Qigong is a combination of two ideas: 'Qi' meaning air, breath of life or vital energy of the body, and 'gong' meaning the skill of working with, or cultivating self-discipline and self-healing. The art of Qigong consists primarily of meditation, relaxation, physical movement, mind-body integration, and breathing exercises. Research recently has focused on how Qigong helps people with arthritis lessen some of their pain and stress.
In Sacramento classes in Tai Chi for beginners are offered at various senior centers, parks, studios, and during some semesters at CSUS's Renaissance Society (in the gym) where senior citizens and other retirees learn about improving balance. But Tai Chi also has other benefits such as relief from some types of arthritis pain, striffness, or tiredness.
The Sacramento class in Tai Chi at CSUS related to the Renaissance Society is given on Fridays from noon to about 12:45 p.m. At the Hart Senior Center in midtown Sacramento, Tai Chi classes are held twice a week, helping seniors gain more balance and, usually or hopefully, a feeling of well-being.
In the largest study to date of the Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program, participants showed improvement in pain, fatigue, stiffness and sense of well-being. Check out the November 7, 2010 article presented at the latest American College of Rheumatology Meeting, "Study: Tai Chi relieves arthritis pain, improves reach, balance, well-being."
Their ability to reach while maintaining balance also improved, said Leigh Callahan, PhD, the study's lead author, associate professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and a member of UNC's Thurston Arthritis Research Center. According to the November 7, 2010 news release, "Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis," Callahan said. "We found this in both rural and urban settings across a southeastern state and a northeastern state."
Callahan will present these results on Monday, Nov. 8, at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta. In the study, 354 participants were recruited from 20 sites in North Carolina and New Jersey. They were randomly assigned to two groups.
The intervention group received the 8-week, twice-weekly Tai Chi course immediately while the other group was a delayed control group. All participants received baseline and 8-week follow-up evaluations, after which the control group also received the Tai Chi course.
To be eligible for study, participants had to have any type of self-reported, doctor-diagnosed arthritis, be 18 years old or older and able to move independently without assistance. However, they did not have to be able to perform Tai Chi standing. They were eligible for the study if they could perform Tai Chi seated, Callahan said.
Self-reports of pain, fatigue and stiffness and physical function performance measures were collected at baseline and at the eight-week evaluation. Participants were asked questions about their ability to perform activities of daily living, their overall general health and psychosocial measures such as their perceived helplessness and self-efficacy.
The physical performance measures recorded were timed chair stands (which are a measure of lower extremity strength), gait speed (both normal and fast) and two measures of balance: a single leg stance and a reach test, according to the news release. At the end of eight weeks the individuals who had received the intervention showed moderate improvements in pain, fatigue and stiffness. They also had an increased sense of well being, as measured by the psychosocial variables, and they had improved reach or balance, Callahan said.
The study's co-authors, are all from UNC. The authors are statistician Jack Shreffler, PhD, Betsy Hackney, BS, Kathryn Martin, PhD, and medical student Brian Charnock.
One of hottest health trends in Sacramento is Chi walking, which is building strength through gradual activity, as in Tai chi stepping while strolling, working with gravity, and using good posture when taking small strides. Chi means energy and/or life force. First you develop the form of walking and then you adjust to it. For the runners, there's also Chi running.
Walking can help you develop confidence and resilience in your stride which can lead to the same in your voice. Sacramentans who practice Chi walking also are using it as a metaphor for their life as they generate positive energy. They put pep in their step by slow mindful walking instead of the fast power walking phenomenon of the 1990s.
This approach is about combining mind-body approaches to fitness and wellness with a slow range of activity over short distances. It's ideal for all ages. You can even do it competitively if you choose challenges.
According to new studies, exercise is not good for 10 percent of healthy people studied and could lead to heart risks. See the May 31, 2012 Sacramento Bee article, "Exercise causes heart risks to grow for about 10 percent of people." But what may be more helpful is slow, mindful Chi walking.
