Interoception and Mental Health: A Roadmap. Interoception is a skill developed through Qigong practice. This article summarizes the importance of interoception and the increasing recognition of it in the research community for mental health and homeostatic function: "Interoception refers to the process by which the nervous system senses, interprets, and integrates signals originating from within the body, providing a moment-by-moment mapping of the body's internal landscape across conscious and unconscious levels. Interoceptive signaling has been considered a component process of reflexes, urges, feelings, drives, adaptive responses, and cognitive and emotional experiences, highlighting its contributions to the maintenance of homeostatic functioning, body regulation, and survival. Dysfunction of interoception is increasingly recognized as an important component of different mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, addictive disorders, and somatic symptom disorders."
A systematic review of psychoneuroimmunology-based interventions. Systematic review reports that Tai Chi, meditation, and mindfulness are among the treatments that result in decreased levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine (stress-related hormones). In addition, they were also associated with reductions in inflammatory processes and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in cancer, HIV, depression, anxiety, wound healing, sleep disorder, cardiovascular diseases and fibromyalgia.
Can the Ancient Martial Art of Tai Chi Help Prevent Falls? The researchers found that at-risk adults who practiced tai chi did, in fact, have lower rates of injury-related falls. In fact, tai chi participants were 43% less likely to experience a fall than non-participants, and 50% less likely to experience falls that led to serious injury.
Tai chi chih (Qigong) comparable to standard therapy for breast cancer survivors’ insomnia. “Given that standardized tai chi chih is both scalable and community accessible compared with the limited availability of cognitive behavioral therapy in most medical centers, immediate access to tai chi chih would address the need to reduce the morbidity associated with insomnia in survivors of breast and other cancers with treatment benets commensurate with the status quo of clinical treatment approaches to insomnia.”
A Review Study on the Beneficial Effects of Baduanjin (a form of Qigong). The results of individual studies support the notion that Baduanjin may be effective as an adjunctive rehabilitation method for improving cognitive functions in addition to psychological and physiological parameters among different age groups and various clinical populations (e.g., Parkinson's disease, chronic neck pain, chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness, psychological illness).
Do Lifestyle Activities Protect Against Cognitive Decline in Aging? A Review. "Relative to other therapies, these activities [meditation and physical exercise] are low cost, are easily scalable and can be brought to market quickly and easily. Overall, although preliminary evidence is promising at the level of randomized control trials, the state of research on this topic remains underdeveloped. As a result, several important questions remain unanswered, including the amount of training required to receive any cognitive benefit from these activities and the extent to which this benefit continues following cessation."
New Nursing Faculty and Incivility: Applying Mindfulness-Based Strategies. Mindfulness provides a realization that control can only be given to other persons when an individual allows or accepts another's negative behaviors. Awareness of the value and importance of oneself can assist the nurse educator experiencing incivility to maintain his or her emotional, physical, and spiritual health despite the volatility of the work environment.
Mental Health and Cardiovascular Disease. The authors conclude that non-medication interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, slow breathing exercises, and exercise, (in other words, Qigong) are excellent treatment options. These can reverse many of the cardiovascular changes from mental distress and mental illness.
Connecting the Mind–Body Split: Understanding the Relationship between Symptoms and Emotional Well-Being in Chronic Pain and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. 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.
Acupuncture (PDQ®): Health Professional Version. This PDQ (Physician Data Query) cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the use of acupuncture in the treatment of people with cancer. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. The summaries come from the National Cancer Institute's comprehensive cancer database, PDQ. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. The authors conclude: Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic musculosketal, headache and osteoarthritis pain. Treatment effects of acupuncture persist over time and cannot be explained solely in terms of placebo effects. Referral for a course of acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for a patient with chronic pain.
Making Tai Chi & Qigong Easy. An Interview With Roger Jahnke. New to tai chi or qigong? Roger Jahnke, cofounder of the National Qigong Association, says the best practice is one that makes you comfortable and keeps it simple.
Why Practice Qi Gong. " I had been exposed to QI Gong on meditation retreats and guitar seminars. While I liked the affects, I did not practice on my own until I was injured...That was over twelve years ago. I have learned many forms in this time, relishing in the calm and energy that the practice of Qi Gong delivers. I developed a daily practice...Last year I had an opportunity to present Qi Gong during a week long residential Guitar Seminar...While Qi Gong is great for musicians, the benefits of stimulating our energy flow is great for all."
A plan to address aggressive behavior and stress in schools. "I recently provided a “Troubled Waters Survival Guide” to this state’s school leaders, which suggests a number of research-based strategies that can be implemented without a significant expense or planning. Teachers, administrators, parents, students and citizens can implement these strategies, both in schools and at home: School-wide mindfulness practices: Increasing mindfulness practices that enable students to better self-regulate, especially in stressful situations, is critically important. Basics include daily mindfulness practice, mindfulness calming glitter jars on every elementary school students’ desk and a “calming corner” in every elementary school classroom. At the secondary level, the basics include several minutes of mindfulness breathing exercises during the morning announcements and another short mindfulness breathing session right after lunch, a mindfulness calming room that students can easily access, and encouragement for families to implement mindfulness practices in the home."
