Medical Research on Tai Chi & QIgong - World Tai Chi and Qigong Day website. Alphabetical Drop-down menu of topics A-Z.
All Qigong can be called medical because the practice of it directly benefits health and body function. It belongs to a new category of exercise called "moving meditation" (or what Harvard Medical School calls "moving medication") which combines movement, breathing, and awareness. Qigong's diaphragmatic breathing and mental focus encourage health, growth, restoration, digestion, and vitality mainly through modulation of the autonomic nervous system. Qigong helps with a variety of health issues, including quality of life, inflammation and immune function, psychological symptoms, and cardiovascular disorders, to name a few.
Although ancient in origin, Qigong is a new category of exercise called Meditative Movement. From a physiological standpoint, Qigong practice puts the body into a state of relaxation and regeneration. This state is achieved by eliciting the Relaxation Response, coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, Associate Professor of Medicine at The Harvard Medical School to describe the healing and stress reducing effects of a mind-body practice.
National Qigong Association Research and Education Committee Updated Review of Qigong Research.
Trends in Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong Use Among US Adults, 2002-2017. Acute and chronic pain, arthritis, and depression were the top three medical conditions for which people used Qigong and Tai Chi the most.
"Although not proven conclusively from a Western Medical stand point, Qigong is an accepted treatment option in the fields of complementary and alternative medicine. Qigong treatment is also used extensively in China as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been included in the curriculum of Chinese universities. Qigong practice serves both a preventive and curative function. It is considered to be effective in improving the effects of many chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, allergy, asthma, arthritis, degenerative disk disease, cancer, depression, anxiety and addiction. Qigong works by improving the practitioners’ immunity response, increasing a person’s self-healing and self-recovery capabilities and enhancing one’s self-regeneration potential...." Lee Holden: "Qigong for Health".
Some Chinese research has found that the curative effect of Chinese-Western medicine and Qigong Therapy is superior to just Qigong Therapy or just Chinese-Western therapies. This combination of medical paradigms and practices forms the basis of Integrative Medicine which incorporates the best practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine, and Qigong Therapy. Examples are practicing Qigong during cancer recovery after a course of chemotherapy to improve quality of life, or the proven ability of Qigong to reduce the amount of prescription drugs required for treatment, or the combination of Qigong and the drugs was superior to the drugs alone.
Discoveries in Alternative Medicine, Effie Chow. PBS documentary on Effie Chow, qigong master and alternative medicine healer.
Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. Blue Shield of California Health Library Article. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
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.
Medical Qigong: An alternative therapy for pain. For patients, Medical Qigong can be used to address many common ailments or health concerns, including mental, physical or emotional stressors, physical pain, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety or depression. Relief may happen quickly for some or can occur slowly over time - every patient's experience is unique.
Listen to an introduction to the use of Medical Qigong for health (once on the referenced page, scroll down the page to find this podcast) by Ted Cibik, Doctor of Medical Qigong. Also, for more information on how Qigong is being used to treat a range of diseases and conditions, such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more, see Ancient Health Practices for a Modern World.
The World Academic Society of Medical Qigong (WASMG) .
Seated Taiji and Qigong: Guided Therapeutic Exercises to Manage Stress and Balance Mind, Body and Spirit. Covering everything caregivers need to know about Taiji and Qigong, this illustrated guide provides an explanatory introduction to these forms of exercises and shows how to build up a program from easy steps to more challenging ones. There are exercises to stimulate every part of the body, with variations to suit the patient's needs and preferences. All the movements are adapted from the same ancient principles guiding classic Taiji and Qigong and will help strengthen the body as well as provide contemplative relaxation. This book will show occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, activity directors, mental health practitioners, martial arts instructors, and anyone else working with people with physical disabilities and the elderly exactly how these simple techniques can make big improvements to a person's physical and mental wellbeing.
Medical Qigong Textbook
Chinese Medical Qigong, known as Qigong Study in Chinese Medicine in China, is the third edition of the only official textbook of medical Qigong used in colleges and universities of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China. It is the result of the collaborative efforts of more than thirty faculty members in a dozen colleges and universities of TCM in China and represents the highest level of academic research and the broadest compilation of clinical applications on medical Qigong today. This unique book is a systematic survey of the history, methods, transformation, and development of ancient Chinese mind-body cultivating skills, or what is today called Qigong. This text focuses on medical Qigong as a study discipline in the 21st century, and on cultivating Qi for the health and healing. It offers concepts, examples, background, techniques, and a multitude of historic and contemporary methods for refining and implementing mind-body cultivation within life nurturing and healing. For the Table of Contents and information about the authors, see the introduction to Chinese Medical Qigong.
Medical Qigong: Fact or Fiction? A book review of Chinese Medical Qigong by Chinese scholar and Qigong educator Ken Cohen.
Qigong Self-Massage for Healthy Eyes and Sinuses
Acupuncture can be used to treat a surprisingly wide range of conditions, including headaches, breathing problems, weak eyesight, and more. One issue that might deter people from trying it, however, is that there just don’t seem to be acupuncture specialists on hand when we need them. Enter acupressure: acupuncture’s easy-to-use, less intimidating cousin. Similarly borrowing from traditional Chinese wellness, acupressure is based on the same understanding of qi flow as acupuncture, but uses your hands instead of needles. Since acupressure is less precise and there aren’t sharp objects to worry about, it makes for a great tool for self-care on the go, without need for a trained practitioner. More.
