Mulberry Leaves for Flu, Cough, and Eye Inflammation

[Name]
Mulberry Leaves, Folium Mori

[Chinese Name]
Sang Ye

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Leaves

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Sweet, bitter; cold

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Liver

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb can expel pathogenic wind and heat factors, clear the heat from the Lung and Liver, stop coughing, and improve the vision.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases, flu caused by exogenous pathogenic wind–heat factors, with symptoms including fever, dizziness, headaches, cough, and sore throat.
• Cough, thick phlegm caused by the pathogenic dry-heat factors in the Lung.
• Eye inflammation, dry or red eyes, or blurred vision.

[Recommended Dosages]
5–10 grams. Add water to make decoctions.

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Peppermint for Flu, Common Cold, and Headaches

[Name]
Peppermint, Herba Menthae

[Chinese Name]
Bo He

[Parts Used and Preparation]
The whole herb

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent; cool

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Liver

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb can dispel the pathogenic wind-heat factors. It may also relieve sore throat, itching, and skin rashes.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases, flu, common cold, including the early stages of epidemic febrile diseases. The symptoms of the diseases include fever, chills, headaches, and dizziness.
• Headaches and eye inflammation.
• The early stages of measles, shown as itching and rashes.
• Chest pain and hypochondriac pain.

[Recommended Dosages]
2–10 grams. Avoid overcooking.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
The herb should not be used by those with spontaneous sweating.

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The Herb Perillae for Infectious Diseases, Flu

[Name]
Perillae, Perilla frutescens

[Chinese Name]
Zi Su

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Stalks; leaves; seeds

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Spleen

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may disperse the exterior pathogenic wind and cold factors. It may relieve food poisoning and certain toxic effects from fish and crab.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases caused by exogenous pathogenic wind-cold factors. The symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, stuffy/runny nose, and cough.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 grams.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
Avoid overcooking of the herb.

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Herba Asari for Sinusitis, Pain, and Infectious Diseases

[Name]
Herba Asari, Asarum heterotropoides

[Chinese Name]
Xi Xin

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Roots

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Kidney

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb can expel exogenous pathogenic wind factors and dispel cold factors. It can relieve pain, warm the lungs, and remove dampness and phlegm.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases with exterior symptoms caused by exogenous pathogenic wind-cold factors.
• Various types of pain including headaches, toothache, and joint pain.
• Nasal congestion and sinusitis.
• Cough and difficult breathing caused by the pathogenic cold and phlegm factors.

[Recommended Dosages]
1.5–3 grams. Add water to make decoctions.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
Avoid over-dosages. The herb cannot be used by those with sweating caused by Qi-deficiency, headaches caused by excessive Yang, or dry cough. It should not be used together with the herb Li Lu (Veratrum).

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Dahurian Angelica Root for Common Cold, Skin Inflammation, and Pain

[Name]
Dahurian Angelica Root, Radix Angelicae Dahuricae

[Chinese Name]
Bai Zhi

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Roots

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Stomach

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may relieve the exterior symptoms and disperse the pathogenic cold factors. It may expel the pathogenic wind factor, relieve pain, reduce swelling, and eliminate the pathogenic dampness factor.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Common cold and flu of the wind-cold type, with symptoms including headaches, body aches, and stuffy/runny nose.
• Various types of pain including headaches, toothache, especially pain in the forehead and supra-orbital region.
• Skin infections and inflammation, sores, and boils.
• Stomachaches.
• Leukorrhagia and excessive vaginal discharge caused by the pathogenic dampness factors.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 grams. Add water to make decoctions.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
For relieving stomachache, 30 grams can be used at the beginning and reduced to normal dosages later.

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Notopterygium Root for Infectious Diseases and Joint Pain

[Name]
Notopterygium Root, Rhizoma seu Radix Notopterygii, Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii, Notopterygium incisum

[Chinese Name]
Qiang Huo

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Roots and rhizomes

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent, bitter; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Urinary Bladder and Kidney

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may relieve exterior symptoms, disperse pathogenic cold factors, and expel pathogenic wind and dampness.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases caused by exogenous pathogenic cold-wind factors, symptoms shown as chills, fever, headaches, and body aches.
• Rheumatism of the wind-cold-dampness type, shown as pain in the limbs, joints, shoulder, and back.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 gram. Add water to make decoctions.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
The herb cannot be used by those with Qi/blood-deficiency, or those with dry throat.