NCCIH and Harvard Medical School: Building the Understanding of the Effects of Tai Chi Training on Walking in Older People. Declines in walking ability with age have been linked to a wide range of health issues as well as increased risks of falls and death from all causes. Gait, or the way in which one walks, has thus become a research target. This trial, funded by NCCIH and conducted by a team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, found that as little as 6 months of tai chi training might improve an important indicator of how well a person can walk: gait dynamics.
No, mindfulness is not a fad. "Mindfulness is often described as the ability to be in the moment, to be in the present, to be aware. The problem with this is that everyone thinks they are already aware. Some people meditate to become more mindful. Meditation is really just a tool that leads to post-meditative mindfulness. Although it’s a good tool, it’s a tool nonetheless, not the end." This would be a good summary of mindfulness in the practice of Qigong: Mindfulness is fundamental to the practice of Qigong, but it is not the focus of the practice.
The Tai Chi Space Book - How to Move in Tai Chi and Qi Gong. A brilliant new book on the fundamentals of Tai Chi for beginners to experienced practitioners. From the author Paul Cavel: “I have encountered too many practitioners who have put in immense effort, some over many years, in great earnest, yet their forms cannot really be considered internal. Maybe they trained a weak system, did not have a teacher who could perform or communicate internal techniques that are virtually invisible to the untrained eye, or they did not spend enough time on component practices. Whatever the case, this situation is incredibly unfortunate, and, with my upcoming book, my aim is to show you how to develop quality and depth in the fundamentals, which not only unlock health and power-generating benefits but also more advanced and extraordinary levels of practice”.
Yoga and Healthcare in the United Kingdom. The emergence of yoga therapy in the United Kingdom began about 45 years ago with the emergence of yoga therapy organizations that offered both treatment and training. The integration of yoga into the National Health Service (NHS) is gradually happening Because: (a) yoga research supports its efficacy as a cost-effective, preventive and complementary treatment for a host of non-communicable diseases; and (b) the escalating economic burden of long-term conditions is overwhelming the NHS. Research shows that integrating yoga therapy for the treatment of low back pain (LBP) into the NHS would result in significant cost savings as compared with usual care.
The Use of Yoga by Physical Therapists in the United States. The purpose of this study was to determine how PTs in the United States view yoga as a physical therapy (PT) tool and how PTs use yoga therapeutically. Reported use of therapeutic yoga among participants was high (70.6%). Of those participants, nearly a third use asana and pranayama only. Most participants using therapeutic yoga also include additional mindfulness-related elements such as sensory awareness, concentration/focus, and/or meditation. Healthcare changes have required PTs to adapt to a biopsychosocial-spiritual model (BPSS) for improved patient outcomes. Wikipedia: The biopsychosocial model (abbreviated "BPS") is a general model or approach that posits that biological, psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness. More on Biopsychosocial Model.
Distress Management Through Mind-Body Therapies in Oncology. Research supports the role of mindfulness-based interventions for dealing with common experiences that cause distress around cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship including loss of control, uncertainty about the future, fears of recurrence, and a range of physical and psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. Growing research also supports their cost-effectiveness, and online and mobile adaptations currently being developed and evaluated increase promise for use in a global context.
Handling chronic pain without relying on opioids. Mayo Clinic program helps patients learn how to deal with their chronic pain by focusing on emotional, social, and psychological (biopsychosocial) aspects. "With meditation and relaxation exercises [e.g. Qigong], we’re trying to teach people to learn to relax their bodies and hopefully kick in a relaxation response." More info on the relaxation response and Qigong can be found on the Qigong Institute website.
How to Harness the Power of Your Breath. 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.
How Toning the Vagus Nerve Heals Pain. "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!".
Qigong and Fibromyalgia. "Qigong is an internal art practice with a long history in China. It is currently characterized as meditative movement (or as movement-based embodied contemplative practice), but is also considered as complementary and alternative exercise or mind-body therapy. There are now six controlled trials and nine other reports on the effects of qigong in fibromyalgia."
Tai Chi and Its Effect on the Body’s Lymphatic System. "Tai Chi Chuan movements, when done correctly, will act as a tool to help manually flush the body’s lymph system. This doesn’t just happen by chance. These movements were intelligently designed to work with the three largest cluster of lymph nodes in the human body."
Mindfulness at the center of South Side school’s education. "Life on the violent and unpredictable streets of Chicago are not always easy for a kid. What's impacting them in their own homes and neighborhoods often plays out in the classroom. One school on the South Side is taking giant steps to address it and, in time, teachers hope the skills taught at school will become life skills.Their approach is not new, but the difference is that the approach is coming from every teacher, every staff member, from every angle in the school."
Heal Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Indie. "A documentary film that takes us on a scientific and spiritual journey where we discover that by changing one's perceptions, the human body can heal itself from any disease." Qigong is a profound practice for enhancing our ability to heal ourselves.
Tai Chi holds promise as cardiac rehab exercise. Journal of the American Heart Association Report. DALLAS, Oct. 11, 2017 — The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi hold promise as an alternative exercise option for patients who decline traditional cardiac rehabilitation, according to preliminary research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Master Helen Liang and “Qigong for Cancer”. Clinically proven, Qigong can help cancer patients to deal with various side effects from cancer treatments. In China, studies even show how Qigong treats cancer. Master Helen Liang claims that she is not a medical doctor but she wants to share her knowledge with anyone who is combating cancer or trying to prevent being a cancer victim. There are three primary points of Helen’s Qigong Methodology: 1. Learning how to oxygenate the entire body at a cellular level; 2. Relieving Qi stagnation from the body at a cellular level; 3. Increasing blood and oxygen circulation without “burning” energy. Through a series of gentle exercises and simple stretches along with deep breathing, it can increase cancer recovery, boost the immune system, reduce pain, and improve sleep quality.