All energy arts--from simple qi gong exercises to medical qi gong and nei gong systems, tai chi and bagua forms--work the major blood vessels of the body and therefore the vascular system. When trained accurately and with the right intent, they can take pressure away from the heart by pumping blood around the body to relax and balance blood pressure throughout the vascular system. In time and with sustained, accurate practice, you can completely alter the trajectory of your heart health while making space for relaxation and letting go--that which ultimately allows you to be free and feel at ease with life from deep within your heart centre. More...
The people most familiar with the use of Qigong in medicine are Doctors of Oriental Medicine (OMD), Doctors of Medical Qigong (DMQ), Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM), or Medical Qigong Therapists.
Dr. Devatara J Holman, DACM, LAc is a Qigong Master and acupuncturist and has experience working with cancer patients. In addition, she specializes in Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Medical Qigong Therapy, Herbal Medicine, and Remote Healing. For more information see Marin Oriental Medicine and Emei Qigong Buddhist Medicine. Consultations are available individually at the Marin Oriental Medicine Clinic as well as long distance and via Skype.
23 Ways to Boost Your Immune System. #4: Practice Qigong. This Chinese mind-body exercise combines breath control and slow movements to reduce stress and improve focus, but it may also help combat colds. Twenty-seven varsity swimmers in a University of Virginia study learned qigong, and during their seven-week training season, those who practiced it at least once a week got 70% fewer respiratory infections than swimmers who used it less.
Although very successful in some areas of medical diagnosis and treatment, Western Medicine is based on a bio-medical model which is not well-suited for treating chronic illness or mental conditions related to emotional, social, and nervous system disregulation. On the other hand, the biopsychosocial model incorporates cognitive, perceptual, and emotional factors; Central Nervous System modulation; and social interaction when treating patients.
Wikipedia: The biopsychosocial model is a broad view that attributes disease outcome to the intricate, variable interaction of biological factors (genetic, biochemical, etc), psychological factors (mood, personality, behavior, etc.), and social factors (cultural, familial, socioeconomic, medical, etc.).
Qigong Mind-Body Exercise (QMBE) as a Biopsychosocial Therapy for Persistent Post-Surgical Pain in Breast Cancer: A Pilot Study. Harvard Medical School research determines QMBE is a safe and gentle multimodal intervention that shows promise in conferring a broad range of psychosocial and physical benefits for breast cancer survivors. Note that they clearly state that Qigong provides psychosocial and not just physical benefits.
The Pain and Movement Reasoning Model: Introduction to a simple tool for integrated pain assessment. The Pain and Movement Reasoning Model presented in this paper attempts to capture the complexity of the human pain experience. The Model is strongly underpinned by Neuromatrix Theory and incorporates current concepts of neuroplastic determinants on the quality and nature of pain. Consequently, the Model avoids the risk of simplifying elements of the pain experience into linear independent systems e.g. central sensitisation, neuropathic, nociceptive. In a similar way the Model does not separate the biopsycho-social framework into its component parts, but instead integrates the combined influence of the physiological, cognitive, emotional and social inputs on neurophysiological mechanisms. Through consideration of this range of information, the predominant and changeable influences can be identified, leading therapists to select the most appropriate techniques. PubMed.
Pain and the neuromatrix in the brain. Pain is produced by the output of a widely distributed neural network in the brain rather than directly by sensory input evoked by injury, inflammation, or other pathology. The neuromatrix, which is genetically determined and modified by sensory experience, is the primary mechanism that generates the neural pattern that produces pain. Its output pattern is determined by multiple influences, of which the somatic sensory input is only a part, that converge on the neuromatrix.
The need for a new medical model: a challenge for biomedicine. The dominant model of disease today is biomedical, and it leaves no room within tis framework for the social, psychological, and behavioral dimensions of illness. Medicine’s crisis stems from the logical inference that since “disease” is defined in terms of somatic parameters, physicians need not be concerned with psychosocial issues which are assumed, mistakenly, to lie outside medicine’s responsibility and authority. A biopsychosocial model is proposed that provides a blueprint for research, a framework for teaching, and a design for action in the real world of health care. Engel. 1977. This is the seminal paper on the biopsychosocial model.
The biopsychosocial model of illness: a model whose time has come. The biopsychosocial model outlined in Engel's classic Science paper four decades ago emerged from dissatisfaction with the biomedical model of illness, which remains the dominant healthcare model. Engel's call to arms for a biopsychosocial model has been taken up in several healthcare fields, but it has not been accepted in the more economically dominant and politically powerful acute medical and surgical domains. It is widely used in research into complex healthcare interventions, it is the basis of the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning (WHO ICF), it is used clinically, and it is used to structure clinical guidelines. Critically, it is now generally accepted that illness and health are the result of an interaction between biological, psychological, and social factors. Despite the evidence supporting its validity and utility, the biopsychosocial model has had little influence on the larger scale organization and funding of healthcare provision. With chronic diseases now accounting for most morbidity and many deaths in Western countries, healthcare systems designed around acute biomedical care models are struggling to improve patient-reported outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Consequently, there is now a greater need to apply the biopsychological model to healthcare management. The increasing proportion of healthcare resource devoted to chronic disorders and the accompanying need to improve patient outcomes requires action; better understanding and employment of the biopsychosocial model by those charged with healthcare funding could help improve healthcare outcome while also controlling costs.
Is it possible to bridge the Biopsychosocial and Biomedical models? The author writes: 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.
Mind-Body Medicine: State of the Science, Implications for Practice. Although emerging evidence during the past several decades suggests that psychosocial factors can directly influence both physiologic function and health outcomes, medicine has failed to move beyond the biomedical model, in part because of lack of exposure to the evidence base supporting the biopsychosocial model... there is considerable evidence of efficacy for several mind-body therapies in the treatment of coronary artery disease (e.g, cardiac rehabilitation), headaches, insomnia, incontinence, chronic low back pain, disease and treatment-related symptoms of cancer, and improving postsurgical outcomes. We found moderate evidence of efficacy for mind-body therapies in the areas of hypertension and arthritis.
