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Thread: Tai Chi as medicine

  1. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    so, in your perspective, do you disclude the traditional chinese medicinal practices that go along with good quality taiji?
    define disclude? I am not talking about TCM per se to begin with: TCM is a PRC artifact that is to classical Taoist health practice / medicine as the taiji 24 etc. has to do w/the 108 long form; that said, "traditional" Chinese medicine was, to a large extent, a lineage-based practice that, while adhering to certain principles (5 element, yin/yang, etc.) was predicated largely on individual, subjective, anecdotal history as well as operator skill level; that doesn't discount it, it just contextualizes it; in fact, so-called "western" medicine was of a similar construct for centuries - only recently has the paradigm of relatively-objective evidence based medicine come to the fore, for a variety of both clinical as well as social reasons; thus, the whole idea of doing EBM vis-a-vis taiji is somewhat akin to reverse engineering - you are taking a construct from one social paradigm and applying it to another; which is fine and can work, but the "problem" is that to take taiji as such, well, first off, what is your lowest common denominator? even a quick perusal yields the discovery that "taiji" is a wide-ranging practice, that the parameters of what constitutes "good quality" is equally broad: to whit, I know several "traditional" teachers who consider the PRC 24 and its ilk an abomination of what taiji is / should be; similarly, "qigong" is a term that has no real operational power at all, given the wide disparity of what falls under that heading; finally, bear in mind that to a large extent, TCM has nothing to do w/taiji at all, they have only recently been "associated"...

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    anyways, i do agree that there can be types of exercise with many of the same benefits. i am just curious as to where you stand - as i am new here. but not new to internal boxing and qigong.
    you have to go back to basics: taij / qigong did not sping into being ex nihilo - and they did not follow some sort of linear development; only in the last century were they standardized by the PRC, but in a way that was designed to disconnect them from their "roots"; and it is this artifact that we see today as representative of the practice more so than the older "classical" stuff; so as far as where I "stand" it is from a vantage point of having done both types, understanding the operational definition of both, having an appreciation for the value of each in context of what one is trying to do, but not invested via self-identification where that would be inappropriate (meaning that I have a very deep personal connection to my own personal practice, but I do not project it into areas when it is not called for)

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    btw, personally, i do feel that the specific requirements to be able to even do the form somewhat correctly and that type of motion makes a big difference from a standard rehabilitation type exercise.
    yes - a lot of "standard" rehabilitation exercises will work much better for specific pathologies, whereas taiji and to a large extent qigong will have generalized effects only; if OTOH, one finds that a lot of "standard" rehab stuff doesn't "work", maybe the problem is not with the techniques of "standard" rehab, but wth the way in which much of it is misapplied by PT's who don't have the ability to think critically as to what is the appropriate application thereof (meaning that I think a lot of PT's over generalize and under analyze, as my first clinical instructor once put it); it's really a matter of content and context being matched properly: I could waste 3 months trying to improve someone's low back pain by having them do a bunch of taiji / qigong stuff, or I could get rid of it in 3 minutes with one well-applied manual technique followed up by application of one highly specific "standard" rehab exercise; OTOH, if you are working with something like fibromyaligia, taking all of the psychosomatic issues into account, a group taiji class might "work" far better than the "correct" manual therapy techniques...

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    of course if u mimic the same type of work, u will get some/most similiar results.
    depends what you mean by "mimic" - if you are taking about "just" doing the "external" movements w/out the so-called "internal" work, I would be unmoved: "internal" is not something unique to Chinese movement practice, it's just contextualized a certain way; you can take any so-called "western" movement practice like Feldenkreis, Alexander Technique, Ariga Gym, Trager Mentastics, Brain Gym, etc. and arrive at pretty much the same effects; infact, bear in mind that most, if not all taiji reserach does not involve so-called "internal" practice as part of the research protocol...

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    almosts sounds like you are trying to descredit - and i am not saying you are for the record.
    if you interpreted my original post biased towards "discrediting", then you may want to check your own personal / emotional stance, because no where do I state that the effects seen from taiji practice are false - in fact, I am saying just the opposite, that I don't find them in the least surprising; what I am proposing though, is that what constitutes the "essential" parameters of taiji /qigong, etc. (e.g. - conscious, intentioned movement with a great deal of unilateral weight-bearing), could be replicated outside of the convention of taiji and gain similar results; of course, there is a bot more to it than that: one could go into more depth and talk about coordinated activation of the connective tissue / neuromuscular system via unimpeded vertical transmission of ground reaction force through the body and the sort of postural alignment one needs for that to happen; also, as far as some qigong, the breath work has certain physiological effects, although upon clear analysis, it's not all that different from yogic practice; so again, there are numerous 'benefits", but they do not dissapear when one takes them out from under the moniker of "taiji"