The U.S. Army enlists Tai Chi and Qigong in the fight against addiction. Lt. Gen. Schoomaker commented that “We now have good evidence for the use of non-pharmacologic, non-opioid treatments, such as yoga, guided imagery, medical massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, Tai Chi, as well as a closely related movement therapy called Qigong, and music therapy…We have pretty good research to endorse their use.”
Federal agencies partner for military and veteran pain management research. Through an interagency partnership, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announce a multi-component research project focusing on nondrug approaches for pain management addressing the needs of service members and veterans. Twelve research projects, totaling approximately $81 million over six years (pending available funds), will focus on developing, implementing, and testing cost-effective, large-scale, real-world research on nondrug approaches for pain management and related conditions in military and veteran health care delivery organizations. These projects will provide important information about the feasibility, acceptability, safety, and effectiveness of nondrug approaches in treating pain. Types of approaches being studied include mindfulness/meditative interventions, movement interventions (e.g., structured exercise, taichi, yoga), manual therapies (e.g., spinal manipulation, massage, acupuncture), psychological and behavioral interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy), integrative approaches that involve more than one intervention, and integrated models of multi-modal care.
NCCIH: Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia. Recent systematic reviews and randomized clinical trials provide encouraging evidence that practices such as tai chi, qi gong, yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and balneotherapy may help relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms.
The Manual Stimulation of Acupuncture Points in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Review of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques. The literature demonstrates that remediation of PTSD and comorbid conditions is typically accomplished within brief time frames, ranging from one session for phobias to between four and ten sessions for PTSD. Clinical EFT has been shown to regulate stress hormones and limbic function and to improve various neurologic markers of general health. The epigenetic effects of EFT include upregulation of immunity genes and downregulation of inflammation genes. Seven empirically supported strengths of the approach were identified that make it especially suitable for use with veterans and active military: (1) the depth and breadth of treatment effects; (2) the relatively brief timeframes required for successful treatment; (3) the low risk of adverse events; (4) the minimal training time required for the approach to be applied effectively; (5) the simultaneous reduction of physical and psychologic symptoms; (6) the utility and cost-effectiveness of clinical EFT in a large group format; and (7) the method's adaptability to online and telemedicine applications.
Military Researchers Collaborate With University on Opioid Crisis. "We now have good evidence for the use of non-pharmacologic, non-opioid treatments, such as yoga, guided imagery, medical massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, Tai Chi, as well as a closely related movement therapy called Qigong, and music therapy," he said. "We have pretty good research to endorse their use."
The 5 Best Exercises For A Healthy Body. Harvard Medical School released a paper outlining the only five exercises we need to practice to get the best outcome for our bodies, and Tai Chi is one of them.
The bioelectric code: An ancient computational medium for dynamic control of growth and form. Eight Meridian Theory meets modern bioelectricity research. 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. What determines large-scale anatomy? DNA does not directly specify geometrical arrangements of tissues and organs, and a process of encoding and decoding for morphogenesis is required. Moreover, many species can regenerate and remodel their structure despite drastic injury. The ability to obtain the correct target morphology from a diversity of initial conditions reveals that the morphogenetic code implements a rich system of pattern-homeostatic processes. The authors describe an important mechanism by which cellular networks implement pattern regulation and plasticity: bioelectricity. All cells, not only nerves and muscles, produce and sense electrical signals; in vivo, these processes form bioelectric circuits that harness individual cell behaviors toward specific anatomical endpoints. Levin at Tufts is a leader in this field of human bioelectricity research.
Yoga and Healthcare in the United Kingdom. The emergence of yoga therapy in the United Kingdom began about 45 years ago with the emergence of yoga therapy organizations that offered both treatment and training. The integration of yoga into the National Health Service (NHS) is gradually happening Because: (a) yoga research supports its efficacy as a cost-effective, preventive and complementary treatment for a host of non-communicable diseases; and (b) the escalating economic burden of long-term conditions is overwhelming the NHS. The NHS is actively developing 'sustainability and transformation plans' that include yoga.
China - Sport and PE. "A fascinating and visually spectacular programme providing unique insights into how Chinese schools, and the country at large, value physical education. We also see the extraordinary lengths that schools go to in order to engender a lifelong habit of exercise."
Tai Chi Practice Changes Fractional Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuations in Intrinsic Control Networks. Tai Chi practice enhances the brain's cognitive control capacity. Cognitive control impairment is a typical symptom largely reported in populations with neurological disorders. Based on the evidence from neuroimaging, a wide variety of mental disorders involve impaired cognitive control abilities and altered function in control system. Effective control systems protect against a variety of mental diseases. The authors conclude that Tai Chi practice enhances the brain's cognitive control capacity.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation. 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.
Got Depression or Anxiety? Mindfulness Groups Could Be Just What the Doctor Ordered. Virginia Frazier, Psy.D, the director of the Center for Behavioral Health at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, said that mindfulness therapy teaches people to become aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. On the other hand, CBT teaches people about how their perceptions impact their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and how to manage their problems by changing the way they “think and behave,” according the National Health Service of the UK. Basically, CBT can focus more on behavioral changes. But mindfulness focuses on embracing things as they are.
