Weight Loss

 

Acupressure has proved itself once again in giving the best relief. The major exhaustion in today’s world is weight loss. Many people get depressed and feel immense stress due to this reason. Lingering in the mind always but not bearing any results, the stress to lose weight is increasing by the day. But, acupressure works like magic. No more stressful nights or painful workouts. Apply little pressure on the special energy meridian points on the body which expel excess heat and moisture giving an improved circulation to lose weight. It also strengthens your digestive system that will help you control your appetite.

Tai Chi Training

The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Force’. The notion of ‘supreme ultimate’ is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.) in all things. ‘Force’ (or, more literally, ‘fist’) can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or ‘supreme-ultimate’ discipline.

Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of so- called forms (sometimes also called ‘sets’) which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them

For many practicioners the focus in doing them is not, first and foremost, martial, but as a meditative exercise for the body. For others the combat aspects of Tai Chi are of considerable interest. In Chinese philosophy and medicine there exists the concept of ‘chi’, a vital force that animates the body. One of the avowed aims of Tai Chi is to foster the circulation of this ‘chi’ within the body, the belief being that by doing so the health and vitality of the person are enhanced. This ‘chi’ circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.

Another aim of Tai Chi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body’s vital center, and so on. Thus the practice of Tai Chi can in some measure contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move, run, etc. in other spheres of life as well. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.

Because the Tai Chi movements have their origins in the martial arts, practicing them does have some martial applications. In a two-person exercise called ‘push-hands’ Tai Chi principles are developed in terms of being sensitive to and responsive of another person’s ‘chi’ or vital energy. It is also an opportunity to employ some of the martial aspects of Tai Chi in a kind of slow-tempo combat. Long-time practitioners of Tai Chi who are so-inclined can become very adept at martial arts. The emphasis in Tai Chi is on being able to channel potentially destructive energy (in the form of a kick or a punch) away from one in a manner that will dissipate the energy or send it in a direction where it is no longer a danger.

 

Yoga Training

Yoga : What Is Yoga?

The Yoga Way of Life!

Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga is a 5000 year old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind and soul.

The science of Yoga imbibe itself the complete essence of the Way of Life, including – Gyan Yoga or philosophy, Bhakti Yoga or path of devotional bliss, Karma Yoga or path of blissful action, and Raja Yoga or path of mind control. Raja Yoga is further divided into eight parts. At the heart of the Raja Yoga system, balancing and unifying these various approaches, is the practice of Yoga Asana.

Sri Sri Yoga

The Sri Sri Yoga is a holistic way of life that integrates all elements of ancient knowledge of Yoga, to make a prayerful discipline uniting the body, mind and soul. Along with the series of simple, yet effective yoga postures and breathing techniques, a greater emphasis is placed on the inner experience of meditation, for the well-being of mind and other hidden elements of human existence. We believe when one is in harmony within, the journey through life becomes calmer, happier and more fulfilled.

In The Sri Sri Yoga programs, the wisdom and techniques of yoga are taught in a pure, joyful and thorough manner. The programs restore balance by helping to strengthen our body, calm our mind, regain our focus and improve self- confidence. It is a complete package for beginners as well as regular practitioners and has something for everyone – of all age groups.

Regular practice of The Sri Sri Yoga has brought remarkable lifestyle changes in the practitioners. They have experienced relief from chronic illnesses and have observed behavioural changes. Participants have reported a healthy, happier living with reduced anxiety, increased tolerance and mindfulness.

The Sri Sri Yoga is the secret to better health and greater sense of happiness.

Yoga for All

One of the beauties of the physical practice of yoga is that the poses support and sustain you no matter how old or young, or fit or frail, you come to your mat. As you age, your understanding of asana becomes more sophisticated. You move from working on the external alignment and mechanics of the pose to refining the inner actions to finally just being in the asana.

Yoga has never been alien to us. We have been doing it since we were a baby! Whether it is the Cat Stretch that strengthens the spine or the Wind-Relieving pose that boosts digestion, you will always find infants doing some form of yoga throughout the day. Yoga can be many things to many people. We are determined to help you discover your “Yoga Way of Life!”