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    and, i am going into the health field btw, as my mom had been in the health field before as a nurse - but i am more into physical therapy and kinesiology. so i do a bit of homework on movement in relation to effects on the human body.
    good luck w/your endeavors;

    Quote Originally Posted by KTS View Post
    not meaning to be judgemental at all, just wanna see what your veiws are.
    my views are what I originally posted: which is that people shouldn't fool themselves or hold onto sacred cows for their own sake: if you are doing "research", then you need to get very clear as to what you are actually looking at and evaluating; if you want to research "taiji", you need to break don what you are studying into pure operational definitions and look at those for what they are;
    the same problem exists in other ares: for example, in osteopathic manual medicine, there is an area of technique called cranial-sacral, that seem to operate in ways that get people talking about highly subjective experiences that they variously term as "energy" and "potency" and "the Tide" and what not; on the other end, you have patients who have had relief of issues via cranial that have not been resolved through any other means; as such, you get both practitioners and patients alike having a highly emotional connection to cranial, one which they hold onto fiercely in the face of objective research that pokes holes into all of the major theoretical assumptions as to what cranial is and why it "works"; at bottom, what you find is that, despite the clinical anecdotal "validity" of cranial, it's just not quite as "special" as its adherents would like for it to be - you can distill the technique down to a set of generalized physiological principles w/out all the bells and whistles; so too for taiji - it's good stuff, but not all that special per se...

    OTOH, if you don't want to research taiji, and just simply apply it as such, that's fine too! I am not of the opinion that you necessarily have to research it - but then you can't make generalized claims or talk about what it's "good for" in certain venues;
    Last edited by taai gihk yahn; 08-09-2009 at 05:43 AM.

  2. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    ...as such, you get both practitioners and patients alike having a highly emotional connection to cranial, one which they hold onto fiercely in the face of objective research that pokes holes into all of the major theoretical assumptions as to what cranial is and why it "works"; at bottom, what you find is that, despite the clinical anecdotal "validity" of cranial, it's just not quite as "special" as its adherents would like for it to be - you can distill the technique down to a set of generalized physiological principles w/out all the bells and whistles; so too for taiji - it's good stuff, but not all that special per se...
    Haven't these people heard of the placebo effect? Which apparent is effective nearly 1/3 of the time!

    BTW do you find that after all your specubation and assumpjaculation you get very sleepy?

  3. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    Haven't these people heard of the placebo effect? Which apparent is effective nearly 1/3 of the time!
    I dunno about that*, but I find that in general my success rate is about 33%...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    BTW do you find that after all your specubation and assumpjaculation you get very sleepy?
    indeed, and it seems that my postanecdoital reflectatory periods have been increasing as well...


    *seriously, in regards to a lot osteopaths and cranial-heads in particular, they are so bedazzled by their own craptacularness, when you bring that sort of thing up they look at you like they want to offer you a glass of Kool-aid...

  4. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    I dunno about that*, but I find that in general my success rate is about 33%...
    So what you are saying is that you are AT LEAST as good as placebo huh? LOL!!

    How does that make you feel?

    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    *seriously, in regards to a lot osteopaths and cranial-heads in particular, they are so bedazzled by their own craptacularness, when you bring that sort of thing up they look at you like they want to offer you a glass of Kool-aid...
    I guess I am just surprised that PT"s are so susceptible to fads as well. It irks me to no end when we get Doctors latching on to the latest medication fads. My biggest complaints lately are the ones who give the newest anit-dementia medications to patients that clearly are not benefiting from them. They may slow down the process a bit, but you sure couldn't tell from looking, LOL!!

    An there are the ones who insist on giving the latest osteoporosis meds to old ladies who don't even walk!

  5. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    So what you are saying is that you are AT LEAST as good as placebo huh? LOL!!
    How does that make you feel?
    pretty placebanemic...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    I guess I am just surprised that PT"s are so susceptible to fads as well.
    ?!?!??!?!?!

    are you KIDDING me? PT is possibly the most "fad-prone" of any allied health profession out there - you wouldn't believe the kind of crap that gets taken seriously on a large scale (c.f. - Upledger Institute; Barnes MFR Seminars);

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    It irks me to no end when we get Doctors latching on to the latest medication fads. My biggest complaints lately are the ones who give the newest anit-dementia medications to patients that clearly are not benefiting from them. They may slow down the process a bit, but you sure couldn't tell from looking, LOL!!
    An there are the ones who insist on giving the latest osteoporosis meds to old ladies who don't even walk!
    you don't happen to work w/PM&R docs by any chance, LOL...