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Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition Books

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Healing Stress and Chronic Diseases: Mind-Body Methods and Mechanisms (Psychoneuroimmunology)

Vitamins and Weight Loss: How Vitamins Affect Fat Burning Exercises, Bariatric Surgery, and Obesity Related Diseases

Natural Antioxidants and Weight Loss: Anti-Obesity and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Polyphenol Extracts from Fruits and Herbs

Weight Loss and Anti-Obesity Effects of Natural Saponins Extracted from Herbs and Foods

Natural Flavonoids as Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss and Healing of Obesity Related Diseases

Natural Products, Chemical Compounds, and Gene Targets for Weight Loss: Discoveries from Genetic Interactions

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Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture Books

Introductions

How to Use Herbs in Chinese Medicine: The Basics and Practical Guides

How to Use Cupping Therapy and Moxibustion for Natural Healing

Herbal Recipes for Obesity and Weight Loss

Chinese Diet Recipes for Healthy Weight Loss

Classical and Patent Chinese Herbal Recipes for Weight Loss

Chinese Herbal Recipes for Obesity-Related Diseases

Chinese Herbal Recipes for Weight Loss in Different Age Groups

Herbal Recipes for Beauty and Skin Problems

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Anti-Wrinkle and Silky Skin

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Hair Care and Hair Loss Treatment

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Aromatherapy and Skin Care

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Jade-Like Hands

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Bright Eyes

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Cold Sores, Rosacea, and Red Nose Syndrome

Timeless Herbs for Timeless Beauty: Classical and Secret Chinese Herbal Recipes for Removing Bad Breath and Strengthening Teeth

Herbal Recipes for Influenza

Classical Chinese Herbal Recipes for Healing Flu, Common Cold, and Infectious Diseases

Acupuncture Books

Acupuncture Classics

Acupuncture for A Hundred Diseases in Verse (Bai Zheng Fu)

Understanding the Miracle and Essence of Acupuncture: A Classical Acupuncture Verse (Tong Xuan Zhi Yao Fu)

The Jade Dragon Verse of Using Acupuncture (Yu Long Fu)

Acupuncture for Influenza

How to Prevent and Heal Flu and Common Cold Using Acupressure and Acupuncture

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture for Weight Loss and Treatment of Obesity-Related Diseases: An Overview

Qigong

How to Practice Qigong: The Basics and Principles

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Ledebouriella Root for Infectious Diseases and Pain

[Name]
Ledebouriella Root, Radix Ledebouriellae, Radix Saposhnikoviae

[Chinese Name]
Fang Feng

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Root

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent, sweet; slightly warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Urinary Bladder, Liver and Spleen

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may expel exogenous pathogenic wind factors, relieve the exterior symptoms, remove dampness, and relieve pain.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases caused by exogenous pathogenic wind-cold factors with symptoms including headaches, chills, and body aches.
• Rheumatism and arthralgia shown as joint pain and muscle spasm.
• Tetanus shown as spasm, convulsion, opisthotonos, and trismus.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 grams. Add water to make decoctions.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
Use with caution for those of the blood-deficiency, Yin-deficiency, or excessive-Fire types.

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Schizonepeta for Infectious Diseases and Skin Disorders

[Name]
Schizonepeta, Herba Schizonepetae

[Chinese Name]
Jing Jie

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Whole herb

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Liver

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
This herb may dispel the pathogenic wind factors and relieve the exterior symptoms.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases caused by exogenous pathogenic wind-cold factors, shown as chills, headaches, fever, sore throat, and no sweating.
• Itchy skin, skin rashes, measles, pruritus with exterior symptoms.
• Hematemesis, hematochezia, and metrorrhagia. The charred herb can be used.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 grams. Add water to cook in decoctions. For exterior symptoms, use the raw herb. For stopping bleeding, make charcoal.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
Avoid overcooking in the decoctions.

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Cinnamon Twig for Infectious Diseases, Rheumatism, and Pain

[Name]
Cinnamon Twig, Cinnamon, Ramulus Cinnamomi, Cinnamomum cassia

[Chinese Name]
Gui Zhi

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Twig

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent, sweet; warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Heart, Lung, and Urinary Bladder

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may induce sweating and expel exogenous pathogenic factors. It may warm the meridians and promote the flow of the Yang-Qi.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• Infectious diseases, the wind-cold type with the symptoms including headaches, fever and chills.
• Rheumatism and arthralgia of the wind-cold-dampness type with symptoms including pain in the joints.
• Cold feelings in the back, cough, dyspnea, and dizziness caused by the Yang-deficiency of the heart and spleen.
• Chest pain, palpitation of the heart, slow and irregular pulse.
• Irregular menstruation, amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea, and abdominal pain caused by blood-coldness and stagnation.