Working with gravity by using posture for balance and mindfulness
Working with gravity helps you maintain your balance physically and mentally. Many Sacramentans of all ages sit at a desk all day. Chi means energy. It's about positive feeling and thinking. It's about alignment and movement focusing on balance and ease instead of tension and stress. That's why it's also called mindful walking.
Check out the YouTube "Internal Disclipline in the Tai Chi Walk" video and compare it to the video about Chi walking in general, Chi Walking, which is about strengthening your core muscles by making changes in how you walk and re-learning your body's walking patterns.
Learn to strengthen your core muscles by lengthening the back of your neck instead of slouching when you walk. Don't lead with your hips with your head forward in a slouch posutre when you walk, for example, when learning to do Chi walking. You lean with your upper body when you walk. That's basically the Chi walking posture.
Fora further information on this type of posture, see the YouTube video, "Chi Walking 100 Days, Lesson 1: Posture," which specifically gives you the postures you need to learn to do Chi walking and help increase your lung capacity as you build your core muscles.In this video, Danny Dreyer teaches the posture elements of Chi walking. You're leading with your upper body not your hips when you do Chi walking.
The idea is that in some areas of Sacramento where there are no sidewalks the very old and the very young nondrivers needed some form of activity at least to practice on good air days where they could move at their own pace and speeds.
It's not only about moving your legs in coordination with your whole body. It's more about mind-body integration. Your entire body is moving holistically. You are moving mentally, emotionally, and physically as you walk.
Walking is not only physically stepping
There are two forms of Chi pacing: Chi walking and Chi running. Both were developed by runner, Danny Dreyer who studied Tai Chi exercises for years. The whole purpose of Chi walking is to develop walking as a practice in mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as using inner experience to be in touch with the present moment without evaluating, scoring, or judging your inner experience. You own your inner experience. You are not supposed to evaluate inner experiences. Mindfulness is when you look at any thoughts that cross your mind just as passing images instead of judging what you experience as positive or negative.
The origin of mindfulness can be found in Zen Buddhism. However, when applied to secular health practices, mindfulness is used by numerous mental health practitioners with health benefits when used for de-stressing, meditation, and relaxation.
How to do Chi walking
You begin by aligning yourself physically with your posture. Then you align yourself emotionally with your intentions, which is your purpose: What you will be doing.
Next, in your second step, here's how to find your 'core.' It's your lower abdominal muscles. You energize your lower abdominal muscles mentally by using your intention or will power to create a feeling of balance in your core.
The third step is to radiate the balance you're now feeling. That balance is centered between your upper and lower body. Are you feeling balanced as opposed to off-center or off balance physically? When you experience that balance between your upper and lower body now develop balance between your right side and your left side thinking of your body moving horizontally across your both sides.
Focus on a point midway between your left side and your right side. Picture a line drawn horizontally between each side moving across your body halfway between your upper and lower body. The midpoint should feel balanced and steady on your feet with your weight evenly divided.
Now choose to physically walk in such way that you're creating health with each step. Right now it's all about choice. You're mentally choosing health, a new way of strolling that feels balanced and healthy as you take each step forward.
It's about positive and relaxed posture while walking or running slowly
Posture can be positive by centering your core for balance. Just moving slowly is an act of positive emotion as mind and body become one unit. Finally, you walk forward with no tension in your stride. You're now walking healthier and with ease.
You're achieving this healthy energy life force walk by concentrating on each slow step as being mindful. Be sure to look both ways for traffic if you're walking in Sacramento's curbs where there are no sidewalks. And watch your step for the runoff of water from lawns that drain into those curbs.
Check out the book called Chi Walking. It's at the Amazon.com website. See, ChiWalking: Fitness Walking for Lifelong Health and Energy - Amazon. Chi walking isn't only for slow movement for seniors and very young children. It's also for runners. The author works with runners preparing to run marathons.
Chi Walking also is good for people with varying disabilities who need to walk slowly for exercise
Chi walking and Chi running also has been used with those who have been told they could never run. The idea behind the training is to run a lot slower and more mindfully. The reason why is it's all about good posture.
