Archive for September, 2009

Natural Healing Methods Work

An article in the New York Times describes how a frozen shoulder patient used his malady as a prod to look at how 10 different countries treat such a symptom. The patient is a writer named T.R. Reid. He used his experiences to write a book–The Healing of America–about the underlying policies of each of these countries.

If you know even a little about modern medicine in the USA, you will correctly guess that, an American orthopedist went straight to recommending shoulder replacement surgery.

While this book is mostly about particular national health policies and approaches (from what I read in the review of the book), some underlying philosophies of health seep out.

To pull a quotation from the from the book review:

In an Ayurvedic hospital in India, a regimen of meditation, rice, lentils and massage paid for entirely out of pocket, $42.85 per night, led to “obvious improvement in my frozen joint,” Mr. Reid writes, adding, “To this day, I don’t know why it happened.”

Maybe he should research a book about “…why it happened.”

And then make policy recommendations.

As important as insurance is, healing is not about insurance.

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Wild Goose Qigong: First 64 Course

Not only do I have a Delightful Dozen/Primordial Qigong Course starting on Monday, Sept 14 2009; there is also a Bellingham Wild Goose Qigong Club First 64 course. This form is a sporty, sophisticated movement pattern that take you all over the floor. It is fun and intricate, with many twists and turns and stretches and stepping and flapping and hand shimmering.

I will be teaching the First 64 on alternating weeks throughout the fall.

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Yang Style Taiji Class in November

My Taiji and Xin Yi teacher Bob Lau is will be teaching Yang Style Taiji (Tai chi) once a week beginning in November. Of the several major styles of Taiji, Yang style is the most well-known, with it’s slow, flowing moves. Several studies have shown Taiji like this to be an excellent training for significantly decreasing falls in seniors and increasing organ health for everyone.

Here is his email

“Hi everyone,

By special request, I will start teaching Yang Style Tai Chi at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center on Mondays, beginning Monday Nov 2, 2009. Class time will be starting at 10:45AM and will be a 1 hour class. The cost of the class will be $45/month.

I hope to see you all there.

Questions: email me [boblautaiji@yahoo.com]or call 360-734-2847

Bob Lau”

p.s. Bob is a down-to-earth personable teacher with a great deal of knowledge and skill in the important healing aspects of the internal martial arts. I recommend him highly.

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Reducing High Blood Pressure

In the 5:17 video below I teach three simple and relaxing exercises that can reduce high blood pressure.

Exercise 1: Belly Breathing Retraining

Breathing high and hard in the upper body can put extra pressure on the heart. Many, many people breathe this way and have for years, it having long ago become an ingrained, unconscious habit.  Breathing in this manner over and over and over, every day, for years, leads to habitual stress and underlying, unresolvable tension.

Belly breathing is the natural way to breathe; the first step for most people in retraining how they breathe.

Using a belt or flat strap, you can gently retrain your breath to become comfortable with going lower, slower and deeper. Simply wrap the belt around your abdomen–not tightly, just snug. Inhale, sending your breath deep to your belly. Such an inhale will create expansion against the strap. This teaches the muscles a better way of breathing. It shows them what to breathe against–the palpable pressure of the belt.

Exhale by relaxing the belly, allowing it to deflate.

Exercise 2: The Healing Sound “Haaaahh”

Look down and make the sighing sound “haaaahh.” Make this healing sound as the hands are expanding out and down from the heart, opening the hands forward, outward and toward the the ground.

The sound vibrations help release tension energetic stagnation in the center of the chest.

Opening and lowering the arms and hands dissipates tension out of the chest into the earth.

Looking down sends energy and consciousness downward; which is what you want for lowering your blood pressure.

Exercise 3: Rooting the Heart Energy in the Dantian

Begin with your palms facing down at the upper chest. With an exhale, press down from the upper chest to lower abdomen. Intend that excess energy in your heart to descend to your lower energy center, where it stays.

The premise of this exercise is that most people with high blood pressure have too much energy in the chest and too little in the lower energy center (the Dantian.) By redistributing the energy, a new and better balance in the body is established, leading to easier breathing, easier blood flow, and more calmness.

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See a Larger Version of the Video on Youtube.

You can cure your insomnia.

Publish when the Youtube videos are available

Following is an effective self-healing method for sleep difficulties.

This short qigong series can help you sleep through two energetic mechanisms:

The redirection of your Qi.

Charging your Kidneys.