  6. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    pretty placebanemic...
    Back to a serious note for a sec.....

    Do you find that the success rate is so low because many patients have an emotional investment in their condition, as you have mentioned concerning Fibromyalgia, but in this case I refer to actual injuries?

  7. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    Back to a serious note for a sec.....

    Do you find that the success rate is so low because many patients have an emotional investment in their condition, as you have mentioned concerning Fibromyalgia, but in this case I refer to actual injuries?
    well, as far as actually gauging "success rate" overall, I really don't have any concrete numbers - first, you'd have to define success, then you'd have to keep track longitudinally, because theoretically what you fixed should stay fixed over time, barring any other untoward event - but that's really hard to determine if they have symptom return, what it was due to exactly (that's why when people post here that they have a 90% + success rate, I have serious doubts about that - it would imply a level of record keeping that would almost preclude having time to treat)

    BUT ANYWAY...

    in terms of FM specifically, I'd consider my "cure" rate non-existent, although my "success" from day-to-day in terms of flair-up control was pretty good - maybe ~70%? but that's a guesstimate at best; in regards to that specific pop, I'd say that to a not insignificant extent there is a large percentage of investment in their condition, and indeed the nature of the condition - chronic inflammatory state / hyper-stimulated immune response - is highly conducive to an emotional piece - nothing surprising there, of course; from personal experience, the few times I had someone w/FM walk out of my office essentially pain-free, the rebounds were always the worst; as I got more savvy, I mediated my treatments so that it was a gradual progression; of course, sooner or later something would "happen" and they'd ended up in crisis, largely because of poor self-management ability (despite my having worked on that with them); overall, I dislike treating FM, because it's really more about figuring out how not to enable someone's self-sabotage mechanism then it is about clinical management: you get a small window until they figure out how to "beat" you and add you to their list of failed therapists (my style towards the end of when I was working w/this pop was to ask them day one why they thought that I was going to be able to help them after they had been to so many other people w/out result - that at least got that reality out in the open and gave us some chance of defining realistic goals and create an exit strategy for me);...this population was typically suburban house-wives with crappy lives...

    now in the case of chronic pain that was not FM, the people I can think of who did the best were the ones who self-managed well - these were people who had specific injuries that had not gotten better over time and were ever-present (often activity dependent) or that flared-up routinely; typically, these were people not invested in their pain, their lives didn't revolve around it, they wanted to be functional, maybe too much; for them, getting them pain-free was about clinical skill, finding the right thing and fixing it, then teaching them how to head re-injury off at the pass; this population was typically career-oriented Manhattan types: smart, driven, motivated to get better; many of these patients would get to the point where they were very good at telling the difference between the kind of pain that they could self-manage, and the kind that they need to come see me about, the frequency of the latter typically diminishing over time (yay)

    the easiest were people coming in w/fresh / new injuries that hadn't had time to become entrenched in the system's compensatory mechanism: that was just a question of getting rid of the pain and normalizing the specific structure in question and making sure they didn't re-injure;

    for me, the way around placebo effect is simple: I find something, anything really, that a patient can't actively do w/out having pain or stiffness: raise an arm, bend forward, turn their head one way, etc.; I make it very clear to them and make sure they know exactly what I am noting as dysfunctional - no illusions, it's right there; then I treat it; and then we re-test - and then they feel /see the difference; so it's about concretely establishing the change; and the less I talk the better (can you imagine that?!?), the faster I do it the better, almost so that they don't know what's happening - that is what, to me, helps avoid the placebo bit;

    the opposite is someone who comes in and says, first thing, "I want you to do technique 'x' (usually cranial work, LOL) to me, because I know that's going to fix my problem"; well, I can go along w/the charade (I've done it, not recently though), or I can try to get them to agree to letting me do something else...ugh...

  8. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    well, as far as actually gauging......
    Thank you for the response.

    20 years ago, I worked as the fitness trainer at a physical therapy/occupational health facility. I mostly set up training programs for the fitness club members and supervised weight training for the patients that were transitioning to a maintenance weight training program. I noticed a tendency for co-dependence to develop between the PT's and their patients!

    Of course that happens a lot in my field too!