[Recommended Dosages]
3–10 grams.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
It is contraindicated in epidemic febrile diseases, and those of the blood-heat type.

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Ephedra for Infectious Diseases, Asthma, and Edema

[Name]
Ephedra, Herba Ephedrae, Ephedra sinica Stapf

[Chinese Name]
Ma Huang

[Parts Used and Preparation]
Stem.

[Flavors in Chinese Medicine]
Pungent, bitter, warm

[Chinese Medicine Meridians/Channels]
Lung and Bladder

[Actions in Chinese Medicine]
The herb may remove the pathogenic factors from the exterior and induce sweat. It may improve the lung-Qi flow, and relieve asthma and wheezing.

[Uses in Chinese Medicine]
• The herb can be used for the exogenous-pathogenic wind-cold type, the symptoms including cold, fever, headaches, nasal congestion, a floating and stiff pulse, but with no sweat.
• It can be used for cough and asthma.
• It can be used for edema.

[Recommended Dosages]
1.5–10 grams. The herb can be cooked in decoctions before putting in other herbs.

[Warnings, Interactions, Side Effects]
Because the herb has strong effects in inducing sweat, large dosages should be avoided. It should not be used by the patients having spontaneous sweating and night sweat.

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High Salt Intake, Anxiety, and Aging

The aging processes are related to the functional weakening in the cognitive and cardiovascular aspects. Such changes may be influenced by external stressors such as high dietary salt intake, which may affect the cardiovascular and mental conditions. A study examined the effects of high salt diets on learning and memory abilities, anxiety, and blood pressure using rat models (Chugh et al. 2013).

The study discovered that the older rats fed with high salt diets had higher blood pressure and higher levels of anxiety-like behavior than normally fed adult or older rats. The older rats fed with high salt diets also showed impaired short-term memory. However, such changes were not observed in other groups (Chugh et al. 2013).

In addition, the older rats fed with high salt diets had increased levels of oxidative stress parameters and corticosterone. This group of rats also had lower expression levels of the antioxidant enzyme glyoxalase-1 in the brain regions including hippocampus and amygdala (Chugh et al. 2013).

The study indicates that excessive dietary salt intake may be related to aging-associated hypertension and behavioral changes including anxiety and impaired memory. Such effects may be mediated via the redox imbalance (Chugh et al. 2013).

Reference:

Chugh, G., Asghar, M., Patki, G., Bohat, R., Jafri, F., Allam, F., … Salim, S. (2013). A high-salt diet further impairs age-associated declines in cognitive, behavioral, and cardiovascular functions in male Fischer brown Norway rats. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(9), 1406–1413.

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Benefits of Qigong Exercise for Elderly with Depression

Researchers in Hong Kong performed a randomized controlled trial to investigate the psychosocial influences of Qigong on elderly with depression (Tsang et al., 2006). A total of 82 participants with depression were involved in the study. The intervention group received Qigong training for 16 weeks. The control group joined a newspaper reading program at the same time.

The study found that after 8 weeks of Qigong training, the patients had significant improvement in various aspects including mood, self-efficacy and personal wellbeing (Tsang et al., 2006). Other progress included the physical and social domains of self-concept. Upon finishing 16 weeks of the training, the improvement of the Qigong group included the daily task domain of the self-concept.

These findings indicate that regular Qigong training may be beneficial for healing depression and improving personal wellbeing among the elderly patients with chronic diseases and depression (Tsang et al., 2006). Further studies are needed to confirm the result and find out the mechanisms.

Reference:

Tsang, H. W., Fung, K. M., et al. (2006) Effect of a qigong exercise programme on elderly with depression. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 21, 890-897.

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

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The Effects of Qigong and Tai Chi on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Researchers at Boston University explored the effects of Qigong and Tai Chi on helping survivors of torture and refugee trauma (Grodin et al., 2008). They assessed the general effects of torture and refugee trauma, emphasizing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They analyzed the reports from the scientific literature on the applications of Qigong and Tai Chi in relieving symptoms among torture survivors.

