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Centenarian In-bed Health Exercises for Longevity


Translation and editing by Kevin W Chen

This in-bed health exercise was introduced and taught by

Mr. Kai-Shen Tsui (崔介忱) in Taiwan, who was born in 1910. He learned these simple but
powerful exercises in 1934 from a Buddhist monk in Northern China but did not start formal
or regular practice until he retired from a government job at the age of 66. Now he is 104
years old, and still lives a healthy life. He shares his longevity secrets on the internet. Most
information here is translated from the internet. For more information about Mr. Tsai, please
refer to previous article in Yang-Sheng “Life-nurturing regimen: As revealed by a

You are supposed to perform these exercises in bed on a daily base, before you get up.
According to the original instruction, most movements are supposed to be done 108 times
before proceed to next. I have used 36 times (instead of 108 times) in the following
translation for a more practical introduction….

1. Fetal Breath 胎息Posture: supine in bed, hands & legs

straight, palms facing up close to leg, empty mind (think nothing), thin breath-in deeply with tongue
touch the palate, hold the breath without exhale and start to count…. The Key components:
1. Entire breathing should be fine and slow. As fine as gossamer, showing breathing capacity is
2. Breathe long, in and out take a longer time to display toughness of vital capacity & strength.
Bubbles in the lung is trained into the active zone, gradually become stronger.
3. Breathe evenly. Avoid urgent in or exhale, need to be thin and long breathing with certain rule
(1-4-2) . Inhale by nose and exhale by mouth to achieve the optimum status. (Or it may lead to
tightness, chest swelling, or headaches).
4. Breathe naturally, no rushing, no radical, and no hurry; follow the natural step so to avoid bad
5. Be persistent, do it every day; the more practiced the stronger so as to let blood wander entire
body, reaching optimum health situation.

At first, you may count to 100 or so per breathing after inhale, gradually count to higher until you
can’t hold it anymore, then exhale by mouth (tongue & belly back to normal). No sound, then you can
adjust breathing before next deep breathing (1 to 3 adjustments), continue count when holding next
breath. 9 mouthfuls every day. Long practice will increase # of counting during holding (pause).
When you can count to a thousand for each breath, your body will rejuvenate, and return to youth….

After practice this for three years, I could easily count to one thousand within one breathing, had some
unexpected effects.

2. Comb hair 梳头

Ten fingers slightly separated, comb from forehead towards occipital (36x) so as to keep blood vessels
softened and smooth, to prevent headaches or hemorrhagic.

3. Rub head 搓头

Respectively, rub both the forehead and the back of head horizontally with both hands — 36x cross.
Enables the strengthening of the arteries, you will be less likely to suffer from headaches.
4. Wash face 洗脸

Washing face with both hands up and down (36-108x): middle finger on both
side of nose (LI20) to prevent rhinitis; other four fingers and palm facing upward push stick, then pull
the palm and finger veneer down, helping blood vessels, smooth skin to be without wrinkles or dark
spots, prevent headache.

5. Rub inner eye corner 揉内眼角

Use the first joint of thumb rubbing the inner corner of eye – Jingming point (BL1) 36x. — treat
hyperopia, wind-tearing, blurred vision, inner canthus crimson embolism, and so on.

6. Rub eyelids 擦眼皮

Use middle & ring fingers rubbing the upper and lower eyelids, from inside out (horizontally) 36x.
This massage helps ocular blood vessels, keeps eyes forever flexible, and eliminate crow’s feet.
7. Rub ear root 搓耳根

Use middle & index fingers rubbing the root of ears: Middle finger on front of ear (SI19 point), index
finger on back of ear, rubbing up and down (not too long), 100+ times, to prevent and treat tinnitus or
hearing loss.

8. turning ear back 翻揉耳

Use both hands rubbing the left and right ears 36x from front to back. Though ear volume (the size of
the ear as compared to the whole body) is small, it has 120 Meridian points (especially, the kidney is
closely related to eye), connecting major organs through the body. Left ear is gold, right ear is wood;
If human ear becomes dry and dark, this signals poor health.

9. rub around Navel 绕肚脐揉

Use the middle three fingers spiral-rubbing around navel clockwise 36 to 81 laps (switch hand is OK);
to prevent gastrointestinal problems and constipation, keep internal organs smooth and healthy.

10. Massage inner thigh (male) 揉大腿根

Left or right hand, respectively, use four fingers (no thumb) rub around the
inner thigh, on the side of Hui Yin (CV1/RN1) and anus, one hand at once, switch hand after 36 times
(female not appropriate). This will help prevent prostate hypertrophy, with 100% healing rate.

11. massage lower belly 揉肚脐下 Hands overlap one-half

inches to four inches below navel, rub 36 times. A half inche below the Navel is the sea of Qi (RN6),
3 inches below navel is Guan Yuan (RN4), 4 inches below is Zhong Ji (RN3), Rubbing these 3 points
has therapeutic effect on frequent need to urinate, and makes the bladder more elastic.

12. Swing Hip 摆臀 Straighten both legs, the toes stretched

back (inward hook), then make hip bone move up and down by leg moving in and stretching out 36
times; to prevent sciatica and bone spurs.

13. Raise anus 提松肛 Same posture as #12, with legs

straight. The toes stretch back (inward hook) and raising (attract) anus while inhaling, count to 36
before relaxing anus, and toes go back while exhaling. Do this ten times every day to heal
hemorrhoids without surgery. Toes stretched back in inward hook prevents legs from cramping.
14. Knick leg 踢腿 Two legs straight with toes inward hook,
then kicking each leg up 36 times, then switch. This helps prevent legs from cramping, and increases
hip strength.

15. Stretch waist (bridge) 挺腰 Straighten arms and clench

hands around ankle, pull inward to prolong the leg, then put feet under hip with Yongquan (KI1) touch
ground, stretch waist outward, two elbows touching ground; swing left-right 36 times (Combine Fish

& Monkey play) . Functions: Strengthen the arteries in the head and
stretch the neck, strengthen arm flexibility, prevent frozen shoulder, and increase knee and leg
strength. Yongquan touching ground promotes kidney health.

16. Push up heaven … 两手托天 Though supine, hands

crossed, raising up from abdomen to the top of the head, 36 times; to regulate triple burner so as to
treat frozen shoulder syndrome, calm the fire along triple burner.
17. Sit ups 仰卧起坐 Hands on side of body, do sit-ups six
times or more to strengthen abdomen, reduce fat, and prepare for the 18th exercise.

18. Bend waist different ways 伸压腰 Three ways to bend wait
forward with legs straight.

1. A) hold hands around head, bend forward to let left elbow touch right knee, then let right

elbow touch left knee, 36 times each.

2. B) hold the head, bend straight forward and look down,
3. C) two hands reach down from toes to heel as far as possible, 36 times. Or split two legs apart
with hands touch the legs….

These three exercises can reduce suffering from fasciitis, and strengthen
visceral and vertebrae health, reduce abdominal fat, and keep waist and legs strong.

19. Push ups 俯卧撑 Push ups 36 times (doing fewer is OK); to
enhance waist, legs, & arms.

20. Cross-leg sit meditation 盘腿静坐 Sit peacefully with legs

crossed, hands clasped together or left on the lap to recover strength. Quiet the mind and breathe 36
breaths, then return to normal. For each breath: Tongue touch upper palate, inhale Qi from the lower
Dantian, then use intention (Yi) to guide Qi along spinal vertebrae from the tail to the head (already
warm or hot), then exhale by mouth, return to natural status. Most importantly, keep a calm mind and
spirit when practicing; cannot have any distractions.

Be persistent in exercise and adhere to a daily practice, long-time practice will produce
incredible results. You can find the teaching of Mr. Tsui from Youtube video:

Kevin W Chen, Ph.D. – is an associate professor at the Center for

Integrative Medicine and Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of
Medicine (USA). Dr. Chen was educated in the universities of both China and the United
States, and has years of experience and training in blending eastern and western perspectives,
and in the practice of life-nurturing methods. As a long-time practitioner of Qigong Yang
Sheng, he is one of the few scientists in the U.S. to have both hands-on knowledge of mind-
body practice, and an active research career in mind-body medicine, which is funded through
grants by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and various foundations. Dr. Chen devotes
his career and life to the practice of Yang Sheng, and promotion of self-healing and mind-
body-spirit integration through the non-profit organization, World Institute for Self Healing
Longevity Secrets from the Grand Masters of Chinese Medicine


(Translated by Jake X. Zhao)

[Note from Editor: The “Grand Master of Chinese Medicine” 国医大师 is an honorary title
granted by Chinese government, and selected by a panel of various experts. The first selection
occurred in 2008-09 and 30 TCM experts were named the Master of Chinese Medicine in
2009. The selection will take place every 5 years. Here are some secrets of longevity from
10 of the 30 Grand Masters. For more information about them, go to:]

Tietao Deng

Tietao Deng, 95 years old, tenured professor of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine.
邓铁涛, 95岁,广州中医药大学终身教授)

1. Don’t compete for fame, and let nature take its course; 2. Adjust diet and lead a regular life.
3. Do regular exercise, do Eight Pieces of Brocade every morning. He suggested,” I have a
secret bath prescription. Alternate hot and cold bath and they are relatively cold and hot
alternation, which will make the blood vessels contraction and relaxation just like massaging
the vessels.”
Liangchun zhu

Liangchun Zhu, 94 years old, a famous TCM doctor in Jiangsu Province, he is an expert of
TCM for cancer treatment — 朱良春,94岁,江苏名中医,擅用虫药治肿瘤)

Since a long time ago Dr. Zhu eats a special kind of “Yang Sheng congee,” made by “green
been 50g, pearl barley 50g, lotus seed 50g, lentils 50g, dates 30g, lycium barbarum (goji
berries) 10g, astragalus membranaceus 250g ( 30g for regular persons daily). Wash the first 5
and put them into a boiling casserole and add the water from astragalus membranaceus. Cook
on high flame until it boils then change to low flame for 40 min. Then add goji berries into it
and continue for 10 more min. Have 1/5 of the amount daily -dividing the dosage into taking
half of it before breakfast and the other half after dinner.

Dexin Yan, 91 years old, the leader of Chinese Medicine in Shanghai, the master of
balancing Qi and blood. 颜德馨, 91岁,上海中医领袖,气血“衡法”大家)

Dexin Yan

Longevity and aging are closely related to qi and blood balance. Smooth qi and Blood
circulate the whole body and adjust the functions of internal organs to promote longevity.
“The main supplements I have are some Chinese herbals for Spleen, adding qi and increasing
Blood circulation including red flowers, walnuts and so on. I suggest taking these herbals with
water and empty stomach only once every morning not twice per day.”

Guangxin Lu, 84 years old, Professor at Chinese Academy of Chinese Medicine, expert
in TCM theory; 陆广莘, 84岁,中国中医科学院教授,中医理论大家)Dr. Lu advises
chewing and swallowing slowly, it may take a while for him to eat just an
Guangxin Lu

egg. Dr. Lu always says “Eating should be with an enjoyable attitude.” He eats 2 eggs every
day and he believes that eggs contain a lot of lecithin which helps fight against aging. Getting
up early every day, he rubs his ears and belly to make meridian vessels and blood circulates
well. In addition, a foot bath before going to bed will let you sleep better.

Zhizheng Lu

Zhizheng Lu, 91 years old, a famous TCM doctor in Beijing;


Dr. Lu eats ginger after getting up in the morning. He believes eating ginger with dates and
brown sugar promotes health and wellbeing. However, he advises only to eat ginger in the
morning but not at night. Dr. Lu is in the habit of massaging and rubbing his face in the
morning and having a foot bath before going to bed. The foot bath will pull the blood down
and it is assists the brain in getting into sleep mode.

Zhongying Zhou

Zhongying Zhou, 84 years old, former president of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine;

Dr. Zhou sees patients for 5 half-days every week. It is his greatest pleasure to see and help
patients. His lifestyle and routine is very regular, and he never stays up late at night. “Desire
is the source of suffering; less desire leads to stronger mind.” People should live with low-
desire, and with a lot of calmness and tolerance.

Youzhi Tang, 85 years old, worked for Chairman Mao as a TCM doctor;


According to Dr. Tang, the secrets of longevity are: “A nurturing life needs a nurturing mind;
an open mind leads to happiness. Keep a hospitable and peaceful mind. He sees patients in
clinic twice a week and is willing to accept new things. He enjoys thinking which keeps the
brain working. In addition, he recommends making sure you have enough sleep, at least 7
hours a day, and take time for a lunch nap.

Zhenghua Li, 87 years old, the former president of Henan College of Chinese Medicine.

Zhenghua Li

Dr. Li practiced Chinese medicine for more than 60 years. He emphasizes nourishing the
Stomach and Spleen, adjusting diet and never engaging in binge eating. He recommends
paying attention to exercise and taking a walk after a meal. He walks in the living room for
15 min in the winter when he can’t go outside. He writes in calligraphy (handwriting with
special pen) to nurture life and taking care of the temperament.
Qi Zhang

Qi Zhang, 90 years old, chief expert of Chinese medicine on kidney diseases, 张琪,

Dr. Zhang longevity secrets are keeping your spiritual aspect pleasurable and free from worry
and anxiety. Ignore rumors and burdens that make you unhappy, instead just laugh at them.
Eating and diets should follow the natural way, neither eating too much nor eating to light. He
prefers a balanced diet and does not agree with avoiding foods with cholesterol. He says it is
undesirable to eat only vegetables and be on diets to lose weight.

Peiran Qiu

Peiran Qiu (裘沛然1913-2010,97 years old)a tenured professor of Shanghai University of

Chinese Medicine. He is a famous educator and doctor of TCM.

One of Master Qiu’s favorite students explaines his secret of longevity as following:

1. Eat less. It means on one hand eat a meal until you’re about 80% full; on the other
hand, don’t wait until too hungry.
2. Act less. Dr. Qiu believes that cultivating Shen (Spirit) is the most important practice
for longevity. Control your desires and be indifferent to fame and wealth.
3. Do what you like. Dr. Qiu enjoys reading, writing poetry and making friends. It’s
natural to find pleasure mentally and physically when indulging in the things that
spark your interest. Similarly for Master Qiu, to see and help patients and treat
difficult miscellaneous diseases can also bring him great pleasure.
4. Updates on Scientific Research of Longevity
5. Compiled by Kevin W Chen, Ph.D.
6. Exploring the role of genetic variability and lifestyle in oxidative stress response
for healthy aging and longevity. Int J Mol Sci. 2013; 14(8):16443-72. By Dato S,
Crocco P, D’Aquila P, et al. from University of Calabria, Italy. —
Oxidative stress is both the cause and consequence of impaired functional
homeostasis characterizing human aging. The worsening efficiency of stress response
with age represents a health risk and leads to the onset and accrual of major age-
related diseases. In contrast, centenarians seem to have evolved conservative stress
response mechanisms, probably derived from a combination of a diet rich in natural
antioxidants, an active lifestyle and a favorable genetic background, particularly rich
in genetic variants able to counteract the stress overload at the level of both nuclear
and mitochondrial DNA. The integration of these factors could allow centenarians to
maintain moderate levels of free radicals that exert beneficial signaling and modulator
effects on cellular metabolism. Considering the hot debate on the efficacy of
antioxidant supplementation in promoting healthy aging, in this review we gathered
the existing information regarding genetic variability and lifestyle factors which
potentially modulate the stress response at old age. Evidence reported here suggests
that the integration of lifestyle factors (moderate physical activity and healthy
nutrition) and genetic background could shift the balance in favor of the antioxidant
cellular machinery by activating appropriate defense mechanisms in response to
exceeding external and internal stress levels, and thus possibly achieving the prospect
of living a longer life.

7. Epigenetic genome-wide association methylation in aging and longevity.

Epigenomics. 2012 Oct;4(5):503-9. By Ben-Avraham D, Muzumdar RH, Atzmon G.
— The aging phenotype is the result of a complex interaction between genetic,
epigenetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that epigenetic changes (i.e.,
a set of reversible, heritable changes in gene function or other cell phenotype that
occurs without a change in DNA sequence) may affect the aging process and may be
one of the central mechanisms by which aging predisposes to many age-related
diseases. The total number of altered methylation sites increases with increasing age,
such that they could serve as marker for chronological age. This article systematically
highlights the advances made in the field of epigenomics and their contribution to the
understanding of the complex physiology of aging, lifespan and age-associated
diseases. (For an introductory video on epigenetic and mind-body connection, please

8. Exercise and longevity. Maturitas. 2012

Dec;73(4):312-7. By Gremeaux V, Gayda M, Lepers R, et al. from Cardiovascular
Prevention and Rehabilitation Center (Centre ÉPIC), Montreal Heart Institute,
Quebec, Canada. — Aging is a natural and complex physiological process influenced
by many factors, some of which are modifiable. As the number of older individuals
continues to increase, it is important to develop interventions that can be easily
implemented and contribute to “successful aging.” In addition to a healthy diet and
psychosocial well-being, the benefits of regular exercise on mortality, and the
prevention and control of chronic disease affecting both life expectancy and quality of
life are well established. We summarize the benefits of regular exercise on longevity,
present the current knowledge regarding potential mechanisms, and outline the main
recommendations. Exercise can partially reverse the effects of the aging process on
physiological functions and preserve functional reserve in the elderly. Numerous
studies have shown that maintaining a minimum quantity and quality of exercise
decreases the risk of death, prevents the development of certain cancers, lowers the
risk of osteoporosis and increases longevity. Training programs should include
exercises aimed at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle function, as well as
flexibility and balance. Though the benefits of physical activity appear to be directly
linked to the notion of training volume and intensity, further research is required in the
elderly, in order to develop more precise recommendations, bearing in mind that the
main aim is to foster long-term adherence to physical activity in this growing
9. The role of exercise capacity in the health and longevity of centenarians.
Maturitas. 2012; 73(2):115-20. By Venturelli M, Schena F, Richardson RS. From
Dept of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences,
University of Verona, Italy. — Aging is a continuum of
biological processes characterized by progressive adaptations which can be influenced
by both genetic and physiological factors. In terms of human maturation, physically
and cognitively functional centenarians certainly represent an impressive example of
successful healthy aging. However, even in these unique individuals, with the passage
of time, declining lung function and sarcopenia lead to a progressive fall in maximal
strength, maximal oxygen uptake, and therefore reduced exercise capacity. The
subsequent mobility limitation can initiate a viscous downward spiral of reduced
physical function and health. Emerging literature has shed some light on this multi-
factorial decline in function associated with aging and the positive role that exercise
and physical capacity can play in the elderly. Recognizing the multiple factors that
influence aging, the aim of this review is to highlight the recently elucidated
limitations to physical function of the extremely old and therefore evaluate the role of
exercise capacity in the health and longevity of centenarians.

10. Exploring age-related brain degeneration

in meditation practitioners. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Aug 7. by Luders E. from
Dept of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, Ca. —
A growing body of research suggests that meditation practices are associated with
substantial psychological as well as physiological benefits. In searching for the
biological mechanisms underlying the beneficial impact of meditation, studies have
revealed practice-induced alterations of neurotransmitters, brain activity, and cognitive
abilities, just to name a few. These findings not only imply a close link
between meditation and brain structure, but also suggest possible modulating effects
of meditation on age-related brain atrophy. Given that normal aging is associated with
significant loss of brain tissue, meditation-induced growth and/or preservation might
manifest as a seemingly reduced brain age in meditators (i.e., cerebral measures
characteristic of younger brains). Surprisingly, there are only three published studies
that have addressed the question of whether meditation diminishes age-related brain
degeneration. This paper reviews these three studies with respect to the brain attributes
studied, the analytical strategies applied, and the findings revealed. The review
concludes with an elaborate discussion on the significance of existing studies,
implications and directions for future studies, as well as the overall relevance of this
field of research.;jsessionid=65A62141
11. The search for longevity and healthy
aging genes: insights from epidemiological studies and samples of long-lived
individuals. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012; 67(5):470-9. By Murabito JM,
Yuan R, Lunetta KL. From National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Framingham,
MA, USA. — Genetic factors clearly contribute to exceptional
longevity and healthy aging in humans, yet the identification of the underlying genes
remains a challenge. Longevity is a complex phenotype with modest heritability. Age-
related phenotypes with higher heritability may have greater success in gene
discovery. Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for
longevity have had only limited success to date. The Cohorts for Heart and Aging
Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS
data for longevity, defined as survival to age 90 years or older, that identified several
interesting associations but none achieved genome-wide significance. A recent GWAS
of longevity conducted in the Leiden Longevity Study identified the ApoE E4 isoform
as deleterious to longevity that was confirmed in an independent GWAS of long-lived
individuals of German descent. Notably, no other genetic loci for longevity have been
identified in these GWAS. To examine the conserved genetic mechanisms between the
mouse and humans for life span, we mapped the top Cohorts for Heart and Aging
Research in Genomic Epidemiology GWAS associations for longevity to the mouse
chromosomal map and noted that eight of the ten top human associations were located
within a previously reported mouse life-span quantitative trait loci. This work suggests
that the mouse and human may share mechanisms leading to aging and that the mouse
model may help speed the understanding of how genes identified in humans affect the
biology of aging. We expect these ongoing collaborations and the translational work
with basic scientists to accelerate the identification of genes that delay aging and
promote a healthy life span.
12. Genetics of healthy aging and longevity.
Hum Genet. 2013 Aug 8. by Brooks-Wilson AR. From Canada’s Michael Smith
Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada, abrooks- — Longevity and healthy aging are among the most complex
phenotypes studied to date. The heritability of age at death in adulthood is
approximately 25 %. Studies of exceptionally long-lived individuals show that
heritability is greatest at the oldest ages. Linkage studies of exceptionally long-lived
families now support a longevity locus on chromosome 3; other putative longevity loci
differ between studies. Candidate gene studies have identified variants at APOE and
FOXO3A associated with longevity; other genes show inconsistent results. Genome-
wide association scans (GWAS) of centenarians vs. younger controls reveal only
APOE as achieving genome-wide significance (GWS); however, analysis of
combinations of SNPs or genes represented among associations that do not reach
GWS have identified pathways and signatures that converge upon genes and
biological processes related to aging. The impact of these SNPs, which may exert joint
effects, may be obscured by gene-environment interactions or inter-ethnic differences.
GWAS and whole genome sequencing data both show that the risk alleles defined by
GWAS of common complex diseases are, perhaps surprisingly, found in long-lived
individuals, who may tolerate them by means of protective genetic factors. Such
protective factors may ‘buffer’ the effects of specific risk alleles. Rare alleles are also
likely to contribute to healthy aging and longevity. Epigenetics is quickly emerging as
a critical aspect of aging and longevity. Centenarians delay age-related methylation
changes, and they can pass this methylation preservation ability on to their offspring.
Non-genetic factors, particularly lifestyle, clearly affect the development of age-
related diseases and affect health and lifespan in the general population. To fully
understand the desirable phenotypes of healthy aging and longevity, it will be
necessary to examine whole genome data from large numbers of healthy long-lived
individuals to look simultaneously at both common and rare alleles, with impeccable
control for population stratification and consideration of non-genetic factors such as
13. Aging and longevity: why knowing the difference is important to nutrition
research. Nutrients. 2011 Mar;3(3):274-82. By McDonald RB, Ruhe RC. From Dept
of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA. — Life
expectancies after the age of 70 and the number of individuals living with age-related
chronic conditions that affect daily activities continue to increase. Age-specific
nutritional recommendations may help to decrease the incidence or severity of age-
related debilitating chronic disorders. However, research in this area has seen limited
success in identifying nutrition-related mechanisms that underlie the functional loss
and chronic conditions that occur as a function of time. We believe that the limited
success in establishing age-specific nutrition recommendations for the older
population reflects, at least in part, research designs that fail to consider the
evolutionary and biological bases of aging and longevity. Longevity has evolved as a
by-product of genes selected for their contribution in helping the organism survive to
the age of reproduction. As such, the principle of genetic determinism provides an
appropriate underlying theory for research designs evaluating nutritional factors
involved with life span. Aging is not a product of evolution and reflects stochastic
and/or random events that most likely begin during the early, reproductively-active
years. The genetic determinism model by which young (normal, control) are compared
to old (abnormal, experimental) groups will not be effective in identifying underlying
mechanisms and nutritional factors that impact aging. The purpose of this commentary
is to briefly discuss the difference between aging and longevity and why knowing the
difference is important to nutrition research and to establishing the most precise
nutritional recommendations possible for the older population.

15. Norm (front center) and his class at Friendship Village
16. Gender and the regulation of longevity: implications for autoimmunity.
Autoimmun Rev. 2012; 11(6-7):A393-403. By Pan Z, Chang C. from Nemours/A.I
duPont Hospital for children, Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, USA. —
For humans and other animals, gender has an influence not only on their physical
attributes, but also on life span. In humans, females have a longer life span than males.
The reasons for this are not entirely clear. The role of gender in the regulation of
longevity may be linked to gender specific genetic differences, including the
expression of sex hormone patterns and the changes in these patterns during an
individual’s lifetime. In addition, the effect of sex hormones on other physiologic
responses to environmental influences on cellular stress and oxidative damage may
play a role in longevity. Gender can impact many disease states, including
autoimmune diseases, and the factors that affect the development of autoimmune
diseases and the regulation of longevity may share common mechanistic pathways.
Other factors that may play a role include telomere and telomerase related differences,
caloric restriction and changes in mitochondrial DNA. Inflammatory and regulatory
pathways such as insulin/IGF signaling and Target of Rapamycin (TOR) signaling
may also play a role in longevity and aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The
role of gender differences in the regulation of these pathways or factors is not entirely
clear. The role of X-chromosome inactivation in longevity has also yet to be fully
17. Genetic mechanisms of longevity responses to dietary restriction. [Article in
Chinese] Yi Chuan. 2011 Nov;33(11):1153-8. Huang J, Yang Z. from Institute of
Geriatrics, The 5th Medical College of Peking University, Beijing, China. — Dietary restriction effectively extends lifespan in mammals and
decreases the incidence and progression of many age-dependent diseases. To
understand the genetic mechanisms that longevity responses to dietary restriction
would have far-reaching impacts on future medical treatments to deal with the aging
problems. Until recently, we knew nothing about these mechanisms in metazoans.
Recent advances of the genetic bases of energy sensing and life control in yeast,
invertebrates, and mammals have begun to settle the problem. More evidence indicates
that the brain has a principal role in sensing dietary restriction and extending lifespan
in metazoans. This paper reviews recently development of mechanisms, regulatory
factors, genes, nervous control, and related hypothesizes of DR-longevity mechanisms
in metazoans.

