Qigong and Taichi movements are evidence-based movement practices, shown in numerous studies to be effective, safe practices that produce beneficial effects. They are a unique blend of meditation and health focused exercise. I am currently offering weekly Qigong classes on Zoom- Follow the link below to see how to sign up! We are currently working on winter exercises for kidney energy and Hun Yuan Qigong- combining my own medical qigong training of this famous form and the form as introduced, in his book, "HunYuan Qigong" by Grandmaster Feng Zhiqigang . Master Feng believed this form, also called Primordial Qigong, to be a gift to the world, belonging to no one practitioner or system. We rotate these with Daoist 5 Organ Qigong. As a newly certified Tai Chi instructor, when appropriate, we supplement with tai chi priniciples and lessons (Yang Style 24 Short Form) I also teach private lessons at $25 per lesson. “If you want to have a Good Day, practice Qigong. If you want to live well, practice Qigong every day. If you want to practice well, perform each exercise like it's the first time you've done it. Like seeing the sunrise; It's never the same and always fascinating!” (facebook post, 12-8-20 Daode Qigong and Taichi)
Integrative Practices &More
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” Carl Sagan So much of this area though doesn't lend itself to easy evidence. And that, my dear, is a key, key point. I envision this section to feature articles and resources on religion, spirituality, ancient, esoteric practices and scientific explorations that inspire. This year, I'd like to highlight a visionary clinic in Nashville, Ha Le Integrative Health. I have the privilege this year to collaborate with them in fulfilling their mission to provide "whole bodied health and wellbeing" services in Music City. Follow the link to learn more about the services and complementary healing practices this group has to offer.
2022- YEAR OF THE YANG WATER TIGER
Follow the link below for a description of this year's aspects, written by Sarah Cherry, Feng Shui Master & Doctor of Medical Qigong (China). While you're on her site, also see her excellent analysis of Flying Star feng shui for 2022. Fascinating information.
(I Ching) 2022 Project
Follow the weekly oracle casting to learn more about this ancient tool for personal development and ageless wisdom. I have added a forum for this year's project for readers to join in a discussion about the readings. Let me know your impressions; I'd love to hear from you!
Positive Psychology- Strengths
How well do you do you? What is the mash up of your pretty parts, ugly bits, warts and perfect imperfections? That is what positive psychology can be used to explore and experience. Positive psychology is not: ignoring your "negative side" to pump up your positive image, magnetizing the good life by sheer imagination and attracting only all good things. If you’re looking for puppies and kitties and yellow happy faces, or if you confuse a life well lived with shunning whole parts of yourself that are inconvenient or messy, peace of mind over growth, this may not be for you. It could be that you are confusing the so-called “positive thinking” movement with positive psychology, which is a whole different area. Many pop culture gurus seem to suggest that all you have to do to make changes in your life is to imagine what you want in vivid enough detail and it will magically happen for you. Granted, creative visualization is an awesome skill to have, but it is only part of the whole process. An athlete can sink 100 perfect baskets in her mind, but in the game, she has to actually use her knowledge and skills to throw the ball through the net for her visuals to manifest. The take in positive psychology is that by changing our default focus ++away from++ the negativity inherent in problems to solve, or removing qualities we don’t like about ourselves ++toward++ a focus on understanding what we value and what we bring to the table in character strengths; viewing negativity as a challenge to meet- this leads to better overall happiness and satisfaction with life. Sure there will still be challenges in life to manage or negative emotions that disturb the peace from time to time, but by using these techniques, one can work from his/her center being more often and that’s the best place from which to engage a full humane and sane existence. This fits neatly into medical qigong and other energetic healing arts’ focus on the holistic facet of human nature. BTW- there is some interesting work in neuroscience that is showing that certain kinds of brain games and practices like daily gratitude practice or performing random acts of kindness can make real changes in the structure of the brain, much like nutrition or addiction. So the story is never completely told- "positive" thinking apparently does have some tangible effect on the brain-see more on that by tapping the link below! It hinges, in my view on how we define positive. By practicing Qigong, we are actively working on raising our overall energetic vibration and that does have tangible results, much moreso when one is in control of the mental and emotional. I have received a Positive Psychology Specialization offered online by the University of Pennsylvania's positive psychology department. This is not psychotherapy- being a specialist does not mean that I am a licensed psychologist or mental health practitioner. It has however, given me some skills to work more fully with my clients. Contact me and let's talk about your unique strengthes and approach to your life. Take the VIA strengths survey by navigating to the Treatments page.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Medical Qigong/ Energetic medicine is part of the time honored healing practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Contact me to make an appointment or to discuss how a Medical Qigong treatment session can help in your healing journey. Recent research has described Medical Qigong, and other practices under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine to be excellent complements to conventional Western healthcare: "although there are some clear limitations regarding the body of research reviewed in this study, [a common issue with alternative techniques] a conclusion can be reached that acupuncture, Tuina, Tai Chi, Qigong, or TCM-FEMT represent beneficial adjunctive therapies." Full study linked on Treatment page
