Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why does Qigong work?

[There is a video - unrelated to the interview - at the end of the post, a 4.5 minute "Sitting Qigong" with Dr Roger Jahnke found on YouTube]

A Conspiracy of Miracles: Qi, Spirit-Mind-Body and the Transformation of Healthcare

Interview with Roger Jahnke, OMD

[Dr Roger Jahnke's website: Feel the Qi]

Interviewer/Editor: Bonnie Horrigan, Explore Journal

Roger Jahnke, OMD, is a contemporary multi-disciplinarian – a doctor of Chinese medicine (30 years), CEO of a innovative “new era” health care company; author, lecturer and researcher; health care historian and futurist; consultant and strategist to hospitals, agencies and corporations for the development of breakthrough programs in integrative medicine; master teacher of Qigong and Tai Chi; co-creator of a health and wellness coaching system – the Circle of Life; and co-founder of the Healer Within Foundation which focuses on preserving and integrating global medical traditions and delivers wellness coaching and mind-body practice to communities in the US and globally.

Dr. Jahnke’s work is a part of a dynamic international effort to understand the "naturally occurring, internal, selfhealing resource" that the Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions have called Qi and Prana. The core principal of his work proposes that, “the most profound medicine is produced within” through a dynamic interaction of energy, consciousness and physiology. This breakthrough means that “true health care is free” when people are simply supported in understanding the magnitude of their own natural powers and capacities.

EXPLORE interviewed Dr. Jahnke in the summer of 2006. With the permission from Explore, here we share an abbreviated version of the interview with our readers:

[Printed here is only the question and answer to "Why does Qigong work?"]

EXPLORE: Why does Qigong work?

JAHNKE: There are three levels of answers. These same mechanisms operate in yoga, all forms of moving meditation and even holistic support groups and wellness coaching. The first level is physiological. We already know that benefits of mind-body practice, including Tai Chi and Qigong, cross numerous physiological systems. Take oxygen. We know that oxygen is a powerful healing factor, so we don’t have to prove that. We also know that diffusing oxygen into the system, so that it’s super available, is key. So the real question is: Does Qigong and Tai Chi maximize in some way the utilization of oxygen in all the ways that we know that it is utilized. And the answer is “Yes!”

Now, to dispel a myth — breathing deep doesn’t increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. There is actually 98% oxygen perfusion in the blood of almost everyone, even those with chronic obstructive lung disease. So the issue isn’t getting oxygen into the blood. The issue is getting oxygen out of the blood and into the tissues. When you go into a deep state of relaxation, the gentle movement associated with all forms moving meditation like Qigong, yoga, and Tai Chi cause the natural body intelligence to pull oxygen out of the blood toward the tissues.

Interestingly, when you practice sitting meditate, you lose this benefit. With moving meditation, you gain this. In vigorous exercise what happens is that oxygen is being diffused out of the blood and into the tissue, but it is spent as fuel for the muscles. You do get the great muscle build-up, desired by most people. For healing, do I want oxygen to burn as fuel for muscles or do I want oxygen to be more available in the system as a healing resource? In a state of deep relaxation the blood vessels, particularly the capillaries, get larger and you have a larger volume of oxygen rich blood available. This oxygen is available everywhere — in your liver, in your thymus gland, in your adrenal gland, in your hypothalamus. So, gentle movement plus the deep relaxation equals more oxygen diffused more deeply into the system.

In the same vein, the science on psychoneuroimmunology is established. So we only have to ask one question – do you relax in Qigong and Tai Chi? “Yes!” So everything we’ve found in the domain of psychoneuroimmunology is applicable to Qigong and Tai Chi.

The next physiological reason Qigong works has to do with the lymph. The simplest story on metabolism is get the good stuff in, get the bad stuff out. And we have a massive amount of intelligence about the blood and the heart, which is the delivery system for oxygen and nutrition. But we don’t know a lot about the mechanisms for getting the bad stuff out. In fact, many physicians are resistant to concepts like toxins and detoxification. Toxins are actually metabolic byproducts and detoxification is activating the natural capacity of the elimination system. The system for removing metabolic by-products and any other kind of pollution that has been delivered into the body, such as cigarette smoke, street drugs or medical drugs, is the lymphatic system.

When a tumor in a person’s body is deconstructed, by chemotherapy or visualization, how does it get out? Through the lymphatic system. Yet we give only a small percentage of the attention to the lymph that we pay to the cardiac and the blood system. This is just an insight into how our thinking has been biased and imbalanced.

If you look at Qigong with the lymph in mind, you could easily say that Qigong is primarily a lymph-based methodology. There are five components to the “lymph heart.” The first is compression, contracting and releasing of the muscles puts pressure on the lymph system causing flow and any massage contributes to this as well. Second, when you metabolize oxygen, one of the by-products is water. Any volume of water coming into the tissue spaces pushes the water ahead of it forward. Third, is the “intrinsic propulsion mechanism.” The lymph vessels open up, reach out, grab water and pull it in. It actually looks like they are doing Tai Chi, by the way. And they do this most efficiently when the body is in a state of rest. It’s very interesting – within you thousands of lymphatic end points are doing Tai Chi movements when you authentically relax.

The fourth mechanism is inversion against gravity. Any time you raise your arms up in the air, the lymph falls and pushes the lymph ahead of it. But if your arm is down by your side, the lymph has to climb against gravity. Any inversion or even leveling of limbs in Qigong (yoga), accelerates lymph propulsion. Fifth, the most impressive lymph propulsion mechanism of the “lymph heart” is the breath. When you take a small breath you do not pump lymph. But when the diaphragm is fully engaged, it compresses the cisterna chili (a balloon-like sac right below your diaphragm) that fills with lymph from throughout the body. When it’s compressed, it propels the lymph forward. The nature of the lymphatic system is that lymph cannot go backwards. There are gates. When you move lymph, the gates open, if lymph flows back, the gates close. So the balloon gets compressed and this fountain of lymph goes shooting up through the thoracic duct and into the subclavian vein, and then from there it goes into the blood and becomes a part of the serum that is delivered to the liver and the kidneys for the final detoxifying portion of the elimination process. In other words, Qigong, Tai Chi and yoga are programmed to maximize lymph propulsion and thus significantly enhance wellbeing.

