Physiological mechanisms triggered by the practice of qigong and yoga/pranayama, traditional asian self-applied health maintenance systems

Author: Jahnke Roger
Affiliation: Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine, Santa Barbara, Calif., USA [1]
Conference/Journal: 1st Int Cong of Qigong
Date published: 1990
Other: Pages: 121 , Word Count: 286


The health cost crisis and the remaining unresolved challenges of immune deficiency and chronic degenerative disease both demand a renaissance in patient responsibility and self care to complement primary medical intervention. Qigong from Chilean and Yoga/Pranayama from India are two of the worlds most eloquent systems of self applied health maintenance. However, Western culture generally has considered the medical systems of Asian cultures to be unscientific, even primitive. Therefore, the broad application or such techniques in the western world is unlikely until the physiological mechanisms operating in the practicing individual are delineated and quantified in keeping with the western model.

A large percent of research to date from China and other Asian countries Is generally unsatisfactory to the rigorous standards of the western research model. However, beginning with the 1988 First World Conference on the Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong in Beijing, China, a flurry of sufficiently controlled psycho-neuro research has come forth from China. In addition, much of the research from behavioral medicine, exercise physiology, immunology and several other specialties from western science address aspects of the practice of qigong and Yoga/Pranayama through research targeted at other areas.

The function of a multitude of physiological mechanisms are triggered and enhanced by the practice of Qigong Yoga/Pranayama, including: oxygen uptake, ATP productivity, free radical management, several aspects of immune function, aerobic production of metabolic water (lymph) generation, lymph propulsion, cerebrospinal fluid circulation, parasympathetic or relaxation response, neurotransmitter profile, peripheral microcirculation, and right/left brain balance. This paper is aimed at delineating the physiological mechanisms triggered by the practice of the self applied health maintenance methods of Asian traditional medical systems in the interest of supporting the proliferation of their practice in the western world.

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