Ayurveda: The Science of Life

Ayurveda is the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life!  It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential. It uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature. Practicing Ayurveda also improves your yoga practice, a perfect win-win situation! This section brings you a wide range of Ayurvedic tips and suggestions for a healthier lifestyle.

 

Marsal arts

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications; as competition, physical fitness, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

Although the term martial art has become associated with the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it originally referred to the combat systems of Europe as early as the 1550s. The term is derived from Latin, and means “arts of Mars”, the Roman god of war.[1] Some authors have argued that fighting arts or fighting systems would be more appropriate on the basis that many martial arts were never “martial” in the sense of being used or created by professional warriors

All About Martial Arts is the world’s best resource for martial arts information, including articles, biographies, styles, videos, news, schools, and more.
All About Martial Arts provides martial arts information including systems and styles, an extensive Who’s Who in the martial arts and thousands of articles on martial arts topics. We have a Learning Center with a Martial Arts Dictionary, vocabulary and more, and a Family Center for parents and kids with information on lots of topics including bullying. Our Instructor’s Center offers information for martial arts instructors on running schools, curriculum, dojo medicine and more. Our resource center has information about martial arts books, Apps, magazines, DVD’s and more. Our News section shares press releases from the martial arts community, covers events, spot lights people and other topics, has safety alerts and our Make A Difference section shares how those of us in the arts are making a difference in the world.

It is our goal to benefit the Martial Arts Community by providing martial arts information and in every other way possible. All About Martial Arts provides martial arts information for the entire world.

sword training

Facts and interesting information about the life and times of the
Medieval Knights of England – Sword Training

The weapons practise during the Medieval times included Pell Training specifically used for sword training. The description of Pell Training provides basic facts and information about the device as follows:

    • The Pell – used as a target weapon by a knight when practising with the sword
    • Description – The Pell consisted of a wooden post which was planted firmly in the ground
    • The origins of the pell was a simple tree trunk
    • The knight would practise striking his sword against the pell target
    • Knights used wooden swords during pell training – these were often double the weight of the actual weapon ensuring that Medieval knights built up their upper body and arm strength

The Origins and History of Pell and Sword Training
Sword Training devices, similar to the pell were used by Romans. The word ‘pell’ or ‘pel’ derives from the Latin words palos meaning ‘stake’. From this Latin origin the English word ‘pale’ was derived  meaning a stake or a pointed stick. From this the word ‘palisade’ was derived meaning a fence made of wooden stakes, used in early English Castle building. Another spin-off from Pell Training is Pell Mell.

Sword Training
The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about knights of old which scatter the Medieval History books including the subject of Sword Training. The Medieval Times Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts about the fascinating subject of the lives of the people who lived during the historical period of the Middle Ages. The content of this article on Medieval life and times provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework for history courses and history coursework.

Acupressure Treatment

What is Acupressure? – Complete Information about Acupressure

Acupressure is a technique to heal many types of pains and diseases occurs in Human Body.Acupressure is an art to touch the Energy Points on surface of Body to connect with Energy Flow and heal the different disorders of Patient’s Body. Acupressure is a very old art of put firm pressure on various selected points of Human Body that are connected to the Immune System. Acupressure not only helps in healing the pains but also prevents further diseases and relaxes the body. Acupressure was found almost five to six thousand years ago.

What is Acupressure?

 

Sujok Treatment

Explain in brief about sujok therapy?
In Sujok therapy, palm and foot represent all the organs/meridians in the body. Su means hand while jok means palm. Sujok can be done with other therapies also and it produces no side effects. Developed by Professor Park Jae Woo, this therapy is 100% safe, simple and easy to perform even by the patients. Since hands and feet are the locations of systems of active points corresponding to all organs and part of the body, stimulation of these points produces a curative effect. This method is universal. With the help of sujok, various kinds of illnesses can be treated. There is no need for any precautions to be taken during the treatment. Since the therapy is natural and curing only the natural forces in and around the body, it is also one of the safest therapies ever known.