[This excerpt was taken from the July/August 2007 issue of "Qi Dao" newsletter of WISH, World Institute for Self Healing. Visit http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Qi_Dao/ to subscribe on-line to the free newsletter.]

The following video with Dr Roger Jahnke is from YouTube

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Three Ancient Qigong practitioners on breathing

The following excerpt is from the book Qi Gong Therapy: The Chinese Art of Healing With Energy by Tzu Kuo Shih, Station Hill Press, Barrytown NY, 1994.

P. 14-15:

Sun Simiao [AD 581-682] was a renowned physician and Daoist of the Tang Dynasty [AD 618-907]. There are many descriptions of Qi Gong practices in his works, Essential Prescriptions Worth a Thousand in Gold (Qian Jin Fang) and Supplement to the Prescriptions Worth a Thousand in Gold (Qian Jin Yi Fang). In the chapter, "Methods of Breath-Regulation" he details four methods: abdominal breathing, internal seeing, breath controlling, and exhalation. The four methods are the essence of ancient Chinese Qi Gong.

In his Song for Eliminating Diseases in the Four Seasons (Si Ji Qu Bing Ge), Dr. Sun wrote:

Exhaling with mouth not open can improve the sight and soothe the liver in spring. Exhaling with the mouth open wide, in spring, can clear away the heart-fire. Exhaling with the mouth open but teeth clenched in autumn, can astringe the lung and relieve cough and asthma. Exhaling can reinforce the kidney. Producing the sound "shee—" can eliminate restlessness and fever of deficiency type of San-jiao [triple burner]. Rapid exhalation can reinforce the spleen and promote digestion.

Wang Shou was another famous Qi Gong practitioner from the Tang Dynasty. In his work, The Medical Secrets of an Official (Wai Tai Mi Yao) he says:

The method to treat diseases of the heart and abdomen and all other diseases is through breathing.

P. 22-23:

Gong Yan Xian was a doctor of the Imperial hospital during the Min Dynasty. [Min Dynasty: AD 909-946] He wrote Living a Long Life and Preserving Fundamental Energy (Shou Shi Bao Yuan) which discoursed upon breathing and standing Qi Gong. He wrote:

It is said a person's life is based on energy. When the breath occurs between the heart and the spleen, then the blood flows smoothly, the vitality is strengthened, and all diseases disappear. At midnight, noon, dawn, and dusk, stay in your room quietly, the bed fitted with a heavy cotton-padded mattress, and sit on the bed with legs crossed, closing your eyes and filling your ears with cotton, not thinking anything—take your breath between your heart and spleen, not too fast and not too slow. Just take it easy. When you practice this for two months, you will get Qi Gong results.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Teeth and the acupuncture channels

Recently, I was reading the Alternative Health section of "New Connexion: Pacific Northwest's Journal of Conscious Living" and came across an article that really caught my interest. It was about Whole-Body Dentistry.

That in itself is an interesting topic because it recognizes that we humans are our own, individual ecosystem; having dental work on one tooth can affect many other parts of the body than just the mouth. I rather like this enlightened quote from the author, Mark A Breiner, DDS: "In fact, both physicians and dentists have been trained to overlook almost entirely the fact that attached to every tooth is a person." He does not make this mistake!

In his article, Dr. Breiner also talked about the relationships between each individual tooth and the corresponding acupuncture channel, saying "Seemingly unrelated physical illnesses can be caused by dental problems … because of their effect on the body's energetic meridians." I had heard that such correspondences existed, but before now had not actually seen the chart that displayed the tooth-by-tooth details.

Below is a chart of the associations between each tooth and the parts of the body linked by acupuncture channel. (Click on the chart for a larger, readable version.) For drawings of the channels, check my post on Eight Pieces of Brocade.

Dental chart courtesy of Natural World Healing.

To learn more about the fascinating topic of whole body dentistry, read Dr. Breiner's book:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Healing Power of Qi Gong Rejuvenation Exercise for Longevity

This 6.5 minute video was embedded from YouTube.
It includes several testimonials from people who have greatly benefited from the practice of qigong, even to the point of being able to discontinue medications they no longer needed!

Shaolin Baduanjin Qigong - Video

This fantastic four minute video was uploaded from YouTube

Master Jesse Tsao Five Animal Frolics Video

This 7 minute video was downloaded from You Tube
Master Jesse Tsao demonstrates the Five Animal Frolics.

Qigong can help prevent and reverse osteoporosis

Woman doing qigong - photo courtesy Wikimedia

Below are some research updates and excerpts from websites, books, and documents that show the benefits of qigong practice in preventing and even reversing bone density loss and osteoporosis. Note that the last entry mentions Eight Pieces of Brocade, a very easy practice to learn.


Qi Dao Newsletter November/December 2006

The effects of baduanjin qigong in the prevention of bone loss for middle-aged women. Chen HH, Yeh ML, Lee FY., (American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2006;34 (5):741-7.)

Abstract: This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a 12-week Baduanjin qigong training program in preventing bone loss for middle-aged women. An experimental design was adopted, and subjects were assigned randomly into an experimental group (n = 44) and a control group (n = 43).

The experimental group received a 12-week Baduanjin qigong training program, whereas the control group did not. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured before and after the intervention.

The results showed significant differences in IL-6 (t = -5.19, p < t =" 1.99," p =" 0.049)">

In conclusion, this study demonstrates promising efficacy of Baduanjin in preventing bone loss commonly occurring in middle-aged women. Thus, Baduanjin is valuable for promoting and maintaining the health status of middle-aged women.


