Archive

Archive for the ‘Qi-Gong’ Category

Oct
15

TAI CHI FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Tai chi appears to be safe and may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twenty patients with RA were randomly assigned to tai chi or attention control in twice-weekly sessions for 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, 50% of patients randomized to tai chi achieved a 20% response measured on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response criterion, compared with 0% in the control. Those practicing tai chi also showed greater improvement in disability index, vitality and depression index. Similar trends in improvement were also observed for disease activity, functional capacity and health-related quality of life. (Tai Chi improves pain and functional status in adults with rheumatoid arthritis: results of a pilot single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:218-29).

TAI CHI AND OSTEOARTHRITIS
South Korean research has shown that (Sun-style) tai chi is effective in alleviating several symptoms of osteoarthritis. 43 middle-aged women who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis were randomised to participate in 20-minute tai chi sessions at least 3 times a week for a 12-week period, or to serve as controls. At the end of the study, the women in the tai chi group reported significantly less pain and stiffness in their joints and improved overall physical functioning. No changes were observed in the control group. Women in the tai chi group also showed significant improvement in balance and abdominal muscle strength. (J Rheumatol 2003;30:2039-44).

, , ,

Jun
01

Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism, tai chi and qigong.

Tui na is a hands-on-body treatment using acupressure that is a modality of Chinese medicine whose purpose is to bring the body into balance. The principles being balanced are the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press and rub the areas between each of the joints to open the body’s defensive chi and get the energy moving in both the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion, traction, massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points and to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions. Tui na is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine. Many East Asian martial arts schools also teach tui na to their advanced students for the treatment and management of injury and pain due to training. As with many other traditional Chinese medical practices, there are several different schools with greater or lesser differences in their approach to the discipline. It is related also to Chinese massage or anma.

Tui na has fewer side effects than modern drug-based and chemical-based treatments. It has been used to treat or complement the treatment of many conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

The words Tui Na translate into ‘push-grasp’ or ‘poke-pinch’ in Chinese. Physically, it is a series of pressing, tapping, and kneading with palms, fingertips, knuckles or implements that help the body to remove blockages along the meridians of the body and stimulates the flow of qi and blood to promote healing, similar to principles of acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupressure. Tui na’s massage-like techniques range from light stroking to deep-tissue work which would be considered too vigorous or too painful for a recreational or relaxing massage. Clinical practitioners often use liniment, plasters, herbal compresses and packs to aid in the healing process, which should be used with caution on sensitive skin. Tui na is not used for conditions involving compound fractures, external wounds, open sores or lesions, phlebitis, or with infectious conditions such as hepatitis. Tui na should not be performed on the abdominal portion of a woman in menstrual or pregnant periods, and it is not used for treatment of malignant tumors or tuberculosis.

In a typical adult tui na session, the patient wears loose clothing and lies on a massage table or floor pad. After answering some brief questions about the nature and location of the health problem as well as basic questions about general health, allergies and other existing conditions, the practitioner will concentrate on specific acupressure points, energy trigger points, muscles and joints surrounding the affected area. Occasionally, clothing is removed or repositioned to expose a particular spot that requires direct skin contact. The patient should always be informed before this act, and no inappropriate or unexpected contact should ever be made in a professional session. Treatment sessions last from 10 minutes to over an hour. Patients often return for additional treatments for chronic conditions.

May
29

Giving prevention the priority means to take measures to prevent the occurrence of disease. Since the occurrence of disease is related to insufficiency of healthy qi and attack of pathogenic factors, the preventive measures taken should focus on reinforcing healthy qi and preventing the invasion of pathogenic factors by means of regulating psychological state, diet and living habit as well as doing physical exercise. Besides, cares should be taken to avoid attack of pathogenic factors.

Regulating psychological state
Regulating psychological state covers three aspects: avoiding direct damage of the viscera and disturbance of qi and blood; avoiding invasion of pathogenic factors due to deficiency of healthy qi caused by psychological factors; protecting and cultivating healthy qi to further strengthen Constitution. There are various ways to regulate psychological state, the general principle is to be free from avarice. If one keeps the mind tranquil, qi and blood will flow normally, yin and yang in the body can communicate freely with that in the natural world, which can not only prevent the invasion of pathogenic factors but also strengthen constitution.

Proper diet
Diet provides necessary nutrients for the body, but unhealthy eating habits and improper food (such as intemperance or starvation, unhygienic food and food partiality) impair the viscera and damage harmonious state of qi and blood. To cultivate health through regulating diet can supplement essence, adjust the state of yin and yang, improve constitution and strengthen body resistance. There are various ways to cultivate health through regulation of diet, these methods should be applied according to individual conditions. The general principle is to eat regularly at the right time in proper proportions with hygienic eating habits.