Ever dreamed of becoming an energy healer? I teach Traditional Usui Reiki Natural Healing Method at all three levels for groups of 4 or more students. History of Reiki "Where Does Reiki Come From? Traditional Usui Reiki, "as it is practiced in the U.S. today, dates back to the teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1920's. Usui was a lifelong spiritual aspirant, a lay monk with a wife and two children. In Usui's time, various lineages of Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto practices coexisted as the dominant themes in Japanese spirituality and culture. Usui's intense spiritual practices culminated in a profound revelation that led to the practice now commonly called Reiki. This realization most likely occurred in 1922. Usui traveled widely in Japan during the last four years of his life, offering his spiritual teachings to more than 2,000 beginning students, but training only 16 as Reiki masters. One of his master students, Chujiro Hayashi, was a retired naval officer. Hayashi worked with Usui to excerpt the healing practices from Usui's larger body of teachings so that they could be more widely disseminated. With Usui's blessings, Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo where 16 practitioners gave treatment in pairs. Hawayo Takata, a first generation Japanese-American (pictured here), came to Hayashi's clinic for relief from a number of medical conditions, including asthma. Months of treatment restored Takata's health, and she became a devoted student. Hawayo TakataWith Hayashi's active guidance and support, Takata brought Reiki to Hawaii in 1937 and eventually to the US mainland. Takata practiced and taught Reiki for 40 years before she began training Reiki masters (practitioners empowered to teach others). Since Takata's death in December 1980, her 22 Reiki masters have spread her teachings. Reiki has become very popular and is now practiced around the world, although not usually in the traditional form Takata taught." (Reiki History, University of Minnesota Integrative Health and Medicine: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/where-reiki-from)
Conscious breathing The featured link is to the website of 5 Virtues Medical Qigong, the practice of one of my teachers, Dr. JMichael Wood, DMQ. To quote: "My students and clients alike are well versed in one of my favorite sayings, “Breath is the first protocol.” All healing work in the Qigong I teach rests on the concept of conscious breathing. As Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” When we are stuck in shallow breathing patterns from any kind of tension or trauma, we are not conscious of taking in the energy of life, that is, the breath. This causes us to suffer in mind, spirit and body. Proper breathing automatically brings calmness to the mind and the body, allowing healing to emerge from a deeper level of consciousness. This is a vital skill and it can be learned and mastered with practice." Follow the link below to learn more about the concept of consicous breathing and how to become a medical qigong practitioner.
There are many ways to clear stagnant and "toxic" energy from your home and the spaces that you practice in. Burning sage around windows, doorways and in rooms is one well known way. Here are a a couple of others that I use in my own home or to cleanse my healing spaces before and after client sessions that might work for you as well. I use different kinds of incense as cleansing agents, but my favorite is not an incense at all. It's salt. One technique uses the fire element and the other the water element. Burning Salt and Alchohol Supplies: Regular table salt, sea salt or salt of choice (I haven't found any to be more effective than the other) Rubbing alcohol Fire proof container (metal is good, but use pot holders if you do use metal, cuz, it gets hot!!) Lighter or matches Pour a mound of salt in your container and wet it with the alcohol. Don't drown it, just soak it. Light the mound. You can then leave it burning in the room you are cleansing, or, using pot holders, carry it around to the places you are cleansing, being sure to let some of the fire energy interact around doorways, windows and other openings. An advantage to this method is: no strong smell to deal with and it leaves the energy in the room very crisp and light. Throw away the salt you have used. Simple Salt Cure: Quart sized canning jar, with ring (but not lid) Rock salt 5 copper pennies Water Cheescloth Place salt into jar to neck, then put pennies on top. Fill with water to neck (cover the salt, but don't go all the way up to the rim). place cheescloth over the top of the jar and secure with the ring. The cure needs to be breathable, so don't enclose with a lid. Place in in an out of the way part of any high traffic or important area of your house- entry, main rooms, bedrooms, or other areas you would like to pull or keep negative energy out. After a year's time, throw the cure away, jar and all- don't keep any part of it to reuse- send it away from the house in the trash. For added potency, charge it with energy medicine (Reiki, Medical Qigong) or have someone bless and charge it for you! See more about the cleansing properties of salt and other ways to energetically cleanse yourself and your spaces by visiting the link below.