Knees hurt? From time to time, we may hear people complain that practicing Tai Chi (Taiji) chuan makes their knees hurt. This is ironic since Tai Chi is supposed to help people with various health issues, including knee problems, to be better. Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei addressed this topic during a public speech in Toronto, Canada on June 18, 2017.
Perspective: Neuroregenerative Nutrition - Key to healthy, active aging. An important component of Chinese culture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the principle of ‘Yang Sheng’. ‘Yang’ translates to ‘taking care of, to ‘nourish’ or ‘nurture’ and ‘Sheng’ translates to ‘birth’ and ‘vitality’. Together the words mean to ‘nurture or nourish life’, to ‘foster a state of wellbeing by nurturing mind, body and spirit’. A major component of one's lifestyle, or Yang-Sheng, is nutrition. Proper nutrition is key to mind-body practices like Qigong. The field of regenerative medicine has exploded during the past two decades as a result of the discovery of stem cells in nearly every organ system of the body, including the brain, where neural stem cells persist in discrete areas throughout life. This fact, and the uncovering of the genetic basis of plasticity in somatic cells and cancer stem cells, open a door to a world where maintenance and regeneration of organ systems maintain health and extend life expectancy beyond its present limits.
MEDITATION: IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. Posted by Tucson Digital Media | Jul 7, 2017 | Health. When it comes to doing something good for your cognitive health, skip the “brain games” and try meditation. Regular meditation has proven benefits for your brain, which can sharpen your memory, boost your mood, and make you more compassionate.
To Train an Athlete, Add 12 Minutes of Meditation to the Daily Mix. If athletes practice meditation for a few minutes a day, they may become better able to withstand the mental demands of hours of strenuous physical training, according to an interesting new study of Division I college football players. The study, which compared different types of mental training for stress resilience, could have relevance for anyone planning to start exercising or competing more intensely this summer.
Meditators and Nonmeditators Differ on Demographic Factors, Health Behaviors, Health Status, and Health Care Access, New Analysis Shows. A new analysis shows that meditators differed from nonmeditators on key factors, such as demographics, health behaviors, health status, and health care access. These results expand on the relatively limited information known about the characteristics of people who practice meditation. The findings, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a large survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Yoga Similar to Physical Therapy in Helping Low-Back Pain in a Diverse Urban Population. Results of a new NCCIH-funded study show yoga and physical therapy offer similar pain-relief and functional benefits to people with low socioeconomic status who had chronic low-back pain. These improvements were greater than self-education; however, they were not considered significant. These findings suggest that a structured yoga program may be an alternative to physical therapy for people with chronic low-back pain, depending on individual preferences, availability, and cost.
Psychobehavioral Effects of Meditation. The authors conclude that Tai chi is as effective as sitting meditation ("zazen") for mental health by improving the general well-being, counteracting stress, and leading to a more vigorous spirit. Meditation can be considered a complementary treatment to psychotherapy.
Endogenous Bioelectric Signaling Networks: Exploiting Voltage Gradients for Control of Growth and Form. Traditional Chinese Medicine's Eight-Meridian (or Extraordinary Vessel) theory describes the formation and flow of energy through the body. Qi follows Eight Extraordinary vessels which comprise an energetic blueprint of the body. Among other things, these vessels are responsible for growth, development, and aging. Developmental bioelectricity is an emerging discipline that researches endogenous bioelectric signaling among many cell types to regulate pattern formation. Bioelectriciity is responsible for the dynamic control of complex anatomy and its growth and developmental transformations through aging. The authors especially note the possibilities of studying ionic activity in the brain to better understand the function of bioelectricity in the body.
We Have A ‘Force Field’ Around Our Bodies And Here’s How You Can Feel It. According to Medical Qigong theory there is a protective energy field around the body called the wei qi ("way chee") field. This electromagnetic energy field has a number of functions including extending past the skin to offer protection against a vast array of harmful energies and pathogens. It can be considered the body's energetic immune system. Internal organs generate this field which radiates through external tissues and interacts with surrounding environmental fields. In this article neruoscience researchers describe how they figured out a way to "feel" this invisible field or bubble that wraps around each of us.
Electromagnetic Fields, Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation, and Epigenetics: How Wireless Technologies May Affect Childhood Development. Mobile phones and other wireless devices that produce electromagnetic fields (EMF) and pulsed radiofrequency radiation (RFR) are widely documented to cause potentially harmful health impacts that can be detrimental to young people. New epigenetic studies are profiled in this review to account for some neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral changes due to exposure to wireless technologies. Symptoms of retarded memory, learning, cognition, attention, and behavioral problems have been reported in numerous studies and are similarly manifested in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, as a result of EMF and RFR exposures where both epigenetic drivers and genetic (DNA) damage are likely contributors.