Non-pharmacological interventions and neuroplasticity in early stage Alzheimer's disease. Non-pharmacological interventions have the potential to reduce cognitive decline and to improve psychosocial aspects in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dementia, and the absence of side effects makes them a favorable option also for preventive strategies.
Religiosity and Health: A Holistic Biopsychosocial Perspective. The influence of religion and spirituality on health is examined within the context of the holistic paradigm and historical connection between nursing and spirituality. While nursing and spirituality often intersect with end-of-life considerations, this article presents findings from studies that demonstrate that religious involvement favors health and longevity across the life course. Examples include protective associations with stress, depression, self-rated health, and infant birth weight.
"Historically, mind and body became separated in the medical literature and despite more recent biopsychosocial and fear avoidance models working towards reintegration, this historic split is still reflected in service design, as well as the beliefs of families and clinicians. Common paediatric functional diagnoses such as chronic pain and functional gastrointestinal disorders provide examples of the reciprocal links between mind and body. The multifaceted natures and wide-reaching effects of these diagnoses suggest the need for coordinated multidisciplinary input. As illustrated in this article, mind and body have symbiotic relationships, and so we endorse the benefits of mental health and paediatric services entering into their own reciprocal and supportive associations in order to provide effective care." More.
“Qigong is a truly holistic healing knowledge system. Our body has a complex diagnostic and healing system that I call the ‘internal hospital’, a hospital called Nothingness, all inclusive. Critical to genuine Qigong healing is the understanding that Qigong does not work at the structural level (anatomy), but at the Qi level..." More
From: Restoring Natural Harmony, Simon Blow. www.simonblowqigong.com. Reprinted with permisson of author.
Effects of healing touch in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Hands-on healing and energy-based interventions have been found in cultures throughout history around the world. These complementary therapies, rooted in ancient Eastern healing practices, are becoming mainstream. Healing Touch, a biofield therapy that arose in the nursing field in the late 1980s, is used in a variety of settings (i.e., pain centers, surgical settings, and private practices) with reported benefits (i.e., decreased anxiety, pain, and depressive behaviors; increased relaxation and a sense of well-being).
For more information on Therapeutic Touch:
Read an overview article in Massage Today Effects of Healing Touch in Clinical Practice: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials
Visit the Healing Touch Program website
Recent advances in homeopathic research indicate that nanoparticles provide a mechanism for the effect of homeopathic remedies.
Explaining Homeopathy with Quantum Electrodynamics. According to the developed model, all levels of a living organism organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, whole organism-are characterized by their own specific wave functions, whose phases are perfectly orchestrated in a multi-level coherence oneness. When this multi-level coherence is broken, a disease emerges. An example shows how a homeopathic medicine can bring back a patient from a disease state to a healthy one. In particular, by adopting QED, it is argued that in the preparation of homeopathic medicines, the progressive dilution/succussion processes create the conditions for the emergence of coherence domains (CDs) in the aqueous solution. Those domains code the original substance information (in terms of phase oscillations) and therefore they can transfer said information (by phase resonance) to the multi-level coherent structures of the living organism.
Adaptive network nanomedicine: an integrated model for homeopathic medicine. Researchers propose that the action of nanoparticles provides a model for the mechanism of homeopathy.
Like cures like: A neuroimmunological model based on electromagnetic resonance. The main cause of the therapeutic effects of homeopathic remedies is the occurrence of resonance between the non-physiological electromagnetic (EM) waves of the patient and extremely low-frequency EM waves produced by nanostructures present in the homeopathic remedy.
A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. Homeopathic remedies are proposed as source nanoparticles that mobilize hormesis and time-dependent sensitization via non-pharmacological effects on specific biological adaptive and amplification mechanisms.
Homeopathic potentization based on nanoscale domains. This study presents a simple descriptive and quantitative model of how high potencies in homeopathy arise.
Advances in Integrative Nanomedicine for Improving Infectious Disease Treatment in Public Health. Homeopathy is being increasingly recognized as a major form of the emerging science of nanomedicine. Infectious diseases present public health challenges worldwide. An emerging integrative approach to treating infectious diseases is using nanoparticle forms of traditional and alternative medicines. Advantages of nanomedicine delivery methods include better disease targeting, especially for intracellular pathogens, ability to cross membranes and enter cells, longer duration drug action, reduced side effects, and cost savings from lower doses.
"Health Medicine" is a term being used to describe an integrative, holistic, person-centered, and preventive style of clinical practice. An example of a website and practice that embodies health medicine is DoctorSaputo.com. It is the brainchild of Len Saputo, MD and Francesco Garri Garripoli who have built this project on the foundation of their friendship that began in 1998. These two wellness advocates envisioned a new approach to health education and personal empowerment. Combining Len's concept's of "health medicine" and a true "patient centered" approach to medicine... and Francesco's emphasis on a holistic, body/mind/spirit perspective on self care and preventative medicine, DoctorSaputo.com is a true East-meets-West approach to health education. DoctorSaputo.com offers a library of nearly 2,000 media files featuring Dr. Saputo, his wife Vicki Saputo, RN, Francesco, and an amazing array of health and wellness experts from around the world discussing information that is custom-delivered to you.
Qigong improved exercise tolerance and endurance, reduced COPD-related symptoms, and improved interoception, especially in the ability to handle stress. Video-delivered mindfulness meditation training can produce clinically relevant and statistically significant health improvements. More.