18. Vitamin D, sunlight and longevity.

Minerva Endocrinol. 2011 Sep;36(3):257-66. by Pérez-López FR, Fernández-Alonso
AM, Mannella P, Chedraui P. from Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of
Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. — Humans acquire vitamin D
through skin photosynthesis and digestive intake. Two hydroxylations are needed to
obtain the bioactive compound, the first produces 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D],
and the second 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D]. There is no consensus
regarding the appropriate cut-off level to define the normal serum 25(OH)D range.
Experimental, epidemiological and clinical studies have related low vitamin D status
with longevity. Although some results are controversial, low serum 25(OH)D levels
have been linked to all-cause, cardiovascular, cancer and infectious related mortality.
Throughout life span a significant proportion of human beings display insufficient (20-
30 ng/mL) or deficient (<20 ng/mL) serum 25(OH)D levels. Appropriate lifestyle
changes, such as regular short exposures to sunlight (15 min a day), and an adequate
diet that includes vitamin D rich components, are not always easily accomplished.
Studies relating to vitamin D supplementation have methodological limitations or are
based on relatively low doses. Therefore, dosages used for vitamin D supplementation
should be higher than those traditionally suggested. In this sense, there is an urgent
need for prospective controlled studies using high daily vitamin D doses (2,000 IU or
higher) including cardiovascular, cancer, infectious and other endpoints. Relationship
between vitamin D and health outcomes is not linear, and there are probably various
optimal vitamin D levels influencing different endpoints.
19. Wisdom and method: extraordinary practices for the realization of longevity and
optimal health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1172:344-7. by Tsondu GN, Dodson-
Lavelle B. from Tibet House, New York, New York, USA. — The focus in our
discussion of longevity-enhancement has centered on developing techniques and
technologies to control the environment as well as the physical body and its functions.
The Tibetan contemplative and medical sciences offer a sophisticated view of the
mind-body complex in which efforts to control the external world are insufficient
without the development of “inner” technologies to train the mind. From the Tibetan
perspective, training the mind is in fact essential to the realization of extraordinary
levels of longevity, happiness, and optimal health.

Longevity: Lengthen Your Telomeres with Meditation

and Die Like a Squirrel

By Sharon Montes, MD

Chris went to see his doctor and asked him if he would live to be a hundred.
“Well, there are some easy ways to judge,” said the doctor. “Do you smoke or drink?”
“No,” Chris replied. “I’ve never done either.”
“Do you gamble?”
“Drive fast cars?”
Chris shook his head.
The doctor leaned over confidentially. “Fool around with any women?”
he said, with a little grin.
Chris shook his head sadly. “No Doc-never.”
“Well then,” cried the doctor. “What do you want to live to be a hundred for?”

My perspective on how long I want to live and what kind of life I want to lead in my twilight
years changes from decade to decade. This column started as a conversation about clowns and
dance. Laughter, authentic heart-full connections, and movement are all important
components of a high quality long life. Instead, today we will be having a conversation about
squirrels and telomeres.

After studying geriatrics and learning about the idea of compressing the morbidity and
disability of aging into the last bit of life, I have held the goal of dancing until the day I die.
Alternatively, I tell people that I want to die like a squirrel – running and jumping until it is
my time to either fall off the tree or crawl into a hole up in my tree and pass away. This
theory and imagery and is captured by the following graph.

Optimal performance and function over course of lifespan –

Comparison of squirrel and human

The question is what I need to do at this moment to design a life that allows me live and die
efficiently or in a quality-filled way. The answer to that is found in the classic wisdom of
ancient healing traditions as well as the practice and science of lifestyle medicine that has
accumulated over the last few decades. While there are many brilliant humans teaching about
the advantages of healthy lifestyle, I have a particular fondness for Dr. Dean Ornish.

I first learned about his work while doing my family medicine residency at a regional trauma
center in Texas. As a resident, I received fantastic training in how to keep the physical body
alive but only minimal training in how to effectively teach people how to prevent or reverse
chronic disease. I felt a connection with Dr. Ornish because he had attended medical school in
Texas. While I was in the trenches of the emergency room and intensive care unit, he was
researching ways to reverse heart disease. His research started with a small group of people
with such severe heart disease that they got chest pain or shortness of breath with simple
activities of self-care. With disease beyond cure from medication, they were also too sick for
surgery. These people agreed to participate in this “lifestyle” research. Wow! These people
had coronary arteries that OPENED and heart muscle that healed as a result participating in a
four part lifestyle program that included plant-based diet, exercise, stress management, and
social support.
While western medicine does a decent job of emphasizing the importance of diet and exercise,
Dr. Ornish’s research demonstrated ways to emphasize the additional importance of stress
management and social support/connection for physical health. (Meditation is one of his
personal stress management practices.) As I explored integrating his protocols with my
patients, I was very surprised to learn that social connection and support was frequently more
difficulty to integrate into my patient’s lives than change in nutrition or increasing movement.
(Notice I am not using those words DIET and EXERCISE…. We are framing this as a
conversation about lifestyle, not short-term prescriptions.)

Building on this work, other researchers have found that meditation and nutrition can actually
change the structure of our genes. Dr. Ornish and others have shown that the lifestyle
decisions that we make actually turn on or turn off genes. One study “Changes in prostate
gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention”
( of men with low-risk prostate cancer
who followed a program of intensive nutrition and lifestyle changes showed changes in
genetic activity after only three months on the program. Genes that promote cancer
suppression were up-regulated, while genes lead to cancer promotion were down regulated.

If you imagine our genes to be a spiral of proteins that wind and unwind to give form to
various chemicals and structures in our body, the telomere is the “cap” at the ends of the
spiral that keeps the spiral in order. (One writer compares it to the plastic coating on the end
of a shoelace that keeps the threads from unraveling.) With time and successive cell divisions,
our telomeres become shortened and our chromosomes become somewhat frayed. It has been
shown that healthy diets and stress management/meditation can lengthen our telomeres. This
in turn leads to our genes
During yoga class yesterday, I imagined and spoke to the telomeres in each cell of my body,
imagining them strong and long and growing with each breath and stretch. This morning
during my meditation time, I experienced my telomeres in each chromosome as bright and
tight. This evening while eating out, I chose the low-fat vegetable soup.

What are the genes you are turning on (cancer suppression, repair of blood vessel lining,
creation of new neural synapses)?
What environment are you bathing your telomeres in? What is the message you are giving
your genes by the choices you make each moment?

“The two A’s.” This photo shows my aunt who is currently 92 and lives independently in her
own apartment and my daughter who is now 14 and expresses independence in thought, word
and action. They are both part of my social connection that baths my genes in the chemistry of
love and light.

Sharon Montes, M.D. – practiced and taught family medicine in medical

schools for 17 years. Former medical director of University of Maryland Center for
Integrative Medicine, Dr. Sharon Montes is currently living in Loveland, Colorado, joyfully
dancing with 10,000 things and preparing to open a Lifestyle Medicine practice. Her email is and her blog site is

Stimulating Our Longevity Points

by Lilian Kluivers
The next series of Do-In exercises stimulates the Longevity
points, which help us to restore our yang energy and remove or prevent obstructions in
our Qi flow.

‘Do you ever fall ill?’ This is a regularly asked question of my students. What they really
want to know is whether they can prevent themselves from falling ill by following the wisdom
of oriental medicine.

Honestly, no one can ever promise that. We live in a society that is severely polluted.
Consider the air we breathe, the food we eat… Even if you try to live as close to nature as
possible, it’s not possible to exclude pollution from your diet. Besides that, we all have our
individual constitution, our inherited energy. That also plays a big part in our health.

But, here’s the bright side. Having said this, oriental medicine has a lot to offer regarding

Below I will describe a sequence of simple Do-In exercises that stimulate our energy flow.
This sequence includes the so-called longevity points, a combination of acupoints that activate
and restore our yang energy and are known by their power to remove obstructions and tonify
Qi. It’s best to practice these exercises after a workout, in the beginning of the day.

1. Rolling on your back with St. 36

Start sitting on the floor, preferably on a mat

or a carpet. Find the acupressure point Stomach 36, known as Zu San Li, one hand’s width
below the knee cap, and one thumb with lateral from the tibia.
Stimulate Stomach 36 with the four fingers, giving counter-pressure on your calf with the

Hold your hands like this and start rolling up and down your spine, from the sitting bones
towards the shoulder blades and back. Twenty to fifty times – or until you feel the lower
dantian becomes energetically active.

The lower dantian is the most important energy centre in our body. It’s location is 1,5 thumb
width below the navel centre. It is the place where our Qi is stored and focusing here collects
the energy we activate in our exercises.

2. Massaging the crown of our head

Sitting upright, place the fingers of one hand on the

crown of your head, Governing vessel 20 Baihui, another Longevity point. Place the fingers
of your other hand on Conception Vessel 6 Qi hai 1,5 thumb with below the navel center to
stimulate the lower dantian.

Connect these points, meditating until you feel Cv 6 becomes energetically active. This
combination raises Yang Qi, and calms Shen. You’ll feel very clear and aware afterward.

3. Cleaning

Two of the six Longevity points are on the Large

Intestine vessel. The energy of this vessel helps us to get rid of things we don’t longer need,
emotionally and physically. Because of the pollution in our environment, opening the Large
Intestine vessel becomes even more important nowadays. It keeps our body as clean as
possible. Notice that the Large Intestine vessel is closely connected to the Lung energy. Lungs
are considered to love pureness, enabled by the Large Intestine vessel.

With the fingers of one hand, stimulate Large Intestine 10 Shousanli. From the increase of the
elbow, you’ll find this point two thumb widths towards the wrist. Place the other palm or
fingers on Cv. 6 and connect both points, meditating.

Now find Large Intestine 13 Shouwuli. From the increase in the elbow, you’ll find this
acupressure point three thumb widths towards the shoulder. Place the other palm or fingers on
Cv. 6 and connect both points.

4. Happy old age

We will now move to Small Intestine 6, Yanglao – see image.

Again connect this point with Cv. 6 by placing the palm or fingers on it. This acupressure
point is very much connected with maintaining your health while growing older. It opens the
Small Intestine vessel, which functions like a filter for our food as well as our impressions.
Small intestine 6 is the so called Xi-point of this vessel. These points easily tend to obstruct
the energy flow, treat it often to provide the Small Intestine meridian with energy.

5 Connecting three yang

Last but not least, find Triple Heater 8 Sanyangluo, on the outside of the lower arm, on the
midline, four thumb-widths from the increase in the wrist. Connect this point with Cv. 6 until
you feel the latter becoming energetically active.

In this point, we reach the energy of the three yang meridians of our hands. The hands are the
upper limbs in our body and therefore more connected to yang – heavenly energy – in
comparison to the feet. Besides that, Triple Heater energy supports the yang energy in our
body in spreading the Qi and removing any obstacles in the energy flow. Opening this
acupressure point, which is connected to the energy of all of these three yang vessels,
functions as the finishing touch to our longevity sequence which is all about restoring yang

Enjoy your day!

The Longevity of Primordial Wuji Qigong

by Shifu Michael Rinaldini

(Written 2008, edited 2013)


One of my favorite longevity qigong forms is Primordial Wuji Qigong. The form I practice is
technically mine in origins, but the philosophy behind it belongs to a long tradition of qigong
cultivation. I became interested in it during the early 2000’s. At that time, I was studying the
writings of a variety of qigong teachers: Roger Jahnke, Jerry Alan Johnson, Michael Winn,
Daniel Reid, Solala Towler, and Ken Cohen. Several of them had written extensively or
produced videos on the Primordial qigong. They referred to it in a variety of names: Hunyuan
Gong, Primordial Qigong, Hundun Qigong, or “Taiji Hunyuan Nei Gong (Undifferentiated
Primordial Inner Work).” [1] I was mysteriously drawn to it, even though I did not have any
direct experience of its form. From the descriptions I read about it, I deduced that it consisted
of a lot of circling and spiraling movements. Roger Jahnke described it as a returning and
moving in reverse to the natural pattern of things. I started creating my own form, using some
of my favorite rolling and spiraling qigong movements, and deepening my understanding of
key principles of the Primordial philosophy.

At the 2001 National Qigong Association conference in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Omega Institute,
just after the 9/11 tragedy, I spoke with Roger Jahnke. I believe it was the Saturday afternoon
when we ran into each other outside during the break between workshops. We talked for
about fifteen minutes or longer, and spent a fair amount of time on my interests in learning
more about Primordial Qigong. He was supportive, however, in directing me to continue
developing my own version of it. As much as I can remember now, seven years later, he
seemed to be saying that the external form was not nearly as important as the internal
transformation of returning to the One – the undifferentiated unity of all things. This last part
was not his; I forget the exact words he used.A recent article in “The Empty Vessel”
magazine has an in-depth analysis of Primordial Qigong. Ken Cohen, the author of the article,
explores the philosophy, the history, the benefits, and the practice of “Hunyuan Qigong.”[2] I
particularly like Cohen’s discussion on how Primordial Qigong belongs to the Daoist qigong
category because it uses concepts and practices from Daoism.

“xing ming shuang xiu ‘body and spirit cultivated in balance,’ shui huo xiang jiao ‘fire and
water meet,’ and lian dan ‘cultivating the elixir.’”[3]

These concepts are key ingredients for the understanding of the internal transformation I
referred to earlier. When I talked about the importance of the inner work over the external
movements, it was concepts like these that I had in mind. Cohen supports my claim: “External
movement is always accompanied by internal movement, and for this reason Primordial
Qigong may be considered ‘inner work.’”[4] In fact, a couple years ago, I wrote to Ken Cohen
and asked him if he had a video/DVD on Primordial Qigong I could purchase. He wrote back
and said he had an old video on it, but it was not an instructional video. It did not explain the
internal meditation, which is the heart of the form. Needless to say, I didn’t purchase the

Before I move onto my explanation of how to practice Primordial Wuji Qigong, I want to
highlight another point Cohen made in his article. He says, “One of the most interesting
aspects of Primordial Qigong is that it can, according to master Feng’s book, strengthen the
prenatal primordial qi.”[5] I agree with Cohen on this point completely. It confirms what I
have read from other sources that according to a Daoist perspective, our constitutional nature
or qi, which we acquire at birth via our parents, ancestors, and even the environment at the
time of our birth, can be altered if we “change our relationship to Heaven and Earth.

Primordial Qigong exercises and meditations teach the student to blend the subtle qi of the
universe with the denser qi within the body.”[6] This is a major point in discussing the
benefits of Primordial Qigong. It explains how an ordinary person can align himself or herself
with universal energies, and become more like the universe. This is the path to immortality,
isn’t it? Making the body’s qi as subtle as the qi of the universe. I am reminded of another
ancient phrase – To live as long as Heaven and Earth – another reference to immortality.
Aligning oneself with the universe may contribute to longevity and spiritual cultivation, but
many people want to know if the practice will help them recover from cancer or some other
serious condition. I personally feel the answer is ‘yes’ and even Cohen in his article provides
a short story of people recovering from cancer who took his workshops on Primordial Qigong.
I quote, “has the most dramatic effect on cancer.” And he adds, “to correct all sorts of
imbalances – from too much yang, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, or too yin,
immune deficiency or depletion.”[7]
Primordial Wuji Qigong: The Philosophy

Primordial Wuji Qigong is based on reversing time and returning to the Source, or Dao. It is
based in the tradition of Inner Alchemy of cultivating the Five Elements and transmutation of
the Three Treasures: vital essence, jing; vital energy, qi; and spirit, shen.

The form combines a deep qigong meditation while moving the body gently. The circulating
of the hands is like gathering in of universal life forces. Moving in reverse with the seasons,
starting with spring, there is a turning back of time. Energetically, this reversal of time takes
you back towards your prenatal original qi – the primordial qi state of pure health, pure spirit,
and undifferentiated unity.

Furthermore, as you perform this form, you are aware that although you may have health
problems on one level of your physical self, on a deeper level, the energetic or spirit level,
you know you are already healed, whole, and united in harmony with nature or Original
Nature. In this heightened state of illumination, you absorb the primordial energies deep into
your body and mind. Your qi meridians and dantian qi fields are filled. Gradually, your focus
of healing shifts from the physical to the spiritual.

The goal of Primordial Wuji Qigong is to return to the ultimate nature or source of the
universe. This may be described as emptiness, or the view that all things are not separate from
other things. This ultimate state is beyond intellectual comprehension, and can only be
experienced directly. The Buddhists and Daoists describe this state as being already within us,
and it is a process of clearing the illusions so we can clearly experience our Original Nature.
The ancient Daoists called this Original Nature, the Dao. Those who achieve this level of
realization are sages or immortals.

The following quote explains this interaction of what is known as the Zuowang View and
Method and the Daoist Inner Alchemy tradition. It deals directly with the two traditions of
alchemical change processes and the meditative traditions of an original perfected state of
being already present within us.

Quote from The Dragon’s Mouth, Autumn 2002, British Taoist Association

“Question to Liu Ming: What about the more ‘active’ practices like alchemical meditation?
Isn’t that based on ‘producing an elixir’?

Liu Ming: It seems that way but, in fact, nothing is produced. This is an excellent point for the
importance of the connectedness of view and method. The common misunderstandings of
Daoism in modern times are based on poor translations and inexperienced teachers. The basis
(View) of inner alchemy (neidan) is found, not produced. The action (Method) of inner
alchemy is natural, not forced, and the result (Fruit) is the revelation, the revealing of things
as they actually are. This revealing process is based on relaxing, not producing, on letting go,
not acquiring. In that sense, there is no ‘producing the elixir’, there is only finding it. If our
view tells us it has always been there, finding it is not really very ‘spiritually exciting’ or

The Method: Phase One

Primordial Wuji Qigong begins by standing still and facing East. Next, start opening and
closing your hands in front of your Lower Dantian. Think of the Earth Element and the
ground beneath your feet. Gather the Earth energy up from the ground and imagine it flowing
into your stomach and spleen organs. Cultivate the qualities of nourishing, supporting, and
life giving with the yellow earth energy. Visualize the Yellow Dragon.

Expand the open and closing movements to rolling the ball movements. Feel you are pulling
in Earth energies and circulating them throughout your body.

You now transition to the Wood Element and nourish the organs of the liver and gall bladder,
still facing East. Cultivate the spring qualities of new growth, new beginnings, creative
energy, and expansion. As you roll the ball, you can turn to your left and feel as if you are
gathering the Wood energy from all around you, BUT, especially the East direction. Visualize
the Green Dragon.

Turn towards the north direction, and focus on gathering in the energies of the Water Element.
Cultivate the winter and Water qualities of flowing, fluidity, dormancy and storing.
Harmonize the kidneys and bladder with the dark blue and black energies of the Black

As you continue to roll the ball, focus on the west direction and the Metal Element. This is the
season of the fall, nourishing the lungs and large intestines with the white metal energy.
Cultivate the qualities of substance, strength, structure, harvest, hardening and condensing.
Visualize the White Tiger.

Lastly, turning and rolling to the south, focus on gathering the Fire Element to nourish the
heart, the small intestine, the pericardium, and the triple warmer meridian. This is the summer
season with healing red energy benefiting these organs. Cultivate the qualities of warmth,
light, vitality, energy, and luminous and full growth. Visualize the Red Phoenix.

Complete the turning and rolling the ball by coming back to the east and standing still, hands
on Lower Dantian. Be mindful of all the energies you just gathered in, and allow them to sink
deep inside you.

The Method: Phase Two

Begin this next phase by imagining holding a qi ball in your hands, and moving them up and
down in a small circle in front of your waist. The hands move up, close to the body, and away
from you, as they descend. Imagine one hand is the yin hand and the other one is the yang
hand. They represent all the Five Elements you just gathered, but now simply as the water and
fire energies. Think of the earlier quote by Ken Cohen, “fire and water meet,” and realize that
you are now blending your own fire and water qualities.You are mixing these two vital
ingredients in the cauldron of the Lower Dantian. The water energy, which normally flows
downward, you are now raising up, and the fire energy, which normally rises, you are sinking
downward. By blending them together, you are cultivating the Three Treasures of jing, qi and
Proceeding in this alchemical transformation, you become more and more aware that there are
no longer two elements, two things, you are blending; they have become one element, one
undifferentiated unity. You finally realize, that is, you wake up to the truth that it was a
process of clearing, of forgetting the illusions of separateness. You realize that there was
never anything to produce, you just needed to relax, let go, be open as the universe, and
accept Primordial Nature as your own Original Nature.

The Method: Phase Three

The hands come to rest again on the Lower Dantian. Your mind is full of clarity and stillness.
In a spontaneous burst of energy, you move into the wuji palms facing heaven qigong
movement, turning towards your right. You are now moving in the field of Hundun, the chaos
of the universe. Internally, you are in harmony with the universe, and externally, your chaotic,
circling movements are in harmony with Chaos. And, as I said earlier in quoting Cohen,
Primordial Qigong is blending “the subtle qi of the universe with the denser qi within the
body.” There is no effort, no producing at this point. You are manifesting the true state of Wu
Wei, naturally doing using no force.

The Method: Closing Phase

Slowly return to facing east. Your movements ease back into opening and closing, and then
gradually, just resting the hands on the Lower Dantian, again. At this point, there is very little
to say about your experience. You have gathered all the energies of the universe. You blended
them all into a unity within you. You played in the field of Hundun. You dissolved into the
nothingness of Primordial Oneness.

I forget where I found the following description of the dragon and the pearl, but it sums up the
whole process of Primordial Qigong.

Primordial Qigong is symbolic of the immortal dragon chasing after the pearl of immortality.
Once found, the dragon ingests the pearl and lives forever in the immortal realms of
Primordial nature, flowing endlessly toward the Source.
[1] Hunyuan Qigong: Tracing Life To Its Root, Ken Cohen. The Empty Vessel: A Journal of
Daoist Philosophy and Practice, Winter 2008 pgs. 10-16.

[2] Ibid., pgs. 10-16.

[3] Ibid., pg. 15.

[4] Ibid., pg. 15.

[5] Ibid., pg. 15.

[6] Ibid., pg. 16.

[7] Ibid., pg. 14.

© Michael Rinaldini 2013


Michael Rinaldini (Li Chang Dao)–is the Director of Qigong & Daoist Training Center, and a
22ndgeneration Longmen (Dragon Gate) Daoist priest. Shifu Michael founded the American
Dragon Gate Lineage with the support of Master Wan Su Jian from Beijing, China. The
Lineage is a non-monastic community of members devoted to the spreading of Daoism and
the cultivation of the Dao. He offers Qigong Certification Programs for Advanced Trainings,
local, national and international. Shifu Michael’s first book was published in May, 2013 and
focuses on the practices of a modern day western Daoist: A Daoist Practice Journal: Come
Laugh With Me which is available on

Roses and Longevity

By Katrina Everhart

Roses given round the world indicate friendship, as well as love. Commonly used in
perfumes, potpourri, sachets, and aerosols for their pleasant smell, roses look pretty, smell
wonderful, and last longer than many flowers. Beyond their smell, roses have medicinal
benefits. Used for the Persian emperor’s wedding in the 10th Century as decorations, roses
were cast into the water for the smell. As the sun shone on the fountains over time, the water
became more concentrated, and more fragrant. The empress noted the droplets of oil and
began using the water and oil. In Egypt, Cleopatra used rose water in her facial masks,
creams, and rose oil in ointments for cleansing and their anti-aging properties. Ancient
Romans bathed in rose water as it both cleansed and toned the skin causing fewer irritations,
and adding a slight perfumed smell to the body. During WW II, hips were gathered to make
Vitamin C syrup in England because they contain 60% more Vitamin C than citrus fruit. This
juice, sent to troops, helped them deal with vitamin deficiencies and avoid diseases such as
Scurvy, living longer and staying stronger.
Copyright Marguerite Zietkiewicz 2001

Roses possess health benefits when used in teas, poultices, body sprays, lemonades, tinctures,
salves, creams, lotions, candies, ice cream, milk shakes, baklava, scones, cakes, buns,
puddings, rice, curries, soda waters, and yogurt drinks such as Rose Petal Lassi. There is also
Rose milk in Malaysia. Bandung is Rose Syrup mixed with cold milk and cream. Brands
include Rooh-afza or Monin. Gulkand. Rose preserves made from rose petals and sugar is
eaten with toast, in sandwiches, cookies, or as a topping for cakes and ice creams. It may also
be eaten by itself. Indian delicacies such as Gulab Jamun and Ladoos, and Pakistani biryani
dishes use rose water to enhance the aromatic flavors as we eat with our noses just as much as
our taste buds. In areas that were once known as Persia, a rose water is infused to make an
iced tea and is drunk to soothe and calm the mind at tea time.

Rose petals contain vitamins A, B, D, & E as well as the beneficial acids – citric and malic,
bioflavonoids, tannins, and fructose. Rose hips, the bulbous part after the flowers fall off, also
contain Vitamin B1, B2, B3, C, E, P, K, calcium, iron, phosphorous, citric acid, tannin, zinc,
and niacin. Health remedies or treatments for petals include thirst, gastro-intestinal problems,
cough and congestion, diarrhea, bladder infections, runny nose, minor internal hemorrhage or
swellings, and sore throats.

Rose Petal Teas, hot or cold, clean toxins from the body as well as heat whether due to hot
flashes or low level fevers from mild inflammations. Rose Hips Teas are natural stimulants to
help the bowels move, can help prevent kidney stones and help they thymus gland function.
Rose oil in boiling water, just a few drops, inhaled can help ease the effects of asthma and
congestion. Rose teas, jellies from petals or waters, and pastes from petals, deal with low
libido, fertility, menstrual and menopause issues, and of course stress.

Rose waters used in facials, astringents, creams, salves, and toners to increase blood flow, and
balance sebum production as well as tightening pores. Because it balances the Ph of skin, it
helps fight acne at any age. Rose water helps nourish the hair and scalp. It can help increase
the blood flow, and prevent inflammations which cause mild forms of dandruff. Additionally,
it can help deal with split ends, frizzy and dry hair, while keeping your hair in place like hair

When combined with Cistus Hydrosol, rose water helps prevent wrinkles. Rose water,
hydrosol, or rose glycerin, soothes the eyes and skin. Cooled, it reduces swelling and
inflammation often due to minor injuries and/or allergies. Cooled Rose water or rose glycerin
reduces puffiness around the eye in the morning. In water, glycerin, or creams, roses help dry
skin, aging skin, and can be used as an anti-septic if kept sterile for minor cuts. Rose water
tonics treat fatigue, nervous tension, heat-related issues from becoming overheated and/or
dehydrated whether from over exertion or weather, as well as gout, rheumatic conditions,
heart disease and peptic ulcers. Additionally, rose teas, tonics, sodas, and/or pastes in food
help restore normal and essential bacteria to the intestines or gut to help with normal digestion
and elimination.

Rose oil with a carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, olive, applied topically helps soothe sore
muscles and muscles that can spasm, aka antispasmodic, due to overuse such as in running
events. A small amount of oil on the stomach can help athletes who use their muscles a lot
during an event such as running, climbing, or biking to reduce spasms, tremors, and soreness.
Used in cream, rose oil helps deal with sunburn, insect bites, breast disorders, and mild forms
of eczema. Pastes from petals, mixed with salt, sugar, or a mud make face masks which
rejuvenate the skin and help cellular turnover.