Proper living habits
Proper living habits include regular work and rest, temperance in sexual activity and proper clothing in different seasons. Proper living habits are effective in abiding by the variations of yin and yang in the natural world, protecting the viscera, qi, blood and body fluid, and preventing invasion of pathogenic factors.

Exercising the body
Exercising the body can promote the flow of qi and blood, reinforce the functions of the viscera and prevent retention of pathogenic factors. There are various ways to exercise the body. However traditional ways to exercise the body are more effective for strengthening constitution, eliminating disease and prolonging life, such as Wuqinxi (five-animals frolics), Baduanjin (eight-sections exercise), Yijinjing (tendon-relaxing exercise) and Taijiquan (taiji box), etc. These traditional exercises are slow in action and general in relaxation, very effective for directing the flow of qi and blood. They combine static actions with dynamic activities, effective for regulating both yin and yang without damaging tendons and exhausting qi and blood. People with different constitution should select different exercise.

Avoiding attack of pathogenic factors
ince pathogenic factors are the key elements in causing disease, measures have to be taken to avoid the attack of pathogenic factors in the cultivation of healthy qi. Some pathogenic factors are very toxic, even strong constitution cannot resist them. Thus the avoidance of these pathogenic factors is the only way to prevent the occurrence of disease.

Preventing transmission and change

When disease has occurred, it may transmit from a local area to the viscera and other regions. In this case, measures have to be taken to stop such transmission and change.

Early treatment
At the early stage, disease is easy to treat because it is still light and healthy qi has not declined yet. However, delayed treatment may worsen the disease and make it difficult to treat due to transmission of pathogenic factors from the external to the internal and damage of healthy qi. If healthy qi is seriously impaired and pathogenic factors become more and more predominant, the disease is hard to treat and tends to become aggravated. So early treatment is very important.

Controlling the transmission and change
Transmission and change refer to movement and change of disease in the external and the internal, the upper and the lower, the zang-organs and the fu-organs, the meridians and the collaterals, wei, qi, ying and blood phases. The transmission and change of disease follow certain rules and routes. Measures can be taken according to these rules and routes to prevent the transmission and change of disease in advance.

The method for controlling the transmission and change of disease is to regulate and nourish the organs or areas that the disease is liable to transmit to by means of reinforcing healthy qi to prevent the transmission of the disease. For example, it is said in Jingui Yaoliie “measures must be taken to strengthen the spleen in the treatment of liver disease because liver disease tends to transmit to the spleen.” That means to invigorate spleen-qi to prevent liver disease from transmitting to the spleen. Take febrile disease for another example. Since pathogenic heat damages yin, the impairment of stomach-yin can damage kidney-yin. Under such a condition, the prescription composed herbs sweet in taste and cold in nature for nourishing the stomach can be added with some herbs salty in taste and cold in nature for nourishing kidney-yin in order to prevent pathogenic heat from impairing the kidney.

May
05

Dr. Mehmet Oz on Oprah called qigong “the secret to anti-aging.” It’s the “miracle exercise” for people seeking to avoid drugs, surgery, and expensive doctor bills. Medical Tai Chi, known in China as Qigong, may eventually replace health insurance for many Americans. Qigong (‘chee gong’, or chi kung) retreats are growing in popularity in the USA as a low-cost, self-care health system.

Medical Qigong looks similar to martial Tai Chi, but its slow movements are medically designed to boost the immune system and open acupuncture “chi” channels — without using needles. Qigong is self-applied Chinese medicine, used to heal chronic illness for over 2500 years.

“Medical Qigong is the mother of Tai Chi, but simpler to learn,” says Michael Winn, National Qigong Association ex-president. “It’s the intelligent man’s way to exercise. Qigong is relaxing. Paradoxically, the less effort you make, the more powerful the healing energy it generates. You feel peaceful afterwards. For most, sweaty exercise at the gym is a job. But people love their qigong. Yoga and martial tai chi styles are also healthy alternatives, but qigong is medically far more effective. Qigong can be targeted to heal specific mental or physical illnesses. I’ve witnessed countless healings in people abandoned by the medical system.”