In today’s stressful life, how sujok helps to bring mental peace?
Today, stress has become a part of our lifestyle. Right from a child to an older citizen, it affects everyone which in the longer run causes severe illness. While most of us depend on pills, a simple touch on the tip of your thumb with the index finger of any hand helps to give miraculous results. For a lasting effect, one should repeat this action to get an ultimate relief. Tai chi also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. And it also helps increase flexibility and balance.

How does sujok help to heal curative, mental and emotional disorder?
Through Sujok, one can diagnose the problem easily. By pressing the key points and applying pressure in the right direction, one can cure the problem. Sujok helps to heal certain physical problems such as BP, headache, bronchitis, asthma, gastric acidity, ulcer, constipation, migraine, vertigo, irritable bowel syndrome, gastro oesophageal reflex disease, disc prolapse, complications due to chemotherapy, menopause, excessive bleeding and many more. Likewise, to cure depression, anger, fear and worries, sujok is an ultimate therapy for soul and body that provides natural treatment to the patients, who otherwise, depend on pills to cure such diseases.

What is seed therapy?
A seed has a life. This is well explained by the fact that when we sow a seed, it develops into a tree. Keeping this in mind, when we put and rub a seed on the pressure points, it gives us the life and takes away the disease. For instance, round, spherical shaped seeds of pea and black pepper are known to provide relief to ailments related to eyes, head, knee joints and back problems. The kidney shaped red beans are used to treat kidney and stomach related disorders. The seeds with sharp corners are applied by mechanical method and exerts pathological influence on the body.

It is seen that after the treatment, the seeds also change their structure, shape and colour (they may become fragile, discoloured, enlarge or decrease in size, shrivel, crack or even fall to pieces). Such reactions show how seeds take away the pain and disease.

Say something about smile meditation?
In sujok, a smile is referred as Buddha smile or a child’s smile. Smile meditation aims to strike a harmony with our mind, body and soul.

 With this, one can improve health, self-confidence, develop and enrich one’s abilities, succeed both in education and work and become a vibrant person that helps to make a progressive society. By spreading smile, positive vibes are released by an individual that helps him/her to maintain cordial relations with others, spread cheer in one’s livelihood and stay motivated.

Tai Chi Boosts Quality of Life in Heart Failure

Action Points

  • Explain that patients with heart failure may experience improvements in their quality of life and mood by taking part in a tai chi program.
  • Note that limitations of this study include lack of blinding and its short follow-up period.

Heart failure patients may experience improvements in their quality of life and mood by participating in a tai chi exercise program, a randomized study suggested.

The small study of patients with chronic systolic heart failure found that disease-specific quality of life — measured on the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire — showed benefits among those who took tai chi, with scores falling from a median of 28 at baseline to 9 at 12 weeks, according to Gloria Y. Yeh, MD, of Harvard in Boston, and colleagues.

In contrast, quality of life scores for the HF patients in an education-only control group were 21 at baseline and 22 at week 12 (P=0.02), the researchers reported in the April 25 Archives of Internal Medicine.

As well, mood improved among the tai chi group as measured by the Profile of Mood States, decreasing from a baseline score of 10 to 4 after 12 weeks, compared with scores of among controls that stayed close to baseline levels at week 12 (P<0.001).

Tai chi, with its “gentle meditative exercise of flowing circular movements, balance and weight shifting, breathing techniques, visualization, and focused internal awareness,” is increasingly being adopted for use in various medical contexts, Yeh and colleagues observed.

They postulated that tai chi could be particularly helpful for frail older patients with debilitating heart failure, because of its multiple effects including increasing strength, training of the extremities, and mild aerobic actions.

To explore this issue, the researchers enrolled 100 patients, between May 1, 2005, and September 30, 2008, randomizing them to hour-long classes twice weekly of tai chi or to educational modules designed by the Heart Failure Society of America.

Mean age was 67, mean left ventricular ejection fraction at study entry was 29%, and peak oxygen uptake was 13.5 mL/kg/min.

Most patients had New York Heart Association class II heart failure and were receiving a beta-blocker and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor.

Almost one-third of the patients had a history of depression and anxiety.

After 12 weeks, there were no differences between the groups in change in six-minute walk distance or in peak oxygen uptake.

There was, however, an increase in metabolic expenditure outside of the class in the tai chi group (323 versus 156, P=0.05).