Externally, rose waters, teas, tonics, creams, and food applications play double duty solving
issues and providing aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses alone include meditative and
religious. As an aroma, roses in any form are considered an aphrodisiac as well as an anti-
depressant, anger depressant, and a mild sedative. Roses help folks who are grieving and
those who are suffering from PTSD. Anytime stress is relieved and depression issues lifted,
folks live longer and better.

The smell helps relieve the tension as well as pain when used on a compress. Whether hot or
cold, used on a cold cloth for swelling and hot cloth for inflammation, the compress can be
placed directly on the skin. Oils can be expensive because it takes about 60,000 petals to
product just 1 ounce of pure rose essential oil. Essential oil must often be cut with either
another oil or carrier. It should not be ingested or put directly on the skin in its pure form.

Legend has it that a spoonful of Gulkand, a sweet preserve, every day is better than an apple a
day. Rose preserves help memory and eyesight, purify the blood, and improve your mood.
Gulkand can be made at home by layering rose petals with sugar and setting in the direct sun
every day for at least three to 4 weeks, stirring every other day. Yet, it can be purchased
commercially. Roses contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, thus making it perfect for
disinfecting your home and workplace. Combined with Epsom salt in a spritzer or sprayer, the
rose concoction can be sprayed on kitchen and bathroom counter tops.

Roses, whether used for their aroma, used topically to soothe skin, used internally to help deal
with various issues, eaten in foods to enhance the aromatics, or used as home cleaners, roses
help you live longer while improving your mood, relieving stress, and tension. Roses make a
difference in our lives, while beautifying the roads, gardens, and homes. Cultivated for
centuries, look beyond the thorns, roses have medicinal properties that help us live longer and
better at the same time.

[Breathing In This Life]

The Role of Nutrition and Exercise in Longevity

By Ginger Garner MPT, ATC, PYT

No one wants to hear the phrase “you are aging prematurely.” However, that is exactly what
is happening when you suffer from chronic disease.

The phrase “anti-inflammatory diet” is a huge buzzword now in medicine, fitness, and
nutrition circles. But does it have any scientific support? Can we actually improve longevity
through our nutritional and exercise habits?

The short answer is yes. Harvard trained physician and integrative medicine pioneer, Dr.
Andrew Weil states, “It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic inflammation is the root
cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s
disease.” There is mounting evidence that foods and exercise can either cause or create
inflammation in the body. Researchers and health care professionals alike report that most all
modern diseases can be attributed to inflammation in the body.[1]

But how can we sort through the gimmick diets and mountains of supplements recommended
to us by pop culture science? First, let’s take a look at the science of inflammation in the body
to understand why inflammation, even low grade levels of inflammation, can wreck your

The Science of Food-Induced Inflammation

Saturated Fat & Trans-Fatty Acids

“All foods fit into three categories: pro-inflammatory, neutral, or anti-inflammatory,” says
dermatologist and best-selling author, Nicholas Perricone, MD. Perricone says an anti-aging
diet slows cellular aging, which depends on choosing foods that are anti-inflammatory and
rich in antioxidants.

Dr. Alcock and colleagues, in a landmark study (Alcock et al 2012) on the role of dietary fats
in inflammation, show through a comprehensive literature review of over 207 peer-reviewed
medical studies, reported that “the body preferentially up-regulates inflammation in response
to saturated fatty acids, which promotes harmful microbes.” In short, the study found that
saturated fat consumption immediately increases activity and presence of harmful and
damaging gut bacteria, which are correlated with increased inflammatory response and
expression of inflammatory genes. Saturated fats in general, induce inflammation by
“activating nuclear transcription factors “(Schwartz et al 2010). The take home message is
that a plant based diet, high in anti-oxidants, flavonoids, prebiotic, and probiotic function, can
reduce our risk and even help us immediately manage inflammatory states in the body.

But that is not all. Saturated fats are not the only lurking inflammatory culprit of chronic

Sugar & Starches

In addition to saturated fats and trans fatty acids, other foods which are inflammatory agents

 Sugar
High sugar diets lead to abnormal modulation of the gut microbiome. This essentially
contributes to insulin sensitivity, inflammation, macrophage infiltration, and other
dysregulation in blood chemical levels (Cani et al 2009)
 Starches
High starch/carbohydrate diets (potatoes) causes insulin levels to surge and trigger
an inflammatory response and accelerate the aging process,” (Perricone).

 In a Nurse’s Health Study (Mozaffarian et al 2011)that followed over 128,000

Americans over a 20 year period, the following specific foods were found to cause
the most weight gain and in this order:

1. Potatoes in all forms

2. Sugar sweetened beverages
3. Red meats
4. Processed meats (deli meats)
5. Trans fat
6. Sweets/desserts
7. Refined grains

 By contrast the same study found yogurt, whole fat milk, vegetables, whole grains,
fruits, and nuts to be the least inflammatory.
 Other anti-inflammatory foods include red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, as well
as many common vegetables like garlic, broccoli, onions, kale, and chile peppers.
Berries (which the Environmental Working Group labels as one of the “Top 12 Dirty
Dozen” produce which must be organic) are considered high in flavonoids and anti-
inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidant effects.
Learn more about what foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet, which resembles a
Mediterranean Diet, here.

Exercise as an Anti-Aging Activity

At the Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, research supports the anti-inflammatory

effects of exercise as well. “Regular exercise offers protection against all-cause mortality,
primarily by protection against atherosclerosis and insulin resistance. There is also evidence
that physical training is effective as a treatment in patients with chronic heart diseases and
type-2 diabetes” via inducing anti-inflammatory actions (Pederson 2006). The study suggests
that regular exercise induces suppression of inflammatory activity such as TNF-alpha (tumor
necrosis factor-alpha) induced insulin resistance. Brandt and Pederson (2010) also report that
regular exercise offers protection against type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, colon
cancer, breast cancer, and dementia via “induction of an anti-inflammatory effect secondary
to reduction of visceral fat mass” or by cellular and biochemical environmental changes in the

When a person exercises, scientists posit that contracting skeletal muscles facilitate healthy
neuroendocrine regulation. This means that exercise (like yoga or Tai Chi, for example) via
contracting skeletal muscles release myokines that have an anti-inflammatory biochemical, or
endocrine, effect. Further, changes in signaling pathways involved in “fat oxidation and
glucose uptake” further increase the anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise. What this means
is that exercise can have both local and global anti-inflammatory effects. For example,
therapists or physicians working in orthopaedic medicine should consider the enormous
implications that anti-inflammatory dietary counseling would have on improved patient
outcomes. Personally, it means that even after a single inflammatory meal – your body is
adversely affected on both a macro (whole body health) and micro (cellular and biochemical
health) level. The good news is that a single anti-inflammatory meal or bout of exercise can
result in immediate improvement in your systemic health.

Benefits of having healthy “anti-inflammatory” exercise and nutritional habits include:

(Gonzales 2010, Jin 2010, Larrosaa et al 2010, Mamplekou et al 2010, Muller 2010,
Pantsulaia et al 2010, Sticher et al 2010, Garcia-Lafuente et al 2009, Jurenka 2009, Tice et al
2003, McAlindon and Felson 1997):

 Decrease your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and
 Decrease your risk of cancers like breast, prostate, colon, and colorectal cancer
 Decrease your risk of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases
 Lose & maintain a healthy weight
 Improve lung/respiratory health
 Improve neurophysiological and psycho-emotional health (i.e. depression)
 Decrease allergies
 Stabilize blood sugar

Pursuit of longevity and enjoying a high quality and quantity of life depends on developing
good anti-inflammatory lifestyle habits, especially for exercise and nutrition. In effect, the old
cliché “you are what you eat,” really is true.
Ginger Garner

Ginger Garner MPT, ATC — is an educator and subject matter expert in medical
therapeutic yoga and women’s health. As a published author and sought after speaker, Ginger
pens the popular blog for mothers — Breathing In This Life (BITL –which is one of the
columns in Yang-Sheng magazine and network). Ginger is founder of Professional Yoga
Therapy (PYT), the first education program for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
practice in medical therapeutic yoga in the US. Ginger’s focus is on education and activism
for maternal and child health – through BITL, her school, PYT, through the organization she
founded for Haiti relief in 2009, Musicians 4 Missions, and her work with the Initiative to
Educate Afghan Women. Ginger has spoken and performed across the US to educate people
about medical yoga and to raise awareness and funds for improving women’s health. As a
working mother of three she has learned a thing or two about finding work/life balance
through the healing arts, which she shares through BITL, at
See Ginger’s work at


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2006, Stewart et al 2007.


Translated by Kevin W Chen, Ph.D.

Lao-tzu lived to be 160 years old. He had three treasures to support attaining longevity:
kindness, thriftiness, and modesty. His longevity maxim was: “Let nature take its
course; remain detached and lower your desire; apply qigong to nurture your spirit,
and swallow saliva to nurture your life.”

Chen Xinxianlived to be 100 years old. His maxim was “Five do nots— do not sit too long,
do not stand too long, do not look too long, do not write too long, and do not lie
down too long.” He advocated that everything must have a limit, to exercise with a
limit, and to eat with a limit. (五个不—
Zhang Qun, (Kuomintang senior officer), lived to be 102
years old. His maxim was “Get up early; sleep well; eat till you are only 70% full, run
frequently; smile often; do not worry; maintain a busy daily routine and never feel
old”. (起得早;睡得好;七分饱;常跑跑;多笑笑;莫烦恼;天天忙;永不老)

Mencius (Meng-zi) lived to be 84 years old. His maxim was: “Be industrious in using your
brain; travel around frequently and have a light and plain

Zhuang-zi died at the age of 83. His maxim was: “When the mind is broad and level, Qi is
full, and the spirit is calm; an easily-satisfied person will always be

Hua, Tuo, (a famous TCM doctor in the Han dynasty), lived to be 90 years old. He liked
physical exercise; and his maxim was: “Exercise can release one’s depression, comfort
one’s muscles and bones, move one’s blood and meridians, calm down one’s temper,
and channel one’s

Tao, Hongjing died at the age of 81. His maxim was: “Restore your compassion and will,
keep in harmony with the four seasons, and be moderate in eating and

Sun, Simiaolived to be 101 years old. His secrets were: “Keep your four limbs moving
industriously; be moderate and controlled in diet; chew carefully and eat slowly; wash
and rinse your mouth after meals; and get sufficient
sleep.”(四体勤劳;节制食欲;细嚼慢咽;饭后盥漱;睡眠充足. ).

Li, Xiuwen (Madame Li Zongren): lived to be 102 years old. Her maxim was: “Leave three
mouthfuls of food during each meal; walk one hundred steps after
meals.”(吃饭留三口;饭后百步走 ).

Zhang, Xueliang (General)lived to be 101 years old. His maxim was: “Have a broad and
level mind/heart; but build a strong will; frequently do physical exercise to strengthen
the body; maintain a regular daily routine and moderate diet; view flowers and read
books; cultivate both body and spirit, make a lot of friends, and enjoy life

Wang, Zhongyilived to be 105 years old. His maxim was: “Travel and enjoy beautiful
scenery; eat until only 70% full at meals; act like a prime minister, show kindness and
help others; feel only 70% joy even at fully happy moments; be persistent even during
difficult times; always smile and be happy to enjoy daily

Yu, You-zit died at the age of 105. His longevity 3-character classic was: “Run in the
morning, and go to sleep early; eat breakfast only until you are half-full, have a good
lunch, and a small supper; read books and newspapers with enjoyment; smile and
don’t worry; exercise with persistence; keep busy into old age to live a long, happy

Chen, Naxun lived to be 104 years old. His maxim was: “Endure everything patiently with
a tolerant mood and open mind/heart; enhanced massage helps blood circulation;
value the environment, prevent accidents; use both brain and body so you can be old

Yan, Jiyuanlived to be 105 years old. His maxim was: “Have a plain and natural, healthy
mind; use both your body and brain, and your mind/heart becomes

Lang, Jinshan lived to be 104 years old. His position was: “Do not indulge in fantasy, do
not have a bad temper, work slowly and orderly, let things take their

Chen Chun lived to be 110 years old. His maxim was “Dress in clothes so you still feel some
cold; eat meals to the point of a little hunger; eat a bowl of soup before meals, and
half a pound of fruit after meals; keep your living space neat, suitable and with fresh
air flowing throughout; frequently travel and walk fast, smile and be happy everyday;
spirit and soul will receive relief.”

Tudi Shelayi lived to be 133 years old. He thought that “To nurture the body needs
movement, while to nurtured the mind needs stillness; combining movement and
stillness is the foundation of nurturing life.”
Ma Yinchu (scholar): lived to be 100 years old. His characteristics were: “Keep your
dietlight and plain, keep your mind open and broad, persistent in exercise, specially
enjoy a cold bath and swimming.”

Lai Yaming lived to be 105 years old. His position for longevity was “Abstain from laziness,
abstain from bad habits, abstain from indulging desires, and abstain from worry and
anxiety.” (戒懒惰、戒不良嗜好、戒纵欲、戒忧愁.) .

Chen Lifu, (Kuomintang senior officer), lived to be 106 years old. His take on longevity
was the four “old”s for nurturing life and good health — old friend, old spouse, old
capital (body) and old health.”He advocated that the feet should not be too cold, and
the head should not be too hot.” (四老养生 —

Su Buqing, (a mathematician), lived to be 101 years old. His daily habit was “Have a cup of
honey water in the morning; drink a little liquor to sleep soundly; soak your feet in hot
water (almost scalding), and invigorate your body with cold water.”

Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

by Dr. Helen Hu

Chinese porridge or congee (Zhou: 粥) is a thick soup that is made from grains. There are
various ways of making and serving congee, and no special skill is required. Congee can be
sweet or salty, thick or thin, with many or few ingredients, it all depends on your own
personal taste.

Medicinal congee, is based on varieties of natural grains combined with selective vegetables,
fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs and certain herbs according to their property for healing,
promoting well being and longevity. As part of Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Therapy,
medicinal congee has been refined, developed since period in Spring and Autumn and
Warring States (770-220 BC)

Eight treasure congee is also called “The Eighth Winter Day Congee” (La Bao Zhou) and
Buddha Congee.

According to TCM principles of rather using food as tonics rather than herbs “ The Eighth
Winter Day Congee” is consumed like winter tonic food on special days of each winter (Luna
Calendar, the Eighth of December) as a Traditional Chinese Holiday. The original recipe uses
eight ingredients. The number eight is a lucky number in the Chinese culture, even though
many versions of it may have more ingredients than eight, people still call it Eight Treasure
Congee. Different versions of eight treasure congee have different ingredients for different
types of healing. Most ingredients include Chinese red date, red bean, black walnut, pine nut,
dried persimmon, sweet rice, millets, tapioca, peanuts, apricot seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin
seed, peach kernel seed and black sesame seeds. The Eight days of Winter coincide with
Buddha’s’ “becoming immortal day” so that the Buddha temple adopts the folk day’s
tradition and makes the Eight treasure congee the same day, later people call it “Buddha

A well known fact regarding longevity, “Ba Ma County ‘in Guang Xi province of China, the
majority of villagers lived up to 100 and more, all consumed congee in their two meals out of
the three per day. This gives the name of Longevity Eight treasure congee

Here are a few versions of ‘Longevity’ Eight treasure congee:

One of the most respected Shaolin monks Ji Qin, who was still active after he reached 100
years old, every morning, would climb five peak mountains in only 20-30 minutes. One of his
secrets was to consume “Longevity Eight treasure congee” daily. According to a high rank
monk Wan Zhang stated, “It can strengthen the Spleen (the earth element of the body) and
harmonize stomach, nourishing the Kidney organ (water element of the body) in order to
promote longevity.”
Shaolin Longevity Eight treasure congee ingredients

Millets: 150g
Rice: 50g
Peanut: 25g
Walnut: 15g
Pine nuts: 5g
Red bean: 10g
Hawthorns: 10g
Chinese red date: 5 pieces (without kernel)
Rock sugar

Cooking instructions: Put all nuts and beans in a ceramic pot with 500ml water to cook for
one hour, then add millets and rice and continue cooking at a low temperature till everything
becomes very soft and smooth. Then add rock sugar, red dates and hawthorn fruit at the end
and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.

Intake: Eat it warm at noon time every day. Half bowl for elderly and 1 to 1 ½ bowls for
young adults.

The congee should be consumed during spring, fall and winter seasons.

Longevity Eight Treasure Congee

Spring rice (or sushi rice): 50g

Yi yi ren: 30g
Sunflower seed: 10g
Lotus seeds: 30g (pre soak overnight)
Mung bean: 20g (peeled)
Black bean: 20g (pre soak overnight)
Chinese red date: 5 pieces
Go ji berry: 15 g
Cooking instructions: Pre soak all beans overnight then cook in water for one hour, add rice,
yi yi ren, go ji berries and dates in the pot and continue to cook at low temperature till congee
become very soft.

Intake: Eat it warm 1- 2 times per day, better to add black sesame and black walnut power in
the congee before eating. One can add sugar to the taste or with salty vegetables.

Eight treasure congee

Dang shen (Codonopsis Root): 3g

Bai zhu (Atractylodes Rhizome): 3g

Qian shi (Euiyale Seeds):3g
Fu ling (Hoelen): 3g
Lian zi (Lotus Seeds):3g
Bai bian dou (Hyacinth Bean): 15g
Yi yi ren (Coix Seeds): 10g
Shan Yao (wild Chinese yam): 10g
White rice: 150g

Cooking instruction: Put Codonopsis Root and Atractylodes Rhizome in a cheese cloth, cook
in boiling water for 40 minutes. Use the herbal juice only with more water if needed, put all
the rest of ingredients and rice in the pot, and then cooks at medium temperature until
everything become soft and smooth.

Intake: Eat it as breakfast or alone at dinner, twice a day.

This form of congee is better for people who have a lot

of dampness, fatigue, water retention and gain weight.
Eight Treasure Congee

Rice: 50g

Sweat rice; 30g

Millets: 30g
Soybean: 20g
Red bean: 20g
Mung beans: 20g
Chinese red date: 3-4 pieces
Dried lychee fruit: 10g

Cooking instructions: Soak all beans overnight then boil in water for one hour, add rice, sweet
rice, millet, dates and lychee fruit in the pot and cook at low temperature till congee become
very smooth.

Intake: It can be seasoned with sugar or salted vegetables. Eat it warm 1 – 2 times per day.

Function: this form of congee can nourish blood, improve sleep and strengthen body energy.

For more information about food therapies, please check the new book website at

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Food Therapy, and Pro Cancer Condition

by Helen Hu, OMD LAc

When we discuss how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help prevent cancer, we
might think we have to take something to kill the cancerous cells in order to prevent those
cells from growing into a tumor. I believe that by the time cancer cells begin to grow in a
body, that body already has a “pro cancer condition” that creates a cancer-friendly
environment. If the “pro cancer condition” is eliminated, the more chance that one can win the


The concept of “pro cancer condition” is very broad. It is a condition of imbalance between
our body and our living environment (such as extreme sun exposure, cold, hot, dampness, or
pollution), and an imbalance of our internal organs.

The cells in our bodies need a healthy, nourishing, and non-toxic environment. Like the
optimal soil conditions necessary for seeds to grow, our cells require the right temperature and
ph-balance to function normally. No matter how good the “seeds” are, they cannot grow well
in a bad soil. Similarly, our cells cannot function normally in a pro cancer condition, a
condition that increases the chance of someone producing cancer cells.

Another part of the pro cancer condition results from an imbalance within internal organs,
which primarily derives from an unhealthy diet, life style and stress. These imbalances can
create phlegm or stagnate the blood or Qi (energy). If there is blockage in these areas, both
congestion and deficiency will occur – as if a river was blocked; one side would result in
congestion, the other side would be void of water (deficiency). Congested water for a long
time will turn into a rancid pound, like a lump starting to grow in the body. And the same
time, the deficiency side of Blockage River has no fresh water flowing like a body has no
circulation without providing nutrients to organs. In the Pro cancer condition, organs loose
their balance and the body does not have the strong immunity necessary to clean up the
toxins, thereby creating a weak defense against cancer cells.

What are the indications that our body’s immune system has started to weaken?

TCM believes that our body’s strongest defense comes from good and free flowing qi
(energy) within and among all five important organs: heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney.
Each organ’s defensive energy will guard certain parts of the body. We need to pay attention
to our bodies, to identify the signs and symptoms that indicate our bodies’ immune systems
are weak. Here are some indications:

Easily catch colds and the development of allergies or herpes are related to the decline of lung
organ defensive energy.

1. Easily fatigued, a bland taste in the mouth, or prone to diarrhea indicates a weakness
of spleen organ.
2. Skin changes (with more small red moles especially around wrist and abdominal),
easily angered, short temper and impatience is related to liver organ imbalance
3. Sensitive to cold, feeling cold and frequent urination indicates low kidney energy.
4. Insomnia, anxiety, ulcer in mouth, and no motivation to participate activities indicates
weak heart energy

What should we do if we start to show signs of immunity weakness?

Our immunity gradually decreases with age. The first step in strengthening our immunity is to
correct our unhealthy life style that comprises our immunity.

As a first step, one’s basic life style needs to be modified:

1. Sleep: It is very important to have at least a good 7 hours of sleep per night for
people after middle age. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that night time is yin time.
The body is rebuilding during this time and restoring body energy and substance that
we consume during the day time (yang time). Long term sleep deprivation causes the
body to lose the time necessary to rejuvenate. If the immunity is compromised, it
decreases the lymphocytes numbers and liver detoxification process.
2. Unhealthy emotion: constant worry, depression, negative thinking and prone to
become upset easily by little things. All these emotions can directly or indirectly
impact the production and maturity of immune cells.
3. Sedentary life style: recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
4. Excessive drinking and smoking: both can comprise the activity of NK (nature killer)
cells. It decreases the body’s anti-viral capabilities.

Chinese Food Therapy:

Chinese food therapy is a very important part of TCM. Restoring and nourishing the body by
using food therapy is the best way to be proactive in prevention.

If one sees signs of pro cancer condition in the body, there are several basic food therapies we
can do daily

1. When one sees signs of Lung energy deficiency:

Lung qi congee
 Spring rice: 100g
 Wild Chinese Yam (Dioscorca Opposita Radix) : fresh 100g ( dry : 30g)
 Bai he (Lily bulb): fresh 100g ( dry 30 g)
 Astragalus: 20 g

Make with water; cook all ingredients until they are soft and smooth. Serve as breakfast daily.

2. Weakness of Spleen Organs

 One cucian carp fish tail (Carassius auratus) 150 g.

 Dry ginger: 10g
 Dry tangerine peel: 5g
 Pepper: 1g
 Sha ren (Cardamon): 3 g

Mix all spices and fish with small amount of salt. Cook with water. Drink the soup and eat the
fish. Once a day for 2 week as course of treatment.

3. Liver organ imbalance:

Fist step to alleviate liver imbalance is to stop smocking and drinking. Then, with TCM food
therapy, to recovery liver from damages.

a) Go Ji berry Congee

 Spring rice 100g

 Go Ji berry 30 pieces
 Sesame seed (50 g. baked to brown in pans, then crush into powder)

Cooked rice and Go Ji berry in water until soup becomes smooth; before serving add sesame
powder and vitamin B1 powder Take once a day for 7-10 days as a course of treatment.

b) Mushroom Date soup:

 Black fungus mushroom: 15 g (Soak in water until soft. Cut into small strips.)
 White fungus mushroom: 15 g (Soak in water until soft. Cut into small strips.)
 Chinese red dates: 15 pieces

Stir fry all ingredients for a short time (about one minute) then add 100 cc water and cover.
Slowly cook for 5-8 minutes to make soup, then add salt, a few drops of sesame oil and green
onion (cut into small pieces for flavor) right before serving.

4. Kidney energy compromised:

Lotus Seed and Ginger Congee

 Organic Black Rice 100g

 Astragals: 30 黄芪
 Walnuts: 20 g. 核桃
 Eucommia Bark: 10 g. 杜仲
 Dry Ginger: 10g
 Cinnamon: 5g 肉桂

. Take daily for one month as course of treatment.

Put above ingredients in a pot with water. Cook for 2-4hr over moderate heat. Best way to
cook it is to use crock pot filled with cool water and cook overnight until everything becomes
softened. Take the congee as breakfast or dinner along other kinds of food.

Serve warm as breakfast.

5. Heart and sleep problem

 Rice and Whole Wheat Porridge (Congee)

 Spring rice (or sushi rice) 100g
 Whole wheat (whole grain) 100g
 Chinese red dates: 6 pieces (without kernel) 大枣
 Stir fry sour date kernels: 10g 炒酸枣仁

Cooking instructions: Wash whole wheat and boil in water for 30 minutes. Use the wheat
juice (discharge wheat) to cook rice, dates and the sour date kernels to make congee.

Serve: Take 1-2 times per day for 5-6 days

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic, Dr. Hu has used one of her Chicken Soup recipes to
restore overall body immunity, body energy, and promote well being. It has been used by
many patients whom undergo chemotherapy with fatigue and low immunity, patients with
chronic conditions, and in recovery for illness. For people without ailments, it is best taken
during winter time to promote health and strengthen the body’s immunity and well being.

Here is the Dr. Hu’s Therapeutic Chicken Soup Receipts

 One Whole Organic Chicken

 Astragalus: 30g 黄芪
 Chinese Wild Yam: 30g
 Cordyceps capsule: 4-6 capsules 冬虫夏草胶囊
 Shitake mushroom: 6-7 pieces 花菇
 Chinese red dates: 2-4 pieces 大枣
 Vegetables: as you wish
 Ginger
 Salt

Please put Astragalus and Cordyceps inside chicken stomach before cooking.

Cooking in moderate temperature for 2 – 4 hours and drink soup.

Eat meat as you wish. You can use the broth for other kinds of soup.

5 days as course of treatment.

Dr. Helen Hu

Helen H. Hu, OMD, L.Ac Dr. Hu, originally from Beijing China, has studied Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM) since the age of 12. A Cardiologist and Practitioner of integrated
medicine for 9 years. She immigrated to the United States in 1991. In 1997 Dr. Hu passed the
“United States Licensing Medical Exam” while simultaneously obtaining her Oriental
Medical Degree (OMD). Dr. Hu is a specialist in Herbal medicine, nationally licensed in
Acupuncture and has a Philosophy of life structured around Oriental traditions. She utilizes
her expertise in these treatments along with a passion and wisdom for Longevity to treat a
variety of health conditions. You can find more information. To find more information about
her, go to

Dr. Helen Hu at Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic promotes prevention and well being and
provides consultation of Chinese food therapy and tea therapy for individual conditions. For
a consultation, please contact Dr.Hu at (619) 226-6506 or Email:

Preface: To each citizen, the 42 entries of Chinese medicine Yang-sheng and well-being
literacy is not only the TCM health knowledge that everyone should be aware of, but also the
healthy behavior pattern everyone should follow.

