s also the possibility that “there’s a systemic energy defect causing the headache. There’s nothing wrong anatomically with the brain.” Wallace believes the same can be said for problems with the heart, muscles, renal and endocrine systems. "We've completely ignored energy in Western medical philosophy," the author says.
Study finds tai chi significantly reduces depression symptoms in Chinese-Americans. A 12-week program of instruction and practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese Americans not receiving any other treatments. The pilot study conducted by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry enrolled members of Boston's Chinese community who had mild to moderate depression.
Exercise Alters Our Microbiome. Is That One Reason It’s So Good for Us? Researchers found increases in certain microbes due to exercise that help to produce substances called short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are believed to aid in reducing inflammation in the gut and the rest of the body. They also work to fight insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, and otherwise bolster our metabolisms. Almost all of the changes in people’s guts dissipated after six weeks of not exercising. By and large, their microbiomes reverted to what they had been at the study’s start. These results indicate that exercise must be part of one's lifestyle in order for the benefits to last as they do in the life-long practice of Qigong.
The Effects of Stress and Meditation on the Immune System, Human Microbiota, and Epigenetics. Psychological stress typically triggers a fight-or-flight response, prompting corticotropin-releasing hormone and catecholamine production in various parts of the body, which ultimately disturbs the microbiota. In the absence of stress, a healthy microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids that exert anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects. During stress, an altered gut microbial population affects the regulation of neurotransmitters mediated by the microbiome and gut barrier function. Meditation helps regulate the stress response, thereby suppressing chronic inflammation states and maintaining a healthy gut-barrier function. The current research team recommends the integration of meditation into conventional health care and wellness models. More information on Qigong and the Microbiome: Food Is Medicine.
Daisy Lee - FREE National Qigong Association Qi Talk. "To start the year off right, we [the NQA] would like to share with you a free link to our recent one-hour Qi Talks interview with Daisy Lee with Vicki Dello Joio. The Qi Talks archive is an exclusive member benefit, but we are sharing this audio recording for all to enjoy."