    ----------------
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    via FoxyTunes

    ----------------
    Now playing: Simon and Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy In New Yor
    via FoxyTunes

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn
    I am not talking about TCM per se to begin with: TCM is a PRC artifact that is to classical Taoist health practice / medicine as the taiji 24 etc. has to do w/the 108 long form; that said, "traditional" Chinese medicine was, to a large extent, a lineage-based practice that, while adhering to certain principles (5 element, yin/yang, etc.) was predicated largely on individual, subjective, anecdotal history as well as operator skill level; that doesn't discount it, it just contextualizes it; in fact, so-called "western" medicine was of a similar construct for centuries - only recently has the paradigm of relatively-objective evidence based medicine come to the fore, for a variety of both clinical as well as social reasons; thus, the whole idea of doing EBM vis-a-vis taiji is somewhat akin to reverse engineering -
    While I agree en toto, the lineage based system had too much abuse and was abused so the reformulation into the TCM of the past 50 years! with anatomical and physiological principles, is still valid up to a point. Even the lateral usage of Clasical Chinese Medicine is a stretch due to abuses on that side also but I do agree caution is the best strategy in acceptance.

    As you know, acording to the historical record, acupuncture was banned at least 3 times? during the Qing due to secrecy, agendas, lack of professional acupuncturists, unsanitary practices of location and person and I believe that without this reformulation, TCM would have died a slow death.

    You mention EBM and you must have seen studies with placebo points showing efficacy! Is it the voice or the person with compassion entering the sensory magnetic field of the sick person and healing, OR, is it the power of the eyes of the healer, OR, the touch that clears imbalances of the energy field! One of my teachers had some knowledge of Daoist Acupuncture (I am ignorant of the extent) but most of its objective tools would be laughed and ridiculed since its tools cannot be measured or even placed on an objective reality basis.

    I had a small class with 6 people who had sarcodosis (they use to work in a coal mine-retired) and on a few occasion I put my hand on the shoulder of one fellow
    who could not feel anything and his skin was usually hard to the touch. He shouted "God d*mm" your hands are on fire". At which point I was shocked that his awareness was such. Stuff like that cannot be quantified and if it was, it would be discounted as BS!

  10. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by mawali View Post
    While I agree en toto, the lineage based system had too much abuse and was abused so the reformulation into the TCM of the past 50 years! with anatomical and physiological principles, is still valid up to a point. Even the lateral usage of Clasical Chinese Medicine is a stretch due to abuses on that side also but I do agree caution is the best strategy in acceptance.

    As you know, acording to the historical record, acupuncture was banned at least 3 times? during the Qing due to secrecy, agendas, lack of professional acupuncturists, unsanitary practices of location and person and I believe that without this reformulation, TCM would have died a slow death.

    You mention EBM and you must have seen studies with placebo points showing efficacy! Is it the voice or the person with compassion entering the sensory magnetic field of the sick person and healing, OR, is it the power of the eyes of the healer, OR, the touch that clears imbalances of the energy field! One of my teachers had some knowledge of Daoist Acupuncture (I am ignorant of the extent) but most of its objective tools would be laughed and ridiculed since its tools cannot be measured or even placed on an objective reality basis.

    I had a small class with 6 people who had sarcodosis (they use to work in a coal mine-retired) and on a few occasion I put my hand on the shoulder of one fellow
    who could not feel anything and his skin was usually hard to the touch. He shouted "God d*mm" your hands are on fire". At which point I was shocked that his awareness was such. Stuff like that cannot be quantified and if it was, it would be discounted as BS!
    not quite sure about the overall point(s) you are trying to make, or if you are just sharing some anecdotes; as far as TCM being preferable to the older system, I'm not saying it is or isn't, but just that TCM itself is a recent construct, so it can hardly be used as a means by which to examine Chinese medicine as such over the last few millennia;

    as for the whole "placebo" thing - I think that this "effect" is indicative of the organism's innate capacity, given just about any sort of impetus, to move towards homeostasis; meaning that, any kind of "healing" interaction, be it touch, acupuncture, verbal, etc. can be used by the system as an external fulcrum, of sorts, to leverage itself towards intrinsic balance (e.g. - regulation of ANS being a big piece of it); and that is fine, and I certainly try to capitalize on that effect when treating, but not as the prime mover of what I do;

    that said, when researching a technique that necessarily is dependent upon operator skill, one faces the challenge of accounting for this generalized effect; with a bit of foresight, I think that this is possible, but one has to be rather skilled as a researcher to do so effectively and consistently; it also means you cannot be personally or professionally vested in the outcome, as it is too easy to bring this bias into play as a determining factor;

  11. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott R. Brown View Post
    I noticed a tendency for co-dependence to develop between the PT's and their patients!
    in retrospect, I find it borderline negligent that at no point during my schooling were we ever taught about transference and counter-transference, which, given the nature of the typical PT / client interaction, is a major issue to consider!

    and yeah, many PT's need that co-dependency thing to feel good about themselves; some I know actually get romantically involved w/their clients, which I personally find unethical and just a little pathetic (although one guy I know used to get with any female relatives of patients that he could, which I find to be resourceful...)...

