Monday, December 7, 2009

Qigong and the Immune System

Here are a few research reports I compiled on qigong and the immune system for a presentation I'm doing as part of a Wellness Workshop lecture series on Tuesday, December 15 at the St. Charles Medical Center. If you are in Bend, please come! The lectures are free, and there will be other holistic health care practitioners speaking on immune system health as well.

Meanwhile, here's the research:

Qi-training (qigong) enhanced immune functions: what is the underlying mechanism?

Int J Neurosci. 2005 Aug;115(8):1099-104.

Lee MS, Kim MK, Ryu H.

Center for Integrative Medicine, Institute of Medical Science, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Republic of Korea.

The authors observed that Qi-training enhances immune function and modulates neurohormone concentrations. The exact signal and priming mechanism for enhanced neutrophil function by Qi-training has not yet been demonstrated. This study investigated the effect of Qi-training on intracellular signaling leading to the enhancement of immune function. The growth hormone (GH) concentrations and O2- production by neutrophils (PMNs) was significantly increased after 1 h of Qi-training compared with the basal state. To verify that endogenous GH mediates the priming of PMNs, serum obtained from elderly subjects in the basal state and after Qi-training was incubated with neutrophils isolated from young subjects for 60 min and triggered with N-formyl-1-methionyl-1-leucyl-1-phenylalanine (fMLP). Significant O2- production was observed in the PMNs incubated with serum collected after a Qi-training (p < .05). On the other hand, the priming effect on the PMNs was abolished in Qi-training sera depleted of endogenous GH with anti-human GH polyclonal antibody (p < .01) and the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, genistein (p < .01). The authors suggest that the endogenous GH released during and immediately after Qi-training mediates the priming events through tyrosine kinase activation in PMNs.

Effects of Qigong on immune cells.

Am J Chin Med. 2003;31(2):327-35.

Lee MS, Huh HJ, Jeong SM, Lee HS, Ryu H, Park JH, Chung HT, Woo WH.

Department of Qi-Medicine, Institute of Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Republic of Korea.

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of two acute Qigong interventions (Qi-training and Qi-therapy) on immune cells. The Qigong interventions were compared with placebo training and placebo therapy in which no attempt was made to gather or move Qi. Immune cell numbers were measured pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention and 1 or 2 hours post-intervention. White blood cells increased significantly 2 hours after actual Qi-training (p < 0.05) but not sham training compared with pre-intervention There were significant increases in lymphocytes 2 hours after actual but not sham Qi-training (p < 0.05) and monocyte numbers were significantly increased immediately after both actual Qi-training (p < 0.01) and sham training (p < 0.05). NK cell numbers decreased significantly both immediately after Qi-training and after sham movements done without concomitant Qi-training (p < 0.01). There were no significant effects on neutrophils. Actual Qi-therapy but not sham therapy increased monocyte numbers immediately after Qi-therapy, and lymphocytes increased more after real than after sham therapy. Neutrophils were again little changed

The data indicate that a single Qigong intervention can increase the monocyte and lymphocyte numbers.

Assessment of immunological parameters following a qigong training program.

Med Sci Monit. 2004 Jun;10(6):CR264-70. Epub 2004 Jun 1.

Manzaneque JM, Vera FM, Maldonado EF, Carranque G, Cubero VM, Morell M, Blanca MJ.

Department of Psychobiology and Methodology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Malaga, Campus de Teatinos, 29071 Malaga, Spain.

BACKGROUND: Qigong is a type of Chinese psychosomatic exercise that integrates meditation, slow physical movements, and breathing, and to which numerous physical as well as mental benefits have been classically ascribed. The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of a qigong program on various immunological parameters. MATERIAL/METHODS: 29 naive subjects participated in the study, of whom 16 were allocated to the experimental group and the rest to the control group. The experimental subjects underwent a qigong training program, conducted by a qualified instructor, consisting of half an hour of daily practice for one month. The day before the experiment commenced and the day after it finished, blood samples were drawn from all subjects for the quantification of immunological parameters (leukocytes, immunoglobulins, and complement). As statistical analysis, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was carried out. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were found between the control and experimental groups, with the experimental group showing lower numbers of total leukocytes and eosinophils, number and percentage of monocytes, as well as complement C3 concentration. In addition, a similar result with a trend towards significance was observed in the number of eosinophils. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that after one month of practicing qigong, significant immunological changes occurred between the experimental and control groups, with a consistently lower and broadly significant profile of these measures within the qigong practitioner group.

