Health Issues & How T'ai Chi & Qigong Can Benefit Them,
Click on for details of each subject below.
The health listings provided below are excerpts from
The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong
Health Issues/Maladies in alphabetical order from left to right.
For More Health Issues/Maladies that T'ai Chi & Qigong are known to help with, read
The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong. And T'ai Chi Teachers should definitely
make the Qigong Database, with 3,500 data listings on T'ai Chi and Qigong benefits,
partof your library for writing T'ai Chi & Qigong related articles for your local natural health publications, etc.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong
T’ai Chi as Therapy for Young and Old
The QiGong Database by Qi Institute MUST
ADD and ADHD. Research at the University of Miami School of Medicine has shown that adolescents with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) displayed less anxiety, daydreaming behaviors, inappropriate emotions and hyperactivity, and greater improved conduct, after a five week, two day per week class. T’ai Chi meets many of the criteria for mood management techniques recommended for ADD (see the “Treating Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]” section earlier in this chapter).
Treating Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
ADD is a growing problem not only with children, but adults as well. T’ai Chi may is a wonderful adjunct therapy for treating ADD because it augments many of the mood management techniques recommended for ADD sufferers. A University of Miami School of Medicine study shows T’ai Chi is a powerful therapy for ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder). The children participating in the study saw a drop in ADD symptoms, and an enhanced ability to focus, concentrate, and perform tasks.
Check with your child’s therapist or physician before beginning T’ai Chi. Also, find an effective, understanding
T’ai Chi instructor who has experience teaching children.
Drs. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D., 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 systems 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 table explains why T’ai Chi may be a perfect ADD therapy.
T'ai Chi and ADD
What Experts Suggest What T'ai Chi Offers Set aside time for recharging batteries,
something calm and restful, like meditation.
T’ai Chi is a mini-vacation.
Daily exercise that is readily available and
needs little preparation can help with the
blahs that occur and with overall outlook.
T’ai Chi is easy, requires no preparation,
and is a daily mood elevator.
Observe mood swings; learn to accept
them by realizing they will pass. Learn
strategies that might help bad moods
T’ai Chi is a tool for self-observation of
feelings and for letting those feelings go.
Use “time-outs” when you are upset or overstimulated; take a time-out; go away,
T’ai Chi can be performed in the bathroom
at school or work, giving you a break from
Let go of the urgency to always finish things quickly by learning to enjoy the process. T’ai Chi’s slow flowing routine is about
letting go of outcome and learning to love
ADD usually includes a tendency to overfocusor hyperfocus at times, to obsess or ruminate over
some imagined problem without being able
to let it go.
T’ai Chi teaches the practice of letting
go on a mental, emotional, and physical
level with each exhale.
Sage Sifu Says
T'ai Chi teachers should realize that
T’ai Chi for kids with ADD will not look
like T’ai Chi for adults. It will be faster
AGING, slowing the aging process. Research at Baylor Medical School has found that some cells from the bodies of long-term QiGong practitioners live five times longer than the same cells from ordinary test subjects.
Other research from The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension looked at several aspects of aging. They determined that QiGong is an effective measure in preventing and treating geriatric diseases and delaying the aging process.
AIDS. Studies indicate regular T’ai Chi practice may boost one’s T-cell count, while improving outlook, and providing a soothing gentle exercise. The relaxed forms effectively oxygenate the body while moving blood and lymph throughout.
ALLERGIES and ASTHMA. The stress-reduction benefits of T’ai Chi and QiGong help the body maintain elevated DHEA levels. Low DHEA levels have been directly linked to allergies. High stress levels are linked to the frequency and intensity of asthmatic reactions as well.
ANGINA. Biofeedback aspects of T’ai Chi and QiGong can help students learn to regulate blood flow, by awareness of warmth in hands and feet. Evidence suggests this skill may alleviate some forms of angina.