  12. #87
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    interesting taai....

    Quote Originally Posted by taai gihk yahn View Post
    in retrospect, I find it borderline negligent that at no point during my schooling were we ever taught about transference and counter-transference, which, given the nature of the typical PT / client interaction, is a major issue to consider!
    This entire sequence you've provided with Scott has more information - real information - on your field in a few pages than I have ever seen in total. In particular, you tie into taiji with:

    "......because it's movement guys, get over it: intentioned, conscious, parasympathetic activating movement, often with 80 to 100% weightbearing on a single lower extremity, which, among other things, is going to have a big impact on lymphatic drainage of the lower quarter and balance capacity will improve dramatically as well, especially in the group most studied for that effect, namely geriatric population, which is going to stand to have the most dramatic statistical gains in balance because they are in general doing poorly in that area to begin with;

    and it's social - show me it gets the same effects if people were made to practice alone instead of in a group, that would be surprising..."


    I realize your real issue is with research and related findings; but the information is very detailed.

    Thanks!
    .... Skip

  13. #88
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    from an entirely subjective front...

    Haven't chased down the original source, but I don't think I'm going to in this case...
    Dorothy’s Story: Tai Chi gave me a purpose
    August 10, 2009 by JBBC

    I came across the story of Dorothy and her experience with Tai Chi on the Real Women, Real Advice blog. Dorothy says when she received her breast cancer diagnosis, it felt like a death sentence. At the age of 66, she had already retired and was looking forward to teaching and spending time with her grandchildren. Cancer has a way of divorcing the mind from the body. It is hard not to feel betrayed by something that has turned against you. Dorothy turned to her love of tai chi to get her through the fight of her life.

    Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion” because it promotes serenity through gentle movements–connecting the mind and body. Simply watching graceful movements of people gliding through dance-like poses as they practice tai chi is relaxing. Along with reconciling her mind and body, Tai chi enabled Dorothy to have a purpose in life, “It gave me positive movement.”

    At close to eighty years of age, Dorothy continues to be an inspiration to other women with a diagnosis of cancer and says: “Being a 13-year breast cancer survivor, I feel very blessed. There’s so much hope now compared to when I went through the treatment. I feel that I’m still here for a reason – to help other victims of breast cancer.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #89
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    Kaiser offers tai chi and qigong already.

    I met Douglas at the Zhang San Feng Festival earlier this year. He's really made his name on World Tai Chi day. There's a review of that ZSF in our current issue (Sep Oct 2009).
    KC tai chi master Bill Douglas is taking his case to D.C.
    By JAMES A. FUSSELL
    The Kansas City Star

    Bill Douglas has two words for a country desperate to cut its skyrocketing health care costs.

    Tai chi.

    He’s not kidding.

    “If you look at a Kaiser Permanente study that says that 70 percent of illnesses are caused by stress, you’re talking about a potential savings of trillions of dollars, year after year if we teach our citizens effective stress-management techniques on a massive scale.”

    For decades Douglas has believed that the regular practice of the Chinese martial art, meant to unblock the flow of energy though the body, can be used to treat and even prevent a wide range of illnesses.

    The medical world is beginning to agree with him.

    In a few weeks, Douglas will give a presentation to the National Institutes of Health focusing on tai chi as a modern health solution, the first ever. And thanks to what he calls a “groundbreaking tectonic shift in health care,” he’s taking some persuasive ammunition with him: a stamp of approval from Harvard Medical School.

    The May 2009 Harvard Health Publication said that tai chi, often described as moving meditation, should more aptly be called moving medication.

    Douglas is the 52-year-old tai chi instructor who started World Tai Chi Day 11 years ago in Kansas City; the celebration is now observed in more than 65 countries.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #90
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    Taiji is based on achieving a fullness of internal energy, breath, and spirit. Wudang Kung Fu contains profound Chinese philosophical theories, combining the traditional concept of Taiji, Yin and Yang, Wuxing and the Bagua.

    Wudang Taiji Quan is based on achieving a fullness of internal energy, breath, and spirit. While practicing, the eight kinds of body awareness that Wudang Taiji Quan stresses are; lightness, easiness, roundness, evenness, flexibility, changeableness, steadiness and precision.

    The motto for practice is: to be relaxed, complete, well-timed, and swift. Wudang Taiji requires one to be hard and strong inside, round and smooth outside and to strike out quickly, so fast that the opponent does not have the time to react. Move like the waves of the Yangzi River flowing to the ocean, one after another, never stopping.

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