Patients in the tai chi group also reported benefits on mood.

Those patients improved on the total mood disturbance subscale of the Profile of Mood States — consisting of 65 single-word items rated on a five-point scale to indicate recent mood in six dimensions.

Patients in the tai chi group decreased from an overall baseline score of 10 to a score of 4, while those in the control group had scores of 18 at baseline and 17 at week 12 (P<0.001).

On the depression subscale of that rating tool, scores decreased from 2 to 0 in the tai chi group, and increased from 3 to 4 in the control group (P=0.004).

On the vigor subscale, the tai chi group increased from 8.5 to 9, while the controls fell from 8 to -2 (P<0.001).

Significant benefits also were seen in exercise self-efficacy (P<0.001).

In addition, post-hoc analyses showed benefits for tai chi in patients without implanted cardioverter-defibrillators (P=0.04), in those with class II and class III symptoms (P=0.01), and in patients whose heart failure was not ischemic (P=0.03).

There also were greater improvements in disease-specific quality of life among patients in the tai chi group who had higher baseline resting heart rate.

“One of the purported mechanisms of mind-body exercises, such as tai chi, is favorable modulation of the autonomic nervous system,” the researchers explained.

This may help explain their post-hoc finding of greater benefits in patients with high resting heart rates, “and presumably more sympathetic nervous system overdrive,” they suggested.

The researchers noted that the importance of patient quality of life in heart failure increasingly is being valued.

“We observed large, clinically significant changes in quality of life in this study, similar to or even greater than what has been seen with cardiac resynchronization therapy,” they wrote.

The improvements in mood were “highly relevant,” they said, emphasizing the close link between heart failure and depression.

Limitations of the study include lack of blinding and its short follow-up period.

Additionally, only a small proportion of the more than 500 patients who met inclusion criteria actually enrolled in the trial, producing a small sample size which could have introduced selection bias.

To minimize potential disappointment among the education-only group (which could have affected scores), tai chi classes were offered at the end of the follow-up period.

The investigators were also unable to provide a “definitive physiological mechanism for tai chi’s effects.”

Nonetheless, they argue, this study provides informative data from the first large-scale clinical trial of tai chi exercise in an HF population.

Future work should address the potential mechanisms of effect as well as how programs such as this could be implemented into community practice.

In an invited commentary, John R. Teerlink, MD, of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center echoed the call for further research into mind-body approaches such as this for heart failure.

“Mind-body medicine holds tremendous potential to improve both functional capacity and health-related quality of life in patients with [heart failure]; it is time to give these therapies the studies they deserve,” he wrote.

Tai Chi May Help Maintain Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women

Tai chi may be a safe alternative to conventional exercise for maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women. Bone mineral density is one of the key indicators of bone strength. Low BMD is associated with osteoporosis, a bone disease characterized by reduced bone strength that can lead to fractures, which are a significant cause of disability in older people.

Exercise is an important component of osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Tai chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art. It consists of slow and gentle body moves, while breathing deeply and meditating (tai chi is sometimes called “moving meditation”).

Peter Wayne, Ph.D., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of research looking at the effect of tai chi on BMD. They found that tai chi may be an effective, safe, and practical intervention for maintaining BMD in postmenopausal women. They note that the evidence is preliminary because the research they reviewed was of limited scope and quality, but enough evidence of effectiveness exists to warrant further research.

The authors further note that the benefits of tai chi appeared similar to those of conventional exercise. However, tai chi may also improve balance, reduce fall frequency, and increase musculoskeletal strength.

References

  • Peter M. Wayne, Douglas P. Kiel, and David E. Krebs, et al.. The Effects of Tai Chi on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review.. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Tai Chi Stroke Rehabilitation

Qigong ( pronounced chee-gong ) and Tai Chi are ideal for people who have suffered strokes, as demonstrated by the recent experiences of a Sydney-based man being treated by Great Grand Master Kellen Chia. This research article relates his successful recovery, and explains why Qigong and Tai Chi are so beneficial for this significant health issue.