The literacy of well-being refers to the capability of an individual to obtain and understand the
health information, and use this information to change their lifestyle and behavior, to maintain
and promote the health and longevity.

A. The Basic Concepts and Knowledge

1. Yang-Sheng and healthcare in Chinese Medicine is the health and well-being activities
under the guidance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, through a variety of
methods so as to enhance physical fitness, prevent diseases and live longer and
2. The philosophy of TCM yang-sheng is in harmony with nature, yin-yang balance, and
varying by individual.
3. The four foundations of TCM Yang-sheng are: mood/emotions, diet, living routine,
and exercise (sports activities).
4. TCM Yang-sheng and healthcare starts with teenagers to emphasize the
comprehensive maintenance, adjustment (conditioning), and perseverance.
5. The TCM philosophy of “treating disease before it occurs” (premature sickness) cover
the full process of health and disease, including three stages: First, “prevention before
disease” to prevent from diseases; second, “prevent change once disease occurred” to
prevent the development of the disease; the third, “prevent relapse after disease
disappear” to prevent the recurrence of the disease.
6. Health and well-being through Chinese medicinal is to apply the natural conditioning
bias of medicinal to adjust the rise and fall of body’s yin-yang and Qi-blood.
Differentiation by age, physical characters, and seasons should be taken into
consideration when taking medications.
7. Medicines and foods have similar origins. Commonly used edible medicinals include:
honey, yam, lotus seeds, jujube, longan, gogiberry (medlar), walnut, Poria,
ginger, chrysanthemum, green beans, sesame seeds, garlic, pepper, hawthorn, and
so on.
8. The five main acupoints in TCM well-being are: Shan-zhong (RN17), Sanyinjiao
(SP6), Zusanli (ST36), Yong-chuan (KI1), Guan Yuan (RN4).
9. The basic methods of self-acupressure include: point pressure, press-rubbing, pinch
press, moderation, rubbed, percussion, beating.
10. Scraping (刮痧) can help circulating blood, stretching tenders, channeling meridians,
solving stagnation, and scattering evil.
11. Cupping can help with scattering cold and wet, excepting stasis, stopping pain and
swelling, getting rid of poison-heat.
12. Moxibustion can help with Qi and blood circulation, temperature, and flow of
13. Avoid the use of aluminum or iron boiling container for TCM medicinal decoction.

B. Healthy Lifestyle and Behaviors

14. Maintain peace of mind, to adapt to social environment and status, be positive and
optimistic in living and work.

15. Living a regular routine in daily life, adapt to changes in nature such as the morning
twilight and dark night, and the four seasons, and maintaining these routines.

16. The key points of four-season adapted living: may stay up late and get up early in the
spring or summer; in the autumn, should go to bed early and get up early; in the winter,
should go to bed early and get up late.

17. The healthy diet should pay attention to the balanced combination of cereals, vegetables,
fruits, poultry, and other nutritional elements, do not make any one element more or less
important that the others.

18. Eat slowly, do not eat too much. Meal time should stay focused on eating, and keep a
happy and joyful mood.

19. Breakfast needs to be of good quality, lunch should be the largest meal of the day so you
feel well-fed and nourished, and dinner should be a smaller meal.

20. Wash your hands before meals, wash your mouth after meals.

21. Women have a menstrual period, pregnancy period, lactation period and menopause;
Yang-sheng and healthcare have their own characteristics in these periods.

22. Not smoking, and drinking sparingly, can reduce incidence of related diseases.

23. The condition of the feet is important as a man ages; foot care has good efficacy in Yang
sheng and well-being.

24. Control (limit) the sexual intercourse. The desire cannot be forbidden, nor can be vertical.

25. Those with physical weakness may use a winter tonic to supplement nourishment and

26. Do not feed children too much food.

C. Common Contents of Yang-sheng and Well-being

27. Emotional well-being: The yang-sheng methods help to control and regulate emotions to
achieve the peace of mind-body, and pleasant emotions/mood.

28. Dietary regimen: The yang-sheng methods are based on individual physical constitution,
through changing the diet, and choosing the appropriate foods to gain a healthy regimen.

29. Exercise regimen: The yang-sheng m ethods are by practicing traditional Chinese
exercises to maintain health, strengthen physical quality, and prolong life. The common yang-
sheng and well-being exercise include Tai chi, Ba Duan Jin (Eight Piece of Brocade) , Wu
Qin Xi (Five Animal Qigong), Liu Zi Jue (Six Healing Sounds) and so on.

30. Seasonal well-being: According to seasonal changes, adapt appropriate well-being

practices differently in each of the four seasons.

31. Meridian well-being: The yang-sheng methods, according to the TCM meridian theory,
apply TCM meridians and acupoints. Indications to use needles, moxibustion, tui-na,
massage, exercise, etc., to work through the meridians to reconcile the yin-yang of health.

32. Physical constitution well-being: According to different physical types or characteristics

of the individual, one can develop one’s daily yang-sheng methods. The common types of
physical characters are: gentleness, yang deficiency, yin deficiency, qi deficiency, phlegm
dampness, damp heat, blood stasis, qi stagnation, and intrinsic quality, the nine common types
of constitution.
D. Simple and Commonly Used Yang-sheng Methods

33. Knocking teeth Method: when waking up in the morning, knocking the upper and lower
teeth together, first knock molars 30 times, then knock the front teeth 30 times. This can
help strengthen the teeth.

34. Adjusting Breath with Closed Mouth: frequently regulating breathing with closed
mouth, keep breathing slow, even, and gentle.

35. Pharynx Otsu Method: Every morning, with the tongue against the palate, or tongue
licking or moving the palate, such as saliva full of mouth, swallow multiple times, which
helps with digestion.

36. Rubbing face method: Every morning, rub your palms until warm, then rub your
face placing the middle finger on each side of the bottom of the nose and rubbing up to
the forehead with both hands on cheeks to the sides; this can be repeated more than 10
times, until the face feels gentle heat. This can make the face ruddy gloss, and eliminate

37. Combing hair: with ten fingers split into the hair, comb the hair with your fingers, from
front to back of the head, 50 to 100 times. This helps circulate the blood, and cleanse the

38. Eye-Moving Method: rotate the eye from left to right 10 times, and then from right
to left round 10 times, and then, close eyes for a break. Do this 4 to 5 times a day; helps
cleanse the liver and brighten the eye-sight.

39. Condensate ear method: both hands cover ears, head down and up 5 to 7 times. Makes the
head (mind) clean, and gets rid of distractions.

40. Raising Qi Method: when inhaling, raise the anal and perineum tightly with some force,
then slowly exhale and let it down; repeat 5-7 times a day, helps with qi circulation.

41. Abdominal massage method: after each meal, use the center of palm to massage the navel
and abdomen area in a clockwise direction 30 times. This can help digestion, and eliminate
42. Massage Foot Center: before going to sleep, use thumb massage the center of feet (Yong-
chuan area), clockwise 100 times. This can help strengthen the kidney and waist.

[Read original Chinese at ]

The Five Golden Points in Human Body with Anti-Aging Effects


Compiled by Kevin W Chen

The golden ratio point (a.k.a. extreme and

mean ratio, 0.61803398…) is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances
in simple geometric figures such as the pentagon, pentagram, decagon and dodecahedron.
The human body is the world’s most outstanding work of art with many such points.
Following around the body, you can find five great gold ratio points for health and longevity.
Chinese medicine experts pointed out that frequent massage of these five golden points can
slow down the aging process and energize life against aging. From the perspective of Yang-
Sheng (nurturing life), massage of the golden ratio points in human body is the most
affordable and efficient way for longevity.
1. Baihui (GV20) – from forehead to the back of the
head of .618 is Baihui point, in the center of the head.

Baihui (GV20) is located at the top of human head, the highest point in human body, therefore
each human meridian upward-flowing yang meets to form an intersection right here.

Method of Massage: sitting in a chair straight, use

one palm massage Baihui point, clockwise and counterclockwise 50 circles each, 2-3 times a
day. This can clear and smooth the meridians, enhance the yang qi in Du meridian.

Tapping method: apply hollow palm of right hand, gently tapping at the Baihui, 10 times
each; this can keep your mood relaxed and comfortable, relieve worry and stress on nerves.

2. Yongquan (KI1) — from heel to toe 0.618 is Yongquan, on the soles of the feet.
In the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic it said: “Kidneys channel out by
Yongquan, and Yongquan is the sole of feet,” meaning that kidney qi is like a source of
bobbing spring, coming from the bottom of feet, pouring irrigation throughout the whole body
and through the limbs. So, Yongquan plays an important role in human health aspects.

Daily practice to push and rub Yongquan enables elderly to be energetic, enjoy physical
enhancement, and enhance the immune system’s ability to prevent diseases.

Methods: take a natural position, supine or prone position, use your own feet as the
alternating action of rubbing each other. You can also use the the corner of bedside or other
equipment to rub yongquan. Alternatively, you may use your thumb to massage Yong-quan
at any time.

3 Guanyuan (CV4)– 0.618 from

feet to the head is Guanyuan, the point four fingers below navel. Guanyuan is the raised point
of the small intestine; intestinal Qi gathers at this point and then spreads to the skin and other
parts of the body. Therefor
e, Guanyuan is the cortex or key place for life-nurturing, energy breathing, and gathering
spirit. Chinese medicine believes Guanyuan has the function of cultivating original qi,
consolidating foundation, and replenishing the lower warmer (lower energizer).
Pressing and rubbing Guanyuan can adjust endocrine. Reduce skin spots, or acne condition.

Note: don’t use excessive force, as long as you can feel locally soreness when rubbing. Heat
this point with hot towel also has good results for dysmenorrhea caused by exposure to cold.

4. Yin-Tang (EX-HN3)– counting from the chin, located in the

0.618 of head is YINTANG, the midpoint between the two eyebrows.

YINTANG is one of the points on the Extraordinary Meridian. The TCM recognized main
function is to clear the head, brighten the eyes, and open up the nose resuscitation.

Pulling YINTANG can effectively relieve dry nose so that an increase in nasal mucus keeps
the nose moist, but also prevent epistaxis, rhinitis, the common cold, and other diseases.

Methods: apply buckling thumb and forefinger gently pulling YINTANG, plus, make gentle
rubbing movement until it feels numb or swollen, usually pulling and rubbing for 2 minutes.

5. Tanzhong (RN17)— the middle part of the

body, torso 0.618 up is the Tanzhong, right at the middle between the nipples.
Tanzhong is the gathering place of pericardium Qi; and it is also the cross points of Ren (CV),
the feet tai-yin, feet shao-yin, hand tai-yang, hand Shao-yang meridians. It can help regulate
qi, activate blood flow and channel meridians; open up chest qi, and stop coughing and

Modern medical research has also confirmed that stimulation of this point may help regulating
nerve functions, effectively treat asthma, chest tightness, palpitations, irritability, and angina.
Especially people with breast problems should rub this point frequently.

Pressing and rubbing 100 times, about 2 to 3 minutes. For things you cannot accept or if you
worry too much, rubbing this point can scatter stuffiness, help you to feel particularly
peaceful and comfortable.

When rubbing this point, please note: four fingers close together, then gently rubbing in a
circle clockwise, or from top to bottom with fingers, but do not push from the bottom up!

Practice these golden ratio point massages every day, you will see the difference in your life

Living BIGGER, Better and Longer…

November 22, 2014 Sharon Montes

[From the Dancing Doc 舞 医]

Living BIGGER, Better and Longer —

Change your story of words and sensations

By Sharon Montes, MD

“Life Force” by Susan Driver (used with permission of artist)

“There is a danger there – a very real danger to humanity. Consider, Watson, that the material,
the sensual, the worldly would all prolong their worthless lives. The spiritual would not avoid
the call to something higher. It would be the survival of the least fit. What sort of cesspool
may not our poor world become?”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Conan Doyle voiced a somewhat jaundiced view of longevity. People with a materialistic
orientation will choose to prolong their life on this planet while spiritual people will prefer to
leave the body. As a meditating physician, I hold a more integrative view. Our manifest
material world that operates on a timeline is formed by and saturated with the field of infinite
possibility. Today, as we explore ideas related to longevity, I ask you to consider:

How long do YOU really want to live?

How old do YOU want to be when your body dies?

Are YOU fully alive in this moment?

Are you living BIG – unifying the power of the infinite with this manifest moment?

In today’s written conversation we will explore how the language we speak affects our brain
and health behaviors that contribute to longevity; how using our senses in a more integrated
way could help us access the infinite in this moment; and how the integration of science and
classical wisdom can promote not only longevity for humans but also for other inhabitants of
this planet.

Over 20 years ago a Vedic astrologer told me that I would live to be 82 years old and that my
marriage was hard on my physical body. From the perspective of a 30 year old, neither of
those stories really concerned me, or changed my behavior. Through the years my perspective
has changed, and currently purposefully cultivating vitality and physical health are more
important to influence the decisions I make. The above introduction questions touch on
making decisions that will affect the quantity and quality of your future and being fully
present in the moment. While training to facilitate lifestyle medicine groups, we watched a
powerful one minute video that does a REALLY effective job of contrasting a life of vitality
vs illness in an elder man. (Please pause, click and let me know what you think. Make Health
Last. What will your last 10 years look like?

While my intention is to make decisions today that will design a future filled with vitality
AND support others in making similar decisions, frequently the forces that determine our
choices are subconscious. I have recently been reading about the power of words to influence
our brain and behavior in subtle ways. Dr Jacob Schor has written an informative and
entertaining newsletter describing how: using swear words triggers different brain activity
than polite vocabulary, swearing increases our tolerance to pain, Shakespeare’s creative use of
grammar activates greater parts of your brain, and our moral compass may shift depending on
whether we are making decisions using our first language or second language. [i]

In addition, Dr Keith Chen’s research shows the effects of our native language on behavior.
Languages differ in ways used to describe current and future events. Some languages create a
strong distinction when describing an event that will happen in the present or the future, and
other languages use the same word to describe something that will occur in both present and
future time. Dr Chen proposed that grammatically separating the future and present would
lead speakers to disassociate the present from future in other ways. In contrast, people
speaking languages that grammatically equate present and future may be more likely to act in
ways that link present and future. Dr Chen writes, “Empirically, I find that speakers of such
languages: save more, retire with more wealth, smoke less, practice safer sex, and are less

Using different language activates different parts of the brain, orients us in time, and
influences physical and fiscal health promoting behaviors. Language filters and influences our
behavior, frequently without our even being aware of it. Our sensations also influence our
actions, and connection with material and immaterial reality.

This snake stayed in the middle of the trail, smelling the air with her tongue until I took her
picture and thanked her for her presence.

As children we were taught about the five sense organs and where and how they processed
information – seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and touching. As I grew and learned more, I
added a sixth sense – proprioception (i.e. the ability to sense movement and know where my
body was in space.) After completing my Family Medicine residency, I enjoyed the process of
regaining and rebuilding another sense – intuition. (Somewhere in the journey through
medical school and residency, I lost it. In the process of reclaiming intuition, I had to
redevelop an awareness of body sensations. (One technique for surviving physician training
included practicing mind/body dissociation. Hmm.. maybe that is why the Vedic astrologer’s
predictions had so little impact.)

There are many ways to develop our capacity to more consistently connect with and integrate
higher consciousness. I have found a couple to be especially useful.

1. Meditation – developing the ability to observe and discern between the different
qualities of voice and thoughts that float through the mind. My intuitive voice
doesn’t chatter, nag, or shout. (Except in the case of an emergency, then it blares like
a red-alert system.)
o How do you practice cultivating your space of inner quiet?
o Where does this quiet space reside in your body?
o What are the sensations you have when you are aligned, centered and
2. Practice using all of our senses in a non-localized way. While some people already are
synesthetic and are born with their sensory input integrated, I have had to work at it.
(A fun website to explore = I find visualization
challenging, and years ago learned to add sound and movement when doing
visualization exercises.

My teacher taught me to do and teach multi-sensory integrated meditations in a specific order.

This leads to organization of brain and meridians in a specific pattern, which in turn facilitates
connection with source, cosmos, Tao. The order she taught me is:

o vision –connection front and back

o smell – direct connection between outside world and the middle of our brain
o taste – alignment of center axis, top to bottom
o hearing – connection between right and left
o touch – our skin and its interface with the world containing one level of our

This way of expanding our senses expands our consciousness and connection with the

Moving from classical wisdom to science, did you know we have “smell” receptors scattered
throughout our body, and that stimulation of smell receptors in our skin may help our wounds
heal faster? To quote from Science Daily: “The function of those (olfactory) receptors has
also been shown to exist in, for example, spermatozoa, the prostate, the intestine and the
kidneys. The team … has now discovered them in … cells that form the outermost layer of
the skin …activated by a synthetic sandalwood scent, … That pathway ensures an increased
proliferation and a quicker migration of skin cells — processes which typically facilitate
wound healing.”

Hurrah! Yet again modern science is catching up with classical wisdom.

Continuing this theme, did you notice that Google industries has given birth to Calico Labs?
To quote from their website:

We’re tackling aging,

one of life’s greatest mysteries.

“Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced

technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use
that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives.”

Something about the creation of this company and their mission plucks my silly string. Aging
is not a mystery it is a natural process. The bees and the trees do it. Maybe it’s the absence of
mentioning classical wisdom philosophy or practices. Does anyone have friends working
inside Google or Calico? Could you ask them how they will to integrate the philosophy and
practices of classical wisdom that already exist to enable people to lead longer and healthier
For the last few weeks, white pelicans have been visiting a neighborhood lake. The grace of
these birds in air and water is spectacular. One morning, as I was sitting by the lake thinking
about this column, I had the pleasure of watching three pelicans groom themselves. The
fullness of that time with the pelicans – the vision of pelicans and the reflections of trees in
the water; the smell of earth and moist crisp early autumn air; the taste of the season leaving
late summer; the sound of grass rustling, a rare fish jumping on the surface of the lake and the
sensation on my skin of a light breeze and the early morning sun. All my senses engaged in
the moment, being still and filled with the forces of life, movement, and light.

Honoring the Native American tradition that emphasizes that each of the earth’s
manifestations carries a facet of divine wisdom, I explored the internet for others’
interpretation of the magic and gifts of the pelican. One author wrote: “Pelican speaks of the
group dynamic, shared responsibilities, and making the most of what we have been given.”

One of the messages from the natural world is

that the human perspective on longevity is only one point of view. As I make decisions to
promote the longevity of self, family, clients, and other earth inhabitants, the task of
integrating spirit and body is one of my challenges. Longevity is defined as a duration or life
or service. As I am designing a long life of long service it will include the joys of embodying
the infinite moment by moment. What is your connection with the infinite that is manifest in
the material now? What stories are you creating with words and sensations? Are you listening
with all your senses to the stories the natural world is sharing with you?

“Are you creating a story BIG enough for you and others to live in?”

Personal conversation with Dianne Connelly

Yours in JOY-FULL gratitude

The dancing doc


i The Power of Words: Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO. June 29, 2014.

ii Chen, Keith M. “The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings
Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets.” Status: Published, American Economic
Review 2013, 103(2): 690-731

Editor’s choice, Science Magazine, Vol 339(4). Permanent address:
Sharon Montes, M.D. – practiced and taught family medicine in medical
schools for 17 years. Dr. Montes is committed to integrating science and world wisdom in
her professional and personal life. Dr. Montes served for 5 years as the Medical Director for
the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine and has practiced meditation for
34 years. She is an active and enthusiastic member of the tribe committed to integrating
ancient wisdom and modern technology with the goal of creating health care and educational
systems that serve with greater joy and efficiency.

Nutrition & Dietary Therapy In Health and Healing

Compiled by Kevin W Chen, Ph.D.

Nutrition as Medical Therapy. Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2014 Jun;26(2):277-287.
By Yogaratnam D, Miller MA, Ross B, DiNapoli M.

Recent data support the use of nutritional agents for use as targeted medical therapy. This
article reviews some of the pharmacologic roles that parenteral nutritional ingredients
(selenium, lipid emulsion, insulin, and levocarnitine) can play in the setting of critical illness.
 Intravenous selenium may be a useful therapy for treating severe sepsis; a deadly
syndrome for which limited treatment options exist.
 Lipid emulsion therapy has emerged as a viable treatment modality for various toxic
drug exposures, including local anesthetic toxicity.
 High-dose insulin therapy has been used successfully to improve cardiac function in
patients with acute calcium channel blocker overdose.
 L-Carnitine, which is required for metabolic energy production, has been found to be
useful in treating encephalopathy associated with valproic acid toxicity

The therapeutic potential of medicinal foods. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2014;2014:354264. By

Ramalingum N, Mahomoodally MF.

Pharmaceutical and nutritional sciences have recently witnessed a bloom in the scientific
literature geared towards the use of food plants for their diversified health benefits and
potential clinical applications. Health professionals now recognize that a synergism of drug
therapy and nutrition might confer optimum outcomes in the fight against diseases. The
prophylactic benefits of food plants are being investigated for potential use as novel medicinal
remedies due to the presence of pharmacologically active compounds. Although the
availability of scientific data is rapidly growing, there is still a paucity of updated compilation
of data and concerns about the rationale of these health-foods still persist in the literature.
This paper attempts to congregate the nutritional value, phytochemical composition,
traditional uses, in vitro and in vivo studies of 10 common medicinal food plants used against
chronic noncommunicable and infectious diseases. Food plants included were based on the
criteria that they are consumed as a common food in a typical diet as either fruit or vegetable
for their nutritive value but have also other parts which are in common use in folk medicine.
The potential challenges of incorporating these medicinal foods in the diet which offers
prospective opportunities for future drug development are also discussed.

Evidence-based diabetes nutrition therapy recommendations are effective: the key is

individualization. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2014 Feb 24;7:65-72. By Franz MJ, Boucher
JL, Evert AB.

Current nutrition therapy recommendations for the prevention and treatment of diabetes are
based on a systematic review of evidence and answer important nutrition care questions. First,
is diabetes nutrition therapy effective? Clinical trials as well as systematic and Cochrane
reviews report a ~1%-2% lowering of hemoglobin A1c values as well as other beneficial
outcomes from nutrition therapy interventions, depending on the type and duration of diabetes
and level of glycemic control. Clinical trials also provide evidence for the effectiveness of
nutrition therapy in the prevention of diabetes. Second, are weight loss interventions
important and when are they beneficial? Modest weight loss is important for the prevention of
type 2 diabetes and early in the disease process. However, as diabetes progresses, weight loss
may or may not result in beneficial glycemic and cardiovascular outcomes. Third, are there
ideal percentages of macronutrients and eating patterns that apply to all persons with
diabetes? There is no ideal percentage of macronutrients and a variety of eating patterns has
been shown to be effective for persons with diabetes. Treatment goals, personal preferences
(eg, tradition, culture, religion, health beliefs, economics), and the individual’s ability and
willingness to make lifestyle changes must all be considered by clinicians and/or educators
when counseling and educating individuals with diabetes. A healthy eating pattern
emphasizing nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes, regular physical activity, and
support are priorities for all individuals with diabetes. Reduced energy intake for persons with
prediabetes or type 2 diabetes as well as matching insulin to planned carbohydrate intake are
intervention to be considered. Fourth, is the question of how to implement nutrition therapy
interventions in clinical practice. This requires nutrition care strategies.

Enteral fish oil in critical illness:

perspectives and systematic review. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014 Mar;17(2):116-
23. BY Glenn JO, Wischmeyer PE.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To summarize recent research addressing the role of enteral fish oil
supplementation in critical illness.

RECENT FINDINGS: A number of new multicenter trials examining both the use of fish oil
given as a supplement to enteral nutrition support and given as a separate bolus, independent
of nutrition delivery, have recently been reported.

SUMMARY: Mechanistic data suggest that administration of fish oil may help attenuate the
systemic inflammatory response and allow for appropriate resolution of inflammation in
critically ill patients. Recent data indicate that enteral fish oil given as a continuous infusion
as part of complete nutrition improves outcome in critically ill patients, especially those with
acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome. In contrast, the bolus administration of
fish oil cannot be recommended as clinically beneficial in acute lung injury/acute respiratory
distress syndrome patients. Recent trials indicate that pharmacologically administered
nutrients should be studied in the same manner as other new drugs, with appropriate attention
to early dosing trials, proper pre-enrollment patient selection, and understanding of the role of
concomitant protein/calorie nutrition. More research continues to be needed to optimize the
proper patient, dose, and timing of administration for enteral fish oil therapy in the ICU.

Vitamin E-gene interactions in aging and inflammatory age-related diseases:

implications for treatment. A systematic review. Ageing Res Rev. 2014 Mar;14:81-101.
By Mocchegiani E, Costarelli L, Giacconi R, et al.

Aging is a complex biological phenomenon in which the deficiency of the nutritional state
combined with the presence of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to the
development of many age-related diseases. Under this profile, the free radicals produced by
the oxidative stress lead to a damage of DNA, lipids and proteins with subsequent altered
cellular homeostasis and integrity. In young-adult age, the cell has a complex efficient system
to maintain a proper balance between the levels of free radicals and antioxidants ensuring the
integrity of cellular components. In contrast, in old age this balance is poorly efficient
compromising cellular homeostasis. Supplementation with Vitamin E can restore the balance
and protect against the deteriorating effects of oxidative stress, progression of degenerative
diseases, and aging. Experiments in cell cultures and in animals have clearly shown that
Vitamin E has a pivotal role as antioxidant agent against the lipid peroxidation on cell
membranes preserving the tissue cells from the oxidative damage. Such a role has been well
documented in immune, endothelial, and brain cells from old animals describing how the
Vitamin E works both at cytoplasmatic and nuclear levels with an influence on many genes
related to the inflammatory/immune response. All these findings have supported a lot of
clinical trials in old humans and in inflammatory age-related diseases with however
contradictory and inconsistent results and even indicating a dangerous role of Vitamin E able
to affect mortality. Various factors can contribute to all the discrepancies. Among them, the
doses and the various isoforms of Vitamin E family (α,β,γ,δ tocopherols and the
corresponding tocotrienols) used in different trials. However, the more plausible gap is the
poor consideration of the Vitamin E-gene interactions that may open new roadmaps for a
correct and personalized Vitamin E supplementation in aging and age-related diseases with
satisfactory results in order to reach healthy aging and longevity. In this review, this peculiar
nutrigenomic and/or nutrigenetic aspect is reported and discussed at the light of specific
polymorphisms affecting the Vitamin E bioactivity.
Therapeutics role of olive fruits/oil in the
prevention of diseases via modulation of anti-oxidant, anti-tumour and genetic activity.
Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014 Apr 15;7(4):799-808. By Rahmani AH, Albutti AS, Aly SM.