Treating Eating Disorders
Women suffer from eating disorders ten times as often as men. Although often thought of as an adult problem, anorexia and bulimia most often start in the teenage years while the sufferer is still at home. Although I am unaware of any studies on the effectiveness of T’ai Chi as therapy for anorexia or bulimia, the underlying issues and symptomology seem to suggest that much of the treatment criteria are embodied in T’ai Chi practice.
For example, it is recommended that anorexia or bulimia sufferers strengthen their inner core of self and self-worth. The self-esteem that T’ai Chi practice builds and encourages can be a highly effective way to discover the power within one’s self. The need for a restoration of biochemical and hormonal balance may be facilitated with T’ai Chi’s ability to create a homeostatic effect throughout the body, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. T’ai Chi addresses the need to balance internal rhythms and needs with life’s demands by those who practice it so they can become quietly mindful of subtle feelings and needs before they become a crisis born out in acute stress or panic.
Mood swings and depression are a part of bulimic bingeing, and feelings of lack of personal control are a part of many teenagers’ anorexia or bulimia. Food, or denying ourselves food, provides us with a feeling of self-control over a world out of control. T’ai Chi’s regular practice is designed to help us realize that we have a great deal of control over how we are impacted by the world. This centering enables us to feel more accepting of the fact that much of the world is beyond our control.
ANXIETY, chronic. The relaxed abdominal breathing that T’ai Chi and QiGong promote can be a beneficial adjunct to therapy.
ARTHRITIS. T’ai Chi’s low impact causes no joint damage (unlike other higher impact exercises), while its weight-bearing aspect may encourage development of bone mass and connective tissue. Note: Those with arthritic knees may want to do modified T’ai Chi forms sharing weight on both legs rather than fully centering the weight over one knee.
BACK PAIN. Prevention Magazine reported a study where, after one year of T’ai Chi classes, a group of men and women ages 58 to 70 found increased strength and increased flexibility in their back, helping to reduce the odds of back pain.
BALANCE DISORDERS. T’ai Chi practitioners fall only half as much as those practicing other balance training, as reported by an Emory University study, and others.
BALDNESS (Premature). QiGong and T’ai Chi promote stress management and blood circulation. Some QiGong exercises, such as Carry the Moon, specifically promote circulation in the scalp.
BEHCHET'S DISEASE. Behcet’s Disease is a kind of chronic recurrent disease. Neijing Central Hospital of Management claim to have cured five patients of Behcet’s Disease. They believe this was due to QiGong’s ability to build up immunological function and increase blood flow volume and by promoting saliva flow and increased oxygen intake.
BRITTLE BONES/BONE LOSS IN WOMEN. 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.
BRONCHITIS/EMPHYSEMA, chronic. Sitting QiGong and/or T’ai Chi may show positive results over time in appetite, sleep, and energy levels, but also rather dramatically and healthfully in decreasing breaths per minute.
BURNS, healing of. Researchers at the Navy General Hospital of Beijing China studied emitted Qi on burnt rats. They noted that the QiGong treatment in some ways expedited the healing ability of burnt rats.
CANCER. Several clinical studies reported that a combination therapy of drugs with personal practice of QiGong provided a better outcome than drug therapy alone.
CARCINOMA. The Guangzhou College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China, researched the effects of emitted Qi on carcinoma. They reported, “The emitted Qi may promote normal function of human immune cells while killing the tumor cells suggesting that QiGong is a feasible means to the treatment of carcinoma.”
CARDIOVASCUALAR BENEFIT. Research has shown that the extremely gentle low impact T’ai Chi exercise can provide the same cardiovascular benefit as moderate impact aerobic exercise. The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported, “studies support T’ai Chi [use] for heart-attack and cardiac-bypass patients, to improve cardiorespiratory function and reduce blood pressure.”
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (CFS). Research in the British Medical Journal (February 2001) showed 84 percent of CFS patients adding exercise to their CFS standard care got “very much” or “much” better, as opposed to only 12 percent of patients receiving only standard care. CFS’s chronic pain limitation may make T’ai Chi and QiGong’s gentle motions and deep breathing (with its pain management benefits) an optimum exercise for CFS sufferers.