A stroke occurs when the flow of blood ( and oxygen ) to the brain is blocked by a clot or plaque in a blood vessel, or by a blood vessel on the surface of the brain rupturing and causing blood to leak into the space between the brain and the skull, or by a defective artery in the brain bursting. A larger stroke may cause total paralysis on one side, or a coma or even death due to the extent of the damage. If a stroke happens at the right side of the brain, then the left side is paralysed, whereas if it happens at the left, then the right side is paralysed. When a stroke occurs at the brain stem, which is in the lowest part of the brain, it is called a brain stem stroke; it can be more serious than other types of strokes. The brain stem controls heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, speech, eye movement, swallowing, body movement and hearing. A brain stem stroke can leave the patient with severe impairments – total paralysis or partial paralysis.

George P., at age 83, had a brain stem stroke at the left side of the brain in the first week of April 2009. He spent a few days in both the emergency and neurological units before being transferred to the stroke unit within the hospital where he learnt how to walk again. He needed help to get on his feet, he needed someone to support him as he walked, and then he managed to walk again albeit slowly with a walking frame. Two weeks later a physiotherapist gave him a few gentle exercises every day for two weeks before he could shower himself. For the next sixteen days before being discharged he stayed in the rehabilitation unit. Every day he spent one hour in the exercise room with a physiotherapist using a treadmill, an exercise bike and two stair-steps to practise walking up, resting between each exercise. He continued to walk with a walking stick for six months after leaving hospital, and had some physiotherapy for his legs and hips which felt as stiff as steel. Thirteen months later his neurologist at the hospital suggested that he take up Tai Chi because his balance on the right had not improved much. He could still not walk straight; always being pulled to the right after about three minutes of walking, and the stiffness from his hips all the way down to his feet had not abated. Also, his other medical problems had not diminished ; he was still feeling very depressed, had trouble swallowing and twice a day for about half a minute each he felt pain around his right eye like hot, piercing needles.

On April 19, 2010 Great Grand Master Kellen Chia met George and his wife Hannah, a healthy 75- year old. After an initial assessment on George for balance, mobility, strength and speed GGM Kellen Chia began training George and Hannah the healing art of Qigong – characterized by slow, relaxed and flowing movements – in a series of private lessons twice a week. In the first session George could do Qigong for only ten minutes. He practised for ten minutes every day, as suggested, and by the third session he could do it for fifteen minutes. Within two weeks his balance had improved remarkably. After three weeks, as his strength and cardio fitness continued to improve; he could do Qigong for about 30 minutes. By week four he could do ‘Rolling a giant wheel’ that involves shifting 90% of the body weight forward onto the front foot in a posture that reaches out, and then shifting weight onto the back foot in a posture that pulls back; he could do neither posture in the first session because of the pain experienced in his hips. By four weeks, though, the rigidity and stiffness in his legs and hips had disappeared with the one exception being his lower back right leg. After just seven weeks George was able to walk straight, feeling no pull to the right. Accompanied by Hannah and Great Grand Master Kellen Chia he walked for twenty minutes non-stop on a return trip. Darling Point Road was a little hilly at two intersections, but what GGM Kellen Chia and others would normally walk in seven minutes to reach half-way took George only ten minutes. Before his first Qigong session George could walk only very slowly, and always in fear of falling because of his balance being pulled to his right. Now, however, George can walk for at least twenty minutes, non-stop, without showing any of his previous medical conditions.

By the end of eight Qigong sessions in his first month of treatment George had achieved an almost complete recovery except for the stiffness in the back of his lower right leg. He felt good, fit and healthy. After seven weeks he could stand on one leg for sixteen seconds, whereas before he could not do it for even one second. A huge number of healthy people can not stand for sixteen seconds on one leg, and perhaps only a healthy few in their eighties can do it. The hot piercing needles of pain around his right eye had evaporated. In the second week of July, after two and a half months and twenty sessions of Qigong, GGM kellen Chia re-assessed George’s medical conditions. The stiffness from his hips to his feet had disappeared; a little stiffness in the back of his lower right leg returned only when walking up a hilly road. Also, George’s swallowing problems had gone whereas just two months prior it caused great difficulty. He achieved all of this only by learning, with Hannah, the Twelve Wonders Qigong and the Nine Heavens Qigong from Great Grand Master Kellen Chia, his only other exercise being some short walks in the park with Hannah after the first month. George stopped having physiotherapy ever since starting his Qigong training. By the third week of July 2010, after twenty sessions of Qigong practice, Great Grand Master Kellen Chia decided to teach George and Hannah five minutes of Tai Chi practice in addition to the Qigong.