Their examination of four cases, together with the study of the literature demonstrated the possible value of using Qigong and Tai Chi as a therapeutic intervention for torture and refugee trauma (Grodin et al., 2008). Further studies are still needed to verify their findings and to find out the mechanisms of the effects of such interventions on PTSD.

Reference:

Grodin, M. A., Piwowarczyk, L., et al. (2008) Treating survivors of torture and refugee trauma: a preliminary case series using qigong and t’ai chi. J Altern Complement Med 14, 801-806.

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

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Qigong Can Relieve Chronic Fatigue

According to Chinese Medicine, chronic fatigue is caused by the disharmony and weakening of Qi. Qigong can provide effective interventions to strengthen and adjust the conditions of Qi for disease prevention and treatment. Researchers in UK evaluated the effects of Qigong on relieving chronic fatigue (Craske et al., 2008).

A total of 18 Caucasian female participants were involved in the study (Craske et al., 2008). The participants had weekly Qigong training for 6 months, and practiced for 15 minutes each day. The study found that the Qigong training significantly improved factors associated with chronic fatigue. These factors included sleep quality, pain conditions, emotional attitude and general mobility.

The study indicates that Qigong training is safe with good effects for the treatment of chronic fatigue (Craske et al., 2008). Further studies with larger-scale trials and longer terms are still needed to confirm such effects. It is also necessary to explore the scientific mechanisms of such interventions.

Reference:

Craske, N. J., Turner, W., et al. (2008) Qigong Ameliorates Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue: A Pilot Uncontrolled Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

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Qigong Can Relieve Long-Term Neck Pain

Researchers in Sweden compared the effectiveness of Qigong and exercise therapy in patients with long-term nonspecific neck pain (Lansinger et al., 2007). A total of 122 patients were involved in the study and had either Qigong training or exercise therapy. Seventy percent of the participants were women with the mean age of 44 years. The patients received a maximum of 12 interventions within 3 months.

The patients in both groups had similar clinical and demographic features (Lansinger et al., 2007). Conditions in both qigong and exercise therapy groups significantly improved after the treatment. The effects were kept 6 and 12 months after the trainings.

The variables analyzed in the study included recent neck pain, current neck pain, neck disability, and cervical range of motion (Lansinger et al., 2007). These findings suggest that Qigong or exercise therapy can help reduce pain and disability. These interventions are suggested helpful for those with long-term nonspecific neck pain.

Reference:

Lansinger, B., Larsson, E., et al. (2007) Qigong and exercise therapy in patients with long-term neck pain: a prospective randomized trial. Spine 32, 2415-2422.

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

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The Effects of Qigong on Pain and Fibromyalgia (FMS)

Researchers investigated the effects of Qigong on pain using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) (Yu et al., 2007). They examined four male Qigong masters who had more than 30-year experience of Qigong practice. The researchers observed the change of brain functions via the peripheral pain stimulation, before and after Qigong practicing. They also monitored the heart and respiration rates.

The study found that before the Qigong practice, the brain areas including the cigulate cortex, the thalamus, and the cerebellum were in active conditions (Yu et al., 2007). The levels of such activations reduced after the Qigong practice. The SII-insula area was activated in the two conditions, and the response amplitude in the state of Qigong was greater than that before the Qigong practice.

In another study, researchers in Sweden tested the effects of a seven-week Qigong training on Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). A total of 57 female patients with FMS were involved in the trial (Haak and Scott, 2008).

The researchers collected data before and after the intervention, and at 4-month follow-up for the experimental and control groups (Haak and Scott, 2008). They observed remarkable improvements among the training group in various aspects of pain and stress. After 4 months of the training, most of the effects were kept or improved. More than 90% of the participants completed the training and was satisfied, which meant that the Qigong training had great potential.

These findings indicate that Qigong has good effects on relieving pain and FMS, probably by leading to functional changes of the brain activities. Such results suggest that Qigong interventions could be a helpful adjuvant to conventional treatment for pain and FMS. More studies are needed to find out the mechanisms of Qigong.

References:

Haak, T. and Scott, B. (2008) The effect of Qigong on fibromyalgia (FMS): a controlled randomized study. Disabil Rehabil 30, 625-633.

Yu, W. L., Li, X. Q., et al. (2007) fMRI study of pain reaction in the brain under state of “Qigong”. Am J Chin Med 35, 937-945.