CHRONIC FATIGUE & IMMUNE DYSFUNCTION SYNDROME (CFIDS). The Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction publication the CFIDS Chronicle (Summer 1999 Edition) had comments from a CFIDS sufferer on success using T’ai Chi as therapy. (You can contact CFIDS Association of America at 1-800-442-3437 or by visiting www.cfids.org online.)
CHRONIC PAIN. Students often find anything between mild pain relief and complete alleviation of chronic pain by using T’ai Chi and/or QiGong, in some cases finding complete relief from long-term chronic pain conditions.
CIRCULATION & NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS. T’ai Chi promotes circulation and can have a very integrating effect on the mind and body.
COMPULSIVE, OBSESSIVE DISORDERS. T’ai Chi and QiGong’s mindful awareness of self and constant reassurance that we can breathe through and relax into any situation may be a helpful adjunct to therapy for OCD, which gently exposes patients to their fears. Again, introduce T’ai Chi and QiGong only with your therapist’s approval.
CONCENTRATION/QIGONG USES IN EDUCATION. Although researchers in this study in Xinjiang China admit limitations in their research, they find encouraging signs that QiGong exercises could greatly enhance the educational experience for primary school children and beyond.
CORONARY DISEASE. Ganshu College of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in China claimed to have found strong evidence that QiGong exercises may help with coronary disease.
DEPRESSION & MOOD DISTURBANCE. Regular (daily) T’ai Chi practitioners usually find less incidence of depression and overall mood disturbance.
DIABETES. T’ai Chi’s stress management and increased circulation qualities make it ideal for diabetes. A Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology study found that blood sugar could be lowered successfully by doing QiGong exercises. 42.9 percent of patients in the study were able to take less medicine while having more staple foods. Nanjing University’s study found that Tai Chi exercise helped to regulate metabolic disorder of type 2 diabetes mellitus with geriatric obesity by regulating the nervous-endocrine system in the body.
DIGESTION, improving. T’ai Chi’s gentle massage of internal organs and stimulation of blood circulation and Qi promote healthy digestion.
DRUG UPTAKE. The QiGong Institute reviewed voluminous studies done worldwide and concluded that QiGong and drug therapies are superior to drug therapy alone. The reason for this is believed to be found in QiGong’s ability to enhance Qi and blood circulation to that area so that nutrients may more efficiently be delivered to the affected cells, and also waste products in the stressed tissue can be removed more readily.
FIBROMYALGIA. Fibromyalgia is a modern epidemic, a chronic pain condition affecting 6 to 8 percent of the U.S. population. T’ai Chi has been recommended by some health professionals as a very desirable adjunct therapy for sufferers. In 2000, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimores’ study of a nonpharmacologic intervention in fibromyalgia resulted in Twenty of 28 subjects completed at least 5 of the 8 sessions of a Qigong Program. Significant improvement was seen in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and a range of other outcome measures including tender points and pain threshold. Improvement was sustained 4 months after the end of the intervention.
FLEXIBILITY enhancement. Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported an Emory University study showing that T’ai Chi may possibly improve elasticity in ligaments and tendons, create stronger knee flexors and extensors, and create better posture.
GALL STONES. The Navy General Hospital, Beijing China, did a study using emitted Qi to find if a particular emitted Qi therapy could help people pass gall stones. They found a positive treatment rate of 93.33 percent.
GASTRITIS. Chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG) is a common yet difficult illness, according to researchers at the Institute for Industry Health in Xian China. Studying the effect of a combination of QiGong exercise with Tuina (Chinese therapeutic massage), they found that 97.1 percent of patients found some benefit.
GASTROINTESTINAL MALIGNANT TUMORS. The Department of Chinese Medicine, Second Affiliate Hospital with Jiangxi Medical College found that a group of patients using QiGong exercises with their standard chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Chinese medicine, had a significantly higher survival rate than those only getting standard medical therapy with no QiGong exercises.