Halting Bone Loss


Bone loss is a big problem with many women. Studies indicate that stress may be a major factor contributing to the loss of bone mass in even relatively young women. The daily stress relief T'ai Chi promotes provides a powerful preventive therapy to help ensure a long, active life for women.

Studies have shown that QiGong practice raises estrogen levels in women, including those over 45. This is highly desirable because reduced estrogen levels after menopause cause a loss of calcium from the bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Above excerpts are from The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong Chapter 20,

"T’ai Chi as Therapy for Young and Old"



World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day – Medical Research


Research from the National Institute of Mental Health reports that the stress hormones found in depressed women caused bone loss that gave them bones of women nearly twice their age. T’ai Chi and QiGong are known to reduce depression and anxiety and provide weight-bearing exercises to encourage building bone mass and connective tissue.


Osteoporosis and Chinese Medicine


The Chinese medicine examines two factors as main causes of osteoporosis: deficiency of energy (qi) in the kidneys and disharmony between the functions of the spleen and stomach.

The energy deficiency in the kidneys is the most important precondition for developing osteoporosis. It is manifested in such symptoms as an overall weakness and fatigue, pains in the lower back, waist and knees; easy bone fragility, dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia, frequent urination, night sweating, dry mouth, sensitivity to cold, cold extremities, and asthma.

According to the principles of Chinese medicine and qigong therapy, the kidneys are in charge of the condition of body fluids, part of which are used for the formation of bone marrow. The bone marrow nourishes the bones and maintains them healthy and strong. That is why, in the ancient medical treatises of China it is said that "the condition of the kidneys defines the condition of the bones" and "the kidneys stimulate the formation of bone marrow". If the vital energy and the body fluids are insufficient, then the bone system would suffer as well, and there will present conditions for developing osteoporosis and fragile, soft bones with frequent fractures even in the lightest traumas.

The thousand-year old experience of Chinese medicine proves that the methods of the qigong science and practice for increasing the inner energy through training of the quiet exercise (qigong meditation) represent one of the most natural, certain and effective ways of prevention and treatment of diseases.

The increase of energy circulation within the body enhances the quality of the inner organs and their activity, improves and strengthens the bone marrow, straightens the position of bones and joints, removes the pains and the pathogenic conditions. Day by day, the qigong practitioners become more vital, more capable of working and rejuvenated. The osteoporosis patients who use the method of qigong increase in a natural way their kidney energy and regulate metabolism. Gradually, the bone tissue is replenished and it becomes possible to maintain healthy and powerful bone system.


Ancient Eastern Exercise Cures Osteoporosis (press release)


Thursday, October 19, 2006 by: NaturalNews

If you know anything about the debilitating bone disease called osteoporosis will also know that it is incurable. You would know that this disease extracts calcium from the bones making them brittle over time. No matter how much calcium you try to supplement your diet with your body cannot absorb it.

Up until the time she was diagnosed with osteoporosis, Joan Foo had lost 40% of her bone density as a result of the disease. After the diagnosis and fed up with living a sedentary life, fate would have her attending a Qi gong class. This was the turning point in her life. After one year of practicing Qi gong, doctors were dumb founded and flabbergasted to see that not only had the condition stopped, it had reversed itself.


Tai Chi and Women's Health


You can increase bone strength by learning how to correct your posture—to become straight in gravity, so that the bones bear the weight. Bones in their natural, plumb position become stronger and joints become more fluid. If the skeleton is out of position, much energy is wasted in work done by muscles that are in tension and in opposition to each other. The person’s balance suffers. Chronic pain sets in. Wear and tear on joints increases. As the skeleton ages, the result of inappropriate articulation and weight-bearing is osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Exercises to improve bone strength and joint health are on Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong Practice DVD.

Qigong Group Practice: It Does A Body Good!

A group of people in China practicing qigong in an outdoor plaza.

Speaking holistically, there is no better practice than qigong to aid in your surgery and illness recovery, strengthen your immune system, restore flexibility to your joints and muscles, and eliminate your anxiety and stress.

Qigong does this by restoring, correcting, or improving the natural function of your body systems so that you may effect your own healing. This is known as "reaction medicine." The "action medicine" approach to healthcare means introducing an agent that is directed at the control of symptoms and forces the body into compliance with a desired effect, for example a drug to control heartbeat that has very dangerous side effects. The "reaction medicine" approach would be to employ herbs, nutrition, or techniques like massage or acupuncture to restore health to the affected area, and that restoration of health will naturally eliminate symptoms of disease. It turn out there are additional benefits as well.

Briefly quoting two paragraphs from pages 110 – 111 section on "Additional Benefits of Reaction Medicine" from the Healing Power of Acupressure and Acupuncture by Matthew Bauer, L.Ac.:

· One of the most important and often overlooked strengths of reaction medicine is the potential to provide benefits for problems other than those being treated; that is, to cause good side effects. Because of the nature of holistic interconnections and the fact that reaction medicine takes advantage of these connections in helping the body to help itself, helping one problem with reaction medicine often helps others as well.

· Finding that other health conditions improve in the process of treating the primary problem is common occurrence in the practice of Chinese medicine. Often these additional benefits go unnoticed by the patient at first. Because reaction medicine helps the body to better adjust and heal itself naturally, many people do not realize that the cause of their sleeping better, catching fewer colds, experiencing more energy, and so on is the treatment they have been having for other problems. If someone continues to be treated with reaction medicine approaches over long periods of time, the improvements in overall body balancing they experience can also help to prevent future health problems.

You can see by this that all true healing is self-healing, the return of your body to working in its unique and natural order.

There is an outside component that can enhance your self-recovery through qigong, and that is practicing with a group or in a class of people.