NY TIMES. It has been long recognized that deep, controlled breathing can calm someone having an anxiety attack or help anyone in need of a little more stress-relief and mental clarity. A study published last March in Science showed a direct anatomical link between the parts of the brain that control voluntary breathing and the parts that control emotionality. Breathing through the nose activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps people remain calm and alert, improves their peripheral vision and encourages them to maintain better posture and mechanics, which results in fewer injuries. More...
"Chinese medicine is wellness based, and its benefits are accomplished through functional enhancement. When a body heals any part, the whole participates. Only in the Western world do we, because medicine is pathology based and potentially dangerous, believe it is critical to attack specific pathogens or remove a particular diseased part very specifically. In the more primitive systems of medicine where the paradigm is based on healing by maximizing the function of the whole being on every level, it is well known that the whole body works together to resolve pain and heal disease. In the more whole person paradigm, the idea of treating a part or process pales next to the profound idea that, integrally, any part can only be transformed with the support of healing components, factors and processes that happen throughout the whole system." Dr. Roger Jahnke, Founder and Director of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi.
Chinese Wellness Based Healthcare System: An Inspiring Solution To Health & Economic Crisis in America. There are many ways to turn on (activate, create, maximize) the internal medicine. By enhancing wellbeing and function – disease is neutralized (healed) or even better, disease is prevented. These methods were fully described in the ancient yet practical tradition of Chinese Medicine. Dr. Roger Jahnke.
Cultivating Qi and Activating the Healer Within. An Interview with Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.
An interview with Dr. Roger Jahnke: The Power of Mind-Body Medicine to Transform the Delivery of Health Care.
"Conventional medical science has been so busy creating new technologies for treating disease that we have forgotten about caring for health. In the West we incorrectly believe that health care and medicine are the same thing. While we in the West have a truly fantastic, though very expensive, system based on treating people after they are sick, China has a profoundly remarkable and quite inexpensive system of health care based on keeping people well." Dr. Roger Jahnke.
What would healthcare look like if Qigong was adopted more widely? Because Qigong introduces the concept of self-healing and mind-body integration into health care and daily life, it has the potential to change people’s general lifestyles and philosophies of health and healing. The term “Qigong” sounds very Chinese, but the practice of mind-body-breathing exercises that have been called Qigong in China can be found in many different cultures. Meditation, yoga, Reiki, Taiji quan, deep breathing and guided imagery are all described thoroughly in ancient Qigong literature, and all mind-body or energy practitioners can work under the same theory and principles to promote a similar healing philosophy: self-healing, cultivating the mind or spirit, and achieving mind-body-spirit harmony or balance through practice.
How To Be More Well, Reduce Medical Costs & Help Pay Off the National Debt. Conventional medical science has been so busy creating new technologies for treating disease that we have forgotten about caring for health. In the West we incorrectly believe that health care and medicine are the same thing. While we in the West have a truly fantastic, though very expensive, system based on treating people after they are sick, China has a profoundly remarkable and quite inexpensive system of health care based on keeping people well.
American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. A program of regular exercise that includes cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults....Neuromotor exercise training, sometimes called functional fitness training, incorporates motor skills such as balance, coordination, gait, and agility, and proprioceptive training. Multifaceted physical activities such as tai ji (tai chi), qigong, and yoga involve varying combinations of neuromotor exercise, resistance exercise, and flexibility exercise. Neuromotor exercise training is beneficial as part of a comprehensive exercise program for older persons, especially to improve balance, agility, muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.
Non-Pharmacological healing with Mind-Body practice with Dr.Roger Jahnke
6th college of surgeons lecture - the philosophy of balance: the art of healing. The art of healing is the art of balancing the Science and the Art of Medicine, treating the disease and the patient as a whole, incorporating the best in allopathic (Western) medicine as well as complementary medical practices.
When Bill Moyers’ series, Healing and the Mind, premiered on PBS over 10 years ago, integrative medicine still lay on the fringes of the U.S. health care system. Today, it is booming. Even the most conservative health institutions are beginning to practice therapies once considered “new age”— acupuncture, visualization, self-hypnosis and mindfulness— alongside the more traditional drugs and surgery. Equally important is a new attitude that treats the patient as a whole person rather than a cog in an assembly line. The New Medicine, a two-hour documentary, hosted by Dana Reeve, takes viewers inside medical schools, healthcare clinics, research institutions and private practices to examine the rapidly expanding world of integrative medicine.
Implementing a Global Integrative Rehabilitation Medicine Rotation: A Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program's Experience: A successful innovative international rotation in integrative rehabilitation medicine was implemented as part of the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Rotation objectives were to introduce medical knowledge of integrative medicine treatments into physical medicine and rehabilitation practice.
The Quest for Modernisation of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A short review of Traditional Chinese Medicine from the 1950's through today. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a holistic medical system for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and has been an integral part of Asian cultures for thousands of years. TCM uses experience-based therapies such as acupuncture and herbal medicine and is characterised by its underpinning theoretical guide, i.e. the philosophy of Yin-Yang balance [1-5]. In a historical and international perspective, this report discusses modernisation of TCM, an effort to bring the ancient practice of TCM in line with modern scientific standards . Focusing on the past 60 years since the 1950s, we aim to highlight the scientific evidence behind TCM, update the most important milestones and pitfalls, and propose key principles to guide future developments.
A Critical Examination of the Main Premises of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This article provides an overview of the evidence underlying the basic TCM concepts, such as Qi, meridians, acupuncture, pulse and tongue diagnostics as well as traditional herbal treatments. Moreover, it discusses whether scientific literature on TCM reflects the current standard for evidence-based research, as described in good scientific practice and good clinical practice guidelines. [Full article].
