Qigong is an ancient mind/body/spirit exercise that has been practiced in China for thousands of years. The word “Qi” means vital energy and “gong” means to work, exercise or to cultivate; therefore, cultivating or maintaining energy and health is the main goal and benefit of the practice. Qigong is sometimes referred to as Chinese yoga because of its integration of physical postures, breathing techniques and focused attention.
There are many different kinds of Qigong practices and depths of understanding of the art, but the basics of the movements may be categorized as either static or dynamic in nature.
Static Qigong exercises include standing, sitting and lying meditations, while dynamic (moving) Qigong exercises include simple repetitive movements, an exercise called “push-hands”, and Taijquan form. Taijquan (or just Taiji) are slow choreographed movements that utilize a variety of motor skills.
Over the past 15 years, Taiji and Qigong have become subjects of increasing interest to medical researchers. Peer reviewed scientific studies have reported that various forms of Qigong are effective in improving:
- Immune function
- Arthritis and fibromyalgia pain
- Sleep quality
- Quality of life
- Cardiovascular function
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Summertime often means traveling, be it by plane, train, car or boat. For people who suffer from motion sickness, these trips are not a part of vacation they look forward to.
Experts say that motion sickness is caused by a sensory mismatch—a disconnect between the body’s systems that gauge the motion we sense and the motion we visualize. The symptoms typically start with sweating, dizziness and a general feeling of uneasiness, followed by nausea and in some cases vomiting. Different remedies work for different people and instances, so consider the following tips for relief:
Avoid anything that could cause or exacerbate nausea. Don’t travel on an empty stomach, but avoid greasy or spicy meals that could cause discomfort, as well as excessive alcohol and foods with strong odors. Try protein-packed snacks that will travel easily. You want to keep your stomach as calm as possible when going into a situation that might upset it more.
Sit where you’ll experience the least motion. If you’re traveling by car, driving can decrease that sight/feel disconnect that causes motion sickness. If that’s not possible, the next best option is the passenger seat so you can have a full view of the road. If you’re in an airplane, try to get a seat in the middle, over the wing, as this is the calmest area. If you’re sailing, you’ll want to be in lower level cabins near the center of the ship. Regardless of the vehicle, sit facing the direction of travel and take advantage of fresh air through vents or windows if possible. Continue Reading »
Summer fun can wear thin after a while for some people, and it’s important to know how to relax when your body tells you it needs to slow down. Integrative therapies, such as aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture, can help you slow down and feel rested.
Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils for healing purposes, can improve your physical and emotional well-being. Did you know that this service is free to patients of Calumet Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital? We use only 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils extracted from the flowers, leaves, bark, wood, roots, seeds and peels of plants.
Inhaling different essential oils is believed to stimulate brain function and can result in benefits like stress relief, eased pain and increased relaxation. Talk to your clinician to determine if aromatherapy is appropriate for your needs.
Massage therapy is another non-medicinal way to promote healing and relieve stress, and the Mary Kimball Anhaltzer Center for Integrative Medicine in Oshkosh has experienced, licensed massage therapists to help relieve pain and reduce stress. Other possible benefits include:
- Increased blood circulation
- Increased lymphatic circulation and drainage
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased energy balance
- Increased muscle mobility
- Increased self-awareness
- Increased sensitivity
- Increased energy, vitality and vigor
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Essential oils were mankind’s first medicine. Shown in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, we know that priests and physicians have been using essential oils for thousands of years. Essential oils are extracted from plant leaves, flowers, stems, roots or bark and carry the essence of the plants in such a potent form that a single drop of essential oil can equal multiple teaspoons of the dried herb. One drop of peppermint oil, for instance, equals more than 25 cups of peppermint tea!
Essential oils can be used or applied in a variety of ways and combinations to bring powerful results. Lavender, for example, can be used for issues such as burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia and stress. Oils can be applied directly on the skin or within compresses, by inhalation, in baths or through cooking. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
As essential oils become more mainstream, more choices flood the store shelves. Keep in mind that the purest therapeutic-grade essential oils are the most effective and worth the cost. Anything less than pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil may not produce the desired result and can in some cases be extremely toxic. It is also a good idea to consult your provider before beginning use of essential oils, especially if you are pregnant. Continue Reading »
Many people see massage therapy as a luxury but in reality, massage therapy is good for your physical and emotional health. More research is being done to learn how massage therapy affects your body physiologically, but there are some things we are aware of now. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy:
- Lowers stress. The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls on your body. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
- Increases immune function. Medical research indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body’s natural “killer T cells,” that fight off viruses.
- Boosts mental health and wellness. Research suggests that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be helped with massage therapy.
- Manages pain. Pain can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
- Improves physical fitness. Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy. It can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.
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