George had played tennis for seventy years, four times a week, two hours per session, up until he had a stroke. If he had taken up Qigong or Tai Chi six months prior, perhaps the stroke may not have happened. There are ten risk factors that are associated with 90% of the risk of stroke: high blood pressure, smoking, poor diet, abdominal obesity, physical inactivity, above-normal lipids or fats, type-2 diabetes, alcohol intake, stress and depression, and heart disorders. George had only one of these, being depression, and Qigong and Tai chi are effective in helping people with depression. Nevertheless, the fact is that the doctors do not know what caused George’s stroke.

Qigong works well in treating stroke survivors and those with other medical conditions primarily because the movements are slow and relaxed; it is not just the deliberate rhythmic breathing, as many people are led to believe. If one only does deliberate rhythmic breathing in static postures, whether it be standing, sitting or lying down, then there is almost no beneficial effect for medical problems. The key to medical benefits is in Qigong’s slow movements accompanied by a relaxed state. With hundreds of styles of Qigong and over two thousand exercises, they can be categorized as healing ( sometimes called medical ), meditative and martial Qigong. The medical benefits of healing Qigong vary considerably, so for a stroke survivor there is little point in practising some of them. Examples include the exercise that resembles drawing a bow and arrow to the left and to the right while in a shoulder-width stance, the static horse stance while intermittently slowly punching the fists forward, and thirdly the exercise with all of the body’s weight on the back foot while repeatedly bending forward touching the front toes and returning to the upright position. These exercises will not work for stroke survivors, doing nothing to improve balance or to alleviate other medical conditions such as stiffness in hips and legs, needles of pain around the eye, swallowing difficulties, etc.

The movements of Qigong are effective in improving both intrinsic motor control and functional status. They increase aerobic capacity and sensorimotor function, and improve the timing of muscle activation and strength, cardio respiratory fitness, mobility, coordination, balance and importantly one’s circulation. They also calm the mind. Qigong has a favourable effect on the prevention of recurrent stroke and cardiovascular events.

Qigong training offers four distinct advantages in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. Firstly, it involves the performance of movements that are required for everyday living, such as walking and reaching. The movements in Twelve Wonders Qigong and Nine Heavens Qigong involve shifting weight, leaning in different directions and reaching. Secondly, they are easy to perform, so almost anyone can do them. Thirdly, Qigong exercises elicit no cardiovascular stress. And fourthly, they consume a minimal amount of energy which is ideal given that post-stroke subjects expend considerably more energy than their healthy counterparts for even the most common household tasks such as vacuuming and making one’s bed.

Each year there are about 60,000 Australians who suffer a stroke, and it is the second most common cause of death after coronary heart disease. Statistics show that following their first-ever stroke, one in five people die within one month and one in three people die within a year. 150,000 people in America die each year from stroke, out of 700,000 people who suffer a stroke, making it the number three cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Furthermore, stroke occurs in people of all age groups; nearly 20% of all strokes occur in people under 55 years old, and more than half of the men and women aged under 65 who have a stroke die within 8 years. It can occur before birth, when the foetus is still in the womb. About 87% of stroke survivors are confined to their home, most with a disability. And close to 40% of stroke survivors have a second stroke within five years, the highest risk period being the first few months; a repeat stroke is more devastating than the first.

These are frightening statistics*, but according to medical studies 90% of stroke risk factors are preventable through lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking and eating more fish and fruit are linked to the greatest reduction in the risk of stroke. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor, and Tai Chi and Qigong have been shown to be effective in treating this. Tai Chi and Qigong are also effective for type-2 diabetes and stress, and are beneficial in treating heart disorder such as irregular heart beat, all of which are risk factors for stroke. Abdominal obesity can be reduced within two years of Tai chi and Qigong practice. The Twelve Wonders Qigong and Nine Heavens Qigong learnt by George are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels: the infirm become healthy and the strong become stronger.