Strategies to Support and Fortify (vs. “Boost”) Your Immune System: Classical Chinese Medicine Wisdom for Optimal Health. "Let us never underestimate the power of giving our body, mind, and spirit what supports our highest good."
Instead of “boosting immunity,” Chinese Medicine seeks to fortify your immune system, reinforcing the awe-inspiring wisdom and intelligence of your body.
Bruce Lipton - The Power of Consciousness (video 50:57). Changing your response to the environment in which you live controls your genes and health.
In a seven part YouTube series called Biology of Perception Dr. Lipton explains how perception affects cells at the molecular level.
Assessing the quality, efficacy, and effectiveness of the current evidence base of active self-care complementary and integrative medicine therapies for the management of chronic pain: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. A key component of chronic pain management is active self-care. Active self-care is also a fundamental principle of qigong practice. Because chronic pain affects the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), patient-centered complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapies that acknowledge the patients' roles in their own healing processes have the potential to provide more efficient and comprehensive chronic pain management. Active self-care CIM therapies allow for a more diverse, patient-centered treatment of complex symptoms, promote self-management, and are relatively safe and cost-effective. This systematic reviews examines the full range of ACT-CIM used for chronic pain symptom management.
We are not victims of our heredity. People are limited by their perceptions and beliefs of the world that they live in. Listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Bruce Lipton discuss how people can heal themselves.
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 a precursor to her PBS special which has aired on stations such as 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.
Reversing the Chronic Disease Trend: Six Steps to Better Wellness. Despite notable advances in treating and preventing infectious disease and trauma, the acute-care model that dominated 20th century medicine has not been effective in treating and preventing chronic disease. Adopting a new operating system for 21st century medicine requires that we: 1. Recognize and validate more appropriate and successful clinical modelsn 2. Re-shape the education and clinical practices of health professionals to help them achieve proficiency in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic disease and 3. Reimburse equitably for lifestyle medicine and expanded preventive strategies, acknowledging that the greatest health threats now arise from how we live, work, eat, play, and move. Qigong can play a major role in this redefined model of 21st century medicine for chronic care.
The Institute aims to illuminate an important difference between the terms “integrative medicine” and “integrative health,” which are often used interchangeably. While integrative medicine has largely focused on clinical care, integrative health encompasses the full array of health determinants, including social, behavioral, economic, and environmental factors. “The definition presents a broader vision of what health is and what it should be. We hope it will facilitate the work of society and practitioners to achieve greater integrative health,” Dr. Witt said. Read Article.
Some universities have taken the lead in educating medical students, the public, and health care professionals on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies, including Qigong. A few innovative examples are Georgetown University Medical Center which has a Science-Based Master's Program in CAM. In addition, the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine focuses on the body's own healing mechanisms, and the University of Illinois Kinesiology and Community Health Department has innovative programs which include research on the benefits of Tai Chi, especially for the elderly. The Harvard Medical School Osher Research Center focuses on complementary and integrative medicine through research, delivery of educational programs to the public and medical community as well as sustainable models of care delivery. The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital is dedicated to the study and clinical practice of mind-body medicine. Likewise, the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (CFM) was founded in 1995 to bring stress reduction techniques to a wide audience through its respected Stress Reduction Program. The Mayo Clinic recommends Tai Chi for stress reduction ( Tai Chi: Stress reduction, balance, agility and more ) while the Arthritis Foundation recommends Tai Chi for easing arthritis symptoms (use "tai chi" for search term) (use the "tai chi" search term). The Mayo Clinic includes Tai Chi and Qigong (the meditation, spirituality, and guided imagery aspects of Qigong) in the Mayo Clinic's Top 10 Complementary Therapies.
For a more comprehensive list of mainstream medical schools that are integrating CAM into their curriculum and offering CAM therapies, see The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.
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.
Lifestyle medicine: the future of chronic disease management
Lifestyle medicine is a new discipline that has recently emerged as a systematized approach for management of chronic disease.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has established an Integrative Medicine Consult Service at the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) Clinical Center, the world’s largest hospital devoted to research. This service will provide physicians, nurses, and other members of the Clinical Cnete health care team the ability to discuss complementary and alternative medicine ( CAM ) therapies with knowledgeable medical staff from the consult service and learn how various CAM practices might complement or interact with a patient's care as a research participant at the Clinical Center.
Integrative Medicine. Ralph Snyderman, M.D., Emeritus Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University; James B. Duke Professor of Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine. This lecture covers the concept of prospective care and personalized medicine, incorporating personalized health planning and how this differs from the current disease-oriented approach; the types of new tools becoming available to facilitate the practice of prospective and personalized care; the compelling need for greater personal responsibility for maintaining ones health and the tools available to do so; and understanding the potential for an increased and more dominant role for rational integrative medicine approaches in prospective care.
Neural Basis of Mind-Body Pain Therapies. M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., is Scientific Director of the Division of Intramural Research. Dr. Bushnell is responsible for establishing and overseeing a new, state-of-the-art program to be the focus of NCCIH’s intramural research, on the brain’s role in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. The program will be highly collaborative and complement basic-science and clinical-research efforts across the NIH in neuroscience, imaging, and behavioral health. This lecture Identifies which brain regions are involved in pain processing and pain modulation; discusses the differences in how emotional state and attentional focus alter pain; and describes the effects of chronic pain on the brain and how psychologically based therapies influence these effects.
The Integrative Veterinary Medicine clinic integrates the ancient wisdom, art and science of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with the most up to date science of Western Veterinary Medicine (WVM). A holistic viewpoint is utilized to assess the entire mind and body of the animal.
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.
Also see Shockwave Therapy.