GERIATRIC FITNESS. Prevention Magazine reported that “T’ai Chi may be the best exercise for people over the age of 60 … providing cardio fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility all in one simple workout that is easy on the joints.” Also, other studies show that T’ai Chi is by far the best balance conditioner. Research finding that T’ai Chi may also lessen tissue brittleness even further adds to the case that T’ai Chi is the best possible exercise for seniors.
HEART DISEASE. At the Institute of Psychology, Academia Sinica, a research study found that T’ai Chi and QiGong practice can positively affect the states of mind of subjects to lessen the incidence of Type-A behavior patterns, believed to increase the risk of heart disease.
HEMORROIDS. Some QiGong breathing involves the sphincter muscles, which may directly alleviate hemorrhoid symptoms. T’ai Chi’s ability to reduce constipation lessens the aggravation of hemorrhoid symptoms.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. T’ai Chi can significantly lower high blood pressure in many cases.
INFECTIONS. Regular T’ai Chi practice is believed to increase the T-cell count. T-cells are thought to consume viruses, bacteria, and even tumor cells.
INSOMNIA. Insomnia is a growing problem in our rushed digitized world. T’ai Chi & Qigong sStudents often remark of improved sleep and reduced insomnia after a few weeks of regular T’ai Chi and QiGong practice. At the QiGong Department of Ningbo Hospital of TCM, in China, they gave 78 patients suffering from insomnia, treatments involving QiGong Meditation (Sitting QiGong), coupled with QiGong self-massage of several acupressure points including in the wrists. After one course of treatment, 35 cases were cured (good sleep for more than 6 hours a day, no concomitant symptoms any more), 22 cases showed obvious effect (sleeping for 4-6 hours per day with other concomitant symptoms ameliorated obviously), 9 cases showed some effect (better sleep than before with other concomitant symptoms ameliorated a little), 2 cases showed no effect (just like before). So, 76 out of 78 found relief from insomnia using QiGong without the need for drugs.
KNEE STRENGTHENING. Knee problems are a common problem as we age. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducted a study on older adults using 20 weeks of T’ai Chi training. The overall findings suggest that Taiji (T’ai Chi) training improves knee extensor strength and force control in older adults.
LEUKEMIA. The Immunology Research Center, Beijing, China, studied the effects of externally emitted Qi, to see how it affects Leukemia cells in mice. They found the mice treated with Qi emission had reduced numbers of L1210 cells (malignant tumor cells). However, researchers cautioned that the mechanism and the way emitted Qi does this needs to be further investigated.
LIVER DISEASE, hepatitis-B, and the like. At Lixin County Hospital of TCM in Anhui province, China, they found that ten kinds of liver diseases, especially B Type Hepatitis, could be cured with the combination of drugs and QiGong.
LOU GEHRIG'S DISEASE. T’ai Chi is recommended by many support groups of neuromuscular diseases. Check with your doctor to discuss introducing T’ai Chi as an adjunct to your therapy.
LOW BLOOD PRESSURE. At Lixin County Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) researchers believed QiGong combined with standard drug therapy to be good for low blood pressure.
MENOPAUSAL THERAPY. The QiGong Institute reviewed voluminous studies done worldwide and concluded that QiGong and drug therapy is superior to drug therapy alone, including in the case of menopausal treatments. This mechanism of enhanced drug delivery suggests that QiGong could make possible smaller doses of drugs, which would cause less adverse side effects. For example, QiGong is reported to restore estradiol levels in hypertensive, menopausal women, leading to the possibility that estrogen replacement therapy might not be necessary or might be used at reduced levels.
MENSTRUAL DISORDERS. Researchers at PLA General Hospital in Beijing, China, used acupressure, massage, and emitted Qi to treat 76 cases of various gynepathic diseases. The results were that 52 (68.42 percent) cases were nearly cured, 14 (18.42 percent) markedly effective, and 10 (13.16 percent) cases found the treatment to be effective.