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

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Effects of Qigong Exercise on Parkinson’s Disease

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Many alternative and complementary therapeutic methods have been used by patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers in Germany examined the immediate and continuous effects of Qigong on motor and nonmotor symptoms of PD (Schmitz-Hubsch et al., 2006). A total of 56 patients with different levels of PD disease severity were involved in the study.

The researchers compared the Qigong training group and a control group about the progression of motor symptoms evaluated using Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor part (Schmitz-Hubsch et al., 2006). The Qigong group had the trainings of 90-minute each week for 2 months, followed by a 2 months break, then a second training for 2 months.

The study found that at the time point of 3 and 6 months, more patients showed improvements in the Qigong group than in the control group (Schmitz-Hubsch et al., 2006). In addition, the rates of several nonmotor symptoms reduced in the Qigong group only.

This study indicates that Qigong exercise may be helpful for relieving PD. More studies are still needed to confirm this effect and to find out the mechanisms.

Reference:Parkinson’s disease

Schmitz-Hubsch, T., Pyfer, D., et al. (2006) Qigong exercise for the symptoms of : a randomized, controlled pilot study. Mov Disord 21, 543-548.

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Qigong May Help during Epidemic Crisis

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Researchers studied the effects of Qigong practice among chronically sick patients during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Hong Kong (Siu et al., 2007). Researchers investigated how the training influenced the social environment of Hong Kong during the outbreak.

A total of 30 participants from three Qigong classes were involved in the study (Siu et al., 2007). The researchers observed that the underlying and trigger motivations prompted the chronically sick patients to take the training. The underlying motivations included the belief in Qigong on the effects of health promotion and the unpleasant feelings during the Western treatments. The trigger motivations included the seeking of coping strategies.

The study found that among those patients who practiced Qigong, the training improved their health and served as an effective coping strategy to achieve the active control (Siu et al., 2007). The practice helped the patients to overcome the social discrimination during the outbreak. The study suggests that Qigong may be a helpful mind-body technique to support chronic patients both physically and psychologically during an epidemic crisis. Further studies may help elucidate the mechanisms of such effects.

Reference:

Siu, J. Y., Sung, H. C., et al. (2007) Qigong practice among chronically ill patients during the SARS outbreak. J Clin Nurs 16, 769-776.

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The Effects of Medical Qigong on Quality of Life in Cancer Patients

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

How to Practice Qigong: The Basics and Principles

In cancer patients, quality of life (QOL) of is often reduced because of the side effects of anticancer treatments. Medical Qigong is the integration of gentle exercise, relaxation meditation, and breathing exercise. The practice of Qigong has the basis of Chinese medicine theory.

Medical Qigong has been suggested as a useful intervention for promoting quality of life, relieving symptoms and side effects, and improving longevity of cancer patients. In a study done at the University of Sydney in Australia, researchers evaluated the feasibility and effects of Medical Qigong on outcomes among cancer patients (Oh et al., 2008).

A total of 30 patients with cancers were involved in the study (Oh et al., 2008). The intervention group practiced Qigong for 8 weeks in addition to the regular medical care. The progress of disease was measured by the inflammatory biomarker c-reactive protein (CRP).

The study found that the Qigong intervention group had better quality of life (QOL) (Oh et al., 2008). In the Qigong group, the symptoms of side effects from cancer treatment and the levels of the inflammatory biomarker CRP were also reduced, compared with the control group.

In another study of 162 patients with different cancers, researchers observed that the Qigong group had remarkable improvement in the aspects of overall QOL, fatigue, and mood disturbance, compared with the control group (Oh et al., 2010). The levels of the inflammatory biomarker CRP were also decreased.

These studies suggest that Medical Qigong may help promote the quality of life of cancer patients, improve mood conditions, and decrease some side-effects of cancer therapy. The exercise can also lower the levels of inflammation, which is beneficial in many aspects. Further investigations with larger scale of clinical trials and biomedical studies are needed to confirm such effects and to understand the mechanisms of the benefits of Qigong.

References:

Oh, B., Butow, P., et al. (2008) Medical Qigong for cancer patients: pilot study of impact on quality of life, side effects of treatment and inflammation. Am J Chin Med 36, 459-472.

Oh, B., Butow, P., et al. (2010) Impact of medical Qigong on quality of life, fatigue, mood and inflammation in cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Oncol 21, 608-614.

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Qigong Practice and Blood Biochemical Parameters

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Researchers in Spain studied the effects of Qigong practice on blood biochemical variables (Vera et al., 2007). A total of 29 healthy subjects were involved in the study. Sixteen people were in the experimental group and 13 in the control group. The experimental subjects had Qigong practice everyday for one month.

