Thursday, June 5, 2008

Children Benefit By Practicing Qigong and Taiji!

Hemlington pupils chill out with tai chi

Posted by on October 12, 2007 2:11 PM

TEACHERS at a Middlesbrough primary school have introduced early morning tai chi sessions to help pupils focus in class.

Staff at Hemlington Hall Primary School say that after just three weeks of practising the traditional Chinese martial art, the children are more relaxed and their behaviour has improved dramatically.

The tai chi sessions were introduced for Key Stage 2 pupils on a trial basis after Year 4 teacher Martyn Walker saw a television programme about its calming effects.

But the first few weeks of sessions have proved so successful that the school now plans to make them a permanent part of pupils’ routines.

When the 150 seven to 11-year-olds come in each morning, they are quickly registered then go out into the yard for 10 to 15 minutes of tai chi.

Classes of between 20 and 30 pupils later take turns to join instructor Robin Sun Ley for an hour’s session.

“What the teachers have noticed over the last two or three weeks is that the kids are really settled and ready to learn as soon as they come in,” said deputy head Lynn Twidle.

“They feel more relaxed and it’s working really well.”

The school, which caters for around 300 children aged three to 11, will now introduce shorter sessions on a permanent basis for Key Stage 2 pupils and is considering expanding the programme to all its students.

Qigong Improves Concentration in School Children

By Steven Sonmore L. Ac. | November 15, 2007

A study published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Chinese Medicine has found that including a Qigong exercise program helped calm and energize students, as well as improve health and reduce aggression. Teachers, school administrators and parents all desire to create an optimal learning environment for young students. In seeking a solution to this goal a unique approach was to conduct a study of using Qigong in three elementary schools and one high school. Claudia Witt, MD, and associates from the Institute for Social Epidemiology, Epidemiology and Health Economics at the University of Berlin, did a study on 140 students to determine the result of a six-month program of Xianggong (”fragrant qigong”), movement instruction for the students’ health and behavior.

The teachers were first instructed for eight weeks in the Qigong movements. Then they spent 15 to 25 minutes twice per week instructing students before or after regular lessons. At the end of the six months, researchers conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with the teachers. The teachers were first asked, “Have you noticed any changes in your students during the qigong project?”

The teachers reported various positive effects, including that the students seemed much calmer, less agitated or aggressive, and more able to concentrate in class. Additionally, several teachers reported that students who had previously been absent due to frequent illnesses were in class more often. Researchers were confident that the pilot program served as a good test model for future projects.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and T'ai Chi

by Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

Copyright 2005

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a rapidly escalating problem. Since 1990 in the United States alone, ADD cases increased from 900,000 to over 5,000,000, and since this statistic was recorded may now have risen to high as 3 to 5% of all American children now diagnosed with ADD.

The good news is that T'ai Chi and Qigong may be great therapies for this condition, and since T'ai Chi is increasingly being taught in corporations and schools, many ADD sufferers will find it more and more convenient to incorporate it into their daily lives. Of course, no one should self-diagnose or self-treat but if your doctor isn't aware of the benefits of T'ai Chi you may want to share this information.

"T'ai Chi may be a wonderful adjunct therapy for treating ADD because it augments many of the mood-management techniques recommended for ADD sufferers.

"Drs. Edward M. Hallowell, MD, and John J. Ratey, MD, experts on the management of ADD wrote, "Exercise is positively one of the best treatments for ADD. It helps work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way, it allows for noise-reduction within the mind, it stimulates the hormonal and neurochemical system in a most therapeutic way, and it soothes and calms the body."

The slow mindful movements of T'ai Chi have much to offer people who suffer from ADD. The following explains why T'ai Chi may be a perfect ADD therapy:

What Experts Suggest

* Set aside time for recharging batteries, something calm and restful, like meditation

* Daily exercise that is readily available and needs little preparation can help with the "blahs" that occur and with overall outlook.

* Observe mood swings; learn to accept them by realizing they will pass. Learn strategies that might help bad moods pass.

* Use "time-outs" when you are upset or over-stimulated (e.g., take a time-out, go away, calm down).

* Let go of the urgency to always finish things quickly by learning to enjoy the process.

* ADD usually includes a tendency to over-focus or hyper-focus at times, to obsess or ruminate over an imagined problem without being able to let it go

What T'ai Chi Offers

* T'ai Chi is a mini-vacation from the daily "rat race."

* T'ai Chi is easy, requires no preparation, and is a daily mood elevator.

* T'ai Chi is a tool for self-observation of feelings and for letting those feelings go.

* T'ai Chi can be performed at school or work (e.g., in the bathroom), giving you a break from stress.

* T'ai Chi's slow-flowing routine is about "letting go" of outcome and learning to love process.

* T'ai Chi teaches the practice of "letting go" on a mental, emotional and physical level with each exhale.

T'ai Chi's benefits are so far-reaching that beyond its potential to help with ADD, it will also improve balance and dexterity. For a developing child, this can be of great benefit as he or she struggles to master sports, or simply to feel "at home" in a continually changing body. Both children and adults with ADD will find a clearer, calmer focus when facing daily challenges at work or at school. Of course, research also indicates immune system responses can improve with T'ai Chi practice as well.


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Lisa Spillane said...

Thank you for this I'm going to share it on my facebook page - Six Healing Sounds with Lisa and Ted: Qigong for children. Please check this link to find out about my picture book that teaches children how to transform negative feelings into positive ones using Qigong Meditation.

Michelle Wood said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment. I am glad you liked this article and are going to try it!

Lisa, thank you for your comment. Your book looks great! Good luck with it!