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Thread: Tai Chi as medicine

  1. #91
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    Welcome

    Welcome Fabia!
    .... Skip

  2. #92
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    Tai Chi for CEOs

    This reminds me of slightly of our 2006 March/April cover Jonathon Miller. The hospital angle is nice.
    Hospital CEO takes tai chi as medicine
    BY CARRIE MACMILLAN | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

    How does a chief executive officer release stress? Waterbury Hospital's John Tobin trades his business suit for a silk jacket with an embroidered dragon. He picks up a shiny steel saber and practices the ancient Chinese martial art of tai chi.

    Created centuries ago as a form of self-defense that channels one's "chi," or internal energy, for smooth and fluid movements, tai chi is now practiced by millions worldwide. In the West, it is usually a combination of yoga and meditation, a "soft" martial art that uses internal power, as opposed to "hard" forms like kung fu that use external power. It is believed to improve one's balance, flexibility and stability. Tai chi can be learned at any age, and is especially popular with seniors because the movements can be modified and even done from a wheelchair.

    On Tuesday, Waterbury Hospital will offer members of Evergreen Club 50, a wellness organization for adults 50 and over, a preview of an upcoming 10-session tai chi class. Tobin, along with the class instructor, Pierce Reignier from Stillwater Meditation Center in Wolcott, will demonstrate moves and talk about the physical and mental health benefits of tai chi.

    It's a side of Tobin, who has been CEO at Waterbury Hospital for 22 years, few know. At the many board meetings, banquets and concerts he attends, acquaintances are more likely to hear about how the city's largest employer is weathering the tough economy than about how a sense of introspection enables him to listen to what others are saying.
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  3. #93
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    From University of Florida

    Good article. Glad progress is being made here.

    I always wonder what kind of tai chi they are doing...

    UF study: Tai chi can help people with diabetes lower glucose levels
    Filed under Health, Research on Wednesday, September 30, 2009.

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A regular tai chi exercise program can help people better control their diabetes and lower glucose levels, according to a University of Florida study.

    In a study of adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, those who participated in a supervised tai chi exercise program two days a week with three days of home practice for six months significantly lowered their fasting blood glucose levels, improved their management of the disease, and enhanced their overall quality of life, including mental health, vitality and energy.

    “Tai chi really has similar effects as other aerobic exercises on diabetic control. The difference is tai chi is a low-impact exercise, which means that it’s less stressful on the bones, joints and muscles than more strenuous exercise,” said Beverly Roberts, the Annabel Davis Jenks endowed professor at the UF College of Nursing.

    Roberts, with Rhayun Song, of Chungham National University, studied tai chi’s effect on older Korean residents. The research was featured in the June issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

    About 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8 percent of the population, have diabetes. It occurs when the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

    Risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, high blood pressure and cholesterol, a history of gestational diabetes and increased age, many of which can be reduced through exercise.

    “People assume that for exercise to be beneficial you have to be huffing and puffing, sweating and red-faced afterward,” Roberts said. “This may turn people off, particularly older adults. However, we have found that activities like tai chi can be just as beneficial in improving health.”

    Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow, gentle circular movements. This low impact exercise uses shifts in body position and stepping in coordination with arm movements.

    Sixty-two participants, mostly Korean women, took part in the study. Half the group participated in at least 80 percent of two supervised sessions one hour per week, with three days of home practice for six months, and the other half served as a control group. Those who completed the sessions had significantly improved glucose control and reported higher levels of vitality and energy.

    “Those who participated in the tai chi sessions actually had lower blood glucose at three and six months,” Roberts said. “Those individuals also had lower hemoglobin A1c, which means they had better diabetic control.”

    In addition to improved blood glucose levels, participants also reported significantly improved mental health. This was very encouraging especially since people with less depression are typically more active and independent, Roberts said.

    Tai chi has also been used for people with arthritis and disabilities to increase balance, muscle strength and mobility and to reduce the risk of falls. It is worth investigating its effects in other conditions, especially in older people, Roberts said.