If you can't join a class, certainly doing qigong along with a video or through the instruction in a book will be beneficial, but there is a special synergy that increases every participant's personal energy when like-minded people with similar goals come together.

The energy of each person in the group becomes stronger, clearer, more focused. It is the personal energetic equivalent of 1 + 1 = 3, or the group energy being greater than the sum of its parts.

You have experienced this at sports rallies or games – though to a greater and sometimes unpleasant degree – when groups of people cheer for their team. The energy of the crowd is much greater than it would be if the individuals were not concentrated in one area and in close contact with each other.

For example, 10,000 people could be at home watching the same game and cheering for the same team to win, but the energy would be much different if those 10,000 people were together in the stadium.

Practicing qigong with a group of people won't be as exuberant as being in a sports arena with hundreds of screaming fans – it isn't supposed to be! – but the same energetic principle will be at work, enhancing your energy and the energy of your surroundings. It will be very beneficial and rewarding to your health and wellbeing!

Furthermore, when you become familiar with the routine of the form, you will find that you relax into a meditative state when practicing. This may take some time, but every repetition of the form brings you that much closer to knowing it without thinking about it. Upon reaching that level of knowledge, after a couple months of practice, when you do qigong, you may feel like you do when you are daydreaming, your body and mind both relaxed and in the moment.

When this happens, the body emits energy in the form of a bio-magnetic field that is often in the frequency range defined as that which can promote healing in a variety of soft and hard tissue. (P. 83, Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James Oschman Ph.D.)

This is the same energy you experience when you say "vibes" in the context of the feeling you get in the presence of another person. Without that person doing or saying anything, you often get a feeling about a stranger when you are near them, getting "bad vibes" or "good vibes" as the case may be. Bad vibes make you feel nervous and uncomfortable, good vibes make you feel relaxed, open, and friendly.

You know that you do well when you are surrounded by people who have good feelings toward you, who want you do succeed. You learn better, you perform your job better, and in good surroundings, you also heal better.

Put those "good vibes" to work for you in the form of a class; join a group of people all interested in good health, all wanting to experience the benefits of practicing qigong, all feeling good being with a group of people who have the same goals. You will experience an unbeatable combination of enhanced internal and external "good vibes" producing a stronger, faster, and even more beneficial stress-reducing and healing experience through your qigong practice.

Eight Healing Sounds Qigong

Listen right now. What do you hear, and how does it make you feel?

The sounds of traffic outside?

The radio or television or video game playing?

Your favorite CD?

A jackhammer ripping up the street?

You don't even need to hear the sound to this one….we all wince just reading the words: the sound of nails on a blackboard.

You know that sounds can be good or bad, cause relaxation or anxiety, can make you feel terrific or bring on the Grandfather of all migraine headaches.

Today there are many sound and brainwave entrainment products that claim to relieve all sorts of conditions and complaints from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to insomnia, and many more promise personal and spiritual enhancement. (Programs to increase your luck or powers of attracting money are especially popular right now.) All claim they are safe and effective.

My opinion is that some are not all that safe or effective for certain people. Just like a diet for bodily nutrition, your personal brainwaves and body/brain chemistry need to be taken into account to determine what programs are safe and best for you. To tell the truth, without experimenting with them first-hand, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to determine which audio and brainwave entrainment products would be safe and effective, and which you should avoid.

About a year ago, a friend and I downloaded the same entrainment product and listened to it daily for several weeks. She was fine with it thought it did not deliver the mental focus, full potential, or attract the luck and wealth it promised. It evoked depression in me, and I had to stop listing to it. But then, a few weeks ago, I spent some time listening to a different product and had a wonderful, empowering experience.

The lesson learned is that these pre-packaged products can be great for some people, but you won't know if any particular product is good for you until you try it.

However, there is one "sound program" that is 100% safe and effective because the sounds aren't electronic, they don't come out of the environment, you don't download them to play on your computer, iPod or burn to a CD. You create them yourself. They are the Eight Healing Sounds of Yin Style Bagua.

Like many facets of Chinese medicine, the Eight Healing Sounds complete practice enhances your total health and wellbeing at the same time each of the individual sounds works directly upon a particular organ or energy channel in your body. As a self-healing qigong (energy practice), it combines sound and the vibration it creates, movement, breathing, and visualization to heal disease and injury.

I don't believe I am any more sensitive to sounds or other environmental vibrations than you are, but I have taught myself to carefully "listen to my body," to observe and to follow-through with understanding the causes and effects that are going on with the integrated mind-body systems that we all enjoy. (I call it the Ecosystem of You!) That follow-through is the first step toward self-healing.

Observing is like watching a baseball game. Follow-through with understanding is like getting out there on the field and playing. Forgive the pun, but it's a "whole different baseball game" when you are playing instead of just observing. Different muscles are involved, different emotions are involved, and different areas of life are involved from financial rewards to relationships.

Put into medical terms, observing is like going to the doctor, reporting what you are feeling, and letting him or her treat your symptoms with drugs or surgery. Follow-through is bypassing the treatment of symptoms and committing yourself to making those lifestyle changes that you know you need to be truly healthy. . . addressing the cause of the symptoms which may include lack of exercise, eating processed foods, and not getting outdoors to spend time in that sunshine!

If you are interested in using the healing power of sound and vibration as a component of your personal, holistic health system, one of those lifestyle changes should include the practice of the Eight Healing Sounds Qigong.

(As I have mentioned before in writing about qigong, the practices often have many variations. Sound is no exception: there is a popular practice called the Six Healing Sounds, too.)

The Eight Healing Sounds Qigong is 100% safe and effective because you are making the sound yourself with your breath, your healing visualization, and your intention. The energetic vibration you create is uniquely yours.