Immortal Sisters Conference. August 25-30 2017. New York. The mission of the Immortal Sisters Conference is to gather together women practitioners and enthusiasts of Chi Kung and Taoist spirituality. Our intention is to inspire, learn, empower and share the ancient wisdom of “Returning to the Tao”. Our goal is to cultivate balance for women’s lives and for Mother Earth in an overly yang society. The conference celebrates and supports women in their endeavors to create a better world and gives them a safe space to share and learn from each other. This special female “esprit de corp” (feeling of loyalty, enthusiasm, and devotion) can fuel the fire of creativity and spiritual understanding and help us move forward personally and collectively. The conference is inspired by Thomas Cleary’s book, Immortal Sisters: Secret Teachings of Taoist Women, that presents life stories and teachings of distinguished female Taoist adepts who lived from the third to twelfth centuries. These accomplished women, renowned in their own day and throughout history, represent a uniquely female heritage of spiritual mastery.
Here’s How You Can Use Meditation To Change Your Brain. From the article: "...scientists assert that using proprioceptive input to ground your body is helpful when attempting to reach a meditative state. Research has shown that this kind of pressure results in a reduction in cortisol levels and an increase in serotonin production, decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure." The article is basically an ad for something called a gravity blanket. But it makes a good point about proprioception which is a key component of Qigong and Tai Chi. More about proprioception.
Harvard Medical School Mindfulness techniques. Different meditations to achieve focus, relaxation. The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This can help you refocus on the present moment.
Technology and Mindfulness. "the problem behind our unbearable stress levels and the root cause of most of it lies in our mind. We never think about this, but our inability to understand and manage an ongoing stream of thoughts is the root cause our daily suffering. And this prevents us from living a good quality personal life, and to perform with balance at work."
Growing Young: 6 Powerful Exercises for Initiating DNA Repair and Cellular Rejuvenation. "Researchers found that the DNA repair rate of people with cancer in remission compared to healthy people was much slower. The patients in remission were then taught qigong stress-reducing techniques. Following three months of practice, their cell repair rate had nearly doubled. It is conceivable that the “new” energy medicines of qigong and vibrational sound can affect the erratic energy of DNA and stimulate cellular rejuvenation."
The efficacy of Guolin-Qigong (GLQG) on the body-mind health of Chinese women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial. GLQG was more effective in terms of improvement in Quality of life and immunological functions than physical stretching. Both programs brought improvements in anxiety or depression. Guo Lin was a Chinese artist and dancer who cured herself of cancer through the practice of Qigong over a ten year period. She modified an old family form of Qigong which she started teaching to cancer patients and people with chronic illness. Her qigong eventually spread throughout China and to some Western countries. In addition to providing a method to treat cancer, Guo Lin basically invented the idea and practice of social oncology. More on GLQG: Qigong for Cancer.
Health Benefits of tai chi. CFP MFC -- The official journal of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. There are 5 conditions that had many systematic reviews showing consistent evidence of benefit for tai chi: preventing falls in older adults in the community, osteoarthritis, Parkinson disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cognitive functioning.
Google rediscovers wu-wei. One of the fundamental concepts in Taoism and the practice of Qigong is the notion of wu-wei. It can be roughly translated as action through non-action, or not-doing. Think of the action of water, always finding the path of least resistance as it flows yet gradually over time overcoming all obstacles by wearing them down or cutting through them. But it more appropriately means not overdoing, not wasting energy, and only using as much energy as is needed in any particular situation. Another way of looking at it is being in the flow, like an olympic athlete during competition or anyone engaged in their particular art. You might have to suffer through an ad before the video comes on. More on wu-wei on the Qigong Institute website: Spiritual Qigong.
Current Understanding of the Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields. A recent study showed a link between EMF radiation and the development of malignant tumors in rats. In light of that study, the American Academy of Pediatrics set out new recommendations to decrease the adverse effects of cellphone exposure on children. [Pediatr Ann. 2017;46(4):e172-e174.].
Tai Chi Beats Depression. At the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto, Canada, UCLA investigator Dr. Helen Lavretsky presented a study on depression and tai chi. Compared to health education classes, depression symptoms in volunteers participating in tai chi classes were significantly less prominent. The tai chi group also had better cognitive abilities and physical functioning, as well as declines in a blood marker for inflammation.
The Microcosmic Orbit – Taoist Secret of Higher Consciousness. The human body is endowed with spiritual anatomy, using energy to support life and consciousness. As a microcosm of the universe, the energetic circulatory system of the body mirrors the patterns found in the cosmos. The practices of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kundalini Yoga, and energetic meditations focus on the development of chi and pranic energy.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day "24 Hours of Peace" Livestream 2017. World Tai Chi and Qigong Day April 29, 2017 is fast approaching. There is still time to order t-shirts. Also, for the last several years, Tai Chi Master/Champion, David Dorian Ross has hosted a 24 hour marathon of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day events LIVESTREAMING FROM AROUND THE GLOBE, beginning with live streaming and chats with New Zealand WTCQD organizers, and then spreading around the planet for 24 hours. ... AND YOU AND YOUR LOCAL EVENT CAN BE A PART OF THIS HISTORIC EVENT ... BUT YOU HAVE TO CONTACT LIVESTREAM ORGANIZERS AND GET SCHEDULED AND A QUICK EASY TRAINING ON HOW TO USE YOUR SMARTPHONE TO LIVESTREAM YOUR LOCAL EVENT AND INTERVIEWS WITH LOCAL ORGANIZERS AND PARTICIPANTS. THERE ARE ONLY 6 SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR EACH OF THE EARTH'S TIME ZONES, SO CONTACT 24HOURSWORLDPEACE BELOW NOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR EVENT TO BE PART OF HISTORY ... To get involved in the "24 Hours of Peace" WTCQD Livestream 2017, Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Margaret Reeves is turning over the front end organizing of David-Dorian Ross's "24 Hours of World Peace" Livestream video event involving World Tai Chi & Qigong Day organizers worldwide "livestreaming" their events to a new Facebook based format, rather than Youtube format (like last year). This change to FB will make it much easier to spread our global livestream of WTCQD events happening worldwide throughout the digital world.