    “Tai chi provides a great alternative for people who may want the benefits of exercise on diabetic control but may be physically unable to complete strenuous activities due to age, condition or injury,” Roberts said. “Future studies could examine if tai chi could similarly benefit conditions such as osteoporosis or heart disease.”

    Since tai chi is an exercise that involves so many parts of the body and also helps to relax the mind, it is more likely participants will adhere to the exercise, said Paul Lam, a lecturer with the University of South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine and a practicing family physician in Sydney, Australia.

    “This study shows that tai chi can have a significant effect on the management and treatment of diabetes — a significant and growing health challenge for all Western countries,” Lam said.
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  4. #94
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    I think if you have someone who does absolutely no exercise with diabetes, then have them do exercise, it will of course be better in all areas.

    Obesity, Heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes is all helped by regular exercise. And it can be as simple as walking, not Tai Ji Quan.

  5. #95
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    Very True

    Quote Originally Posted by chusauli View Post
    I think if you have someone who does absolutely no exercise with diabetes, then have them do exercise, it will of course be better in all areas.

    Obesity, Heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes is all helped by regular exercise. And it can be as simple as walking, not Tai Ji Quan.
    My wife and I walk 2 miles every morning and 6 miles on Saturday. I have lost a little weight over the past few years and am willing to eat less meat in my diet now. Shortly, we will make one of the few trips a year we do for ourselves to get away; we will go walking in the woods for two days over the weekend now that it is cooling off somewhat. So our main entertainment for the entire year consists of doing something good for us both.

    Unfortunately walking ( and other exercise efforts) are BORINGGGGGGG! We have been walking together off and on for over 40 years.

    What has changed for me, the difficult one to get out the door, eat right, etc..... is that at about 3 years of taiji practice I found that being old, fat and slow was a considerable "hindrance" (sp?). That CMA wannabe in my mind was not keeping up with my desire to advance by just being in so-so shape.

    Taijiquan is not boring! What taiji has to offer is something the old, fat, slow, guys can do that is good for them, and is not boring! Of course ladies - young, old, whatever - will do yoga, jazzersize, ride a stationary bike, taijiquan or the latest Oprah recommendations... they will put up with boring for health benefits.

    But me? Already been there and done all the other stuff, lifted weights, tae kwon do, running - nothing stuck over the long term but taiji has.

    Just my 2 cents worth....
    .... Skip

  6. #96
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    Skip,

    Its best to walk 5 miles a day - schedule 2 half hour walks for yourself twice a day, or wear a good pedometer and go for 10000 steps a day.

    Eat a largely dark green leafy vegetable diet with 2 ounces of protein and some fats/oils, with fruits, nuts.

    Avoid processed foods, hidden sugars, artificial stuff, preservatives.

    Boring or not, walking is the king of all exercises. I say walk in a mall, in a new place, in a crowded outdoor area, you'll never find it boring.

    Tai Ji is good, but does little for your cardiovascular system (except maybe for Chen style done in high reps) and hardly burns the calories. Its fun and varied, but diet and exercise are the pillars to good health. Look at Tai Ji as a way to vary your time with a healthy lifestyle.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by chusauli View Post
    I think if you have someone who does absolutely no exercise with diabetes, then have them do exercise, it will of course be better in all areas.

    Obesity, Heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes is all helped by regular exercise. And it can be as simple as walking, not Tai Ji Quan.
    Ditto!
    How simple can one get? One can be his own master and keep money in his own pocket!

  8. #98
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    Oh yeah..

    Quote Originally Posted by chusauli View Post
    Skip, Its best to walk 5 miles a day - schedule 2 half hour walks for yourself twice a day, or wear a good pedometer and go for 10000 steps a day. Eat a largely dark green leafy vegetable diet with 2 ounces of protein and some fats/oils, with fruits, nuts. Avoid processed foods, hidden sugars, artificial stuff, preservatives. Boring or not, walking is the king of all exercises. I say walk in a mall, in a new place, in a crowded outdoor area, you'll never find it boring. Tai Ji is good, but does little for your cardiovascular system (except maybe for Chen style done in high reps) and hardly burns the calories. Its fun and varied, but diet and exercise are the pillars to good health. Look at Tai Ji as a way to vary your time with a healthy lifestyle.
    Hey Robert;

    Yep, I agree with all of that..... but I look at taiji as encouraging me to get out and walk to train for taiji..... or I would not be out walking at all... again....