Abstract: The current mode of treatment for various diseases is based on synthetic drugs are
effective but they show adverse effect and also alter the genetic and metabolic activity.
Moreover, some drugs prepared from plants and their constituents show potentiality with
more efficacy than synthetic agents used in clinical therapy. Earlier report has shown that
regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is strongly related with reduced risk of
developing various diseases. Several epidemiological studies has shown that, the incidence
heart disease and cancers is lowest in the Mediterranean basin as compared to the part of the
world because of their diet rich in olives and olive products. Olives are commonly consumed
in Mediterranean and Arabian Peninsula and also have been documented in Holy Quran and
modern scientific literatures. Earlier studies have shown that, the constituents from olive such
as oleuropein, squalene and hydroxytyrosol modulate the genes functions and other activities.
In this review, the medicinal value of olives and their constituents are summarized in terms of
therapeutic approach in the diseases management through regulation of various activities.

Functional foods-based diet as a novel dietary approach for management of type 2

diabetes and its complications: A review. World J Diabetes. 2014 Jun 15;5(3):267-81 By
Mirmiran P, Bahadoran Z, Azizi F.

Abstract: Type 2 diabetes is a complicated metabolic disorder with both short- and long-term
undesirable complications. In recent years, there has been growing evidence that functional
foods and their bioactive compounds, due to their biological properties, may be used as
complementary treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus. In this review, we have highlighted
various functional foods as missing part of medical nutrition therapy in diabetic patients.
Several in vitro, animal models and some human studies, have demonstrated that functional
foods and nutraceuticals may improve postprandial hyperglycemia and adipose tissue
metabolism modulate carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Functional foods may also improve
dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, and attenuate oxidative stress and inflammatory processes
and subsequently could prevent the development of long-term diabetes complications
including cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy. In conclusion
available data indicate that a functional foods-based diet may be a novel and comprehensive
dietary approach for management of type 2 diabetes.

Diet and diabetes: lines and dots. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4 Suppl):567S-570S. By Katz DL.

Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is epidemic in the United States among adults and
children alike, and increasingly prevalent around the world. On its current trajectory, the
increasing incidence of diabetes has the potential to ravage both public health and economies.
There has, however, been evidence for decades that lifestyle has enormous potential to
prevent chronic disease, diabetes included. Studies suggest that the combination of tobacco
avoidance, routine physical activity, optimal dietary pattern, and weight control could
eliminate as much as 80% of all chronic disease, and 90% of cases of diabetes specifically.
None of these factors is necessarily easily achieved, but most are simple. Diet, on the other
hand, is complex, and arguments abound for competing diets and related health benefits.
From an expansive review of relevant literature, the case emerges that the overall theme of
optimal eating for human beings is very well established, whereas the case for any given
variation on that theme is substantially less so. Once the theme of healthful eating is
acknowledged, the challenge shifts to getting there from here. Although much effort focuses
on the wholesale conversion of dietary patterns, the introduction or removal of highly
nutritious foods can have direct health effects, and potentially reverberate through the diet as
well, shifting the quality of the diet and related health effects. Studies demonstrating favorable
effects of daily walnut ingestion in diabetes and insulin resistance are profiled as an
illustration, and an ongoing study examining the implications of daily walnut ingestion on diet
quality and various biometric variables is described. The line between dietary pattern and the
epidemiology of diabetes is indelibly established; we must work to connect the dots between
here and there.
Depression and diet. (Article in Finnish) Duodecim. 2014;130(9):902-9. By Seppälä J,
Kauppinen A, Kautiainen H. et al.

Abstract: Especially low vitamin B12 or folate and low intake of omega-3-fatty acids, but
also low vitamin D may associate with increased risk of depression. B12 and folate may also
be useful in the treatment of depression. The importance of individual fatty acids is unclear.
The causal relationship between depression and diet, the efficacy of vitamins or dietary
supplements in the treatment of depression, or the impact of diet compared with other
treatment options need to be scrutinized. An overall healthy diet rich in vitamin B12, D or
folate and fish oils may have positive effect also on depression.

Increased dietary protein as a dietary strategy to prevent and/or treat obesity. Mo Med.
2014 Jan-Feb;111(1):54-8. By Leidy HJ.

Obesity in America continues to be a major public health concern. Emerging scientific

evidence suggests that a diet rich in high-quality protein is a beneficial dietary strategy to
prevent and/or treat obesity. This paper provides a brief synopsis of the latest research
regarding the effects of higher protein diets to improve body weight management and energy
intake regulation. Specific focus on the effects of increased dietary protein on appetite control,
satiety, and food cravings are also explored.

photo courtesy of TCM World Foundation

Food pattern, lifestyle and diabetes mellitus. Int J High Risk Behav Addict. 2014 Mar
10;3(1):e8725. By Rahati S, Shahraki M, Arjomand G, Shahraki T.

BACKGROUND: Prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide. Recent data

is reprehensive of increasing diabetes prevalence from 285 millions in 2010 (6.4%) to 439
millions in 2030 in adults aged 20 to 79 in different countries. Lifestyle and particularly
dietary habits play an important role in the development of diabetes. Additionally, specific
individual food groups and diet components such as monounsaturated fatty acids, fruits,
vegetables, whole grain cereals, dietary fiber, fish, magnesium and nuts may protect against
the development of diabetes, possibly through the amelioration of insulin sensitivity and its
anti-inflammatory actions, while consumption of red and processed meats and saturated fat
may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

OBJECTIVES: In this section, we studied dietary and other factors related to the effect of
lifestyle in type 2 diabetes. These factors may affect the incidence of type 2 diabetes which
could be corrected by lifestyle modifications.

RESULTS: Unfortunately, dietary habits in the developed and developing countries are
changing towards an unhealthier direction. Consequently, emphasis should be given on
encouraging at population and individual levels for adopting a healthier lifestyle, including
dietary habits, to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Here we reviewed
epidemiologic and clinical trial evidence regarding nutrients, foods and dietary patterns to
diabetes risk and involved possible mechanisms.

CONCLUSIONS: Type 2 diabetes is increasingly growing in young population of developing

countries, which causes a large burden on individuals and the society.

A review of the fundamentals of diet. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan;2(1):58-63. By Gaby

Dietary recommendations should be individualized for each patient, but certain basic
principles apply to most people. A healthful diet should include a wide variety of whole,
unprocessed foods that are free of additives and, if possible, grown without the use of
pesticides, herbicides, and other potentially toxic agricultural chemicals. For people who do
not have specific food intolerances, such a diet generally includes liberal amounts of fresh
fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. For most people, animal foods
such as eggs, fish, chicken, beef, and dairy products can be healthfully consumed in
moderation. It is not necessary to consume animal foods to maintain good health. In fact,
compared with omnivores, vegetarians have a lower risk of developing a number of chronic
diseases. However, vegetarians must carefully plan their diet so as not to develop nutritional

Old Man of the South Pole

December 24, 2013 GuestWriter

[Tale from the Dao]

Old Man of the South Pole

by Roy Hanney
Shòu Xīng 寿星, is the Star of Longevity. The earliest known record of Shòu Xīng as a deity
is the Shǐ jí 史籍 (historical records, 149–90 BC). We know this star as Canopus, the largest
of the stars in the constellation Carina, and second brightest in the heavens. In Chinese
mythology, the star is known as the Old Man of the South Pole (Nánjí lǎorén, 南极老人) and
is seen in the southern sky from the Autumn Equinox through to early spring. When observed,
it usually has a reddish colour, a symbol of happiness and longevity in China. Canopus is also
known in China and its neighboring countries of Korea, Japan and Vietnam as the Star of Old

There are many stories that are told of the association of longevity with the Old Man of the
South Pole but perhaps the most insightful is the tale of two old men playing chess under a
mulberry tree who are visited by a youth who is destined to die at the age of 19. He bears
presents of wine and deer meat which he gives to the old men and in return one of them, after
consulting the book which records the youth’s fate, alters the date by transposing the two
characters. The man who sat to the north of the chess board is Běi Dǒu 北斗, or the northern
dipper, and it is he who records the date of death. The one in the south is Nán Dǒu 南斗, or
southern dipper. It is he who records the date of birth (Bodde 1941).

In this tale, we can see that Nán Dǒu not only records the date of births but has the capability
to prolong life. Nán Dǒu corresponds to the spirit of South Pole and is worshipped for
blessings of longevity. Over time, in Chinese mythology, characterisation becomes conflated
with the idea of the Old Man of the South Pole or Shòu Xīng. This popular mythological
being is also rendered into being by painters during the Tang and Song Dynasties (618–1279
AD). The oldest existing example of Shòu Xīng is Ming Dynasty (1572 AD) colour woodcut.
Shòu Xīng is usually depicted as an old man of short stature with a white beard and
moustache. He always had a high forehead with three wrinkles above his eyebrows. There is
often a hand-scroll tucked into his breast which probably signifies the Book of Life. Often
Shòu Xīng is depicted with a deer which, in Daoist iconography, is an animal capable of
bestowing longevity. In other images, he is depicted with a crane, another Daoist symbol of
longevity. On occasion both are included in the image.

Later in Chinese history, Shòu Xīng becomes associated with a triad of gods, Fú Lù Shòu
福禄寿. The gods of happiness and good fortune (福 Fú), prosperity (禄Lù) and longevity
(寿 Shòu). The phrase, Fú Lù Shòu is commonly used in Chinese culture to denote the three
attributes of a good life. In fact, the iconography of the Ming Dynasty images of Shòu Xīng,
that of the deer and the crane, reflects the etymology of Fú Lù Shòu suggesting that the triad
of gods merely represents the three aspects of Shòu Xīng. So, we can think of longevity as
coming about through a combination of good fortune, which in Chinese culture would have
been bestowed as a gift from the gods; prosperity, or the ability to provide food clothes and
shelter of a sufficient quality; along with the wisdom that comes with age.

The practice of nourishing and prolonging life (yǎng shēng 養生, health) has always been a
central concern for Daoists. Writings on the subject go back to before 400 BC. When Daoism
emerged as a recognisable religion in the late Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), the practice of
longevity techniques, fused with traditional Chinese medicine, was integrated into almost
every school or current. The texts of the time describe the guiding of Qi 氣 to nourish life
through breathing exercises, gymnastics, massage, diet and supplements. They also include
advice on the ways in which a person should conduct their life through harmony with nature,
balance, and avoidance of excess.
To do the ‘bear-hang’ and ‘bird-stretch’, to ‘inhale, blow out the old and draw in the new’ are
described as the practices of ‘nurturers’ of the body in the Zhuāngzi 庄子, written in the 4thC
BC. The enhancement of the vital forces through harmonisation techniques such as these was
not only seen as a means of preventing illness, but, also formed the foundation of Daoist inner
cultivation, the first step on the road to the quest for immortality. In the Zhuāngzi the writer,
ostensibly the a Chinese philosopher, Zhuāng zhōu 莊周, sees human beings as being part of
nature and encourages us to return to nature as a way of life. Indeed, many of the forms of
movement associated with longevity techniques mimic the natural motions of animals
observed in nature. The famous Dǎo yǐn tú 導引圖 chart, one of a number of scrolls that were
excavated in 1973 in Changsha, Hunan Province. Show 44 humans in various poses and
postures. Under each pose was a caption with the name of an animal, or the name of a disease
that the posture might help prevent or cure. Dated from around 168 BC, the scroll shows that
we only have to look to nature to find our way towards life-nourishing longevity techniques.

Descriptions of these and other forms of life-nourishing practices; exercise routines, massage
techniques and other health preserving methods, are repeatedly found in a range of texts
during the early the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Around this time there appears the
Fāngshì 方士 or ‘magic recipe gentlemen‘ or ‘master,‘ an expert who could utilise these
techniques to alleviate pain, prevent or ameliorate diseases, increase vitality, improve well-
being, and contribute to longevity. These experts, or healers further refined the life-nourishing
practices of the Daoists into slow, restful intentional body movements combined with
breathing exercises, stretching or more gymnastic movements, twisting, bending, or squatting.
These were coupled with visualisation techniques that encouraged the practitioner to relax or
focus the breath.
In the Bàopǔzǐ 抱朴子 written around 320 AD by Ge Hong, the writer challenges the reader
to ’embrace simplicity’ and to seek our ‘original nature.’ He also distinguishes between the
different practices for longevity and immortality. While his personal interest is more in the
realm of the magical transformations of alchemy and inner cultivation, there is much that we
can take from his writing and apply to our everyday lives. For example, the avoidance of
excess, the seeking of a simpler life that is closer to nature, a focus on diet and exercise. In a
later text, the commentator Táo Hóngjǐng 陶弘景 (456–536 AD) tells us that ‘through
breathing exercises and gymnastics, by taking herbs and plant medicines, you may extend
your years‘ (Fong 1983). He also states clearly that before the quest for immortality can be
commenced, a person must heal themselves through longevity practices. So, the idea of
slowly refining yourself, step by step, through life-nourishing, self-healing, longevity
techniques sets the foundation for more spiritual practices.

Attention to diet is also given an important place in Daoism as can be seen in the Quegu shiqi
卻穀食氣 (Eliminating of Grains and Eating Qi). Unearthed in the same find as the Dǎo yǐn
tú, the author recommends eliminating grains from the diet making a distinction between
‘those who eat grain eat that is square; those who eat qi eat that is round. Round is heaven;
square is earth’ (Engelhardt 2004). The text suggest that the ‘five grains’ should be eliminated
from the diet and instead we should draw sustenance from the circulation of Qi around the
body. Many people in modern society find themselves stricken by bacterial, fungal, and
parasitic infections all related to grain based diets. While the Aggregate Nutrient Density
Index (ANDI) for grains is extremely low, almost to the point where you could say they are of
little benefit to our diet. So perhaps there is some modern sense to this ancient wisdom and we
should focus on our diet as a way of cultivating longevity.

There is however an important distinction to be made here between the idea of longevity
(长寿, cháng shòu) and that of immortality (成仙, chéng xian). The first term describes the
way in which natural life expectancy can extended and early death avoided. The second
involves the transformation of the body through transcendental practices or magical means.
While the first involves simple changes to our lifestyle of the kind that most people can
achieve, the latter involves long term and dedicated commitment to a set of cultivation
practices that most people would not find difficult. Typically, such practices require a
renunciation of the world and the removal of the body to a special place, a temple, mountain,
or cave.

For most practitioners, the aim of our life-nourishing activities, which we now commonly
group under the heading of Qigong, is much simpler: to heal ourselves and extend our life
expectancy, to be healthy and fulfilled, to find happiness and prosperity. Daoism teaches us
that to achieve these simple goals, we can try to live in harmony with nature, find ways to
simplify our diet, and use the forms of exercises that have been handed down to us to keep
ourselves supple and fit. And if we do that, our bodies and nature will do the rest.

So next time there is a clear winter’s night sky, look to the south and light a candle or stick of
incense to Shòu Xīng and hope that he brings you happiness, prosperity and longevity.

Arthur, R., 2013. Early Daoist Dietary Practices: Examining Ways to Health and Longevity.
Lexington Books, New York.

Engelhardt, U., 2004. Longevity Techniques and Chinese Medicine. In: Kohn, L. (ed). The
Daoism Handbook. Brill, Leiden.

Bodde, D., 1941. Some Chinese Tales of the Supernatural: Kan Pao and his Sou-shen chi. In:
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 6, pp.338-339.

Fong, M.H., 1983. The Iconography of the Popular Gods of Happiness, Emolument, and
Longevity (Fu Lu Shou). In: Artibus Asiae, Vol. 44, No. 2/3, pp. 159-199 (41 pages).

Roy Hanney

Roy Hanney – is a university lecturer living and working in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province,
China. He practices taiji, qigong and yoga with a particular passion for Chen Style Taijiquan.
In his spare time he makes films, authors websites and makes video art. He blogs about his
encounters with qigong and daoist healing arts at his website:

Winter: A Time To Reflect

By Ellasara Kling

“The wise nourish life by flowing with the four seasons” Nei Jing

It seems that our already busy lives become even more filled with activities during the Winter
months. Ironically, Winter is the Universal time for going deeply inward and conserving our
resources. Nature shows us her pattern. Most of the trees/shrubs have shed their adornments
and stand open awaiting a new surge of energy from within so they can sprout again in
Spring. The Autumn harvest has given us its glorious bounty and now the most common
foods of winter are root vegetables, winter squashes and humble cabbages. Thus, the Universe
teaches us simplicity, elegance, frugality, equanimity, restraint.
This time of year
is ruled by the Kidney system, a storehouse of energy to be used in times of transformation
and/or stress. In nurturing our lives we can use this season to nourish our Kidney qi and
thereby increase our vitality. The innate energy stored in our Kidneys is our jing, which can
be understood as the energy of our constitution. According to TCM principles, our lives last
as long as our jing lasts. Each season teaches us how to take care of ourselves and how to be
healthy throughout our life.

True health is found in internal balance and harmony. We find it in the ongoing interplay of
“forces” within ourselves as we walk through our lives. It is clearly up to us to nourish
ourselves and strive for this balance/harmony. The Universal shows us clearly what is
required. Darkness comes early: go to sleep sooner – get more rest. Cold and damp are
prevalent: dress warmly, cover the head and feet, eat warming foods, conserve energy
physically, mentally and emotionally. Allow time every day for reflection and/or relaxation
without an activity. Use this quietude to learn more about yourself as well as family and
friends. Like water, the element of the season, let yourself be soft like water. Release the
tension. Get a massage, tuina, acupuncture or other energy healing treatment. It seems so
simple and uncomplicated. It is when we get out of our own way. My longevity recipe for
everyone is: follow the Universal, follow the seasons, follow your heart/higher intuition,
nurture yourself as if you were the most precious person because you are.

Self-massage for Winter:

These two simple techniques are well-known and excellent for supporting your health
especially during the cold days of Winter.

1. Teeth Tapping: Lightly tap your teeth together 50 times in the morning (and any other
time as well). The teeth are connected to the Kidney and by doing this you are
stimulating you Kidney qi function. If you do this with a smiling mouth at the same
time, you will find it to bring a surprise.
2. Kidney Rub: Preferably while sitting, place your hands on your back at the bottom of
your rib cage, letting them fall naturally covering your back to your natural waist.
(Your thumb will be pointing towards the front of your body and your other fingers
will be pointing towards your spine.) This should cover the area where your Kidneys
are located. Firmly, but gently with vigor, rub the area up and down at least 100
times. Feel the warmth. Smile.

Some Foods That Are Particularly Good For The Winter Season:

Beets, Black Beans, Black Mushrooms,

Blackberry, Black lentils, Black sesame seeds and oil, Black soybeans/tofu, Bone marrow,
Cabbages, Cardamom, Celery, Chard, Chestnuts, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Ginger, Job’s tears,
Kale, Kidney beans, Kohlrabi, Longan, Lotus seed, Miso, Mulberry, Mutton, Ocean Perch,
Parsley, Pine nuts, Prunes, Raspberry, Rutabaga, Seaweed, Shrimp/Prawns, Soy Sauce, String
beans, Turnips, Walnuts, Wood ear mushrooms. Generally, warming foods and spices and
hearty soups and stews are good for Winter.


Urad Dal (split black lentils)

(Easily Available in Asian and Indian Markets)


1 cup Urad Dal

2 TB oil
½ tsp Salt and 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion – diced
4 large cloves garlic – diced
2 TB shredded fresh ginger
2 TB crushed red pepper
1-1/2 C water
2 TB Turmeric
1 large Tomato – cut into chunks
¼ cup cilantro

Carefully hand rinse the Urad Dal until the water runs clear. Strain out excess water. Then
place in a bowl, cover with fresh clean cold water, cover and let sit overnight. When rinsing,
be certain to check for small stones, stems, etc.

Rinse the Dal again, strain and set aside in a bowl.

Heat a wok or skillet and add the oil, salt and black pepper. Heat until the oil shimmers.

Add Onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until the onion begins to become translucent.

Add the red pepper and Dal and stir everything lightly together.

Add the water. Stir and cover and simmer on low or medium heat for about 30 minutes until
the liquid is absorbed and the Dal is tender. (The time and liquid may vary depending on your
pan and heat, so please check so as to neither burn the lentils nor make them mushy)

Add the Turmeric, tomato, and cilantro and stir together.

Cover. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. Serve with rice.

This dish is particularly strengthening for the Kidney, Lung, and Stomach functions. Turmeric
is especially good for breast health.

Roasted Garlic Miso Cauliflower with Caramelized Black Plums


4-6 cups raw Cauliflower cut into “natural” florets

¼- ½ cup Oil
A large head Garlic
1-1/2” Ginger – finely minced
3 TB light Miso
3 TB dry sherry (optional)
1 cup water/plum juice/pear juice
4 black plums cut into eighths
3 TB honey
1 TB balsamic or black vinegar


Roasting the Garlic (can be done the day before)

Remove most of the outer papery layers covering the garlic head, but try not to break the head
into individual cloves

Cut off the top of the garlic head so that the individual cloves can be seen

Brush a little oil on the exposed cloves

Wrap the garlic head in foil and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.

Preparing the Cauliflower

Cut the cauliflower following the stem of each floret so that there is an individual “flower
head” and stem.

Toss Lightly in oil

Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about ½ hour or until the cauliflower is just
beginning to brown.

Preparing the Miso Sauce

Unwrap your head of garlic and cut out each of the individual roasted cloves

Mash about 2 TB of garlic into 3 TB of miso so that it is well mixed.

In a small bowl mix together the sherry, water, ginger and the miso/garlic mixture.

Heat in a small pan for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Put the roasted cauliflower in a large skillet or wok and pour over the Garlic/Miso sauce.

Toss lightly and heat through.

Caramelized Plums

Cut the plums into eighths

Heat a pan and add 1 TB of oil, the honey, and vinegar. Stir and add the plums
Coat them lightly in the mixture and let them heat through until they begin to caramelize.

Remove and serve with the cauliflower. (Can be made while the garlic\miso sauce is

This dish uses seasonal foods with a variety of flavors and becomes representative of all the

Basic Bone Marrow Soup


1 lb marrow bones
2 quarts water
2” sliced ginger
6 scallion whites
1 bay leaf

Part 2

1 diced carrot
1 diced stalk celery
1 quartered plum tomato
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup cilantro/parsley


Put the marrow bones, bay leaf, ginger, and scallions in the water and bring to a boil, reduce
heat and simmer for at least 3 hours – add water as needed.

Let cool–Poke marrow out of bones and discard everything except water. You should now
have about 3 cups of broth.

Add veggies, cover and cook till veggies are done. Add salt and pepper to taste…..serve and
sprinkle with cilantro

To this basic recipe you can add other root vegetables such as turnip, or green vegetables such
as kale. Adjust this to your own taste.

Bone marrow soup is considered to be a strengthening soup that is good for prevention and
also for recuperation if someone has been ill. It is also very warming to the bones. Most
cultures with cold winters have some version of bone marrow soup for the winter time.
Black Rice with Roasted Vegetables


Black rice
A variety of vegetables cut for roasting
Black sesame seeds
Optional: Seaweed
Optional: Toasted Walnuts or Pine Nuts


Rinse the rice and cook as directed.

Choose a variety of vegetables and cut them into large pieces – Try to choose colorful
vegetables such as orange squash, white sweet potato, carrots, celery, kale leaves, and so on.

Toss lightly with oil and roast in the over until tender. If you have added kale or other leafy
green, they will roast faster than root vegetables or squashes so it is easiest to roast them in a
separate pan that can be removed and set aside.

While they are roasting, toast the sesame seeds in a pan on the stove – they toast VERY

Serve your vegetables over the black rice sprinkled with the black sesame seeds. The black
rice forms a background that will make your vegetables “pop” with color.

Some people use toasted seaweed such as Nori on this dish instead of sesame seeds.

Choose your amounts based on the number of servings you wish to make.
Basic Ginger Tea

1” fresh ginger – sliced, chopped

4-5 scallions – whites only
Rind of one dried tangerine
4 cups of water
Rock/ Brown sugar/ honey to taste

Add all the ingredients together and bring to a boil Simmer for no more than 5 minutes as it
will get bitter. Remove the foods. Drink hot.

This common recipe for Ginger Tea is especially warming. Among other things, ginger
assists circulation. This tea is also known for “clearing” head colds and sinus congestion.
Many people who drink this tea daily claim it keeps their respiratory system clear all winter

ENERGY SNACK: Mix together equal amounts of crushed toasted walnuts and toasted
black sesame seeds. Add some honey to make a thick paste. This delicious snack is excellent
for an energy boost and can be especially helpful for an elderly person or someone whose
appetite is weak.

Wishing you good health! Remember to smile at all things.

The information in this article is based on the theories and principles

of Chinese Medicine. Ellasara has been studying Wu Ming Qigong with Master and Dr. Nan
Lu for many years and has participated in special classes through TCM World Foundation and
the Tao of Healing in New York City. For comments, questions, consultations,

Xing Shen Zhuang Fa A Daoyin To Liberate The Spine

By Jessica Sommar, MSc. 夏 洁 希
This paper gives a brief overview of xing shen zhuang fa形神庄法, a rare
Daoyin form seldom presented in public that seeks to open the body and
the mind by stretching and releasing muscles, nerves and fascia along the
spine (1). It is the only Daoyin form that focuses exclusively on the spine
and the entire spinal column.
 Introduction
Xing shen zhuang fa opens and releases the spine through a series of
slow, gentle movements that begin at the cervicals and finish with the
tailbone. Regular practice of these standing postures has been known to
strengthen internal organs, heal disease and clear subtle and physical
obstructions in the spine and elsewhere (2).
The series of simple exercises also awakens sensitivity and promotes
health, strength, flexibility, lightness and suppleness originating from the
spine and extending to the limbs. The movements, like many Daoyin
forms, are not strenuous and can be done by most anyone regardless of
athletic ability.
The ultimate achievement from the xing shen zhuang practice however is
song 送, that elusive state of total awareness and relaxation that is the
key to Daoist longevity and ascension practices.
 History
A goal of Daoism (3) is self-perfection through purification practices and
energy containment. The body is seen as connected to and a replica of the
Dao道. Good health and longevity and an alignment of the individual’s
energies with the Dao are therefore fundamental to open paths to higher
self-realization and spiritual unfolding (4).
Healing exercises, called Daoyin導引, are one means of achieving good
health, longevity and an alignment with the Dao. Daoyin practice is also
sometimes referred to as yang sheng 養生 or, nourishing life. Many forms
of Daoyin and other longevity techniques have been developed and
documented by Daoists from China’s earliest history (5). The earliest
forms of Daoyin exercises were developed during the Early Han dynasty

(206 BCE-8 CE) (6).