Biochemical changes after a qigong program: lipids, serum enzymes, urea, and creatinine in healthy subjects.

Med Sci Monit. 2007 Dec;13(12):CR560-6.

Vera FM, Manzaneque JM, Maldonado EF, Carranque GA, Cubero VM, Blanca MJ, Morell M.

Department of Psychobiology and Methodology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Malaga, Campus de Teatinos, Malaga, Spain.

BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of a qigong training program on blood biochemical parameters. MATERIAL/METHODS: Twenty-nine healthy subjects participated in the study of whom 16 were randomly assigned to the experimental group and 13 to the control. The experimental subjects underwent daily qigong training for one month. Blood samples for the quantification of biochemical parameters (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, phospholipids, GOT, GPT, GGT, urea, creatinine) were taken before and after the training program. As statistical analysis, ANCOVA was performed. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were found showing that the experimental group had lower serum levels of GOT (glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase), GPT (glutamic-pyruvic transaminase), and urea and that there was a trend towards significance in GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that after practicing qigong for the short period of one month, noteworthy changes in several blood biochemical parameters were induced. While it is tempting to speculate on the relevance and implications of these biochemical variations, further investigation is needed to elucidate the scope of these findings.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Creative Health Tip 26 June 2009

This post and video is not specifically about qigong, but the idea behind it - that beliefs create reality/physicality (including health) - is germane to the way the mind and body work together in qigong practice to restore health.


*** This video may be of somewhat poorer quality than previous videos. YouTube is having a problem with uploading my usual file format, so I've had to reformat this one to get it to upload. Hopefully, the format problem will be fixed soon and I will return to my previous format.

Meanwhile, here is the full text of the message:

Your mind creates your reality.

This is not a new concept. The Law of Attraction material has been around for a long time now, and most people understand that if/when they can "live in their dream" and really feel they are in their desire – be it a new house, car, or whatever – they will eventually manifest that item in the physical world.

I have been attending a series of workshops the last couple of months, and I have learned to take that a step further and say Your Beliefs Create Your Reality.

What is the difference, besides substituting the word Belief for Mind? Your mind is the tool that brings your beliefs into conscious awareness. Your Beliefs are what create the vibrations that make things happen.

Stress is a prime example of this. Any given situation will be stressful for some people, but not stressful for others. The difference is in the belief of the person having the experience. To go back to a popular children's book, The Little Engine That Could, the engine got stressed-out that he couldn't make it over the hill until he changed his belief to one that said "I Can." The way that worked is pretty obvious: his thought ("I think I can.") effected a change in his belief that he couldn't do it to a belief that enabled him to get over that hill!

However, there is another level, and this is the one I've been working with lately. You have all those conscious beliefs that create your response to experience: like the Little Engine's stress, he looked at that tall hill and his conscious belief said "I'm too small to make it over that hill" but he changed it through the "I think I can" process.

The deeper level is the one where core beliefs live, and these may conflict with your conscious beliefs. Core beliefs are the ones you have absorbed since birth; they are memories of and reactions to past experiences. Depending on whether these beliefs are productive or destructive, you can find yourself sailing along through life with everything going your way, or struggling because some core belief that no longer serves you is in conflict with your conscious belief and is holding you back, or even making you ill.

The series of workshops I've been attending to learn about this are with Jeb Barton here in Bend.