Grounding Techniques. How to Reconnect to the Earth. 9 Powerful Grounding Techniques to Achieve Instant Calm and Regain Your Center. This in-depth guide explores the science and benefits of grounding and earthing, including nine effective grounding techniques and exercises.
Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons. Emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth. Modern lifestyle separates humans from such contact. The research suggests that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness. Earthing (or grounding) refers to the discovery of benefits—including better sleep and reduced pain—from walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth's electrons from the ground into the body.
Chronic inflammation is related to all disease processes and its effects become even more problematic as people age. Free radicals are main contributors to inflammation. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, leading to healing and better health. Most people believe that the way to get free radicals is to ingest them, in the form of herbs, dietary supplements, fish oil, or vegetables. However, recent scientific research has discovered that the most effective antioxidants are electrons, and the easiest and most effective way to get them is as simple as coming into barefoot contact with the earth.
"'Alternative' Medicine is Mainstream: The evidence is mounting that diet and lifestyle are the best cures for our worst afflictions." Deepak Chopra , Dean Ornish , Rustum Roy and Andrew Weil.
"What is actually 'alternative': Drugs, surgery, and technology or enhancing your body's natural healing capability?" Tom Rogers, President, Qigong Institute
Integrative Medicine incorporates the best of conventional and complementary medical approaches, addressing not only physical symptoms, but also psychological, social, environmental and spiritual aspects of health and illness. It believes in stimulating the innate human capacity for healing, empowering patients in their own care, while providing them with choices in healthcare that are proven to be safe and effective.
The Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine provides complementary medical patient care; is a National Institutes of Health research center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM); integrates CAM in the School of Medicine curriculum; and disseminates information on CAM. The term "Integrative Medicine" is slowly replacing "CAM".
What is Integrative Medicine and Health? Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco. Integrative Medicine combines modern medicine with established practices from around the world. By joining modern medicine with proven practices from other healing traditions, integrative practitioners are better able to relieve suffering, reduce stress, and maintain the well-being of their patients.
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Brigham and Women's Hospital. A Teaching Affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The Osher Center's clinical work is grounded in rigorous laboratory and clinical research that aims to understand the effects of conventional and alternative treatments on various disorders and basic functions of the body. The Center performs its own high-quality research studies and is committed to engaging in the dialogue around the latest findings in scientific literature. Through this approach, we are stearing a course toward integrative medicine based on sound scientific inquiry.
"Integrative Medicine believes that mental and emotional factors, the ways in which we think and behave, can have a significant effect for better or for worse on our physical health and on our capacity to recover from illness and injury." Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness.
Slow paced breathing at the right frequency (e.g. during Qigong and Tai Chi) results in vagal nerve activation, which has a variety of beneficial effects including reducing inflammation. Resonance frequency breathing = HRV Training = activate parasympathetic and raise HRV through entrainment of heart beat, blood pressure, and respiration (coherence).
Typically, doctors prescribe medications to combat inflammation. However, there's growing evidence that another way to combat inflammation is by engaging the vagus nerve and improving “vagal tone" with mind-body practices such as Qigong. The article emphasizes that deep diaphragmatic breathing (fundamental to Qigong practice) —with a long, slow exhale—is key to stimulating the vagus nerve and slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. More...
If There Was Ever a Time to Activate Your Vagus Nerve, It Is Now. Four simple steps to return to a ‘rest and digest’ state.
ALSO see: Hacking the nervous system. One nerve connects your vital organs, sensing and shaping your health. If we learn to control it, the future of medicine will be electric.
What Deep Breathing Does to Your Body. “A much more effective and quicker way of interrupting that stress response is to turn on the vagus nerve, which in turn powers up the parasympathetic nervous system,” she told the Cut. “Deep-breathing turns on the vagus nerve enough that it acts as a brake on the stress response.”
“By developing an understanding of the workings of your vagus nerve, you may find it possible to work with your nervous system rather than feel trapped when it works against you.” More...
"There is a reason why we groan when we’re in pain, why birthing women moan deeply, instinctively we’re activating our vagus nerves by stimulating the vocal cords. Regular practice of the techniques [which include diaphragmatic breathing as in Qigong] mentioned [in the article] will raise your vagal tone, boosting your immune system, reducing any inflammation and contributing to feelings of well-being and contentment. No pills necessary!". More...
Your heart and neck contain neurons that have receptors called baroreceptors, which detect blood pressure and transmit the neuronal signal to your brain. This activates your vagus nerve that connects to your heart to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Slow breathing, with a roughly equal amount of time breathing in and out, increases the sensitivity of baroreceptors and vagal activation. More...
This research explains the physiology behind the effectiveness of Qigong self-massage of the ear.
The Neurophysiological and Psychological Mechanisms of Qigong as a Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. This review shows that qigong is effective in reducing depression through activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex—linking immunity and metabolism. The vagus nerve is a major constituent of a neural reflex mechanism—the inflammatory reflex—that controls innate immune responses and inflammation.
Motivational Non-directive Resonance Breathing as a Treatment for Chronic Widespread Pain.This paper provides excellent background on the physiology and neurobiology of the combined effect of meditation, interoception, and intentful diaphragmatic breathing (in other words, Qigong) upon chronic pain. Based upon preliminary findings within the fields of motivational psychology, integrative neuroscience, diaphragmatic breathing, and vagal nerve stimulation, the authors propose a new treatment intervention for chronic widespread pain which includes key fundamentals of Qigong practice.
Heart rate variability and inflammation: A meta-analysis of human studies. Inflammation is associated with vagus nerve activity and can be measured via heart rate variability (HRV). This meta-analysis concludes that inflammation is negatively associated with vagus “tone” (i.e. higher HRV). Qigong practice tones the vagus nerve, primarily through diaphragmatic breathing. Qigong’s ability to lower inflammation through vagus nerve modulation is a fundamental reason why Qigong is such a profound health practice.