Tai Chi May Improve Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms. Certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist, Denise Murray talks about the use of different colored Tai Chi sticks for simple exercises designed to help those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Qigong in Cancer Care - a new documentary video. Harvard cancer researchers endorse an ancient holistic practice of well-being in an award-winning short film, available for free online. BUFFALO, New York (March 30, 2017) - Research has shown that practice of Qigong, in addition to the related holistic practice of Tai Chi, can improve cancer-related quality of life. Various types of exercise are recommended for cancer recovery in general, and Qigong in specific is an ancient Eastern system of mindful exercise practiced for health, healing, longevity, and - in which a new independent film potently illustrates - cancer recovery. A recently released short film, Cultivating Life Energy: Qigong in Cancer Care, describes qigong in general, and explains how this 4,000-year old holistic system for well-being shows promising therapeutic benefit for patients affected by cancer. Featured in the film are leading experts from scientific and related fields, including researchers from Harvard Medical School; further included are the testimonials of US, Canadian and Australian cancer-patients who regularly practice qigong. Collectively, these individuals in the half-hour film make a compelling case for the merits of qigong as a viable component able to fluidly harmonize with a wide range of cancer-treatment regimens.
Taiji (Tai Chi) For Fall Prevention in the Elderly: Training the Trainers Evaluation Project. A large barrier to dissemination of Qigong and Tai Chi to larger populations, especially older adults through programs such as fall prevention, is the lack of qualified teachers. One of the main conclusions in the 2005 National Expert Meeting on Qi Gong and Tai Chi consensus report was that "The experts were willing to concede that a short, high intensity weekend course (14 to 16 hours) with a clearly defined internship or practicum may substitute for longer formal training activities for individuals with prior knowledge in exercise/health and well-developed teaching skills." This research confirmed that brief, intensive weekend training can increase the available workforce to train the elderly in fundamentals of Taiji for fall prevention. For more information see The National Expert Meeting on Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund recommends Tai Chi as a clinical and community intervention for falls prevention. Older adult falls continue to be a public health priority across the United States—Massachusetts (MA) being no exception. The MA Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) program within the MA Department of Public Health aims to reduce the physical and economic burdens of chronic health conditions by linking evidence-based clinical care with community intervention programs. The paper includes discussion of issues involved with making falls prevention methods available to large populations, such as creating clinical and community partnerships, patient referrals, and sustainable reimbursement mechanisms.
Brief Mental Training Reorganizes Large-Scale Brain Networks. Brief mental training alters the functional connectivity of large-scale brain networks at rest that may involve a portion of the neural circuitry supporting attention, cognitive and affective processing, awareness and sensory integration and reward processing.
Inclusion of Tai Chi on UNESCO World Heritage List Urged. The Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP) will propose the inclusion of Tai Chi on the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List at the upcoming annual Two Sessions, in an effort to protect and promote the traditional sport. CPWDP is now calling for the establishment of a national Tai Chi center, as well as the introduction of martial arts to universities and medical research facilities. Authorities hope these changes can increase academic research on Tai Chi.
How the Body and Brain Achieve Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief via Acupuncture. "New research describes how acupuncture may achieve local pain-relieving effects in people with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) while also showing effects of the technique in the brain’s pain centers. The study, funded in part by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and conducted by a multicenter team of scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, Logan University, the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates/Atrium Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is the first sham-controlled neuroimaging acupuncture study for CTS. It was published in the journal Brain".
The case for Tai Chi in the repertoire of strategies to prevent falls among older people.Tai Chi may be as effective or more effective than other exercise-based strategies for preventing falls among older people who are not frail. Tai Chi may be as cost-effective or more cost-effective to deliver than other fall prevention strategies. Tai Chi may receive higher uptake and adherence rates than other exercise-based interventions to prevent falls. Tai Chi may be as effective or more effective in preventing falls among older people with dementia.
Qigong in Cancer Care: Theory, Evidence-Base, and Practice. Abstract: Background: The purpose of this discussion is to explore the theory, evidence base, and practice of Qigong for individuals with cancer. Questions addressed are: What is qigong? How does it work? What evidence exists supporting its practice in integrative oncology? What barriers to wide-spread programming access exist? Methods: Sources for this discussion include a review of scholarly texts, the Internet, PubMed, field observations, and expert opinion. Results: Qigong is a gentle, mind/body exercise integral within Chinese medicine. Theoretical foundations include Chinese medicine energy theory, psychoneuroimmunology, the relaxation response, the meditation effect, and epigenetics. Research supports positive effects on quality of life (QOL), fatigue, immune function and cortisol levels, and cognition for individuals with cancer. There is indirect, scientific evidence suggesting that qigong practice may positively influence cancer prevention and survival. No one Qigong exercise regimen has been established as superior. Effective protocols do have common elements: slow mindful exercise, easy to learn, breath regulation, meditation, emphasis on relaxation, and energy cultivation including mental intent and self-massage. Conclusions: Regular practice of Qigong exercise therapy has the potential to improve cancer-related QOL and is indirectly linked to cancer prevention and survival. Wide-spread access to quality Qigong in cancer care programming may be challenged by the availability of existing programming and work force capacity
Self-Healing Retreat for Cancer Patients. After three successful retreats in 2015 and 2016, the Center for Integrative Medicine at University of Maryland is offering another retreat for cancer patients and their families in April 23-29, 2017. Different from most existing cancer therapies, this mind-body program does not target at cancer or tumor itself, but focuses on improving the inner environment that cultivated cancer growth in the first place, and that will let relapse occur after removal of tumors. This Qigong self-healing retreat will help change the environment that produced cancer (such as perception of stress, emotional disturbance, relationship with others and nutrition), and offer real sense of recovery from cancer.