Guided Imagery and Qigong
Qigong practices combine mental visualization, posture, and breathing, with emphasis on using the mind to move Qi in order to benefit health and wellbeing. In this way, the practice of guided imagery is part and parcel of all informed qigong work. Guided imagery is an evidence based practice that has been shown to alleviate pain, anxiety, depression and stress. The featured link is a guided imagery session for pain reduction I recorded as part of a Peer Review Project submitted to complete the Integrative Health and Medicine Specialist certification.
Researching Essential Oils
This section contains resources and guidance on choosing and researching essential oils, some of which have been shown to have true medical benefits. Tips on buying essential oils from Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine: "How to find quality essential oils" The most important thing to consider is product quality. Tips to help you shop for pure essential oils: Look at the label: It should include the Latin name of the plant, information on purity or other ingredients added to it, and the country in which the plant was grown. Evaluate the company: Purchase products from a well-known and reputable aromatherapy company that's been around for several years. Choose dark-colored, glass containers: Pure essential oils are highly concentrated. They can dissolve plastic bottles over time, tainting the oil. Most companies package essential oils in small brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality. Avoid "fragrance oils": Fragrance or perfume oils are made from essential oils combined with chemicals or entirely from chemicals. They're not suitable for aromatherapy — instead, look for bottles that contain a single essential oil in its purest form (100% essential oil with no other fillers). Compare prices: Essential oils range in price, depending on how involved harvesting and production are. Within a line, there should be a wide variety of prices — rose absolute or sandalwood oils will be more expensive, while sweet orange oil will be on the less expensive end. If you find a rock-bottom price for an expensive essential oil, it probably isn't pure." www.hopkinsmedicine.org
The Food Connection
The debate over what good nutrition is continues and there seems always to be controversy over what one should eat or how one should eat. I won't pretend to answer that question, as I am not a nutritionist. But I have learned a lot about reading scientific studies in my explorations of positive psychology, exercise science and integrative medicine. My current mantra, in light of scientific discoveries and the questioning of old, seemingly solid science with newer, more well researched results is: “Correlation is not causation. Risk is always uncertain.” Recommended reading: “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet” by Nina Teicholz; a challenge to the “science” of low fat diets. The linked article discusses this book. And, because it's never that simple: Plant based diets: From my fellow qigong-er, Yuliya Gulmi, MMQ, see: https://weqigong.com/plant-based-lifestyle-part-1/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/plant-based-diet-guide
This section will feature articles and resources to learn about some common herbs used for healing purposes Plant/Botanical focus: January: Astragulus February & March: Moxa April: Schisandra Berry (see link to "The Art" section for more)
The people who say things now say, "sitting is the new smoking." Yikes. Physical exercise, as we have long been taught is a key element of a healthy lifestyle. It takes a surprisingly little amount of time (2.5 hours of moderate to intense activity, spread over 5 days per week) to aid in weight loss, combat depression, increase energy, and much, much more. Featured link is to a Pubmed article on the benefits of exercising for clinically depressed people. (hint: it has been shown to be as effective as or moreso than antidepressant drugs) People often ask me how Qigong or Tai chi practices differs from conventional exercise. Two thoughts on that: Qigong without setting a healing intention is no more than light exercise. And: 10 Ways that Qigong is Different from Normal Exercise, Paraphrased from: Long White Cloud Institute Qigong focuses on moving energy at Will Qigong is a kind of moving meditation Practice of inner and outer realities (physical, mental, spiritual) can benefit specific internal organs stimulates the meridians and balances the posture Helps to release and balance emotions Is an excellent healing tool Strengthens connectedness to the environment Is the embodiment of a holistic philosophy Builds strength endurance, and physical resilience
Meditation and mindfulness
Not just navel gazing, after all. And not all qigong practice is done by moving the body about. One of its more salient features is training the mind, often referred to as "neigong". In our weekly sessions, we practice at least two movements where we are standing almost still and working on moving the Qi we are cultivating with the mind and the breath. This is a powerful part of the effectiveness of Qigong practice and energetic healing sessions as are done with Medical Qigong and Reiki. I received a Integrative Health and Medicine Specialist certificate offered by the University of Minnesota's Department of Integrative Health. Mindfulness is similar to meditation, but the goal is to intentfully bring oneself into the present moment- to check in and notice the inner landscape in an accepting, supportive way. The featured link below is about stress reduction using mindfulness practices. Qigong practice blends mindfulness with breathing and moving for a unique health and wellbeing benefit. Just sayin'...