The Vagus Nerve Can Predict and Possibly Modulate Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases: Introducing a Neuroimmunological Paradigm to Public Health. "This article wishes to introduce to medicine and public health a new paradigm to predict, understand, prevent and possibly treat such diseases based on the science of neuro-immunology and specifically by focusing on vagal neuro-modulation. Vagal nerve activity is related to frontal brain activity which regulates unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Epidemiologically, high vagal activity, indexed by greater heart rate variability (HRV), independently predicts reduced risk of disease and better disease prognosis. Biologically, the vagus nerve inhibits oxidative stress, inflammation and sympathetic activity (and associated hypoxia). Finally, current non-invasive methods exist [notably, the practice of Qigong] to activate this nerve for neuro-modulation, and have promising clinical effects."
review of vagus nerve stimulation as a therapeutic intervention. Qigong practice stimulates the vagus nerve through diaphragmatic breathing, healing sounds, and self-applied massage. As this review explains, vagus nerve stimulation lowers inflammation and helps treat chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis as well as fibromyalgia and migraines. Stimulation of the vagus nerve is a major reason why Qigong is being revealed to be so beneficial for so many chronic conditions.
Variable heart rate and a flexible mind: Higher resting-state heart rate variability predicts better task-switching. The neurovisceral integration model proposes that heart rate variability (HRV) is linked to prefrontal cortex activity via the vagus nerve, which connects the heart and the brain. HRV, an index of cardiac vagal tone, has been found to predict performance on several cognitive control tasks that rely on the prefrontal cortex. Our findings support the neurovisceral integration model and indicate that higher levels of vagally mediated resting-state HRV promote cognitive flexibility
Cholinergic modulation of the immune system presents new approaches for treating inflammation. Over the past two decades, there has been explosive growth in the scientific understanding of neuroanatomical, cellular, and molecular mechanisms that affect immune functions through the autonomic nervous system. A major catalyst for growth in this field was the discovery that vagal nerve causes a prominent attenuation of the systemic inflammatory response. Qigong practice beneficially affects the immune system through stimulating the vagus nerve which in turn causes the cholinergic modulation of the autonomic nervous system. This paper presents details on the cholinergic anti-inflammatory response.
Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers. Qigong practice stimulates the vagus nerve, mainly through diaphragmatic breathing (exhale). 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 polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. The first stage is characterized by a primitive unmyelinated visceral vagus that fosters digestion and responds to threat by depressing metabolic activity. Behaviorally, the first stage is associated with immobilization behaviors. The second stage is characterized by the sympathetic nervous system that is capable of increasing metabolic output and inhibiting the visceral vagus to foster mobilization behaviors necessary for ‘fight or flight’. The third stage, unique to mammals, is characterized by a myelinated vagus that can rapidly regulate cardiac output to foster engagement and disengagement with the environment.
The Benefits of Conscious Breathing as in Qigong: We inhale and exhale approximately 20,000 times per day. With up to ten muscles that can be utilised for inhalation and eight for forced exhalation, the breath has powerful effects on the physical, emotional and mental planes. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali says when you control your breath, you can control your mind and emotions. A recent study conducted by Stanford Scientists confirms this link between the breath and states of being. There is a group of neurons in the brain responsible for the respiratory system which connect breathing to states of mind. This small neuronal subpopulation works as a breathing rhythm generator sending signals directly to the centre of the brain, and subsequently playing a key role in stress, attention and alertness. More...
The Profound Power of Breathing. Deep, controlled breathing — an easy technique you can do anytime — can vastly improve your health and well-being.
The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of normal respiratory physiology and the documented physiological effects of slow breathing techniques according to research in healthy humans. The review focuses on the physiological implications to the respiratory, cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory and autonomic nervous systems, with particular focus on diaphragm activity, ventilation efficiency, haemodynamics, heart rate variability, cardiorespiratory coupling, respiratory sinus arrhythmia and sympathovagal balance.
Breathe through the nose! Modern research confirms the wisdom of the yoga tradition
Ageing of the Diaphragm Muscle. The article reviews the adaptations of the diaphragm muscle with respect to ageing, and it brings to light the importance of respiratory function to healthy ageing. Altered contractile function of the diaphragm can lead to accidental trauma, such as falls, and contributes to many diseases and conditions such as depression, fear of falling, anxiety, emotional alterations, memory issues, motor incoordination, and cognitive disorders. Ageing also affects posture, which in turn affects the diaphragm. This research makes clear how the practice of Qigong with it's emphasis on proper posture and exercising the diaphragm through purposeful, controlled diaphragmatic breathing contributes to health and active aging.
Neuroscientists have identified how exactly a deep breath changes your mind. Breathing is traditionally thought of as an automatic process driven by the brainstem—the part of the brain controlling such life-sustaining functions as heartbeat and sleeping patterns. But new and unique research, involving recordings made directly from within the brains of humans undergoing neurosurgery, shows that breathing can also change your brain.
Respiratory Regulation & Interactions With Neuro-Cognitive Circuitry. Active control of breathing entrains respiration and brain activity which affects both mood and cognition.
Understanding Mind-Body Disciplines: A Pilot Study of Breathing and Dynamic Muscle Contraction on Autonomic Nervous System Reactivity. Breathing combined with rhythmic muscle contraction led to greater activation of the parasympathetic response than either alternating contractions or breathing alone, which may help explain the stress reducing benefits of mind-body disciplines.