    It's not an either/or situation for me, it's both.... And also, while at 61 my mind has not quite vegetated yet, I notice the not-boring part engaging the minds of older students in their '70's and '80's to be a very good thing.....
    .... Skip

  9. #99
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    dizzy?

    Again, I'd like to know what form of tai chi exactly...
    Tai Chi May Be An Effective Treatment For Dizziness, Balance Issues

    ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2009) — Tai Chi, a form of Chinese martial arts often practiced for its health benefits, may be an effective treatment option for patients who suffer from dizziness and balance disorders (also known as vestibular disorders).

    In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego, researchers evaluated the utility of Tai Chi in managing patients with vestibular symptoms who have failed conventional vestibular therapy. It could include individualized physical therapy or different sets of physical maneuvers that a doctor performs on a patient.

    Researchers conducted a questionnaire study from April 2008 to March 2009 at an outpatient rehabilitation program, utilizing the activities-specific balance confidence scale and dynamic gait index survey, both prior to therapy and at the conclusion of an eight-week course. A total of 21 patients (18 females, 3 males) completed the study to date. Patients reported subjective improvements in their vestibular symptoms.

    Researchers theorize that the technique may be effective because Tai Chi promotes coordination through relaxation, rather than muscular coordination.
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  10. #100
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    From the APA

    I was a PhD candidate in psych. APA format still haunts me...

    Complementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchReview - Complementary and Alternative Therapies Research
    by Tiffany Field

    American Psychological Association, 2009
    Review by Roy Sugarman, Ph.D.
    Oct 13th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 42)

    So much for these therapies being 'flakey'. Dr Field is a serious and acknowledged researcher in the field, and holds appointment and has received awards in and from prestigious universities and societies, as well as publishing hundreds of journal articles, and many books, of which this is the latest.

    She thus sets about demonstrating the evidence base for therapies that can be combined with psychotherapy, and the evidence for the success or lack of it in doing so.

    In this way, she takes on Massage therapy, Acupressure, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yoga, Pilates, Exercise as a whole, Music Therapy, Aromatherapy, Progressive muscle relaxation, Imagery, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, Meditation, and so on, including what works in children. Elsewhere in the book , she looks at resources for complementary medicine, training and credentialing of therapists, what works for what illnesses or conditions, and the origins of the therapies above as an alternative or complementary set of approaches.

    Suffice it to say it's a thinnish book, despite being thorough. She notes she could only find two decent studies on combining complementary therapies with psychotherapy, specifically in depression. These two studies cover CBT and mindfulness, and interpersonal therapy combined with massage therapy. There are a myriad of lighter weight studies and concepts examined, such as light music or incense/oil burners in a therapy room, through to movement or massage being incorporated, or being practiced at a separate venue. Many of the subjects examined in the book, as listed above, are already part of many standard approaches to psychological intervention, such as relaxation, hypnosis and biofeedback to name a few.

    She spends some time on the origins of complementary and alternative therapies, eg Ayurvedic medicine (not much research) and Chinese medicine ( a lot of evidence in many conditions) , Shamanism (weakest support of all approaches for efficacy), Homeopathy (highly individualized, with contradictory results), Native American Medicine (no standardized data, but high acceptance in 80% of patients), Naturopathy (individualized, but with seemingly good results in some conditions, studies not scientific though), Osteopathy (hard to evaluate as it is conventional medicine-friendly, but more expensive), Chiropractic (only modest evidence despite widespread acceptance in nonjoint problems) and so Field must conclude that although most of the evidence is from Zero impact journals, or in non-English speaking journals, there is good evidence to support many alternatives to the standard approaches, and many are highly effective in certain conditions.