Symposium for Integrative Health Tai Chi Retreat. This symposium will be held on Sept 8 - 10, 2017 at Maris Stella Retreat Center, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Island, NJ. The organizers of this new event are looking for academic papers and practitioner presentations on a range of topics including leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, wellness, integrated healthcare and integrative health practices (including Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation, Yoga, Pilates, Massage Therapy, Nutrition Therapy, Support Group Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Chiropractic, Reiki, Acupuncture, Alternative/Complementary Medicine). This event will be a mixture of academics, and workshops of all kinds. For the first time, the academic program will include a published conference proceedings. Call for Papers.
Medical Yoga Therapy. Abstract: Medical yoga is defined as the use of yoga practices for the prevention and treatment of medical conditions. Beyond the physical elements of yoga, which are important and effective for strengthening the body, medical yoga also incorporates appropriate breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation in order to achieve the maximum benefits. Multiple studies have shown that yoga can positively impact the body in many ways, including helping to regulate blood glucose levels, improve musculoskeletal ailments and keeping the cardiovascular system in tune. It also has been shown to have important psychological benefits, as the practice of yoga can help to increase mental energy and positive feelings, and decrease negative feelings of aggressiveness, depression and anxiety.
Stop Back Pain Without Drugs. New guidelines recommend exercise, massage and other nondrug therapies before resorting to painkillers.Non-drug treatments, like exercise, massage, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture, were all recommended in the 2007 guidelines. Tai chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction are new additions.
World's first Chinese Medical Qigong Museum to open in Xuzhou in mid-March, 2017. Anyone wishing to go to the opening of the museum with a group are invited to contact Effie Chow (email@example.com) who will be going for 7 to 10 days arriving in Xuzhou on March 23. Dr. Wang Yan is spearheading the effort to establish the museum. He writes: "In China, six cities have proposed to establish “Chinese Medical Qigong Museum” for me as follows: Xu Zhou ,where I grew up; Shanghai, the world intangible cultural heritage inheritance base; Mount Huang in Anhui Province; Mount Xian Yu; Mount Wu Yi in Fujian Province and Lake Wolong near Nanjing. I have now started to set up the museum in Xuzhou that was a grant from the government. It is a very beautiful traditional building located at the shore of Lake Pan On. "
The role of touch in acupuncture treatment. "Achieving the appropriate de qi sensation appears to be fundamental to the therapeutic outcome following acupuncture treatment. In the affective dimension, the acupuncture procedure typically includes gentle manual touch stimulation, which induces feelings of calm and well-being, perhaps by activating C tactile fibres. Because acupuncture is a 'therapist intensive' and complex intervention, it is necessary to understand the role of social touch between the practitioner and patient. Both sensory-discriminative and affective-social touch aspects play an important role in the therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatment in clinical practice."
National Qigong Association Qi Talks with Solala Towler Thursday, February 9, 2017 8:30pm Eastern - Practicing the Tao Te Ching: 81 Steps on the Way. Solala Towler is past president and founding board member of the NQA and has practiced the Taoist arts for over 25 years. He is author of Tales From the Tao, The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy, and more. He has been editor of The Empty Vessel: The Journal of Taoist Philosophy and Practice since 1993 and teaches qigong, sacred Taoist gongfu tea ceremony, and sound healing at conferences and workshops around the country. He also leads tours to China to study in the sacred Taoist mountains of Wudang. For more information on Solala’s programs visit www.abodetao.com. Most people think of the Tao Te Ching as a book of philosophy or a treatise on leadership. Yet there is a little known treasure hidden deep within the familiar passages of Lao Tzu’s work: step-by-step practical guidance for the spiritual journey. In this new work from Solala Towler, he pairs a practice to each of the 81 chapters of Lao Tzu’s work, thereby allowing the reader/student to grasp each chapter, not with their mind, but with their chi body. In this talk, we will be focusing on how the Tao Te Ching can be used as a manual for self-cultivation.
Breathing as a Fundamental Rhythm of Brain Function. Ongoing cortical activity is driven by proprioceptive and interoceptive inputs. In addition, it is partially intrinsically generated in which case it may be related to mental processes. Here we argue that respiration, via multiple sensory pathways, contributes a rhythmic component to the ongoing cortical activity. We suggest that this rhythmic activity modulates the temporal organization of cortical neurodynamics, thereby linking higher cortical functions to the process of breathing.
Qigong helps non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients. The findings of this study indicate that the 21-day Chan- Chuang qigong can reduce fatigue intensity and fatigue interference, and improved white blood cell counts, haemoglobin levels, sleep quality, and quality of life for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who had undergone the first course of chemotherapy.