Impact of diaphragm function parameters on balance maintenance Deterioration of diaphragm function was closely related with deterioration of balance maintenance. Impairment of diaphragm function manifested by decrease of muscle thickness and movement restriction is strongly associated with balance disorders in a clinical sample and among healthy subjects. Diaphragmatic breathing is one way that Qigong and Tai Chi aid balance and mobility.
How breathing can help you make better decisions: Two studies on the effects of breathing patterns on heart rate variability and decision-making in business cases. Deep slow breathing (e.g. during the practice of Qigong) can increase vagal nerve activity, indexed by heart rate variability (HRV). These studies show that brief vagal breathing patterns reliably increase HRV and improve decision-making.
Self-Regulation of Breathing as an Adjunctive Treatment of Insomnia. "In this article we present a viewpoint on the treatment of insomnia that techniques of slow, deep breathing [i.e. Qigong breathing] in adjunct to sleep hygiene and relaxation therapies may be highly effective in initiating sleep as well as facilitating falling back asleep."
The Influence of Breathing on the Central Nervous System. The functions of the diaphragm do not stop locally in its anatomy but affect the whole body system. The respiratory rhythm, directly and indirectly, affects the central nervous system (CNS). This article describes and reviews these influences, containing, for the first time, information on this subject in a single text.
The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. The present study illustrates the potential for diaphragmatic breathing practice to improve cognitive performance and reduce negative subjective and physiological consequences of stress in healthy adults.
Influence of respiration on cerebrospinal fluid movement using magnetic resonance spin labeling. By employing this respiration-induced spin labeling bSSFP cine method, we were able to visualize CSF movement induced by respiratory excursions.
The Yogi masters were right -- meditation and breathing exercises can sharpen your mind. New research explains link between breath-focused meditation and attention and brain health. The research shows for the first time that breathing - a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices - directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser. The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health. The full paper 'Coupling of respiration and attention via the locus coeruleus: Effects of meditation and pranayama' is available here: doi/10.1111/psyp.13091.
Breathing pattern disorders, motor control, and low back pain. There is evidence that the effects of breathing pattern disorders, such as hyperventilation, result in a variety of negative psychological, biochemical, neurological and biomechanical influences and interferences, capable of modifying each of these three subsystems. Diaphragmatic and transversus abdominis tone are key features in provision of core stability. Following just one minute of dysfunctional breathing, where carbon dioxide levels in the blood rise above normal, key core muscles either become weaker or stop working all together. This equals a recipe for chronic back pain.
There is little awareness and understanding within the medical profession of the adverse health implications of chronic mouth breathing. A conscious effort to ensure that people predominately nose breathe would likely result in a healthier population and a resultant decrease in healthcare expenses. Read article.
Practical 40 minute free breathing session with Patrick McKeown to improve respiratory health.
Stanford scientists have identified a small group of neurons that communicates goings-on in the brain's respiratory control center to the structure responsible for generating arousal throughout the brain. More...
Researchers pinpoint origin of sighing reflex in the brain. An unconscious sigh is a life-sustaining reflex that helps preserve lung function.
Mindful breathing can reduce stress, increase feelings of good will and keep us present in the moment. Both meditation and deep, slow abdominal breathing are linked to increased vagal tone. The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and supports everything from your health and well being to friendships and happiness. It travels all the way from the brain to the digestive system. This nerve works through the parasympathetic nervous system. The strength of your vagus response is known as your vagal tone. High vagal tone improves the function of many bodily systems. Benefits include, better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and improved digestion through optimal production of digestive enzymes. Breathing from your diaphragm (as during Qigong practice), rather than shallowly from the top of the lungs stimulates and tones the vagus nerve. More...
Various contemplative activities have in common that breathing is regulated or attentively guided. This respiratory discipline in turn could parsimoniously explain the physical and mental benefits of contemplative activities through changes in autonomic balance. We propose a neurophysiological model that explains how these specific respiration styles could operate, by phasically and tonically stimulating the vagal nerve: respiratory vagal nerve stimulation (rVNS). The vagal nerve, as a proponent of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), is the prime candidate in explaining the effects of contemplative practices on health, mental health and cognition. "Contemplative activity" is another phrase for Qigong. Read article.
Breathing is like solar energy for powering relaxation: it’s a way to regulate emotions that is free, always accessible, inexhaustible and easy to use. Stress reduction, insomnia prevention, emotion control, improved attention—certain breathing techniques can make life better. Breathing practices are fundamental to Qigong. Scientific American. January 15, 2019. Read article.
A major reason why Qigong practice is so powerful is due to its combination of mindfulness with breathing and consequent toning of the vagus nerve. Although the article cautions that "Exactly why slow deep breathing brings about all these changes is still unclear", it essentially describes how it is done through the vagus nerve and diaphragmatic breathing which has been confirmed by a lot of recent research:
"Mindfulness, however, tends to involve passive observation – “watching the breath” – whereas breathwork [e.g. during Qigong] requires you to actively change the way you breathe. This includes ensuring that you breathe with your diaphragm (rather than the movement of your chest) so that you can fill your lungs with more air, while consciously slowing the pace of your breathing from your resting average.
By repeatedly stimulating the vagus nerve during those long exhalations, slow breathing may shift the nervous system towards that more restful state, resulting in positive changes like a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure." Read article.
"Since starting qigong 10 years ago, I haven't had to take antibiotics and have never felt healthier, worked harder, or been happier. I’ve also just gotten the results of a sleep study showing my obstructive sleep apnea has improved by 75 percent—my AHI sleep score, the number of breathing interruptions per hour of sleep, went from 80 to 20. And despite aging 10 years, my weight has not fluctuated by a single pound." More.