Even when vocalizing the same syllable, AH for example, my AH is going to be different from your AH due to (at least!) the differences in lung capacity and vocal chords. It may also be different due to energy level when practicing, amount of enthusiasm at the moment, and emotional state, all of which profoundly affects breathing and concentration.

Even with all those variables, the vibration you create with the sound you make through the practice of proper breathing techniques, the flow of energy created through the accompanying movements, and your intention will be a sound that is beneficial and healing for you just as any sound that I make under those circumstances is good for me.

It is the same principle that can be observed in the function of the immune system, the digestive system, the respiratory system….any body system you can name. Your systems and mine work slightly differently depending on our immediate needs and our general health, but when our bodies are responding to our needs, my systems work exactly right for me just as your systems work exactly right for you.

You may safely practice the Eight Healing Sounds and trust that your body is going to automatically do what is beneficial for your health when you relax into the practice and do it naturally.

(Eight Healing Sounds is a great warm-up practice for any type of physical activity. In my own classes, we practice Eight Healing Sounds first, and everyone agrees that it gets the qi flowing through the energy channels which enhances the benefits they receive from the Eight Pieces of Brocade practice.)

Here are the sounds and their correspondences and benefits as outlined when practiced in the standing position; the movement in this case is the raising and lowering of the arms in various positions, and slight bending at the waist in two of the practices. (The Eight Healing Sounds may be practiced standing still, walking, seated, and lying down, and the benefits of each are similar but not exactly the same.)

Ahhhhhhh is a steady and smooth sound, the one you might make as you relax into your favorite easy chair at the end of a long day. This sound benefits the Lung, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and colds.

Hhhhhhhh is a silent sound, like a sigh. That sounds funny, doesn't it, a "silent sound!" But, that is what it is, just a quiet Hhhhhhh upon exhale. The Hhhh sound benefits the heart, circulation, heart palpitations, chest discomfort (however, if you think you are having a heart attack, call Emergency Services immediately!), shortness of breath, heartburn, and irritability.

Heng is a short fast sound, almost like the sound you might make if you are trying to stifle a sneeze. The e is short as in the word hen, and the ng rhymes with hang. This sound benefits the kidneys, and is beneficial for lower back pain, prostate illness, some reproductive system conditions in men and women, and ringing in the ears. (The ears and kidneys are of the same energetic element: water.)

Hu is a long, deep droning sound pronounced Whooooooo. This sound benefits the stomach and treats conditions of excessive or suppressed appetite, also abdominal gas.

Mer is another long, low sound that resembles a cow performing a long Moooooooo with an rrrrrrr on the end: mmmmeeeeerrrrrrrrrr. This sound benefits the spleen (companion organ to the stomach), and improves poor digestion.

Xu is a quiet and extended Shhhhhhhh sound. This sound benefits the liver, lower back, some intestinal problems, E. D., and problems with urination,

Yi is the sound of long E as in Easy; Eeeeeeeee. This sound controls the flow and storage of qi throughout the body and can, therefore, build qi to proper and harmonious levels that will protect against illness and disease. It can be beneficial in case of headache, soreness in the back (including vertebrae problems), and some intestinal conditions.

Hong is a long, low sound that rhymes with "long;" hhooooonnnnng where the "n" is a bit nasal. The bouncing movement that accompanies this sound stimulates the lymph system, so it is beneficial for eliminating used materials and wastes from the body. It can also be beneficial for asthma and shortness of breath.

I did not describe the motions that accompany the sounds because a few are not as simple as the rest and would require a sequence of photos (a short video would be even better!) to explain them properly. Doing the motions properly is important because the qi of the hands aids in directing the qi of the body in this practice. It is best to find someone with whom you can take a class, or at least a few private lessons so that you can learn the correct hand and body motions.

However, practicing the sounds even without the movements can be beneficial, so don't let the lack of postures keep you from using this health-restoring practice!

To practice the Eight Healing Sounds Qigong, settle into a comfortable position and let your mind become quiet.

For each of the sounds, breathe into your belly; as you exhale, make the sound slowly and clearly (except heng, which is a short, fast sound). You should feel the vibration throughout your body. Don't hold your breath while you make the sound and then exhale; do exhale and make the sound at the same time. Visualize the organ or body area you wish to improve as completely healthy and functional.

You should repeat each sound several times so that the practice lasts for fifteen to twenty minutes. I practice eight repetitions of each sound because I combine it with another qigong practice; you might want to do twelve, sixteen, or even twenty-four repetitions of each of the sounds to improve your health. The more you do, up to repetitions of fifty of each sound, the more you will benefit!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eight Pieces Brocade Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health Benefits

Striking (Punching) With Angry Eyes

The Governing Vessel Channel controls all yang channels. I placed “Striking” with the Governing Vessel Channel because: “This exercise develops the flow of chi from your feet through your entire body and extends it through your hands and eyes.”
P. 78, The Way of Energy. Upward movement is usually considered a yang activity, so I paired the controller of the yang channels with the upward movement of the Governing Vessel Meridian.
Internal Health Benefits of this position: improves circulation and nervous system, strengthens eye muscles.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works chest (pectorals), back, shoulder, and arm muscles; helps trim waistline; improves circulation and nervous system, strengthens eye muscles.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: it supports the benefits of the yang organs; the Large Intestine, Stomach, Small Intestine, Bladder, Triple Burner, and Gall Bladder.

Shooting an Eagle with a Bow and Arrow is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the paired organs of Lung (yin) and Large Intestine (yang).
Internal Health Benefits of this position: opens the chest cavity which promotes heart and lung health, and improves circulation and oxygenation of blood; promotes health of the small intestine.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works muscles of upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers; opens the chest cavity which promotes heart and lung health, and improves circulation and oxygenation of blood.
[Also, I placed this position with Lung/Large Intestine because of the hand positions: Index finger is start of large intestine, index finger and thumb are ends of lung channels.]
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes emotional balance; promotes ability to quickly regain composure following an emotional reaction; promotes "big picture" thinking and vision; promotes resolution of grief and sorrow; promotes unbiased judgment; seat of "Ah-ha!" flashes of inspiration.
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as lack of emotional response, or hysteria; unresolved grief; lack of sense of completion or closure.