Daoyin exercises or massage as they were initially known were most often
understood as foundational and/or preliminary practices to achieve higher
attainments (7). These exercises have expanded over the centuries and
are popular in their current forms qigong and taiji quan (8).
Most contemporary Daoyin sets are either of fairly recent provenance
and/or reconstructions of earlier practices (9).
 Xing Shen Zhuang fa
Xing shen zhuang is one of the rarer Daoyin forms. The exercises are
found in a variety of Daoist lineages, both orthodox and otherwise. The
specific sequence that gives the name to the form was codified in the
tenth century on Emei Shan, in western China. Since then it has been
transmitted in several different lines of teachings. Various versions of the
form are now practiced by a number of Daoist sects as well as Buddhist
and martial sects (10).
Xing shen zhuang has been translated as: “The mastery of the
metaphysical entity (vehicle) that allows the formless spirit to manifest in
a definite shape.” (11) It is a method which makes it possible for the
formless spirit to be manifested in the specific body- a coming home of
the spirit into the body. It has always been considered a method for
“building the foundation.” It was and is still practiced by the high-ranking
initiates (12).
How this may work is that the practice of xing shen zhuang helps stabilize
the shen or spirit from its chaotic dispersion and return it home to the
body so that, along with other neigong practices, higher levels of
attainment in Daoism can begin to be achieved (13). Moreover, the focus
on the whole spine is believed to activate the 8 Extraordinary Vessels,
energy meridians in the body that go beyond the maintenance of the
human system, but actually work on broader and deeper levels such as
destiny, genetics and transformation (14).
Yet xing shen zhuang is only being taught by a handful of teachers outside
of Daoist enclaves today.
 Masters
While there are many teachers training students in Daoyin forms, current
xing shen zhuang forms have similarities and are taught in a similar
manner, but only by a handful of teachers publicly (15).

Wang Ting Jun is a Wu Taiji master

who teaches xing shen zhuang fa as a foundational practice (16). Prof.
Wang leeft in de noord Chinese stad Changchun, waar hij hoogleraar
traditionele Chinese wijsbegeerte is. Wang lives in the northern Chinese
city of Changchun, where he is professor of traditional Chinese philosophy.
Al vanaf 1989 komt hij elk jaar naar Europa, voornamelijk naar Italië waar
hij druk bezochte Qi Gong workshops geeft.He teaches xing shen zhuang
mostly in Europe and claims he is his first patient to recover health as a
result of xing shen zhuang practice. Wang Ting Jun has said he considers
xing shen zhuang fa to be an integral training and basis for taiji quan
Another form called variously xing shen zhuang and chi-lel (level 2) is
taught through Pang Ming’s Zhineng Qigong Society. Zhineng Qigong was
created in the 1980s by Pang Ming, a qigong teacher with training in
Chinese and Western medicine (18). Prof. Pang resides at the Huaxia
Zhineng Qigong Center, in Qinhuangdao, China. His hospital located
outside Beijing has been a source of research on healing and qigong (19).
Chi-lel (level 2) has striking similarities to the form of David Verdesi and
Anna Vladimirova, two “inside” students of Master Wang Liping, the 18th
transmitter of Dragon Gate (Longmen) Daoism branch. Verdesi and
Vladimirova also trained with Wang Ting Jun (20). The form of Verdesi
and Vladimirova is the basis for this paper and demonstration (21).
 Practices
Daoyin exercises, such as xing shen zhuang, not only heal and purify the
body, but are also an important foundational technique for the meditative
practitioner for the transformation of consciousness and reaching of
internal silence in neigong practices such as sheng zheng gong 生 正 功.
Wang Ting Jun is quoted as saying his xing shen zhuang fa is “half
physical and half awareness training” (23).
Daoyin were also often prescribed as a medical qigong, to heal certain
ailments and afflictions or to prevent them. Although the spine is involved
and activated during most Daoyin exercises (24), xing shen zhuang
appears to be the only Daoyin focused exclusively on the entire spine.
The form of Verdesi and Vladimirova moves down the spine in a series of
exercises. These exercises, unlike movement for movements’ sake, are
coupled with self-awareness and sensation of one’s own experience of the
movement in the body. This focused intention (yi) is believed to draw qi
deeply into the spine for healing and balancing. Daoist masters teach that
qi follows imagination and blood follows qi.
It is believed that the opening of the spine, through intention and
movement, brings an expansion in the body and subsequently in
consciousness. Practitioners feel refreshed and comfortable in their own
skin, as well as calm and centered, alert and relaxed.
Why is opening the spine so integral? The backbone is the core of the
body. The spine protects the spinal cord and serves as the root of our
nervous system. It also supports our upper body and enables us to stand
up, bend, and twist.
The spinal cord is the main pathway of communication between the brain
and the rest of the body. A study of dermatomes, an area of skin whose
sensory nerves all come from a single spinal nerve root, reveals how each
nerve in the spine connects to a part of the anatomy (25). Therefore a
blockage in the spine will affect a nerve which corresponds to a part of the
body. Freeing the spine of blockages then, can free the whole body.
But liberating the spine is not just a gateway for a healthy body, but a
healthy and expanded consciousness as well. Daoists knew this and
developed exercises to both keep a healthy body and prepare the mind for
practices meant to raise the consciousness of the student through
meditation and breath and other techniques (26).
“I believe that the spine is special and not just physical, but also linked to
our consciousness. It is an extension of our senses and the brain- our
consciousness. When working inside a vertebrae we also affect the brain
and our perception.” Master Wang Ting Jun, quoted in an April 2005
interview (27).
 Lineage and Form
Xing shen zhuang forms have developed from different lineages of
Daoism. Each lineage may have different movements in their xing shen
zhuang, but similar goals- a healthy body and to prepare the body, mind
and spirit for higher practices.
While many Daoyin forms also include specific breathing instructions,
sounds and/or guiding of qi through areas of the body (28), xing shen
zhuang is mainly attentive to physical and energetic sensations through
awareness facilitated by slow movements, focus and gentle breathing.
Most of the xing shen zhuang forms have a set number of movements
(29). Some are comprised of 10, some number 13 movements or more.
Daoists admire certain numbers over others, so it may be that movements
were condensed within a certain set of numbers to keep the significance of
an important number of movements. This can be confusing however, as
there is often more than one movement to each exercise. It may be
helpful to think of the numbers as sets of movements rather than there
being a single movement per number.
The Chi-lel form of Prof. Pang is similar in many ways to the
Verdesi/Vladimirova form (30). Verdesi and Vladimirova acknowledge their
form is derived from the Longmen pai tradition, but have added and
subtracted movements from other xing shen zhuang forms and from
teachings of other masters. They have been working and perfecting their
form for over eight years.
The form developed by Verdesi/Vladimirova has codified 10 movements.
Each movement is done very slowly, very deliberately and with very little
strain. All movements are quiet, gentle and usually feel very pleasant.
Nothing is meant to be forced. Movements are often circular in form,
similar to the forms of taiji quan. Some dizziness may result at first as the
postures bring blood and qi 氣 (31) to the muscles and fascia which are
loosened, freeing nerves and old blockages.
Here are the movements in short:
Crane Neck
Turtle Neck
Dragon Neck
Crane Spreads its Wings
Dragon Sweeping The Clouds
Snake Coil
Dragon Waist
Tiger Squat
Heavenly Pillar
Crane Stand
Description of Movements
Opening: The form begins with closing the eyes and centering. Feeling
the heaven above and earth below connected via the top of the head and
the sacrum or the bai hui and the hui yin to use the acupuncture points.
Thereafter the hands are brought from the sides and the wrists are lifted.
The hands and arms are moved forward to about navel level and
backward to behind the rear. As you move the hands forward, press the
hands downward, as you move the hands back pull with the hands. This
movement of pushing and pulling is more conscious than active.
Crane Neck starts with palms over the navel. It is a movement of the
head and neck out forward, down and up in a square. The focus is on the
cervical spine, from C1 to C7, loosening and opening them in a gentle
stretch. Especially this movement expands and compressing the yu zhen,
the Jade Pillow an important acupuncture point for Daoists seeking
longevity (32). The shoulders are relaxed and only the neck and head
moves. This may be done 3 times, or more.
This is followed by Turtle Neck, which is the same movement, but
reversed, beginning with the chin from the bottom of the square and
working up. This may be done 3 times or more.
Dragons’ Neck movement follows. This movement focuses on C7
particularly, da zhui, translated in many acupuncture texts as “Big
Hammer” because it is the largest of the cervical vertebrae. The opening
and releasing of the da zhui is especially important because it is the
meeting place of meridians, nerves and veins, and in its full exercise
works all the cervicals as well. It entails dropping the head down in front,
looking left and swinging the head to the right. Turning the face to the
right, then dropping the head down in front and swing the head to the
left. This may be done 9 times. Then there is a side to side movement,
with the head upright turning the face to the left and then to the right.
Turning the head back and forth three times or more. Finally, the head is
lowered and begins a swinging motion side to side from wide to smaller
arcs raising the head one cervical vertebra at a time until the head is in
the upright position again.
Crane Spreads its Wings moves the participant into working the
thoracic spine-important for its being a direct conduit via nerves and
acupuncture points to the body’s organs. It begins with a thrust upward
with the fingers, with the palms turned toward the face just slightly higher
than the forehead. The forearm is vertical and the elbows are at a 90
degree angle. The elbows are then pulled back to the side, the head is
raised up and the arms pull the body back in an arch, lifting up through
the sternum and pushing the scapulae back. The palms are then turned
outwards. Thereafter, arms are stretched out to the sides and palms face
down. The hands are then lowered, the head is tilted back. This is done 3
times. After the arms are extended to the side, the fingers are lifted as if
pushing two mountains apart. The palms are then dropped and gathered
to form a crane’s beak, then are slowly lifted up back into palms-pushing
mountains pose.
Dragon Sweeping the Clouds massages the whole spine, but especially
works the lumbar spine and sacrum- the seat literally of many ailments
and pains in the body. Beginning with the feet together, swing the hands
in a sweeping motion in front of the body as you turn to the right side or
the left side repeatedly. Then bend lower at the waist and do the same
motion. Next, clasp the hands with the palms turn palms outward. Look
down and turn to the left or right, bend at the waist, raise the right arm
and lower the left and look down at the floor. This stretches the waist and
ribs. Then turn to the right and level the arms in front of you. Slowly raise
the left arm and lower the right. Lean to the right, look down at the floor,
and stretch the left ribs. Reverse and repeat a few times. Finally, begin to
move only the shoulders and arms in a sweeping motion, bending from
the waist, making smaller and smaller arcs and raising the body one
vertebra at a time until standing.
Snake Coil works the whole spine and especially the lower spine and
ming men or L2 – L3 area of the spine. Feet are together raise hands
overhead, slowly drop neck, thoracic, and lumbar one vertebra at a time
lowering entire body until hands are touching floor or reaching for the
floor, depending on flexibility. Reverse and raise the body one vertebra at
a time starting with the lumbar and going up the thoracic and then the
cervicals. When standing, bring hands overhead, bend backwards, allow
arms to fall back and sweep arms forward and back as if embracing
someone, undulating the spine in waves from top to bottom. When
standing again, place the palms together, stretch them out in front of you
and move them from side to side. When turning to the left, the left palm
is over the right. When turning to the right, right palm is over the left.
This will begin to look like a figure 8.
Dragon Waist again works the lumbar spine and sacrum by holding the
upper body still and rotating the lower body in small circles from the
lumbar spine only. May be done 9 times clockwise and counterclockwise.
Tiger Squat begins to lower the focus from the spine to the hips and
legs. Feet are spread wide, toes pointing outwards, hands in prayer
position at chest. Lower knees into a squat, hold and raise up focusing on
sacrum as a piston pushing upwards. The hip moves in a clockwise or
counterclockwise circle.
Heavenly Pillar works the whole spine and is more like standing postures
reminiscent of traditional qigong. Standing with hands in prayer position
toes pointing toward each other bend at the waist forward and stretch
with a flat back pulling sacrum and hands away from one another. Reach
down to the floor and raise one vertebra at a time. Second movement,
bring knees in a knock-kneed posture, stand straight with hands over
head lower knees as far as possible, keeping body aligned. Lower hands to
belly, close feet and knees and soften knees as if kneeling, raise up from
top of head or bai hui.
Crane Stand works hips and legs down to ankles. In a standing posture,
hands on waist, lift one leg making the knee and thigh perpendicular to
the floor. Allow foot to hang naturally and turn the ankle in circles 3 to 6
times, left and right. Extend leg and turn entire leg and foot in small
circles from inside the hip where the femur meets 3 to 6 times. Then do
the other leg. Finish in a standing posture, bring hands in front of body,
several inches apart as if holding an invisible ball, bend knees, hold ball
and swing arms right, overhead and lower down the left and back in front
of knees. Rotate 3 to 6 times left and right.
Closing: With hands over head, a few inches apart, lower hands in front
of face and body as if stroking a pillar of light, put hands back on navel,
again feel the connection of the body in-between heaven and earth, the
top of the head and the feet.
Despite the lack of evidence to date regarding the exact origins of xing
shen zhuang, this rare Daoyin form is compelling in that it focuses
exclusively on the spine and is intended as a foundational practice for
higher levels of attainment in Daoist internal arts. Moreover, additional
health benefits such as the relief of scoliosis and other spinal deformities
currently being studied by Vladimirova at her center in Moscow may
persuade scholars and the medical community to explore more thoroughly
the simple and gentle practice of xing shen zhuang (33).

Jessica Sommar
Jessica Sommar, M.Sc. — is an author/instructor in Classical Yang
Family Style Taijiquan and Daoyin at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in
the Berkshires. She has trained in Daoist alchemy, Taijiquan fist and
weapons forms and daoyin and apprenticed in TCM — acupuncture and
eastern herbs for six years, including living two years in Hangzhou, PRC.
In the past two decades her training includes western herbs, western
astrology, various energy healing modalities and she is a clinically trained
and CPE-certified Interfaith Chaplain. She is currently undertaking the
200-hour certified Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu and is marketing and
administrative coordinator for the Schools of Yoga and Ayurveda there as
well. She is currently writing a manuscript on Daoyin. Learn more about
Jessica from her blog at
Twelve Longest Living Cultures In The World
By Niraj Naik, M. Pharm.
The USA currently has an average life expectancy of 77 years of age.
However this does not equate to a high quality of life for American senior
citizens. It is in fact one of the poorest in the world.
There are many reasons for this weird anomaly considering all of the
resources and technological advances we have in the west.
There are many other cultures that actually live a lot longer but also have
far better quality of lives and today I am going to discuss all the positive
things we can take from these cultures.
The cultures with the longest life expectancies enjoying a high quality of
life are:
Some accounts state 90+ years of age for these 4 super longevity
• Andorra—the mountainous region between France and Spain
• Vilcamba Valley—the Andes mountains in Ecuador
• Himalayas—the Hunzas in Pakistan.
• Abkhasians and Georgians who live in a mountainous region near the
Black Sea in Russia

Temple In The Himalayas

Here are several others enjoying long and happy lives:

• Macau in Southern China 82.1
• Japan 82.7 – a region called Okinawa is famous for having the longest
life expectancy in the world
• Singapore 81.6
• San Marino, a nation state in Italy – 83.2
• Hong Kong 81
• Australia – 81.5
• Switzerland – 82.2
• Sweden 81.4
These cultures do have some things in common regarding their diet and
 Variety of Foods
Long living cultures tend to eat a wide range of foods everyday. Japan
recommends eating 30 different varieties of food daily. Macau and
Singapore have some of the world’s largest ports providing a richly
diverse range of cuisine from around the world.
There are over 80,000 different edible species of plant foods identified
worldwide. Out of this only 3000 have been used commonly throughout
our human history. Interestingly only 3 out of this 3000 are cultivated on
a mass scale – corn, soy and wheat and they account for over 60% of the
worlds food supply.
These foods are also mass produced, cross bred for durability, processed
and refined making food allergies a major problem worldwide.
Gluten intolerance is one example of this happening. Wheat has been
cross bred so many times that the gluten has become almost indigestible
by everyone. IBS, IBD, celiac disease and many other digestive problems
have risen dramatically over the years.
Humans were never supposed to eat such a small range of foods and
doing so has affected not just our own health but also the environment
due to mass farming of a small range of crops.
 Plant Based Foods
In the West we consume a lot of plant based foods but unfortunately due
to over farming the soil quality can be low and so the nutrient content can
be low too. Also mass farming requires more pesticides and chemicals,
and even worse there is a big emergence of genetically modified crops
where the long term safety of consumption is questionable. Long-living
people eat natural, organic foods that are free from pesticides and
herbicides and definitely not modified by scientists in a lab!
 Whole Grains
In the West we tend to consume processed and refined grain products
that are high in calories and low in nutrition. In Japan, noodles tend to be
made from nutritious buckwheat and cultures like the Hunza’s have
nutrient rich grasses in their diet. Pulses, sprouted and fermented grains
that provide high nutrition and are easy to digest are part of these long
living cultures diets.
 Fish
Long living cultures have fish as a common staple part of their diets. They
would also eat mainly wild caught fish, not farmed like we do in the West.
 Animal Protein & Fats
There is a wide misconception that living long means avoiding non
vegetarian foods. The longest living cultures in the world, in fact, eat a
large quantity of plant based foods but also animal products such as
meats, cheeses, yogurts and dairy are staple parts of their diets. The
animals on the other hand are grass fed, live freely not in battery farms
and are well respected and cared for.
In the West we have another misconception that animal fat is bad. This is
actually very wrong. The Japanese actually ordered their citizens to
consume more animal fat, after they realized that a low fat diet led to
more strokes and heart disease!
The bad fats that causes problems are actually the manufactured fats
from margarine, processed butter, and heavily processed foods that are
deep fried in low quality highly processed vegetable oils.
 Dairy
Fermented dairy products such as Kefir that is rich in probiotics are a
staple part of the northern Cacaus cultures. Dairy products consumed by
the long living cultures are also not pasteurized or processed in anyway
like we do in the West.
 Probiotics
The longevity masters all have fermented products rich in probiotics in
common. Pulsed grains, fermented drinks, fish sauces, yogurt, pickled
vegetables or cured meat provide a regular source of probiotics. In the
West however we consume many things that kill our natural flora of good
bacteria such as antibiotics, sweets, fizzy drinks and processed foods. The
new emergence of probiotic containing foods in the West is also
misleading because many of these heavily marketed products are high in
additives and sugar that cause more harm than good!
 Tea
Tea is also another universal part of traditional diets. Herbal tonics using
fresh organic ingredients can be rich in health protecting antioxidants. In
the West however we tend to consume high caffeine drinks with generous
helpings of refined sugar instead!
 Meditation & Regular Exercise

Meditative practices such as prayer and rituals are common amongst all
the longest living cultures. They also enjoy an active lifestyle right through
to old age where regular exercise is a natural daily habit for them. They
also have very close family bonds and strong social interactions. In the
West it is not uncommon for kids to sit in front of their play stations all
day, and their parents to be divorced and never utter a single word to
their neighbors!
Action Steps We Can Learn
From These Cultures
1. Try to source locally grown crops and foods from your local farmers
that is organic and free from pesticides.
2. Try to grow your own food in your gardens if this is possible.
3. Eat a rainbow diet that contains foods and vegetables that make up all
the colors of the rainbow. Longevity expert Bo Rinaldi is famous for his
rainbow salad recipe that provides a large variety of antioxidants essential
for great long term health.
4. Remove refined grains from your diet, especially wheat where possible.
Quinoa and buckwheat are good alternatives.
5. Try to consume more probiotic rich foods and drink such as Kefir. If this
is not possible, a high potency probiotic supplement will do.
6. Switch from daily coffee to green tea, or a variety of herbal teas that is
without added sugar of course!
7. Try to do regular exercise daily, such as walking, dancing or even
swimming. Even just 15 minutes a day will make a big difference.
8. Spend more time having fun! Playing with your grandkids, children or
just simply talking or planning fun things with your loved ones, friends or
neighbors more of the time.
9. Try to make meditation a regular part of your lifestyle. Just simply
letting your thoughts go and letting your mind clear the clutter does
wonders for your health and wellbeing!
The Alpha Mind System is a powerful system that will help you to learn
how to meditate deeply and also is packed with many simple lifestyle
improvements you can make that may help extend your life and make it
richer and more interesting too.

Niraj Naik
Niraj Naik — a pharmacist, and a health/wellness consultant to several
businesses based in the UK. Having a musical background he has focused
his attention on using sound and music as a “side effect” free tool for
relieving stress, depression and tension,that he believes are the main
culprits for chronic disease. Niraj Naik also runs two successful websites
and produces music and sounds with consultant psychiatrist Dr Mrigank
Mishra, under the alias amAya, some of which is infused with their novel
Trypnaural Brainwave Entrainment Technology designed to increase the
natural production of tryptamines, DMT, serotonin and melatonin that can
lead to deeper sleep, relaxation and better health. To find out more about
his work and to download a free sample please
Master YiShi Yang and His Famous Calligraphy on Immortal Living-
Massage Method
by Kevin Chen, Ph.D


Master Yi-Shi Yang (杨凝式) (873–954), also known as Yang Shaoshi

(杨少师), was a famous calligrapher in the Wu-Dai period. He was
especially known for his drafting-style calligraphy, which is attributed with
changing Chinese history. Unfortunately, there are not many pieces of
calligraphy left in the collection that was discovered. It is said that master
Yang burned most of his calligraphies when he was 70 years old as he felt
the calligraphy could not bring people a real sense of peace and health.
Instead, he decided to pay special attention to self-care and Yang Sheng
(nurturing life) techniques.
Master Yang wrote a famous drafting calligraphy on the subject of
“Immortal Living-Massage Method” (神仙起居法) at the age of 76, in an
attempt to promote a self massage method from traditional Chinese
medicine. The original piece of this calligraphy is preserved in the
Changzhou Museum of Jiangshou Province.
I heard about Master Yang and learned his story and Yang Sheng method
from qigong master Yan Wang, when she was 75 years old, living in
Amsterdam, Netherland. What’s even more interesting, is that she learned
this self-massage method from her master when he was 95 years old!
Surely, this Yang Sheng method must play an important role in their
health and longevity, so I decided to share it here as part of our
exploration of the secrets in longevity.
The famous drafting calligraphy by master Yang, the “Immortal Living-
Massage Method”, is a five-word regular poem (五言律诗).

Calligraphy by Shaoshi Yang on Immortal living massage method.

Here is a brief translation of the poem:
The first sentence: “You can do this exercise at any time and under any
circumstance, just have the inside edges of both palms massage your rib
and stomach.”
The second sentence: “You will feel happy and experience comfort after
repeating this movement. Then use both hands to massage your stomach
area with spiral motion.”
The third sentence says: “Move yours hands to the sides of your waist,
apply fists to massage the two Shen-yu points (kidney area).”
The fourth sentence: “Repeat these many times, you may ask your family
to help if you feel tired.”
The fifth sentence: “Massage the three parts of body multiple times, the
more-the better, do not feel tired of it.”
The sixth sentence: “The more you practice, the more you benefit;
practice after practice, you will walk toward the path of immortality.”
To help reader actually perform this simple exercise, Master Yan Wang
(maybe it was her master), has summarized the immortal living-massage
into the following three movements. You can do this exercise by standing
or sitting down. All movements come as massage. The more you
massage the better.
Palms face up, and put the edge of your palms on each side underneath
the liver and spleen. Push fairly hard into the body, and rub back and

Make the right hand into a fist (women), left had into a fist (men) –
thumb on top of the index finger. Put the first onto the navel, and the
other hand on top. Massage in circles around the abdomen; first
clockwise – minimum 72 times, (This is effective against constipation).
Then, massage counterclockwise, minimum 54 times, (This is effective
against diarrhea).
If you are constipated, massage only clockwise. If you have diarrhea, do
only counterclockwise. If neither, massage both directions, accompanying
with deep breathing, and make the digestive system smooth and strong.
Massage the kidneys with the back of the fists. As many times as
Try this exercise daily for a month; you will feel the difference in your
daily life.
Yang Sheng, Yang Xin (Mind)
September 16, 2012 Shiuan Gee

Yang-Sheng, Yang Xin (Mind)

The Secret of Health
By Siuan Gee
Many years ago a Chinese Magistrate traveled to Tai mountain. That day
he was tired and thirsty, he found a cabin at the foot of the mountain and
a man chopping wood in front of the house. The Magistrate walked towed
him and asked for some water. The man entered his house and brought a
bowl of cold water out. The magistrate said “Thank you” and drank the
water. At this time, a twenty something young man came out from the
house. He said to the man, “Ye Ye (grandpa), do you have a guest?” The
Magistrate was shocked by hearing this, since the man appeared to be
about 45 years old. How could he have a 20 years old grandson? He could
not hide his curiosity, and could not help but ask:

“Can you tell me how old are you? “

“I am 80 years old, not too old.” The man said with a smile.

The Magistrate got another shock. He Said:

“I am 48 years old, but I looked older than you. What do you eat? Do you
have any secret to keep you young?”

The man said:” I eat simple food, live in the hut and work every day. If
you ask my secret, maybe I have one. Come on…”

He let the Magistrate came over and held out his hand, than he used his
right index finger to

write two Chinese characters “养心(Yang Xin)” in his palm.

The magistrate suddenly realized that there are thousand rules of Yang-
Sheng, but it has only one key—Yang-Xin.

“How do I practice Yang-Xin?” He asked the man.

“Keep your mind in peace and your heart happy. Just remember one word
“happiness” and then
everything will be fine.”

The Magistrate considered the old man’s advice as valuable as gold. After
he went home, he practiced Yang-Xin and found happiness for himself. So
many years later, he was still young and healthy.

He lived his 85 years happily.

The above story made me reflect about how nowadays people spend a lot
time and money to keep them healthy and young. Yet, its effect is
negligible because they forget one simple and natural rule: “Yang-Xin”
which means “cultivate happiness”.

Of course when we talk about health, we should not miss anyone of these
three elements—–mood, food and movement.

Mood is your mind, your spirit and your psychology, it is the power. Food
is the fuel of your body as the gas of car. Move is movement; it is the rule
of the universe. If a machine has power and fuel but you don’t use it, it is
pile of scrap metal. So three elements one connect another, they help
each other and restrict each other. But it seemed the mood is still number
one element and the primary thing we should care for.

Mood can be divided into good mood and bad mood. Good mood is
happiness, bad mood is sadness. Happiness means health and longevity;
sadness always leads to sickness and death. So we should strive to
maintain a good mood in our daily life and remove any bad mood just as if
cleaning up dirt.

© Shaileshnanal | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

An old saying in China is: “One laugh makes you ten years younger.” Why
is this said? The reason is that the joy and happiness can make you
healthy and young. We know the human body runs by Qi and Blood. When
you laugh, clear Qi rises and turbid Qi descends in your body, which in
turn, enhances blood circulation. That is why you are healthy and young.
This shows that happiness is like medicine. Yes, to some degree,
happiness is the best medicine in the world. Do you believe it? I do. There
is a true story that will solve your doubts.