    Massage therapy in particular has been shown to enhance the activity of the Vagal system, leading to a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, and perceived stress, changes in the EEG, higher dopamine and serotonin levels versus lower epinephrine and cortisol levels, and with applications in pre and post natal depression, borderline personality disorders, bulimia, smoking cessation, anorexia nervosa, pain syndromes with evidence of lowered substance P measures, lower adrenergic levels, and in headaches, a good response to migraine as well. MS and Parkinson's patients also declared benefits, as did those with objective measures of wellbeing in hypertension, CVD, the immune system in cancer patients, and in HIV patients. There are successful findings in sport and injury as well, as expected, and acupressure and reflexology are also examined here.

    Acupuncture in particular longer duration manual acupuncture, has been demonstrated to have the most effect on different parts of the brain. The only problem is that sham procedures often produce significant brain effects as well. As the world overall accepts, placebo is a real effect, not psychological, but accompanied by brain changes. In this way, some forms of acupuncture are effect irrespective of where the needles are placed, eg in auricular acupuncture in smoking cessation, but in others, e.g., cocaine users, only in the 'correct' locations. Similarly, outcome expectations will also affect results. There is apparently a correlation between acupuncture and local nitrous oxide levels, and patients with fibromyalgia may benefit. Neck pain and back pain may benefit. Evidence in more severe musculoskeletal conditions and neurological disorders is scarce and contradictory. Some effects in ulcerative colitis may be noteworthy, but moxibustion may also help in such cases (little dirt cones piled on acupuncture sites).

    Movement such as that in Tai Chi and Chi Gong is expected to work, given our sedentary lives, and it does. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rate, aerobic measures, EEG, pain, osteoporosis, immune conditions such as HIV and cancers all show changes along with the obvious physical benefits. Age is not immune, and so in one study at least, older Tai Chi practitioners (and Golfers!) were able to compare performances with young university students in reaction times and leaning flexibility. Chi Gong has less impressive characteristics, but there is some evidence.

    Yoga appears to increase vagal activity and reduce cortisol, and can improve various medical conditions such as pain, migraine, insomnia, hypertension and so on. Anxiety, depression, sleep, all show improvements. A host of conditions respond to yoga and Pilates.

    The benefits of exercise are well known, and accepted, and there is an emerging trend in books anyway from authors such as John Ratey that the benefits to both body and brain are extensive and way in excess of what has been traditionally accepted to be the case.

    Music therapy has also received attention, increasing blood flow in reward and arousal areas of the brain, and with a role in anxiety, depression, and a large number of more serious mental conditions. The list of conditions here studied is really large, more so than exercise for instance. T cells and killer cells increase, cortisol decreases and so on, as for other interventions, but in some ways, for many more conditions across the board.

    Field continues in this vein for the treatments noted above, demonstrating in each case the benefits of each intervention as studied in various conditions.

    Interestingly, the human responses are not just in certain conditions, but in multiple, suggesting this less targeted approach is universally better for the body and brain complex. However, whilst medicine may target individual complaints or conditions, there appear to be benefits in some conditions and not others, but mostly, intervening for one thing may improve other things in a single person.

    Many of the interventions are highly personalized, and with the entire field of personalized medicine, one size fits all randomized control studies may not be possible, as in homeopathy for instance.

    Field has done extensive work with touch, and this is evidenced in the chapter on children, a small but compelling one. Evidence is presented for glucose levels and peak airflow in particular that is most impressive. The role of exercise in children, especially in a new generation of sedentary indoor kids, is well established, and her results as presented here are accepted widely. The most frequent intervention in children was in those with autism and attentional disorders, with nearly all being supplemented with some complementary or alternative intervention.

    Field has produced a sound and comprehensive work, arguing impassively for consideration to be given to complementary and alternative approaches to most conditions, with few exceptions, but with some reservations mentioned in some treatments noted above. She has produced a very welcome and useful work, for things to do when what you do is not working entirely as you want it, and as a way of empowering patients to do more, and safely so. For overall, there is virtually not a word given to side effects and very few to contraindications, hence, the popularity of many of these interventions.
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  11. #101
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    Sham acupuncture is a sham! If you put anything over an acupuncture point, it will get stimulated.