Winn, a 30-year Qigong practitioner, dropped his own health insurance decades ago, and claims to rarely get sick. Attendance at his low-cost non-profit summer retreats at Heavenly Mountain (www.HealingTaoRetreats.com) near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is growing as the economy gets worse. “Rising health insurance is forcing many people to shift to low-cost prevention vs. expensive ‘cure-it-later’ hospital solutions. Even swine flu is waking people up. They realize a strong immune system is your only true insurance. That is who survived earlier pandemics.”

Dr. Brian Lewis, an integrative medicine expert, notes: “Studies in the United States and in other countries have shown numerous benefits from Qi Gong. It is an effective, accessible, and empowering form of self care that I have found to be deeply healing for myself and my patients. Through the simple practices of Qi Gong patients of many religious and cultural backgrounds have discovered the innate healing capacities and spiritual depths within themselves. I believe that preventive and self-care methods such as Qi Gong will be an essential part of a sustainable health care system.”

Dr. Bryan Lewis, integrative healthcare expert MD, notes a similar trend. “I’m seeing more aging baby-boomers choosing to invest $1,000 on a week-long ‘health vacation-training’ instead of $25,000. in yearly insurance premiums. Others are turning to cheap alternatives like qigong because they simply cannot afford insurance. The NIH knows that greater reliance on prevention and self-care is the only long term solution our national health system can afford. If 200 million Chinese rely upon medical qigong for good health — why can’t Americans?”

The hard science behind qigong is impressive. (http://www.healingtaousa.com/cgi-bin/articles.pl?rm=mode2&articleid=40) There are over 3500 studies proving regular Qigong practice is highly effective in preventing and healing chronic illness. A 20 year qigong study showed a 50% reduction in mortality from stroke.

Tina Zhang was once a travel agent in New York City. “I felt so stressed working two jobs to pay health premiums — it was making me sick!” She began exploring Chinese healing arts. “I realized Qi Gong and Tai Chi are much better medical investments than pouring money down a bottomless insurance hole. I don’t trust Medicare to take care of me — it may go broke when 75 million baby boomers start to age. I prefer to take care of my own health”.

Tina now teaches women how to regulate hormones and ease menstrual cycles with Women’s Qigong. She’s become one of the 20 Qigong masters teaching Healing Tao summer retreats at Heavenly Mountain, the largest program of its kind in America. Other types of medical qigong retreats include natural weight loss Qigong Breathing, deep organ massage, Qi energy healing, Taoist medical sexology, and Tao-Yin (Chinese yoga).(www.HealingTaoRetreats.com).

Feb
10

  Chinese experts of qigong, a traditional fitness exercise, are launching a major push this year to achieve wider international recognition of the practice.
Yang Yubing, of Beijing Sports University, was among three experts to leave for a demonstration tour to Los Angeles on Sunday, his third qigong mission to the United States.
In the first three months this year, the Chinese Health Qigong Association will also send expert teams to Australia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Canada to hold lectures, performances, training courses and seminars.
Other Chinese martial arts already have huge following abroad, but qigong has yet to make an impact. As an ancient Chinese health and exercise form, qigong focuses on the adjustment of body gestures, breathing and mental state to improve physical and mental strength.
In 2002, health qigong was officially recognized as a sports event in China. Its competition standards include the difficulty of movements and body rhythm to accompanying music.
“Martial arts have much to do with attack and defense, but qigong helps achieve a state of inner peace by doing moving the body and controlling breathing, providing relief from the pressures of modern life,” said Yang.
“Qigong is very different from Western style physical exercises, which focus on muscles, speed, power and stamina. Qigong combines slow-pace aerobics with mental rest to achieve the optimal physical and mental state. Long-term practitioners see improvements in the inner well-being.”
Qigong is based on traditional Chinese philosophy, including the concept of “yin-yang” (dark and light), which symbolizes two unity of opposites that constantly interchange in ultimate dynamic balance.
“With our guidance and explanation, many of my American and European qigong students easily understand and accept these concepts and gradually understand Chinese culture,” Yang said.
Lu Shiming, vice chairman of the Chinese Health Qigong Association, said the association started to send expert teams around Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and Africa in 2006. Last year, 149 Chinese health qigong experts visited 17 countries and regions.
The members of the LA team are experienced teachers selected from more than 30 colleges.
“We hope to present high-level qigong performances and promote sports contacts between China and foreign countries.”
Qigong is not to be confused with tai chi, which is widely practiced by elderly people and developed from speed-and-power martial arts into a slow-paced and health-promoting exercise, among other forms.
While qigong’s ultimate aim is inner peace, tai chi stresses physical health by moving body and limbs.
China has been strengthening culture promotion in recent years with Confucius Institutes set up in 78 countries to teach Chinese language.