Jeb teaches that sustained conflict in your core beliefs is the cause of disease. Using our Little Engine again, here's how a core belief can cause disease (please keep in mind that this is a very simple example. The process itself is longer and more complicated):

Let's say that Little Engine has been told all his life that he's too little to go over any big hills – that is now his core belief. All his life, he's avoided big hills because he feels he's not strong enough to go over them. Now, Little Engine approaches the hill – there is no way to avoid it this time – and gets all sorts of encouragement from his friends, and even says, "I think I can, I think I can…." But now there is a conflict with the core belief that says "you can't" and the conscious belief that says "I can," and what to you think happens? He probably gets half way up the hill and an axel breaks, he bursts a gasket; he "gets sick" in some way due to the conflict in his you-can't/I-can beliefs.

If you are experiencing a chronic illness, it would definitely be to your benefit to examine some of your beliefs and see if you can figure out when and where you acquired a belief that no longer serves you or is holding you back, and use your Creative Mind ability to turn it around into a positive statement that will enable you to regain your health. If you can Believe yourself healthy, you will See health restored.

(There is a qigong meditation practice that works on that principle, and if you are interested let's arrange for a lesson in which I can guide you in that process. If you would like to do that, or have any comments or questions on today's Tip, write to me at )

Friday, May 22, 2009

Healing Smile or Inner Smile Qigong

This is my Creative Health Tip for this week. You will want to visit Be Well, Create Health: The Mind-Body Connection to learn more about Creating Health!

I include the video here this week because it briefly describes the qigong practice of the Healing or Inner Smile. In this practice, you smile at each of your major organs while visualizing perfect health. Watch the video to see how it works:

Smiling does amazing things for your body!

I was at a business meeting Wednesday evening and the lady who spoke talked about reducing stress. She pointed out that when you smile, something in your body automatically changes. The levels of your stress-reducing hormones rise – your "feel-good" hormones – that we have that create good health. The levels of your stress hormones lowers or decreases.

Just through the act of smiling, you cannot feel sad, mad, depressed, down; you just can't!

So, get a little smiley-face sticker and put it on your keychain, your briefcase, your computer monitor, or wherever you're going to see it, and every time you do see it, Smile!

Chinese medicine has taken the practice of smiling one step further. There is a practice called the Healing Smile, or the Inner Smile. (It goes by several other names also.)

The purpose of this practice is to create healthy organs by smiling at them!

Start by taking a couple of nice deep, cleansing breaths, relax yourself into a nice, comfortable seated position . . .

And smile at your lungs. See your lungs as healthy. See them as working perfectly, exchanging air and carbon dioxide with the outer world.

Next, move on to your heart. See your heart pumping strongly. See it moving blood through your body perfectly. Be appreciative of these organs that work so hard to keep you alive.

After you spend a couple of minutes on your heart, move to your stomach and spleen. Envision a nice, healthy stomach that helps digest your food so that you can absorb the nutrients, and the spleen which helps to remove used and toxic materials from your body.

Next, move on to your kidneys. Envision healthy kidneys. . .use your imagination! Create health for these organs that support you in your life.

The final organ is the liver. Envision a healthy liver. See it working perfectly, see it healthy, see it filtering all the things out of your blood that you no longer need circulating through your body.

When you are done spending a minute or two just smiling at each of your major organs, seeing each as healthy, seeing it working properly, seeing it working perfectly, take two or three nice, deep, cleansing breaths, and relax, and know that you are Creating Health for yourself!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

First of the Eight Healing Sounds

This is a video I made for my Stress Relief List - to subscribe, visit - but I thought to post it here as well since I demonstrate the first movement of the Eight Healing Sounds of Yin Style Ba Gua.

I have been researching sound and healing for many months now, and have come to the conclusion that the sound you make yourself, whether you are singing or praying or chanting or doing a healing sound qigong practice, is incredibly powerful, almost beyond belief. I hope to do more of these demos in the future, but for now, enjoy!

Of the Three Treasures of Jing (Essence qi), Shen (Spirit qi) and Qi (Environmental qi), this sound/motion practice corresponds to Environmental Qi, and to the paired organs of Lung and Large Intestine.