A nineteen year old Chinese girl was suffering habitual diarrhea after
contracting enteritis. She went to see all the western doctors and Chinese
doctors she could find. And she tried western and Chinese medicines,
massage and acupuncture, almost everything. But she was still not cured.
Some doctor even gave her an erroneous diagnosis, saying she had liver
problems and suggested she eat more honey. One doctor suggested she
eat less meat and vegetables which actually made her condition worse.
She read a lot of medical books and realized that she had allergic colitis. It
was all from her worries and anxiety about her future, mostly because she
disliked her job. Later, she found the right job for herself, and she had a
comfortable environment working place. So she was happy, her ten year
diarrhea problem was gone.

Happiness is so important, but how do we get it? There are five rules we
should keep in our mind.

1. Free your heart from hatred.

2. Free your mind from worries.

3. Live simply.

4. Give more and Demand less.

5. Expect miracles in life.

Summarized in one sentence: Stay away from sorrow and find your own
happiness. Money is not the most important thing in the world, because it
can’t buy happiness or health. If you have a bad environment at office or
home, you should try to change it; if you have a dead marriage or bad
relationship with your boyfriend /girlfriend, you should leave it, divorce or
separate, don’t wait until you are sick or get a cancer that will be too late.

Shiuan Gee, Author, Former Journalist and Editor of

“Health and Life” Chinese Newspaper. Book: Philosophy Prose Collection
“Thoughts on Life”; Documentary literature: “The Night of New
Orleans”. Nonfiction: The Report of the Mainland China Intellectuals’ Sex
Life Novel :“The little Sparrow Flew away”. Also as an Amateur Health
food cooking chef and Gourmet, she is writing a Dietotherapy book:
“Amazing Food—Health Diet 101”, Subtitle “How can get Benefits from
Your Daily Diet?”
Daoist Cultivation and Behavioral Kinesiology
(Part 2 of 2)
by Livia Kohn, Ph.D.
(Cont. from March/April Issue)
The key factor in behavioral kinesiology, as described in detail by John
Diamond in a 1979 publication, is the thymus gland. Located in the solar
plexus, it was acknowledged by the ancient Greeks as the central seat of
vitality. “Thymus is the stuff of life, vaporous breath, active, energetic
feeling and thinking, material very much related to blood” (Spencer 1993,
47). The gland, although known to exist, was ignored in Western medicine
for the longest time as not having a specific function, since it—like jing in
Chinese medicine—grows during puberty, is reduced in adulthood, shrinks
to a miniscule size during sickness, and shrivels up completely after death
(Diamond 1979, 10). More recent studies have shown that the thymus
gland, like the central elixir field, is the center of immunological
surveyance and works to produce lymphocytes, i.e., the white blood cells
responsible for the immunological reaction in the body. Connected
energetically to all the different organs and extremities of the body (1979,
28-29), it prevents disease and cancer if kept strong.

Not only the central, but also the upper and lower elixir fields have a
match in the West. The upper field is obviously the brain with its major
center of mental and emotional processing. Reactions in the brain divide
into two types: good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. Usually the bad,
unpleasant emotions are afflictive, negative, and destructive; they tend to
cause people to withdraw or move away from the object or circumstance
that caused them. Good, pleasant emotions are beneficial, positive, and
engaging; they make people approach and seek out the object or
circumstance that caused them (Goleman 1997, 34).

In terms of brain chemistry, withdrawal reactions are located in the right

frontal cortex, while approach reactions are activated in the left frontal
cortex. People are born with a tendency toward one or the other dominant
activation: those with more right frontal cortex activity are more
emotionally volatile, get sick more easily, have a harder time recovering,
suffer from numerous ailments, find much difficulty in their communities,
and die earlier. People with dominantly left frontal cortex activity are more
positive, do not submit to stress, will not catch colds even if exposed to
germs, and live longer and happier lives. The dominant mode of reaction
can be changed through learning and systematic training, notably through
detached awareness and mindfulness practice, such as advocated by
traditional Buddhists and Daoists alike (1997, 68-69; Begley 2007, 226-

The lower elixir field, the center of transformation in Daoist practice, in

Western physiology matches the abdominal brain, the seat of inherent,
spontaneous intelligence, in the vernacular described as gut feelings or
intuition. A popular medical idea in the late nineteenth century (see Bedell
1885), it has re-emerged in recent research as the seat of an active
enteric nervous system that governs the well-being of the person (McMillin
et al. 1999). Its activation is best known from Zen Buddhist practice,
which requires a tightly held upright posture as well as conscious
breathing and control over the diaphragm (Sekida 1975, 84).

Power Lines
Behavioral kinesiology claims that all illness starts at the energy level
(Diamond 1979, 25). This matches the traditional Chinese contention that
an imbalance in the body’s system manifests on three levels. First, there
are the initial signs of an illness, which may be very subtle and perceived
merely as a slight irregularity by the patient. Second, these signs grow
into specific “symptoms,” detected by the physician in a thorough
examination. If left unchecked, these may further develop into a full-
fledged “syndrome,” which creates invasive disharmony both in the body
and the social life of the patient (Kohn 2005, 63).

It also claims that the musculature of the body is immediately in contact

with, and responsive to, any energy changes in the entire system and
that, therefore, health and well-being—and, by extension, the benefits or
harm of certain substances and the truth or falseness of a given
statement—can be verified in a so-called kinesiological muscle test. In
essence, this consists of the subject standing with one arm held out
straight and a partner or tester trying to push it down. If the thymus
gland, and thus the immunological system, is working well, if health is
strong, if the examined substance is beneficial, or if the statement
thought about is true, there will be a bounce or spring in the arm and it
will not budge. In the opposite case, the muscles are weakened and the
arm will easily be pushed down (Diamond 1979, 14-21). Just as a weak
muscle signals energetic imbalance in this system, so the traditional
Chinese understanding claims that strong, vibrant muscles mean the
presence of proper qi-flow (zhengqi 正氣) and health in the body. The
practice of acupuncture, meridian-based massages, and tapping
accordingly serves to enhance energy flow and immunological
strengthening as well as an increase in harmonious living in self and

Another Daoist practice that finds a match in science is placing the tongue
at the roof of the mouth. Modern kinesiologists call this the “centering
button,” a place that opens the body’s central power lines and releases
stress (Diamond 1979, 31). In addition, matching the physical exercises of
traditional daoyin and modern qigong, kinesiologists have found that when
there is too much synchronous activity on either side of the body, it will
suffer a cerebral-hemisphere imbalance and weakened muscles, a state
they describe as “switching” (1979, 40). In other words, the subtle energy
lines of the body need to be activated by using the opposite arm and leg
as much as possible, creating a sense of good body coordination. The lines
are also impacted by any kind of metal that may be placed in the body’s
center and prevent proper energetic integration (1979, 43). Positive
energy is further enhanced by wide, open gestures, such as the spreading
of arms in a blessing or the welcoming of loved ones at a reunion (1979,
49)—movements often seen in Chinese exercises where the qi is gathered
or spread by opening the arms wide.

In other words, the muscles of the body provide a clear indication of well-
being and serve as a major way of enhancing health and longevity, which
in turn have an immediate impact on social and political harmony in the

Practice Methods
Practices to stimulate the thymus gland and thus increase the vitality of
the individual as outlined in behavioral kinesiology closely match the
repertoire of traditional Daoists. They include:

 deep abdominal breathing and control of the diaphragm;

 self-massages of the chest and front line of the body (renmai);
 tapping of major energy centers, especially the center of the chest
(zhongshan point);
 upright posture that allows for an equal flow of energy in all parts of
the body;
 conscious and careful movement that alternates the body’s two sides,
ideally to melodious music;
 emotional refinement toward feelings of love and caring, and the
pursuit of virtues;
 careful selection of food, avoiding processed, preserved, or chemically
altered items;
 wearing of loose and pure clothes, using natural fibers;
 environmental care, providing good air, light, housing, and natural
settings (fengshui);
 support for peace in the world and the creation of a harmonious
society, since energy flows between people and is enhanced or reduced
depending on each person’s management (Diamond 1979).

Within this overall framework, John Diamond has a few specific

recommendations. Most generally, he suggests that one should find a
“homing” thought, a mental vision of oneself in a pleasant and stress-free
situation, such as in nature, on a beach, or with loved ones, and practice
smiling both inwardly and to others, to create an internal harmony and
relax the facial muscles (1979, 47, 49). He also emphasizes the energetic
benefits of beauty, as found in poetry, music, painting, art, and natural
landscapes and suggests that one should regularly take so-called energy
breaks by reciting poetry, looking at nature, viewing a painting, or walk
about with the arms swinging (1979, 39). All these are practices Daoists
have embraced for centuries, living in beautiful natural settings, pursuing
arts and music, and practicing calming meditations such as the Inner
Smile, where the facial muscles are relaxed and the internal organs
viewed with sympathy and kindness (1979, 124).

In addition to widely recognized pollutants, such as denatured food, neon

lights, smoking, and various irritating chemicals, Diamond also advises
against contact with ugly sights and shrill or intensely pulsing sounds
since they lead to “therapeutic weakening” (1979, 62). This, too, matches
traditional Daoist rules against energetic pollution through encounters with
dirt, death, or violence. Diamond especially singles out the weakening
agents of aggressive art work and advertising as well as noise pollution
through traffic, television, and rock music (1979, 65-66). In terms of
practical objects, he suggests avoiding the use of sunglasses, wrist
watches, nylon hats, wigs, and high heels as well as of metal chairs and
seat cushions, mattresses, sheets, and clothing made from synthetic
fabrics (1979, 74-77).

The modern scientific examination of the

body’s musculature and essential glands in behavioral kinesiology shows
that, as Chinese physicians and Daoists have contended for millennia, it is
a finely tuned energetic system consisting of key energy centers and
power lines, described traditionally as elixir fields and extraordinary
vessels. This system can be used to best advantage and enhanced in
performance and longevity by taking certain basic precautions and
following a few key daily practices. These include conscious breathing and
movement, control of the environment and sensory input, as well as
efforts toward positive emotions and virtuous living.

The overall result of such practices, which are neither difficult to learn nor
hard to do, is the realization of what F. M. Alexander—the founder of the
widely effective Alexander Technique of physical integration and a
forerunner of Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna’s Somatics—called
“the possibility of physical perfection.” This is a state of complete health,
much more than the mere absence of illness or symptoms. Health here
means an integrated balance of physical well-being, personal happiness,
good fortune, and harmony, a state of overall wholeness in which people
go beyond being discreet entities separate from the outside world and
instead become active participants in the triad of heaven, earth, and
humanity. Physical and energetic perfection as pursued in Daoist body
cultivation as well as in behavioral kinesiology is thus key not only to
greater well-being and personal satisfaction but also to the realization of a
harmonious society and new world order.

Bedell, Leila G. 1885. The Abdominal Brain. Chicago: Grass and Delbridge.
Begley, Sharon, ed. 2007. Train Your Mind to Change Your Brain. New
York: Ballentine.
Diamond, John. 1979. Behavioral Kinesiology: How to Activate Your
Thymus and Increase Your Life Energy.. New York: Harper & Row.
Goleman, Daniel, ed. 1997. Healing Emotions: Conversations with the
Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health. Boston: Shambhala.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. 2005. Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the
World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion.
Kaptchuk, Ted J. 1983. The Web that Has No Weaver: Understanding
Chinese Medicine. New York: Congdon & Weed.
Kohn, Livia. 2005. Health and Long Life: The Chinese Way. Cambridge,
Mass.: Three Pines Press.
Larre, Claude, and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee. 1996. Eight
Extraordinary Vessels. Cambridge: Monkey Press.
Luttgens, Kathryn, and Katherine F. Wells. 1989. Kinesiology: Scientific
Basis of Human Motion. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
McMillin, David L., Douglas G. Richards, Eric A. Mein, and Carl D. Nelson.
1999. “The Abdominal Brain and the Enteric Nervous System.” Journal of
Alternative and Complementary Medicine 5.6. www.meridianinstitute.
Neswald, Sara Elaine. 2009. “Internal Landscapes.” In Internal Alchemy:
Self, Society, and the Quest for Immortality, edited by Livia Kohn and
Robin R. Wang, 27-53. Magdalena, NM: Three Pines Press.
Nichols. T. L. 1853. Esoteric Anthropology. New York: Stringer &
Sekida, Katsuki. 1975. Zen Training. New York: Weatherhill.
Spencer, Colin. 1993. Vegetarianism: A History. New York: Four Walls
Eight Windows.
Whitman, Walt. 1954. The Complete Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman.
Garden City, NY: Garden City Books.

Livia Kohn
Dr. Livia Kohn is Professor Emerita of Religion and East Asian Studies at
Boston University. A graduate of Bonn University, Germany, she has spent
many years pursuing research on medieval Daoism and Chinese long life
practices. She has written and edited over 25 books, taught many classes
on Asian religions, and worked on a large variety of related projects. In
addition, she has practiced taiji quan, qigong, meditation, yoga, and other
cultivation methods for many years. These days, she lives on the Gulf
Coast of Florida, and is a Daoist freelancer. She teaches workshops all
over the world, runs international conferences on Daoist studies, and is
executive editor at Three Pines Press and of the Journal of Daoist Studies.
She has lived in Japan for a total of ten years and traveled widely in Asia,
especially in China, Korea, and Thailand. Aside from her native German,
she is fluent in Chinese and Japanese.. To contact Professor Kohn, please
Early Summer and You
by Ellasara Kling
“The wise nourish life by flowing with the four seasons and adapting to
cold or heat, by harmonizing joy and anger in a tranquil dwelling, by
balancing yin and yang, and what is hard and soft.” -The Neijing
It is a time-honored understanding in Chinese medicine theory, that
“Prevention is the best cure.” Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to do
those things that we can do in our daily lives to increase and preserve our
well-being. Often this includes those small things that in the short run
may seem inconsequential, but in the long run make a big difference. This
clearly includes paying attention to the seasons and what we need to do
to respond appropriately to each season. Let’s look briefly at the season
we are in now.

Following the sproutings of Spring, Summer’s energy is now flowing

outward and upward. An abundance of plants are in bloom, the world is
visually beautiful. Early Summer has begun and with it is that delightful
summer warmth, longer days, blue skies, plants in bloom and an
expression by Nature of exuberance! Easy to understand why Joy would
be the emotion for Heart Season. This is the Joy that emerges from within
as a response to Life. (see the chart below for more Early Summer
relationships according to the principles of Five Element Theory.)

The heart and spirit are affected by the fire element of this season making
it an ideal time to cultivate calm/peacefulness, work on increasing the
immune system (wei qi). In TCM, the Heart and Small Intestine functions
are paired. When the Heart function is in balance, it can work easily in
conjunction with the functioning of the Small Intestine. Add more fluids to
your diet, enjoy the outdoors, add pungent flavors to your foods, and
refrain from eating greasy foods, too much meat, and also iced foods.

Every season has its unique and highly complex expression and requires
us to relate differently to ourselves in each one as a form of cooperation
with Nature. Simultaneously, we need to understand our individual needs
and how to combine one with the other. Heat and dampness are two
environmental factors of summer. Some of each is necessary
environmentally and internally; however, too much dampness in either is
unpleasant. We may not be able to control the external weather, but we
may be able to control the creation of internal dampness by going lightly
on the ice cream, greasy foods, and sweets, especially if we are prone to a
damp condition. Even though it can become quite hot externally, drinking
very cold liquids should be avoided. They are a shock to the system and
counter-productive. Instead, try a flower tea such as chrysanthemum tea
which naturally cools us internally. Slightly diluted fresh cucumber juice
with lemon, strawberry juice or watermelon juice are all naturally cooling
and delicious as is a cup of green tea.

Always listen to your body, use your self-awareness to understand

what it is telling you and follow your intuition.

Some Foods That Are Harmonious With Early Summer Include:

apricot, beet, bitter melon, black coffee, broccoli, celery, coffee,
cucumber, daikon radish, dark unsweetened chocolate, escarole, ginger,
job’s tears (a/k/a Chinese barley), lettuces such as boston, chicory,
endive & romaine, lemon balm, loquat, lotus root, lotus seed, mulberries,
mung bean, okra, peach, peppermint, persimmons, radishes, red lentils,
red peppers, red plums, rhubarb, soy beans, spinach, strawberry, summer
squashes, tamarind, teas, tomato, water chestnuts, watermelon, Chinese
yam, zucchini, and others.

Health Topic: Astragalus (a/k/a Huang Qi; Milk Vetch) is commonly

used in TCM herbal formulas and in Chinese herbal home cooking. But,
what is it? The part of the plant that is commonly used is the root which is
cut into slices that look something like a tongue depressor. The plant itself
is a legume and Astragulas is the name for a genus of about 3,000
different species. The ones used in TCM are from specific plants that are
native to China, Korea, Mongolia. Considered an adaptogen, in TCM
formulas it is combined with other herbs and is used to treat numerous
conditions. Over the past few years, it has become valued in western
herbal medicine and research for its apparent immune boosting abilities
and positive effects on some common conditions (for more specific
information visit the University of Maryland Medical Center
also see The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: A Comprehensive
A-Z Listing of Common and Chronic Illnesses and Their Proven Natural
Treatments by Gary Null, Ph.D. ). There are many home herbal recipes
that use astragalus root. These recipes are usually simmered for a long
time as in soups. The root has a sweet and mild-licorice taste.

Watermelon Salad

cut in bite size pieces and use some

Watermelon of the pith/rind

quartered lengthwise, seeded, sliced

Cucumber thin

Lemon juice
and salt

Fresh mint
leaves chopped, an appreciable amount

Mix the cucumbers with the lemon juice and salt. Let
sit for a bit, like while you cut up watermelon and
mint. Toss with melon and mint.
Veggie Crepes
Crepes – Ingredients (the batter for the crepes is made ahead of
½ cup flour (rice or wheat)
3 eggs
1/8 m tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 tsp walnut oil
4 tbsp seltzer
2 tbsp oil for cooking crepes

Crepes Directions
 Combine the eggs, salt, oil and water in a bowl and blend together
 Add the flour and blend until well-combined and smooth
 Cover and refrigerate for several hours best (1-2 hours ok)
 When ready to use- lightly coat a 6” fry pan with oil and heat the fry so
that it is very hot. Use an oil that can handle high heat and a thick
bottomed pan that can also handle heat.
 While the oil is heating, slowly stir the seltzer into the batter so that it
is well combined
 When the pan is ready, put about 2-3 tbsp of batter into the center of
the pan and rotate it around evenly, coating the bottom of the pan
 This cooks very quickly 20-30 seconds for the bottom to begin to
 With a spatula, lift an edge of the crepe and with your fingers (be
careful not to touch the hot pan with your hand) turn the crepe over.
Cook another 10-20 seconds on the second side. Slide onto a serving
 Continue until you have used all the batter. Add additional oil as
needed. Makes several crepes.

Filling ideas: make ahead before you cook the crepes

2 tbsp walnut or grape seed oil
2 tbsp water or veggie stock (if necessary)
2 green onions – whites finely sliced rings
1 stalk celery – fine diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

finely sliced mushrooms

½ cup water chestnuts, diced fine
1 TB minced ginger,

1 garlic clove, minced

(You can vary the vegetables in this to your taste – just remember to cut
them so that they can be a filling for a crepe and colorful)

Heat oil in a wok or heavy skillet. Add the garlic, ginger, and green
onions and sauté until the garlic and ginger begin to sweat. Add the red
pepper, water chestnuts, and celery, mushrooms (or other veggies) and
sauté until they just begin to wilt. Add water or veggie stock if necessary
Spoon some filling into the center of each crepe and fold the sides over
forming a packet.

Mung Bean Soup.

This soup is very cooling on a hot day and makes a great breakfast. Mung
beans also quench thirst.
.½ cup Mung beans,
1-1/2 cups water

2 TB diced dried tangerine peel

1 TB brown sugar

I like it cooked till mushy – but that is not necessary, you can stop
sooner. . .after the little green beans have broken open.

Tea Eggs
Eggs are considered in Chinese
medicine to be very important for health, good skin, longevity – the
whites are sweet with a cooling effect and the yolks are sweet and slightly
warming, so when taken together, they are considered neutral. They are
believed in Chinese medicine to have many positive effects on healthy
organ function.
12 eggs

water to fully cover by at least one inch

¼ cup black tea leaves or gunpowder green tea, or a smoky oolong tea

3 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp five spice powder

Place room temperature eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water and
over high heat bring to a boil. cook uncovered.

Reduce heat somewhat and cook about 5 minutes

Let stand until cool

Tap eggs lightly with the back of a spoon so that you crack the shells but
they are not coming off. You want a “crackled shell” look.

Add all the other ingredients to the saucepan, cover saucepan, and over
low heat simmer for about 1 hour.

Let stand in water until it is cool, drain and peel.

Your eggs will have a “crackle” pattern and a delightful flavor.

Dessert Coconut Congee

1 14 oz can first pressed coconut milk

14 oz cold water

¼ cup plus 1 TB sweet white rice

3 pieces star anise

1 large stick cinnamon

1 TB rock sugar

1 TB honey

1/8 tsp salt

8 red dates

2 TB goji berries

4 kuamquats sliced very thin

Put the coconut milk, water, rice, anise, cinnamon in a 3 qt sauce pan.
.bring to a boil and add the salt, sugar and honey and reduce the heat to
a simmer. Simmer the rice stirring occasionally and do not allow to boil.
When it is becoming creamy, add the dates and berries and continue to
simmer until it is reduced to about 2 cups and is very creamy. Remove
the anise and cinnamon bark. Makes 4 ½ cup servings each decorated
with one very thinly sliced kuamquat. Can be served hot or room
temperature. This is good the first day, but refrigerate and reheat the
next day it is even better.

Daoist Body Cultivation & Behavioral Kinesiology (Pt 1)

March 15, 2012 Livia Kohn

[Learn about Dao]

Daoist Body Cultivation and Behavioral Kinesiology
Part 1
by Livia Kohn, Ph.D.
“Every man, woman, and child holds the possibility of physical perfection:
it rests with each of us to attain it by personal understanding and effort.”
— F. M. Alexander
Daoist practice proceeds on three levels: healing, longevity, and
immortality, three different stages of perfection and empowerment along
the same continuum of the human body, which consists of Qi in various
degrees of subtlety and refinement. Qi is bioenergetic potency that causes
things to live, grow, develop, and decline. People as much as the planet
are originally equipped with prenatal or primordial Qi that connects them
to the greater universe, but they also work with postnatal or interactive Qi
which can enhance or diminish their primordial energy. As people interact
with the world on the basis of passions and desires, sensory/sexual
exchanges, and intellectual distinctions, they begin to lose their primordial
Qi. Once they have lost a certain amount, they decline, experience
sickness, and eventually die.

Healing, then, is the recovery of

essence and replenishing of Qi with medical means such as medicines,
herbal formulas, acupuncture, massage, and so on, from a level of severe
deficiency to a more harmonious state. Longevity, next, comes in when
people have become aware of their situation and decide to heal
themselves. Attaining a basic state of good health, they proceed to
increase their primordial Qi to and even above the level they had at birth.
To do so, they live an overall moderate and natural lifestyle, follow
specific diets, supplement their food with herbs and minerals, and
undertake breath control, healing exercises, self-massages, sexual
hygiene, and meditations. These practices ensure not only that people
attain their natural life expectancy but lead to increased old age and vigor.
Immortality, third, raises the practices to a yet higher level. To attain it,
people have to transform all their Qi into primordial Qi and proceed to
increasingly refine it to ever subtler levels. This finer Qi will eventually
turn into pure spirit (shen 神), with which practitioners increasingly
identify to become transcendent spirit-people or immortals (xian仙). The
practice that leads there involves intensive meditation and trance training
as well as more radical forms of diet, healing exercises, and the mental
guiding of Qi. In contrast to health and long life, where the body’s system
remains fundamentally unchanged and is perfected in its original nature,
immortality means the overcoming of the natural tendencies of the body
and its transformation into a different kind of energetic constellation. The
result is a bypassing of death, the attainment of magical powers, and
residence in heavenly paradises.