You may want to read the to see how walking this way can become the new you when you are walking this way. It's a gradual process of development. There's a mental or emotional aspect to Chi walking and Chi running. It begins with good posture. If you can touch where the tension is, you can focus on relaxing that point of tension.
You might talk to your local chiropractor, physical therapist, or acupuncturist about where to learn more about chi walking or take local classes. You may want to work with people practicing chi walking or teaching classes or find support buddies to walk with. Take it slowly because progress with Chi walking does take time to develop gradually. It's about a slow building progress.
For further information on this topic read the article "Pathways to Healing," by Elain Zablocki, which is all about Chi walking and offers resources and websites on the subject in her article. See page 20 of the magazine Towsend Letter, June 2012 issue.
In Sacramento you can learn more about Chi Walking opportunities at the website, Walking: Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, Meditation. You can learn Chi Walking or Chi Running from a DVD, e-book, or take classes with local instructors such as the following who offer the techniques in Sacramento:
Where to find Sacramento instruction in Chi running and/or Chi walking
In Sacramento Chiropractor, Dr. Justin Lau teaches Chi Running. See his website, Justin Lau | Certified Instructor | Learn It | Chi Running. Dr. Lau is a Certified ChiRunning® / ChiWalking® Instructor where he blends his clinical knowledge and experience with this revolutionary running/walking technique to offer athletes of all levels workshops on how to run and walk with less energy expenditure and injury. Check out his website, which includes details on his post-doctorate training. Dr Lau also graduated from UC Davis before studying to become a chiropractor. He's board certified in the following areas:
Board Certified – National Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Physiotherapy Board Certified – National Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist – National Strength & Conditioning Association
Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (CCSP) – American Board of Chiropractic Sports Physicians
Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner (CCEP) – Chiropractic Council on Extremity Adjusting (board eligible)
Level 2 Full Body Certified – Active Release Techniques®
Level 3 Biomechanics Certified – Active Release Techniques®
Long Tract Nerve Entrapment Certified - Active Release Techniques®
Elite Provider Network Certified - Active Release Techniques®
Level 3 Certified Graston Technique – Graston Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Technique®
Certified Kinesiotaping Practitioner (CKTP) – United States Kinesiotaping Association
Certified ChiRunning/ChiWalking Instructor
CPR – Basic Life Support Certified – American Heart Association
More Chi Running instruction in Sacramento
In Sacramento, you can take Chi running classes. Check out the Chi Running site. In Sacramento, Kathy Griest has successfully taught the Chi Running method to thousands of people with profound results, according to her website. After more than 34 years of running, Kathy still enjoys staying in shape enough to be able to go out and run any distance she wants. She has gone from the 5K distance to the love of ultrarunning in 1994.
Due to the demand of the ultras, she became interested in Chi Running after she noticed the toll the ultras were taking on her body. Kathy became a certified Chi Running Instructor in March 2004. She has worked for the world renowned Golden Door Spa in Escondido, CA as a Chi Running Instructor and Massage Therapist from Aug 2001 until Dec 31,2005.
She is the recipient of the Golden Door 2004 and 2005 Guest Service Employee of the Year Award. She is now working in Sacramento for the US Army Corps of Engineers as a Procurement Analyst while dedicating her spare time to teaching the Chi Running/Chi Walking technique.
Kathy teaches workshops in the Sacramento area and conducts 4-5 day workshops at Kripalu Yoga Institute in Stockbridge MA in July and Oct of each year. Kathy has been personally trained by Danny Dreyer, and awarded the title Chi Running/ChiWalking Master instructor in Oct 2004. See, Danny Dreyer | Official Publisher Page. Check out, Kathy Griest | Certified Instructor | Learn It | Chi Running.
Kathy has traveled with Danny, assisting in several workshops and certifying the next generation of Chi Running Instructors. In Sacramento there are half day Chi Running Workshops given at William Land Park, Sacramento. See Danny Dreyer's website, Chi Running. Also see the videos, Danny Dreyer "Chi Running" - YouTube and Danny Dreyer on Pronating when Running - YouTube. For Chi walking, also see the site about the DVD on Chi Walking, Chi Walking.
Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer have written books on Chi Walking and Chi Running. Check out the Author Video. Danny Dreyer and Katherine Dreyer also are the authors of the book, Chi Marathon, whereby he authors show runners the best way to recover from running a marathon. See the book, Chi Running by Danny Dreyer and the book, Chi Marathon
To learn more about Chi Walking, check out the Chi Walking site. You can find an instructor, learn on your own, find DVDs on Chi Walking, or train to become a Chi Walking instructor or a Chi Running teacher/instructor. Information is at the Chi Living website. Chi Marathon is now available in eBook format.
Chi Living Nutrition Guidelines
Eating high Chi foods includes organic fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean meats or fish and non-processed, freshly prepared meals. It's about eating at regular times: having breakfast, lunch and dinner at consistent, rhythmic intervals, without grazing, supports efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients
How do you eat mindfully? You allow yourself to get hungry, slow down when you eat, chew well, enjoy the tastes, textures and colors and be grateful for the food and those who prepared it. You can find Chi Living recipes, at the Chi Living website. The links include shopping lists and nutritional suggestions provide a gateway to healthy living by providing you with sound advice on food choices and planning.
Check out the Chi Walking and Chi Running books. There are sections dedicated to nutritional advice including sensible suggestions for weight release, fueling for events and keeping trim. Also see the Sacramento Bee article, Tai Chi Walking - Find n Save - The Sacramento Bee. Also check out the book, Tai Chi Walking: A Low-Impact Path to Better Health, by Robert Chuckrow, Ph.D. It's also offered and highly reviewed at Amazon.com.
Tai Chi with Qi Gong is growing more popular in Sacramento
If you've ever taken sessions on healing with gentle exercises, perhaps in life-long learning programs (or watched Qi gong videos on You Tube), you'll probably notice how popular Tai Chi and Qi Gong is for holistic slow exercise for healing. Qi Gong is a healing tool of slow, rhythmic exercises favored by seniors and others who don't want a fast-paced workouts. In fact, throughout the nation there are numerous Qi Gong classes given in various senior centers and other types of public education classrooms. See the site, Qigong | Tai Chi |.
Qigong is a combination of two ideas: 'Qi' meaning air, breath of life or vital energy of the body, and 'gong' meaning the skill of working with, or cultivating self-discipline and self-healing. The art of Qigong consists primarily of meditation, relaxation, physical movement, mind-body integration, and breathing exercises.
The ancient Chinese holistic healing art of Qi Gong involves meditation, controlled breathing, and movement exercises. The exercises are slow and rhythmic so that people of all ages can benefit at their own pace of stretching and slowly moving to bring the energy source, the qi (pronounced chee) toward them as they move in such a way as to increase energy rather than deplete energy. See the medical dictionary definition: Qi Gong - definition of Qi Gong in the Medical dictionary.
Almost every large city has exercise classes in Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Sometimes they're at the local Asian community center and open to the public. Last semester the Renaissance Society at CSUS for those active in retirement offered Tai Chi classes which included some Qi Gong movements. See, Renaissance Society: Friday Morning, Noon Seminars.
Check your own location's life learning program at various universities open to the public. There are dozens of Qi Gong healing videos on You Tube to check out for various healing research. Check out the list after this article of videos just on Qi Gong and healing the eyes, for example. If your area doesn't have a place to learn, there are many DVDs and also some shorter videos online to get an idea of what the exercises look like in motion standing or in chairs.
Also see the YeYoung Qigong Meditation Blog. YeYoung Qigong Meditation offers Qigong exercises for improved mental and physical health. Which allows the body to have a self healing approach without the side effects of medications. You can start a group like this in your area if one doesn't yet exist.
Meditation teaches one this ancient form of Chinese medicine, with lessons and small groups. Lessons are based on individual needs to help each student succeed in gaining the benefits of Qigong Meditation. Resource and background information about Qigong, meditation, tai chi and alternative medicine are available at Sacramento YeYoung Qigong Meditation's website.
Qi Gong videos (YouTube) on healing the eyes
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