Separating Heaven And Earth (also known as Regulate Spleen & Stomach By Raising Each Hand) is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the paired organs of Spleen (yin) and Stomach (yang).
Internal Health Benefits of this position: promotes health of liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach, and intestines.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works muscles of middle and upper back, shoulders, wrists, and stretches the spine.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes clear thinking, decisiveness, insight, enthusiasm to engage in life; seat of motivation and creativity.
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as excessive worry, difficulty in making decisions, confusion; could be overly helpful or distant and unhelpful.

Head and Hips Removes Excess Heat From the Heart is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the paired organs of Heart (yin) and Small Intestine (yang)

There are two main variations on this position:
1 – semi-squat and turning from side to side;
2 – raising the arm above the head and leaning to the side

Internal Health Benefits of this position: Reduces tension, benefits nervous system, encourages positive, even flow of energy throughout body.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works all back muscles, shoulder and neck muscles; reduces tension, benefits nervous system, encourages positive, even flow of energy throughout body.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes interactions and behaviors that are timely and suitable to the context and the situation; supports showing respect, being thoughtful, and offering to be of help at the right time; promotes the ability to clearly communicate through precise word choice; supports short-term memory; seat of consciousness, self-awareness, and connection to and living in harmony with the world.
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as insomnia, anxiety, discomfort in being around people, inappropriate or strange behaviors.

Supporting The Sky With Both Hands Regulates All Internal Organs is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the Pericardium (yin) and Triple Heater (yang).
Internal Health Benefits of this position: massages all internal organs, promotes circulation and oxygenation of blood, beneficial for back and spine, improves posture, and relieves tiredness.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works muscles of upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers; promotes circulation and oxygenation of blood, beneficial for back and spine, improves posture, relieves tiredness.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes interactions and behaviors that are timely and suitable to the context and the situation; supports showing respect, being thoughtful, and offering to be of help at the right time; promotes the ability to clearly communicate through precise word choice; supports short-term memory; seat of consciousness, self-awareness, and connection to and living in harmony with the world. (Same as Heart - see above)
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as insomnia, anxiety, discomfort in being around people, inappropriate or strange behaviors. (Same as Heart)

Bend Forward And Touch Toes (also called Touching the Feet With Both Hands Reinforces the Kidneys and Loins) is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the paired organs of Kidney (yin) and Bladder (yang).
Internal Health Benefits of this position: strengthens lower back and leg muscles, benefits abdominal organs and muscles, strengthens kidneys and adrenal glands.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works to strengthen lower back and all leg muscles; stretches and relaxes back and shoulder muscles.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes will power, efforts and commitments that allow for personal responsibility for life; understanding that correct living is effortless (to "go with the flow" of universal energy); the seat of spirituality and wisdom.
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as phobias, anxiety surrounding life and death, inability to appreciate one's own age and wisdom.

Looking Back Like A Cow Gazing at the Moon is particularly beneficial for the energy channels associated with the paired organs of Liver (yin) and Gallbladder (yang)
Internal Health Benefits of this position: promotes circulation to head, supports nervous system, stimulates kidneys, strengthens eye, neck, and shoulder muscles. This is an excellent exercise for remedying high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works muscles of neck, upper back, wrists; trims waist; promotes circulation to head, supports nervous system; strengthens eye, neck, and shoulder muscles.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: promotes healthy personal boundaries; supports ability to remain un-tense thereby allowing greater tolerance to physical pain; promotes kindness and benevolence.
Mental or emotional unbalance could manifest as anger, stubbornness; lack of self-worth or self-esteem; numbness or insensitivity to physical and emotional/spiritual suffering of self and others.

Shaking Off Illness
I can’t recall where I saw this, but this movement allows for energy to be let go or sent back into the earth instead of being raised from it. I have paired this movement with the Conception Vessel Channel. Alternative names of this exercise support this idea: Seven Disorders and Hundreds of Illnesses Disappear and are Left Behind Your Back” and “Reaching Down to Dissipate Disease.”
Internal Health Benefits of this position: internal organ massage; benefits spine, nervous system, and balance. Especially, this activity activates lymph system. (Tuberose.com)
Exercise and Relaxation Benefits of this position: works muscles of calves, thighs, and lower back; beneficial for the nervous system, and balance.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of this position: it supports the benefits of the yin organs; the Lung, Spleen, Heart, Kidney, Pericardium, and Liver.

Chuen, Lam Kam The Way of Energy, Fireside (Simon & Schuster Inc), NY, 1991, ISBN 0671736450
Garofalo, Michael P., “Eight Section Brocade” http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/esb.htm
Kaptchuk, Ted J., O.M.D, The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, McGraw-Hill, NY, 2000, ISBN 0809228408
Tuberose.com http://www.tuberose.com/Cancer.html Cells are able to function better with fresh lymph fluid filled with the proper concentrations of oxygen, glucose and all other nutrients. When fresh supplies replace the waste products of cells--the toxins, bacteria viruses, poisons, trash and debris--cells are healthier, and so are you. But the lymphatic system is completely dependent on some kind of movement to stimulate the pumping action. When you do rebound exercise, your lymphatic system moves about twenty times as fast as it does at rest.

Acupuncture charts courtesy of Pedro Bernardy and RyuBuKan Dojo. For informational purposes only.

Qigong Research Updates 1

Qi Dao Newsletter January 2006

• Deep-breathing exercises reduce atelectasis and improve pulmonary function after coronary artery bypass surgery.