    APA and AMA standards are the accepted, but human beings can get well in other means than just chemical or surgical means.

  12. #102
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    sham

    Quote Originally Posted by chusauli View Post
    Sham acupuncture is a sham! If you put anything over an acupuncture point, it will get stimulated.

    APA and AMA standards are the accepted, but human beings can get well in other means than just chemical or surgical means.
    mmmmmm... Robert;

    And you would be concerned about what any APA folks said why????

    They are the ones with the "real" mumbo-jumbo after all....
    .... Skip

  13. #103
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    One of my favored sources of studying TCM:

    http://www.osher.hms.harvard.edu/default.asp

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  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip J. View Post
    mmmmmm... Robert;

    And you would be concerned about what any APA folks said why????

    They are the ones with the "real" mumbo-jumbo after all....


    Not concerned at all.

    Yes, the "psycho analysis is the disease" and chasing the mind is a real problem.


  15. #105
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    APA is a great format...

    ..it just makes for dry reading, not appropriate for a newsstand magazine. But for a psych journal, it's great.

    Ok, here's another article.

    Research shows Tai Chi exercise reduces knee osteoarthritis pain in the elderly
    October 29th, 2009

    Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine have determined that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise improve physical function and experience less pain. Tai Chi (Chuan) is a traditional style of Chinese martial arts that features slow, rhythmic movements to induce mental relaxation and enhance balance, strength, flexibility, and self-efficacy. Full findings of the study are published in the November issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

    The elderly population is at most risk for developing knee OA, which results in pain, functional limitations or disabilities and a reduced quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are 4.3 million U.S. adults over age 60 diagnosed with knee OA, a common form of arthritis that causes wearing of joint cartilage. A recent CDC report further explains that half of American adults may develop symptoms of OA in at least one knee by age 85.

    For this study, Chenchen Wang, M.D., M.Sc., and colleagues recruited 40 patients from the greater Boston area with confirmed knee OA who were in otherwise good health. The mean age of participants was 65 years with a mean body mass index of 30.0 kg/m2. Patients were randomly selected and 20 were asked to participate in 60-minute Yang style Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks. Each session included: a 10-minute self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principles; 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement; 10 minutes of breathing technique; and 10 minutes of relaxation.

    "Tai Chi is a mind-body approach that appears to be an applicable treatment for older adults with knee OA," said Dr. Wang. Physical components of Tai Chi are consistent with current exercise recommendations for OA, which include range of motion, flexibility, muscle conditioning, and aerobic work out. Researchers believe the mental feature of Tai Chi addresses negative effects of chronic pain by promoting psychological wellbeing, life satisfaction, and perceptions of health.

    The remaining 20 participants assigned to the control group attended two 60-minute class sessions per week for 12 weeks. Each control session included 40 minutes of instruction covering OA as a disease, diet and nutrition, therapies to treat OA, or physical and mental health education. The final 20 minutes consisted of stretching exercises involving the upper body, trunk, and lower body, with each stretch being held for 10-15 seconds.

    At the end of the 12-week period, patients practicing Tai Chi exhibited a significant decrease in knee pain compared with those in the control group. Using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain scale, researchers noted a -118.80 reduction in pain from baseline between the Tai Chi and control group. Researchers also observed improved physical function, self-efficacy, depression, and health status for knee OA in subjects in the Tai Chi group. "Our observations emphasize a need to further evaluate the biologic mechanisms and approaches of Tai Chi to extend its benefits to a broader population," concluded Dr. Wang.

    More information: "Tai Chi Is Effective in Treating Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Chenchen Wang, Christopher H. Schmid, Patricia L. Hibberd, Robert Kalish, Ronenn Roubenoff, Ramel Rones, and Timothy McAlindon. Arthritis Care & Research; Published Online: October 29, 2009 (DOI:10.1002/art.24832); Print Issue Date: November 2009.
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