The potential yield of Tai Chi in cancer survivorship. Tai Chi is an understudied but promising tool to increase light physical activity levels with additive meditative benefits in cancer survivors and thus improving survival outcomes (e.g., reduction in cancer recurrence, improved psychosocial health and cognitive function). The mechanisms of such impact and the potential of scaled-up Tai Chi implementation in cancer survivors are largely unknown. Given the likelihood for high acceptability of Tai Chi among this particularly vulnerable population, with their distinctive challenges and the potential positive impact on survival, research is urgently needed to uncover and understand mechanistic pathways for Tai Chi to improve cancer survival and to ultimately become part of routine care.
Prevalence of Mindfulness Practices in the US Workforce: National Health Interview Survey. This survey includes Qigong and Tai Chi. Reported yoga practice prevalence nearly doubled from 6.0% in 2002 to 11.0% in 2012; meditation rates increased from 8.0% in 2002 to 9.9% in 2007. Mindfulness practice was significantly lower among farm workers and blue-collar workers than among white-collar workers. According to the survey, the rates of engagement in the "lesser-known practices of tai chi and qigong" did not substantially change from 2002 to 2012.
Functional Genomic and Neurological Correlates of Mind-Body Therapies. Mind-body practices elicit changes in sympathetic nervous system activation of gene transcription factors involved in immune function and inflammation and create persistent changes in neural function and morphology associated with these practices. Mind-body therapies are immunomodulatory, with effects on leukocyte transcription and function related to inflammatory and innate immune responses, and neuromodulatory, with effects on brain function and morphology relevant for attention, learning, and emotion regulation.
Interoception, Contemplative Practice, and Health. Interoception is a fundamental component of Qigong practice. Well-being is deeply rooted in the body, a continuous flow of feelings denoting comfort or distress. Interoception, the representation of the body's internal state, is a growing target of scientific research, buoyed by a growing respect for contemplative traditions relating interoceptive awareness to the cultivation of well-being. An emerging interoception literature cuts across studies of neurophysiology, somatic anthropology, contemplative practice, and mind-body medicine.
Healing Sound: Stimulation of Protein Expression Through the Harmonic Resonance of Frequency-Specific Music. Exposure to 'music' that was designed through assigning a musical note for every single one of the twenty unique amino acids, produced both an analytical and a visible shift in protein synthesis, making it as potential tool for reducing procedural time uptake. This research provides some insight into how the various types of healing sound Qigong might work.
The Neural Mechanisms of Meditative Practices: Novel Approaches for Healthy Aging. The authors conclude that mind-body practices can target different brain systems that are involved in the regulation of attention, emotional control, mood, and executive cognition that can be used to treat or prevent mood and cognitive disorders of aging, such as depression and caregiver stress, or serve as "brain fitness" exercise. Benefits may include improving brain functional connectivity in brain systems that generally degenerate with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other aging-related diseases.
Human Energy Field: A Concept Analysis. The Human Energy Field (HEF) is defined as a luminous field of energy that comprises a person, extends beyond the physical body, and is in a continuous mutual process with the environmental energy field. It is a vital energy that is a continuous whole and is recognized by its unique pattern; it is dynamic, creative, nonlinear, unpredictable, and flows in lower and higher frequencies. The balanced HEF is characterized by flow, rhythm, symmetry, and gentle vibration.
Yogic Breathing Helps Fight Major Depression, Penn Study Shows. Controlled Breathing Practices Show Promise in Patients Who Don’t Fully Respond to Antidepressants. The Ujjayi breathing of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is essentially the same as Qigong deep diaphragmatic breathing. Ujjayi or “Victorious Breath” involves experiencing the conscious sensation of the breath touching the throat. This slow breath technique (2–4 breaths per minute) increases airway resistance during inspiration and expiration and controls airflow so that each phase of the breath cycle can be prolonged to an exact count. The subjective experience is physical and mental calmness with alertness (Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health).
Acupuncture (PDQ®): Health Professional Version. This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the use of acupuncture in the treatment of people with cancer. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
MEDITATION KEEPS EMOTIONAL BRAIN IN CHECK. “Our findings not only demonstrate that meditation improves emotional health, but that people can acquire these benefits regardless of their ‘natural’ ability to be mindful,” said Yanli Lin, an MSU graduate student and lead investigator of the study. “It just takes some practice.”
Systems Biology Research Study Reveals Benefits of Vacation and Meditation. "It's intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time...Based on our results, the benefit we experience from meditation isn't strictly psychological; there is a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function," said Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. "Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself. The prediction is that this would then lead to healthier aging."
Qi Talks. Bernard Shannon. Topic: Teaching through Direct Experience: Making the Intangible Tangible. Thursday, October 13, 2016 8:30pm Eastern. Bernard Shannon is an internationally recognized teacher of Medical Qigong therapy, Daoist cultivation, alchemical and mystical practices, and martial concepts. Executive Director of the International College of Medical Qigong and Abbot of the Temple of Peace and Virtue, he served for seven years, as the Executive Director of the International Institute of Medical Qigong, as master instructor and curriculum developer. He is also licensed as a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as of Medical Qigong through the People's Republic of China. He is the Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong (China) and served as Chairman of the Board with the National Qigong Association (USA).