Westerdahl et al. of Sweden reported in Chest (Nov. 2005) that a randomized controlled trial (N=90) showed patients performing deep-breathing exercises after CABG surgery had significantly smaller atelectatic areas and better pulmonary function on the fourth postoperative day compared to a control group performing no exercises.


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the effects of deep-breathing exercises on pulmonary function, atelectasis, and arterial blood gas levels after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

DESIGN & SETTING: In a prospective, randomized trial, patients performing deep-breathing exercises (n = 48) were compared to a control group (n = 42) who performed no breathing exercises postoperatively. Patient management was similar in the groups in terms of assessment, positioning, and mobility.

INTERVENTIONS: The patients in the deep-breathing group were instructed to perform breathing exercises hourly during daytime for the first 4 postoperative days. The exercises consisted of 30 slow, deep breaths performed with a positive expiratory pressure blow-bottle device (+ 10 cm H(2)O).

MEASUREMENTS & RESULTS: Spirometric measurements, spiral CT (three transverse levels), arterial blood gas analysis, and scoring of subjective experience of the breathing exercises were performed on the fourth postoperative day. Atelectasis was only half the size in the deep-breathing group compared to the control group, amounting to 2.6 +/- 2.2% vs 4.7 +/- 5.7% (p = 0.045) at the basal level and 0.1 +/- 0.2% vs 0.3 +/- 0.5% (mean +/- SD) [p = 0.01] at the apical level. Compared to the control subjects, the patients in the deep-breathing group had a significantly smaller reduction in FVC (to 71 +/- 12%, vs 64 +/- 13% of the preoperative values; p = 0.01) and FEV(1) (to 71 +/- 11%, vs 65 +/- 13% of the preoperative values; p = 0.01). Arterial oxygen tension, carbon dioxide tension, fever, or length of ICU or hospital stay did not differ between the groups. In the deep-breathing group, 72% of the patients experienced a subjective benefit from the exercises.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients performing deep-breathing exercises after CABG surgery had significantly smaller atelectatic areas and better pulmonary function on the fourth postoperative day compared to a control group performing no exercises. (Chest, 2005 Nov; 128:3482-8)



• Qigong exercise helps reduce the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: A

randomized controlled pilot study

Schmitz-Hubsch et al. of Germany published their study in October 2005 issue of Movement Disorders. Here is the abstract.

ABSTRACT: Irrespective of limited evidence, not only traditional physiotherapy, but also a wide array of complementary methods are applied by patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

We evaluated the immediate and sustained effects of Qigong on motor and nonmotor symptoms of PD, using an add-on design. Fifty-six patients with different levels of disease severity (mean age/standard deviation [SD], 63.8/7.5 years; disease duration 5.8/4.2 years; 43 men [76%]) were recruited from the outpatient movement disorder clinic of the Department of Neurology, University of Bonn.

We compared the progression of motor symptoms assessed by Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor part (UPDRS-III) in the Qigong treatment group (n = 32) and a control group receiving no additional intervention (n = 24). Qigong exercises were applied as 90-minute weekly group instructions for 2 months, followed by a 2 months pause and a second 2-month treatment period.

Assessments were carried out at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months.

More patients improved in the Qigong group than in the control group at 3 and 6 months (P = 0.0080 at 3 months and P = 0.0503 at 6 months; Fisher's exact test). At 12 months, there was a sustained difference between groups only when changes in UPDRS-III were related to baseline. Depression scores decreased in both groups, whereas the incidence of several nonmotor symptoms decreased in the treatment group only. (Movement Disorders, 2005 Oct 14).



Qi Dao Newsletter May 2006

Following are brief summaries of the findings from some published NIH-funded studies:

• A randomized controlled trial found that three times per week, 6 month Tai Chi program is effective in decreasing the number of falls, the risk for falling, and the fear of falling, and it improves functional balance and physical performance in physically inactive persons aged 70 years or older (Li et al. 2005).

• A study of patients who underwent 12 weeks of Tai Chi training vs. usual care found that the intervention group demonstrated improved quality-of-life scores, six-minute walk distance, and serum B-type natriuretic peptide level compared to controls (Yeh et al. 2004).

• Wu et al (1999) examined the effect of external qigong therapy on late-stage complex regional pain syndrome in a randomized placebo-controlled trial, and found that 91% of the genuine qigong group reported less pain after the treatment, compared to 36% of the sham qigong group (p < .01).

• Irwin et al (2003) reported that administration of Tai Chi Chih (a form of qigong) for 15 weeks led to an increase in Varicella-zoster virus specific cell-mediated immunity. Gains in health functioning were also found in participants who received TCC and were most marked in those older adults who had the greatest impairments of health status.

• A randomized clinical trial examined Tai Chi’s effects on psychosocial variables in individuals with various stages of HIV disease. The findings indicated that Tai Chi intervention may account for clinically meaningful improvements in psychosocial functioning (Robin et al. 2006).


• The Effect of Baduanjin to the Function of Human Cardio-Vascular -- Li Yuhuan, Li Dongjun, Zhang Haibo,

Hou Beichen (Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion , Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

We recruited some college students and trained them to practice Baduanjin. Then we monitored systematically six kinds of physical indications. They were blood pressure, electrocardiogram, pulse pressure, degree of oxygen saturation of blood, temperature of the limbs ending skin, the delaying time between heart beat and pulse, and do some contrast experiments, using multi-parameters recording device.

At last, we got the data that Baduanjin could improve the body's cardio-vascular function and discuss its effect to the human's cardio-vascular function made by practicing Baduanjin.

The result has showed that after 10 weeks' concentrative training, there were some effects to the students in the experimental group, such as the electrocardiogram, the degree of blood oxygen saturation, the temperature of the ending skin, the delaying time from the heart beat to pulse. Statistical significance could be found in these data (P<0.05).>


Qi Dao Newsletter August/September 2006

• Effect of Qigong exercise program on elderly with depression -- Tsang and his colleagues at the Department of

Rehabilitation Sciences, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University conducted a randomized control trial on this subject, and published their results in September issue of International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;21(9):890-7).