Redirect Your Qi

The Qi is redirected, in a series of steps, from your head, to your Kidneys, to your lower abdominal center (Dantian), and finally to the bottom of your feet. Being awake means your body’s consciousness and energy is outside of your body, forward in focus, and up. The insomnia prescription will bring your energy in, back, and down.

Charge and Fill Your Kidneys

The Kidneys, which also include your adrenal glands (which lie on top of each Kidney), are crucial in Chinese Medicine approaches. To put it simply, the Kidneys can be thought of as fuel reserves, as gas tanks. Your tanks get emptied by forcing and using willpower to get things done. You run out of energy, and are essentially running on fumes. If you have ever heard the term, “too tired to fall asleep,” then you know what I mean.

Here is the prescription for insomnia

The instructions for how many reps to practice: The more persistent and bad the insomnia, the more reps.

Steps one, two, and three can be done standing or seated.

Step One

Massage the Kidneys until warm. You can massage up and own, back and forth, or around in circles, both directions. You can use the palms or, if you can’t reach easily, the backs of the hands. Warming the kidneys will increase the blood flow, relieve tensions around them, and generally turn them on. You want your Kidneys “on” so your thinking brain can turn “off” for several hours.

Reps: 20 to 50.

Step Two

Place your palms on your back, over your Kidneys. Inhale to your kidneys. Round your back a bit with the Kidneys to help expand the tissues around those fist-sized structures. With the inhale, image you are drawing energy that is extra and unneeded from your upper body to your Kidneys. Exhale into your kidneys to store that extra energy.

Reps: 20 to 50.

Optional, if the Kidneys need a lot of attention:

Repeat steps one and two, twice more.

Step Three

Place your right hand on your lower abdomen (Dantian), below the belly button and the left hand over the left Kidney. On the inhale, connect to the left Kidney. Don’t breathe to it, as you did in Step Two, just be there, at the Kidney. On the exhale, use your breath and intention to guide Qi from your Kidney to your lower abdomen.

Now place your right hand on the right Kidney and left hand on the lower abdomen. On the inhale, connect to the right Kidney. On the exhale, use your breath and intention to guide Qi from your Kidney to your lower abdomen.

Steps four and five are done seated.

Step Four

Warm up your left sole of your foot by rubbing it with your right palm. The center of the palm is a fire point, connected to the heart in acupuncture and qigong theory. The point being rubbed on the foot is called Kidney 1 (KD-1) or Bubbling Well. It can be found in the space created by the two balls of the foot.

Repeat on the other leg, warming up the right sole with the left palm.

Reps: 20 to 50 per side.

Step Five

Place your left hand on your lower abdomen (over the Dantian) and the right hand on the sole of the right foot. Feel the Dantian on the inhale. On the exhale, gently encourage energy to travel down the leg to the bottom of the right foot. You may have to cross the lower left leg over the right leg to reach the sole easily.

Reps: 20 to 100 per side.

Repeat on the other side, right hand on Dantian, left hand on right sole.

Show the kidney location

It might take a few sessions of practice, and a few nights, for chronic insomnia to begin to lessen it’s cruel hold on your sleep, for the water to make progress on filling the well.

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Reduce Stress with Belly Breathing Video

Breathe with Your Diaphragm

In the 3:42 video below on belly breathing, I talk about the importance of breathing with the diaphragm muscle inside of the body.

Instead of using the muscles of the ribs, chest, shoulders or neck to bring air into your body–an inefficient, tension-producing approach–use the muscle designed to get you lots of air: the diaphragm.

The Diaphragm is Dome-Like

The diaphragm is a thick, circular muscle that adheres to the inside of your ribcage. It is below the heart and lungs; and above the liver and organs of the abdomen. When you inhale, it expands downward, like a dome. This pulls air into your body.

The stronger and more trained it is, the better you breathe: You get more of the dome-like, downward expansion. The farther it expands downward, the more air you pull into your lungs and body.

Here is a website with some drawings and a moving animation of a diaphragm.

Relax and Expand

When you inhale with the diaphragm while relaxing everything else, two obvious results happen with your body:

  1. Your belly expands.
  2. Your shoulders don’t rise; and the muscles of the chest and neck stay still.

Breathing this way will give you more energy, relaxation, and happiness.

Breathing Prompts

On this video I also talk about a simple technique that easily brings many more deep breaths into your every day. The dot-reminder system gives you a free deep-breathing practice everyday.

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To see a larger version of this video, go to YouTube.

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Introduction to Qigong Video

On this video I include some pointers on breathing, and an overview of what a Dantian (“DAHN tee enn”) is.

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