The study found that the experimental group had reduced serum levels of the enzymes including glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT), glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (GPT), as well as urea. There were also changes in the enzyme gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT).

The study suggests that Qigong practice may lead to significant changes in some blood biochemical variables. More studies are necessary to confirm these observations and the relevant mechanisms.

Reference:

Vera, F. M., Manzaneque, J. M., et al. (2007) Biochemical changes after a qigong program: lipids, serum enzymes, urea, and creatinine in healthy subjects. Med Sci Monit 13, CR560-566.

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The Effects of Qigong Practice on Saliva

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Can Qigong have physical effects? Researchers analyzed the effects of Qigong practice on saliva (Bayat-Movahed et al., 2008). They measured the volume, pH and secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) level of the saliva in Qigong practitioners.

A total of 23 healthy volunteers about 24-year old were involved in the study (Bayat-Movahed et al., 2008). These participants had special Qigong training and massaged acupuncture points to promote the energy cycle and body water energy. The researchers measured the saliva volume and pH before and after the volunteers practiced Qigong.

The study showed that the saliva volume and S-IgA level after Qigong exercises were remarkably increased, compared with those before the exercise (Bayat-Movahed et al., 2008). The researchers did not find obvious changes in the pH levels.

The study indicates that Qigong training may have its health effects through promoting salivary volume and other parameters (Bayat-Movahed et al., 2008). Such results suggest that Qigong may be helpful for those who have the problem of salivary hyposecretion. More studies and larger scale clinical trials are needed to study the mechanisms of Qigong and how these mechanisms can be used for disease treatment.

Reference:

Bayat-Movahed, S., Shayesteh, Y., et al. (2008) Effects of Qigong exercises on 3 different parameters of human saliva. Chin J Integr Med 14, 262-266.

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Finding the Best Practice Duration for Qigong

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Qigong exercise has been found to have many psychological and physical benefits. However, it is not known how long it should be practiced for the best effects, i.e., the best durations. Researchers in Sweden studied the optimal time or length of Qigong practice (Johansson and Hassmen, 2008).

In the study, a total of 41 Qigong practitioners were involved in either 30 or 60 minutes of Qigong exercise (Johansson and Hassmen, 2008). The researchers examined the changes in mood, anxiety, activation, and hedonic tone before and after the practice.

They found that the two durations resulted in the same level of benefits including improved mood, decreased anxiety, and promoted perceived pleasure (Johansson and Hassmen, 2008). They concluded that 30 minutes of Qigong exercise was enough for achieving certain psychological benefits, while the 60 minute-training did not provide additional benefits remarkably.

This finding indicates that even short exercise trainings may provide psychological benefits (Johansson and Hassmen, 2008). It encourages those with little time or motivation for Qigong exercise to seek beneficial results even with a short period of practice.

Reference:

Johansson, M. and Hassmen, P. (2008) Acute psychological responses to Qigong exercise of varying durations. Am J Chin Med 36, 449-458.

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Qigong Exercise with Intrinsic Motivation has Better Effects

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Qigong exercise has been found as a useful intervention for improving both mental and physical health. Researchers in Sweden examined the roles of self-determined motivation and perceived stress in the effects of Qigong exercise (Jouper and Hassmen, 2008).

The researchers surveyed 279 leisure-time Qigong exercisers using the parameters measuring sport motivation, stress, and concentration (Jouper and Hassmen, 2008). They found that the participants with a Calm energy mood and low stress had higher levels of concentration on qi-flow.

In addition, according to the study, the stress-level was negatively associated with health, energy, concentration, and training time (Jouper and Hassmen, 2008). On the other hand, intrinsic motivation was related to the higher levels of concentration and lower stress levels. The researchers also observed that those who practiced Qigong exercise regularly were more intrinsically motivated with lower stress levels and higher levels of concentration, compared with those who do not practice regularly.

The study shows that the factors of mood, intrinsic motivation, and regular practice habits may influence the effects of Qigong exercise, especially the stress and concentration levels (Jouper and Hassmen, 2008). More studies would be helpful to find out the effects of Qigong on the brain and immune functions.

Reference:

Jouper, J. and Hassmen, P. (2008) Intrinsically motivated qigong exercisers are more concentrated and less stressful. Am J Chin Med 36, 1051-1060.

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