Here is the abstract:

OBJECTIVES: This report released findings of a randomized controlled trial conducted in Hong Kong to further our understanding of the psychosocial effects of qigong on elderly persons with depression.

DESIGN: Eighty-two participants with a diagnosis of depression or obvious features of depression were recruited and randomly assigned into the intervention and comparison group. The intervention group was given a 16-week period of Qigong practice while the comparison group participated in a newspaper reading group with same duration and frequency.

RESULTS: After eight weeks of qigong practice, the intervention group participants outstripped themselves in improvement in mood, self-efficacy and personal well being, and physical and social domains of self-concept when compared with comparison subjects. After 16 weeks of practice, the improvement generalized to the daily task domain of the self-concept.

CONCLUSIONS: This report shows that regular qigong practice could relieve depression, improve self-efficacy and personal well being among elderly persons with chronic physical illness and depression. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


• Effects of mental relaxation and slow breathing in essential hypertension. Kaushik RM, Kaushik R, Mahajan SK, Rajesh V. (Department of Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Rama Nagar, P.O. Doiwala, Dehradun 248140, Uttaranchal, India), Complement Ther Med. 2006 Jun;14(2):120-6.

OBJECTIVES: To compare mental relaxation and slow breathing as adjunctive treatment in patients of essential hypertension by observing their effects on blood pressure and other autonomic parameters like heart rate, respiratory rate, peripheral skin temperature, electromyographic activity of the frontalis muscle and skin conductance.

METHODS: One hundred patients of essential hypertension either receiving antihypertensive drugs or unmedicated were selected randomly. Various parameters were recorded during the resting state and then during mental relaxation and slow breathing for 10 min each, separated by a quiet period of 15 min. All parameters were recorded again after mental relaxation and slow breathing. Changes in various parameters observed after mental relaxation and slow breathing were analyzed and compared.

RESULTS: Both mental relaxation and slow breathing resulted in a fall in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and electromyographic activity with increase in peripheral skin temperature and skin conductance. Slow breathing caused a significantly higher fall in heart rate (p<0.05),>0.2) observed with both the modalities.

CONCLUSIONS: Even a single session of mental relaxation or slow breathing can result in a temporary fall in blood pressure. Both the modalities increase the parasympathetic tone but have effects of different intensity on different autonomic parameters.


Qi Dao Newsletter November/December 2006

• The effects of baduanjin qigong in the prevention of bone loss for middle-aged women. Chen HH, Yeh ML, Lee FY., (American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2006;34 (5):741-7.)

Abstract: This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a 12-week Baduanjin qigong training program in preventing bone loss for middle-aged women.

An experimental design was adopted, and subjects were assigned randomly into an experimental group (n = 44) and a control group (n = 43). The experimental group received a 12-week Baduanjin qigong training program, whereas the control group did not. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured before and after the intervention.

The results showed significant differences in IL-6 (t = -5.19, p < t =" 1.99," p =" 0.049)">


Qi Dao Newsletter January/February 2007

Jouper J, Hassmen P, Johansson M. “Qigong exercise with concentration predicts increased health.” Am J ChinMed. 2006; 34(6):949-57

Regular physical activity has many positive health effects. Despite this, approximately 50% of all adults are not exercising enough to enjoy better health and may, therefore, need an alternative to vigorous physical exercise.

Qigong offers a gentle way to exercise the body.

A questionnaire sample of 253 participants was collected and correlations with the variable health-now were analyzed. Results showed that health-now was positively correlated with number of completed qigong courses (p <>

Qigong exercise thereby seems to offer a viable alternative to other more vigorous physical activities when wellness is the primary goal. When interpreted using self-determination theory, qigong seems to satisfy needs related to autonomy, competence and relatedness, thereby, primarily attracting individuals who are intrinsically motivated.


Qi Dao Newsletter May/June 2007

“Functional capacity after traditional Chinese medicine (qi gong) training in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation: a randomized controlled trial.” Prev Cardiol. 2007 Winter;10(1):22-5. by Pippa L. Manzoli L, Corti I et al. (Camillo de Lellis per la Ricera Clinica Applicata, Pescara, Italy.)

Evidence indicates that low energy expenditure protocols derived from traditional Chinese medicine may benefit patients with cardiac impairment; therefore, the authors carried out a randomized controlled trial to test a 16- week medically assisted qi gong training program for the physical rehabilitation of patients with stable chronic atrial fibrillation and preserved left ventricular function.

Functional capacity variation was evaluated using the 6-minute walk test, which was performed at baseline, at the end of the intervention, and after 16 weeks. Thirty men and 13 women (mean age, 68+/-8 years) were randomized to the intervention protocol or to a wait-list control group.

Qi gong training was well tolerated and, compared with baseline, trained patients walked an average 114 meters more (27%) at the end of treatment (P<.001) and 57 meters more (13.7%) 16 weeks later (P=.008). Control subjects showed no variation in functional capacity. These results seem promising and deserve confirmation with further research.


Qigong reduces stress in computer operators. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 May;13(2):78-84. by Skoglund L. Jansson E. (Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.)

Chinese research indicates that the Qigong method reduces psychosomatic and physical symptoms through an effect on the sympathetic nervous system.

OBJECTIVES: The aim was to investigate the effects of Qigong on stress among computer operators.

DESIGN: Ten women were included in a Qigong group and an equal number in a control group. Heart rate, blood pressure, and finger temperature were measured at the beginning and at the end of the working day during 5 weeks. Twenty four-hours urine samples were collected in the first and last weeks to measure catecholamine excretion in urine. Participants kept a daily record of psychological measures of strain and weekly measures of stress levels.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Qigong reduced noradrenaline excretion in urine (p<0.05),>