MENTAL HEALTH. The Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, conducted studies to see how QiGong practice would affect mental health. The result was that a group that had practiced QiGong for over two years had a curative rate on symptoms of psychosomatic disorders about twice as high as a QiGong group practicing less than two years.
MIGRAINE. Biofeedback aspects of T’ai Chi and QiGong can help students learn to regulate blood flow by increasing awareness of warmth in hands and feet. Evidence suggests this skill may alleviate some forms of migraines.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. MS support groups recommend T’ai Chi.
MUSCLE WASTING (and other tissue deterioration). Studies indicate that T’ai Chi may be an ideal exercise to help older people suffering muscle wasting.
NEUROTRANSMITTERS and QiGong’s effect on them and how that impacts health. Researchers at Anhui College of TCM asserted that their research indicates that neurotransmitters are affected by QiGong practice in such a way to help regulate the function of the neuralgic system in such a way to prevent and help cure diseases.
OVARIAN CYST. Researchers at PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China, found a high success rate using a combination of acupressure, massage, and emitted Qi in curing or positively affecting the majority of cases of various gynepathic diseases, including ovarian cyst.
PARALYSIS. Researchers at the PLA General Hospital of Beijing studied the effect of emitted Qi combined with QiGong exercises in treating paralysis. The effect of the treatment judged by the indexes of rehabilitation commonly used, was “excellent” in 23.25 percent of cases, “good” in 46.5 percent, “fine” in 23.25 percent, and “bad” in 6.99 percent of cases, with an overall effective rate of 93.01 percent.
PARKINSON'S DISEASE /improving motor-skill control. Parkinson’s support groups recommend T’ai Chi, and many students claim significant reduction in tremors.
POSTURE PROBLEMS. T’ai Chi’s gentle mindful awareness of postural adjustment make it a wonderful therapy for posture problems and for alleviating the pain or chronic tension associated with them.
PSYCHOTHERAPY. A German researcher points out that QiGong is gradually gaining prominence as a therapeutic tool in Germany, and pointed to positive effects of QiGong exercises for those dealing with neurosis, depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorder, and psychosis. They caution that a wrong practice of the exercises, as pertains to specially sick people, can have bad effects and these subjects require competent guidance and assistance.
RESPIRATORY DISEASES, chronic. A collaborative study with the Research Institute of TCM, Tainjin College of TCM, and Tianjin Thorax Surgery Hospital was done on patients suffering from chronic bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, and cor pulmonale. A group treated with QiGong exercise and drugs fared better than the one treated only with drugs.
REHABILITATION & IMMUNITY STRENGTHENING. The Institute of Medical Science, at Wonkwang University, in Korea found that of those patients who’d used QiGong Exercise Programs, 84% of respondents reported improvement in recovery time, 66.6% reported reduced inflammation after Qigong and 50.3% reported no scarring as compared to before. In addition, 59.9% of respondents reported an increase in resistance to the common cold after four months of Qigong.
RHEUMATISM. OT Week magazine reported, “Areas where T’ai Chi has proven effective include rheumatism; weight management; treatment of back problems; management of high blood pressure; and stress reduction … and may speed recovery in postoperative patients ….”
SEXUAL PERFORMANCE. T’ai Chi’s stress reduction and promotion of circulation can make it a very healthful way to improve sexual performance.
STOMACH CARCINOMA. The General Navy Hospital in Beijing studied the effects of emitted Qi on NK cells, which they believe play a role in cancer. They found a statistically remarkable effect of emitted Qi killing both adenocarcinoma cells of the stomach and the NK cells.
STRENGTH ENHANCEMENT. After one year of T’ai Chi classes a group of men and women ages 58 to 70 found increased strength.
TEARS, CLEANSING MECHANISMS and QiGong. Psychology Today reported that the Tear Research Center has discovered crying may cleanse chemicals from the body that build up during emotional stress, including ACTH, a hormone that is considered the body’s most reliable indicator of stress. Sitting QiGong’s progressive relaxation therapy often leaves practitioners wiping away tears, perhaps explaining why we feel clearer and lighter after practice.