While the final goal of Daoist

practice is this transformation to transcendence or immortality,
practitioners from the early middle ages (3rd-4th c.e.) to modern times,
when the techniques were adapted into Qigong, emphasize the
importance of the more fundamental stages, the realization of health and
long life. The goal here is a form of natural perfection. In the words of T.
L. Nichols: “When a man is perfect in his own nature, body, and soul,
perfect in his harmonious adaptations and action, and living in perfect
harmony with nature, with his fellow man, and with God, he may be said
to be in a state of health” (1853, 227). Or, more recently, as formulated
by Walt Whitman: “In that condition the whole body is elevated to a
higher state—inwardly and outwardly illuminated, purified, made solid,
strong, yet buoyant” (1954, 513). How, then, do Daoists pursue this goal?
And how does Western science match or contradict it?
Above and beyond the medical vision of the body, which centers on the
five inner organs and twelve paired meridians plus the various mental and
physical energies of the body (emotions, senses, fluids, tastes, etc), the
Daoist vision of the body proposes three major energy centers and four
conduits or energy lines. These create a vertical-horizontal network which
is at the very root of the human being, created when Heaven and Earth
first provide the person with primordial Qi.
The three energy centers are commonly known as cinnabar or elixir fields
(dantian 丹田). Located in the head, solar plexus, and lower abdomen,
they house the three treasures: essence, Qi, and spirit. Matching the
three cosmic levels of Heaven, Humanity, and Earth, they are also known
as the Heaven Palace (Qiangong 乾宮), the Scarlet Palace (jianggong
絳宮), and the Earth Palace (kungong 坤宮). Also serving as the residence
of body gods, they have the more mythological names Niwan Palace
(niwan gong 泥丸宮), Purple Palace (zigong 紫宮), and Yellow Court
(huangting 黃庭) (Neswald 2009, 37-38).
The upper elixir field in the head is the place from where celestial energies
are accessed or through which, at the stage of immortality, the spirit
embryo passes to ascend to the otherworld. The central field is placed in
the solar plexus, between the nipples and also called the Cavity of Qi
(Qixue氣穴). Holding Qi for dispersal in the body either through ordinary
activity or for immortality cultivation, it plays a key role especially in
women’s practice, strengthening and enhancing life energy. The lower
field is commonly placed about 1.3 inches beneath the navel, in the center
of the abdomen. Also called Ocean of Qi (Qihai 氣海), it is the point where
adepts find their center of gravity, their reproductive power, and their
stability in the world (Kohn 2005).
Connecting these three energy centers are four major energy conduits or
extraordinary vessels. Most important is the Penetrating Vessel (chongmai
沖脈) which runs right through the center of the body. It begins at the
perineum, a small cluster of muscles located between the anus and the
genital organs, passes through the three elixir fields, and ends at the
crown of the head, a point known as Hundred Meeting (baihui 白會; GV-
20) in medicine and as Heavenly Pass (tianguan 天關) in Daoism.
Connecting the kidneys and stomach, as well as the main energy centers,
it is considered the main conduit of primordial Qi. Adepts use it to send
healing and spiritual intention into the depth of the elixir fields, thus
opening their centers and connecting to the primordiality of the cosmos.
The second major energy line is the Belt Vessel (daimai 帶脈). It runs
around the abdomen a few inches below the navel, connecting the Ocean
of Qi in front with the Gate of Destiny (mingmen 命門) in the kidney area
in the back and linking the vertical meridians and the major storehouses
of Qi. Next are the Conception Vessel (renmai 任脈, yin) and the
Governing Vessel (dumai 督脈, yang), which run along the front and back
of the torso respectively, reaching from the pelvic floor to the head. They
are of great importance both in all levels of Daoist practice, serving to mix
Qi and blood and to guide the Qi along the major centers of the body.
The Conception Vessel begins at Meeting of Yin (huiyin 會陰) at the
perineum, passes through the front of the body along its central line, and
ends at the mouth. A carrier and major supporter of yin-Qi, it supports
uro-genital, digestive, and thoracic aspects of the body and, together with
the spleen meridian, controls pregnancy and menstruation. The Ocean of
Qi in the lower abdomen is actually one of its points (CV-6) as is the navel
known as Spirit Tower (shenque 神闕) and the center of the chest, here
known as the Ocean of Tranquility (jinghai 靜海). Two further points of
Daoist importance are Central Court (zhongting 中庭; CV-16,) which
matches the solar plexus and thus the middle elixir field, and Purple
Palace (CV-18 ), i.e., the heart.
The Governing Vessel also begins at the pelvic floor, then passes along
the back of the body, moves across the top of the head, and ends inside
the mouth at the upper gums. It transports and aids yang-Qi and has
many points connecting to channels and inner organs. Its twenty-eight
points include also the more spiritual points Gate of Life (GV-4) at the 2nd
and 3rd lumbar vertebrae, Numinous Terrace (lingtai ; GV-10) at the 6th
thoracic vertebra, as well as the Jade Pillow (yuchen; GV-17) at the back
of the skull (see Kaptchuk 1983; Larre and de la Vallée 1996).
The two meridians connect at the mouth, with Fluid Receptacle
(chengjiang 承漿; CV-24) located at the lower lip and Gum Intersection
(yinjiao 齦交; GV-28) found at the upper gums. They also both continue
internally, descending back to the pelvic floor and forming a continuous,
intricate inner loop. Rather than using this path, however, adepts tend to
activate them as one straight circle of Qi-flow. They place the tongue at
the roof of the mouth as a bridge between the meridians, then inhale
deeply into the abdomen to enhance their Ocean of Qi or lower cinnabar
field. From there, they breathe out, envisioning their Qi flowing downward
to the pelvic floor and reaching the perineum.
Focusing on the coccyx (GV-1), they inhale the Qi up along the spine,
passing through all the various points along the Governing Vessel. At
Great Hammer (dazhui 大椎; GV-15) below the neck, they begin to exhale,
carrying the Qi further up along the back of the skull, across Hundred
Meeting (GV-20), along the forehead and to the nostrils. From here they
inhale again, envisioning the Qi flowing down along the Conception Vessel
and through the Ocean of Qi into the pelvic floor, thus establishing a cycle
of Qi throughout the torso, which is known in Daoist practice as the
microcosmic orbit (xiao zhoutian 小周天) (see Neswald 2009, 35-37).
The goal of Daoist practice is to activate the three energy centers and four
key energy vessels to reach a state of energetic perfection where
primordial Qi flows freely through the body and energizes every aspect of
life. To reach this level, they are exceedingly conscious of personal energy
management, both within the self and the environment. They exert strong
control over housing, sleep gear, clothing, food, and social contacts and
make sure to be active in self-management, working with physical
movement, healing exercises, breathing, meditation, emotional
modification, and the pursuit of classic virtues, such as honesty, wisdom,
and benevolence. Their efforts overall reduce stress and strengthen the
adrenal glands, which in Chinese and Daoist medicine are part of the
Kidney complex and thus the seat of essential vitality (jing 精). As a
result, they prevent diseases and do not suffer from the common
symptoms and signs of aging, not only creating a happier and more
wholesome life for themselves but also contributing to a saner and more
harmonious society.
Quite independent of the Chinese and Daoist understanding of body and
Qi, the Western science of behavioral kinesiology has developed a system
that is surprisingly similar and equally as valid. It supports everything
Daoists have been saying all along about the nature of body, self, and
society and emphasizes the very same measures—social, physical, and
psychological—people should be taking to enhance their well-being and
find perfection within this world.
Kinesiology is the science of movement: how to move the body and use
its joints, tendons, and muscles to create maximum efficiency and best
performance. It is best known from sports culture and studied widely in
departments of physical education at Western universities (Luttgens and
Wells 1989). Behavioral kinesiology adds the dimension of personal
perfection into the mix: the attainment of health, the extension of life
expectancy, and the realization of virtues and inherent goodness in self
and society. In other words, it is the study of how we can realize ideal
health and harmony by living and moving our bodies most efficiently.
Continued in the next issue of Yang Sheng with Daoist Body
Cultivation and Behavioral Kinesiology – part 2
Bedell, Leila G. 1885. The Abdominal Brain. Chicago: Grass and Delbridge.
Begley, Sharon, ed. 2007. Train Your Mind to Change Your Brain. New
York: Ballentine.
Diamond, John. 1979. Behavioral Kinesiology: How to Activate Your
Thymus and Increase Your Life Energy.. New York: Harper & Row.
Goleman, Daniel, ed. 1997. Healing Emotions: Conversations with the
Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health. Boston: Shambhala.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. 2005. Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the
World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion.
Kaptchuk, Ted J. 1983. The Web that Has No Weaver: Understanding
Chinese Medicine. New York: Congdon & Weed.
Kohn, Livia. 2005. Health and Long Life: The Chinese Way. Cambridge,
Mass.: Three Pines Press.
Larre, Claude, and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee. 1996. Eight
Extraordinary Vessels. Cambridge: Monkey Press.
Luttgens, Kathryn, and Katherine F. Wells. 1989. Kinesiology: Scientific
Basis of Human Motion. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
McMillin, David L., Douglas G. Richards, Eric A. Mein, and Carl D. Nelson.
1999. “The Abdominal Brain and the Enteric Nervous System.” Journal of
Alternative and Complementary Medicine 5.6. www.meridianinstitute.
Neswald, Sara Elaine. 2009. “Internal Landscapes.” In Internal Alchemy:
Self, Society, and the Quest for Immortality, edited by Livia Kohn and
Robin R. Wang, 27-53. Magdalena, NM: Three Pines Press.
Nichols. T. L. 1853. Esoteric Anthropology. New York: Stringer &
Sekida, Katsuki. 1975. Zen Training. New York: Weatherhill.
Spencer, Colin. 1993. Vegetarianism: A History. New York: Four Walls
Eight Windows.
Whitman, Walt. 1954. The Complete Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman.
Garden City, NY: Garden City Books.

Dr. Livia Kohn is Professor Emerita of Religion and

East Asian Studies at Boston University. A graduate of Bonn University,
Germany, she has spent many years pursuing research on medieval
Daoism and Chinese long life practices. She has written and edited over
25 books, taught many classes on Asian religions, and worked on a large
variety of related projects. In addition, she has practiced taiji quan,
qigong, meditation, yoga, and other cultivation methods for many years.
These days, she lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and is a Daoist
freelancer. She teaches workshops all over the world, runs international
conferences on Daoist studies, and is executive editor at Three Pines Press
and of the Journal of Daoist Studies. She has lived in Japan for a total of
ten years and traveled widely in Asia, especially in China, Korea, and
Thailand. Aside from her native German, she is fluent in Chinese and
Japanese.. To contact Professor Kohn, please e-mail

Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure

by Helen Hu, OMD
Dilated (congestive) cardiomyopathy is a group of heart muscle disorders
in which the ventricles enlarge but are not able to pump enough blood for
the body’s needs, resulting in heart failure. In North America, the most
common identifiable cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is extensive
coronary artery disease. Coxsackie B virus infection and other causes
include certain chronic hormonal disorders such as long-standing, poorly
controlled diabetes, morbid obesity, a persistently rapid heart rate, or
thyroid disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy can also be caused by use of
certain substances, especially alcohol, cocaine, antidepressants, and a few
chemotherapy drugs. Rare causes of dilated cardiomyopathy include
pregnancy and connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
As in coronary artery disease, the weakened heart stretches in an attempt
to compensate, resulting in dilated cardiomyopathy and often heart
failure. About 70% of people die within 5 years of the first onset of their
symptoms. If possible, doctors treat the underlying cause. General
treatment measures include avoiding stress, limiting salt in the diet, and
having periods of rest, which help reduce strain on the heart, particularly
when the cardiomyopathy is acute or severe.
In TCM, cardiomyopathy can be classified into different categories such as,
heart Qi deficiency, and heart blood deficiency. Since the spleen and
kidney organs normally support and balance with the heart, some cases of
cardiomyopathy will be related to the spleen and kidneys.
1. Heart Qi deficiency type:
The principle treatment for this type is to strengthen the bodie’s energy
and to calm the spirit: with this type of pattern, patient tends to have
frequent shortness of breath, heart palpitations, pressure feeling on the
chest with spontaneous sweating. Feelings of fatigue most of the time,
feeling sleepy, not motivated to participate and some are not even willing
to talk due to lack of vitality.
a. Wild Yam and Beef Soup

Organic beef: 250g cut into small pieces

Wild Chinese yam (山药 Dioscorea opposita): 120g cut into pieces

Cooking instruction: Boil the two ingredients in 16oz of water (472ml).

Intake: Drink it slowly as and warm tea, once a day.
b. American Ginseng and Date Congee
American Ginseng: 10 g (cut into thin slices)
Chinese red date: 5 pieces
Cinnamon bar: 6 g
Dried Ginger: 6 g
Spring rice: 50g
Organic milk 4 oz.
Dark brown sugar

Cooking instruction: Cook all herbs in water. First boil at a lower

temperature for 20min and then use the herbal juice to cook rice to make
rice congee (porridge). When the congee is done, add the organic milk
and dark brown sugar in the congee and bring it to boil again for 1-2 min.
Intake: This is one serving. Take once a day. 7 days as course of
2. Heart Yin deficiency type:
In this pattern of heart condition, patient tends to feel a warm sensation
on the chest, palms and bottoms of the feet, heart palpitations, low
spirits, forgetfulness, insomnia, dry lips and mouth. They may also have
constipation and only a small quantity of urine that is dark in color,
regardless of whether or not the patient drinks a lot of water or not.
a. Lotus seed dessert

Lotus seed: 120g (soak to soften then

steam it till tender)
Fresh pineapple: 80g (cut into pieces)
Longan ( 龙眼肉Euphoria longan fruit) dried: 15 g
Green Soy beans (青豆) cooked or canned
Rock sugar: 20g (冰糖)

Cooking instruction: In a pot with water, cook green soy beans and
longan fruit. Cook lotus seeds rock sugar together and bring to a boil.
Then add fresh pineapple to the soup and serve.
Intake: Can be served alone or along with meals.
b. Cordyceps and sweat rice congee

Sweet rice: 50g

Rock sugar 30g
Cordyceps powder: (冬虫夏草Cordyceps sinensis) 1g

Cooking instruction: Make rice soup with water, sweet rice and rock
sugar and cook untill it’s done. Then add Cordyceps powder in the congee,
boiling for 15 minutes. After it’s all done, cover the congee for 5 minutes
before serving.
Intake: One serving, once a day. 7 days is a course of treatment.
3. Heart and Spleen deficiency type:
The main symptom in this pattern of heart condition is low appetite,
abdominal bloating, pale complexion, easily becoming dizzy, shortness of
breath and heart palpitations. Most of the patients with this pattern of
diagnosis tend to eat less and sleep less during the night and experience
extreme fatigue and low spirits.
a. Dang gui Lamb Soup; 当归羊肉汤

Dang Gui: ( 当归Angelica sinensis )25g

Huang qi ;(黄芪黄芪 Astragalus) 25g
Dang shen: ( 党参Codonopsis )25g
Lamb meat: 500g (cut into small pieces)
Green onion: 6g
Ginger: 6 g
Sea salt (easy on the salt)
Cooking wine

Cooking instruction: Put all the herbs in a gauze cloth and tie off the
bag. Put lamb in a clay pot or glassware, with ginger, green onion, salt
and cooking wine with the herbal bag together to make soup till the lamb
is very tender.
Intake: Along with meal, once a day. Drink the soup and eat the meat.
b. Ginseng and shou wu congee
American ginseng: 3 g
Cordyceps powder: 2 g
He shou wu: (何首乌Polygonum )15A
Bai he : ( 百合Lilium bulbs )12 g
Spring rice: 60g

Cooking instruction: Soak the Polygonum and Lilium bulbs in 500ml

water for one hour then bring it to boil for 20 minutes until water is
reduced to about 200ml. Then only use the liquid part, the herbal juice, to
make congee with spring rice. When the rice congee is done, add
American ginseng and Cordyceps powder to the congee and mix well
before serving.
Intake: Take it warm as breakfast or dinner, 1-2 times per day
4. Heart and Kidney Yang deficiency type:
The characteristic of this type of heart condition is a feeling of cold on all
four limbs with loose stool or/and watery diarrhea and very pale
complexion. Most of this type of patient tends to be in a chronic condition
and in the elderly manifests with being in very low spirits and exhaustion
without enough strength to talk.
a. Ba Ji Beef Soup

Organic Beef: 250 g , cut into small piece

Ba Ji tian (巴戟天Morinda officinalis)30 g
Ginger, green onion, Sichuan pepper, salt and cooking wine

Cooking instruction: In a clay pot or glassware, put all ingredient

together and appropriate amount of water to cook it at lower temperature
until meat is tender and falls apart.
Intake: Serve as side dishe along with meal.
b. Wild Yam Tea
Chinese wild yam: (山药, Dioscorea opposita) 60g
Du Zhong : (杜仲Eucommia ulmoides )30g

Cooking instruction: Wash the two herbs until clean and soak for one
hour, then boil at medium temperature for 20-30 minutes. Discard the
herb, only drink the juice.
Serve: As tea.

[Dr. Helen Hu, originally from Beijing China, has studied

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since the age of 12. A Cardiologist and
practitioner of integrated medicine for nine years before immigrating to
the United States, Dr. Hu passed the “U.S. Licensing Medical Exam”
(USLME) in 1997 while simultaneously obtaining her Oriental Medical
Degree (OMD) in the US. Dr. Hu currently directs and manages a
successful TCM practice in San Diego. She lectures locally on Acupuncture
and the benefits of combining Eastern / Western styles of Medicine. Dr.
Hu has been practicing Tai Ji and Qi Gong over 25 years, and she teaches
these ancient Chinese arts Saturday mornings on Shelter Island in San
Diego as a gift to the community and to help promote well-being and
longevity. or]
Overcoming Diseases Through Nutrition
by Ken Andes, L.Ac.
“If a person is diseased, he should be treated with food first.
If food treatment fails to work, then use herbs.”
— Bian Que, Famous TCM Physician , Warring States Period

I cannot address and emphasis it

enough how important TCM food therapy is as an acupuncturist. Since
acupuncture is only part of the whole Traditional Chinese Medicine, in my
opinion, to understand and learn TCM nutrition and food therapy is the
most important component of health care in our profession. All of the
fancy fitness machine, retreats, expensive vitamins and anti-aging
hormones, and surgical procedures that money can buy will not make up
for a poor diet life style.
A simple way to lead a healthy and happy life is to make a healthy life
style change step by step start from diet.

When people come to my office with a long list of complicated health

problems, the first thing that we do is correct their diet. When people
come with a history of chronic disorders such as irritable bowel, diabetes,
heart disease, and even emotional disorders, more often than not their
diet is not suitable for their body type and current medical condition. If
they are able to make certain changes in their diet and eating habits
synergistically with exercise, natural herbs and acupuncture treatment, it
is not only overcome disorders of the body but support and strengthen
body for better health and prevent from disease recurrent.

If they continue to eat poorly, not only are the chances of recovery slim
but a quick recurrence of the disorder is almost guaranteed even if a
temporary recovery is seen.

The following nutritional guidelines come from over 15 years of study as

both a health professional and competitive athlete. They combine both
western nutritional sciences with ritualistic nutritional theories from
Chinese Medicine. These are the guidelines that I give to my patients and
I have yet to meet a single person who has not responded favorably to
them. Enjoy!

Ultimately the healthiest way to eat is to choose foods based upon what
your bodily instincts tell you to eat. When to eat, how much, and what
particular foods to eat can be determined if you are sensitive enough to
the messages your body gives you. The problem with this is that most of
us have lost our natural instincts in a society where we are force fed
unnatural food several times per day. TCM teaches that we are born with
different body constitution; the choice of diet should fit in different body
constitution in order to maximize our body resistant, promote well being
and longevity.

Until this instinct is restored through natural living, follow these guidelines
in addition to regular Qigong practice, holistic exercise, and plenty of
sleep. This method of nutrition will not only improve your physical health,
it will help you to reform a connection with Universal Spirit (Tao),in a
word, Yang Sheng ( nourishing life)

Start with the premise that life as we know it comes from the yang energy
of sunlight and the yin energy of water. Sunlight and water are the
principle sources of life energy (qi), and it follows that the healthiest foods
will contain the largest concentration of sunlight and water. Water is yin,
and sunlight is yang, human life is supported by the heaven ( sunlight ,the
yang energy) and earth ( water , the yin energy).

The foundation of nutrition first starts with proper hydration. It is

imperative that you drink enough water throughout the day. Room
temperature water is more easily assimilated than cold water and
absorption will be further enhanced if you slowly sip the water rather than
gulp it. You can easily determine whether or not you’re drinking enough
water by observing the color of your urine. Anything darker than light
yellow means that you’re not drinking enough.

After water, fruits and vegetables contain not only the highest water
content, but are also directly infused with the yang energy of the sun.
Because they are the most direct embodiment of the yin/yang energies of
water and sunlight, at least 50% to 70% of your diet should be in the
form of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, fresh fruits and vegetables
contain the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber that western
nutritional literature has already spoken about in depth.

I’m a big believer in using the glycemic index to choose foods. The
glycemic index is a rating of various foods based on how drastic of an
effect they have on your blood sugar. Foods with a high rating are to be
avoided and foods with a low rating are preferred. I’ve always found it
interesting that the only vegetables with a high (non-desirable) rating
were potatoes and carrots, two vegetables that grow in the ground and
receive very little exposure to the sun.

Next to fruits and vegetables, animal products contain the next highest
infusion of water and sunlight. Lean meats such as pork, chicken, fish,
and beef contain the qi energy of the animal, the yang energy of the
sunlight it was exposed to, and the yin energy of the water content in its
flesh. At least 25% to 50% of your diet should be in the form of quality
protein sources.

Remember that the word “protein” comes from the Latin word “protos”
which means “of first importance”. Protein is necessary for every
metabolic process in the body.

In the past five years of my clinical practice, I have not met one single
patient who has not experienced greater health, higher energy levels, and
improved moods from the addition of more protein to their diet. Almost
every single patient I have seen has also greatly benefited from the
reduction or even elimination of starches and sugar.

As TCM teaches, that high starch content food tends to generate phlegm
(fat) in the body according to Pi Wei Lun by Dr.Li Dong Yuan about 800
years ago in Chinese Medicine history. High starch food will overload
Spleen organ, and compromise the transformation function of spleen that
will lead to low energy production, low defensive energy and more phlegm
accumulation in the body. People will manifest both physical and
emotional disorders related to Spleen organ. (Editor’s comment)
If your budget allows, it is better to eat organic produce and meats. This
is especially important when buying meats. Most commercially raised
animals receive little exposure to sunlight, clean water, and often endure
morbidly depressing lives. The qi energy from the flesh of such an animal
is not going to be nearly as healthy or nourishing as that of a farm raised
animal that was given lots of sunlight (yang), water (yin), and care
(love). My feelings are that the extra money you spend on organic food
will lead to decreased medical expenses, more productivity at work, and a
closer affinity to the living energy of plants and animals.

If you are a vegetarian, the best source of protein for you will be a quality
whey protein supplement such as Designer Whey. Other good sources of
protein are cottage cheese and eggs.
I am not a fan of soy and tofu products. Not only are they incomplete
protein sources that lack essential amino acids, there is still much debate
about whether or not soy products can have damaging effects on one’s
hormonal system. It is controversial subjects to discuss the benefits of
Soy and Tofu since there are many confused information from both diary
company supported research data and bio medicine research for the claim
of hormone contents in the soy, even though in Asia, most of people has
been living with soy and its related food products for thousands of year.

Eggs are considered in both western and eastern nutrition to be one of the
most perfect foods. From a western perspective, eggs are a complete
protein and contain every necessary nutrient except vitamin C. From an
eastern perspective, eggs contain a tremendous amount of qi energy as
they are the “seeds” of chicken, which brings me to my next point….

After water, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, nuts and seeds contain a
very high concentration of qi and should be included in your daily diet.
Seeds contain an enormous amount of life energy in that they are able to
germinate into a large plant if given proper exposure to sunlight, water,
and soil. Nuts and seeds also provide the body with essential fatty acids
that are necessary for cell health and metabolic functions. About 10% to
25% of your diet should be from nuts and seeds. The best choices are
almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

Remember that there are essential amino acids (found in protein) and
essential fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds, and meats). However, there is
no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. This should tell you
something. The body does not need carbohydrates to live, although a
certain amount of carbs will provide for optimum health. Your
carbohydrate needs will be more than adequately met by eating plenty of
fruits and vegetables.

So far you have learned that holistic nutrition is based upon receiving
energy (qi) from foods that have a high exposure to and concentration of
sunlight and water. Foods that are as close as possible to the living state
will give you the highest levels of health and vitality. I now ask you,
“Where do starches fit in to this?”

Starches such as breads (all kinds including whole wheat), rice, pasta,
cereals, potatoes, and grains are essentially dead foods that contain
almost no nutritional value. Because they are devoid of living properties,
starches not only offer minimal qi, they sap you of energy by making you
feel run down, tired, and dull.

Whole wheat and whole grain products are a nutritional industry scam and
are just as damaging as white flour products. Don’t believe the hype.

From a western nutritional standpoint, most starches rate high on the

glycemic index and can cause drastic fluctuations in blood sugar.
Consumption of starches has been linked to a higher incidence of
diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.

Water, plant food, lean meats, eggs, nuts and seeds. These are the foods
that Universal Spirit has provided in nature for human beings to eat. This
also represents the healthiest diet that will allow you to quickly regain
your health while living with vigor and vitality. Eating this way will help
you reconnect with your natural instincts by infusing you not only with
nutrients but the life giving forces of yin, yang, and qi.

This last guideline is especially important: how you eat is just as

important as what you eat. You must remember that when you eat you
are consuming something that was once alive. We are all part of the
same energy within the Universal, and the act of eating represents the
nature of one spirit flowing into another. Show respect for the spirit of the
food by paying attention as you eat. Chew your food well and allow
yourself to feel the immediate effects of the food on your body. This is an
important exercise for relearning how to listen to your body and natural
instincts. Many Americans eat while reading or watching TV, and I think
this is a major cause for obesity in this country. Many people will eat an
entire meal without having tasted the food because they were watching
TV or engaging in some other distraction while eating. This causes them
to overeat until they feel so full that more food will not fit in their
Dr. Ken Andes, L.Ac, D.Ac. (RI) is a licensed acupuncturist;
board certified herbalist, and medical qigong instructor. Dr. Andes has
practiced various qigong for over 14 years, and he serves as vice-
president of WISH and runs a private medical practice in Suffern, NY.
Life-Nurturing Regimen: As revealed by a centenarian, 101 years old
Reported by the United Daily News (Taipei)

If someone can live to the ripe old age of 101 years without any major
health problems, still retain his natural teeth and the ability to read
newspapers without glasses; he must have kept a good health regimen.
With this in mind, Mr. Kai-chen Tsui (崔介忱), was interviewed by Taipei
United Daily News reporters who hoped to learn his secret of longevity.

Mr. Tsui was born on January 12, 1910. He lives with his 96-year-old wife
and a granddaughter who is over 40. When he was 66, he retire from his
job at the Personnel Department, Police Bureau of Taiwan.
Mr. Tsiu is free of any ailments. He demonstrates his good health and flexibility by doing an
acrobatic exercise of spreading his legs wide, at an 180 degree angle, bending forward from
his waist, and touching the ground with his forehead, and then wrapping his legs around his
neck, showing that the flexibility of his body is like that of a young child. Mr. Tsui also has the
stamina to do 108 push-ups in a row.




Do not overfeed yourself at meals; sleep well; exercise daily;

be never in want of adequate nutrition;
always try to be happy; keep yourself free from worries and troubles;
and always retain a good sense of conscience;then you may live in youth
and health even when you have reached the age of 101 years.


Mr. Tsui told the reporters: “The normal length of a human life span is around 5 to 6 times
25 years, i.e., around 125-175 years. The secret of healthy longevity lies in: adequate
sustenance, adequate sleep, and adequate exercise, having a cheerful spirit and being
happy”. (Before his retirement at 66 years of age, he was like others showing the usual
symptoms of senility. After retirement he started relentlessly practicing a daily routine he
learned as a young man when he joined the army and was sent to Manchuria. While he was
there, this routine was taught him by a monk in a Buddhist temple in Manchuria. Since
retirement he has practiced it without missing a single day.

He rises at 4:30 AM and opens his windows to let in the fresh air to circulate around his
room, then goies back to his large bed to do his in-bed exercise.

He has never had to be in a hospital since retirement, nor has he had to use his medical
insurance card.

His Life-nurturing Regimen:

1. The primary key to longevity is always be happy and be optimistic without quandary; the
second key is living a regular life naturally, and the third is to exercise often, even when

2. Exercise everyday his in-bed exercise in twenty modes (fetal breathing, hair-combing,
eyes massaging, hips swinging, behind-ear rubbing, etc., etc. 20 modes)

3. Turtle breathing is to breathe deep and long, smooth, natural and regular in a
completely relaxed mode, to stimulate self-healing power of your body.

4. Don’t skip breakfast, taking in soy-milk, porridge, whatever, frugally.

5. Take a walk in the nearby park after breakfast.

6. Walk to anywahere in the walking distance.

7. The diet should be composed mainly of veggies, and don’t be picky.

8. Eat not much meat and fried, frozen, over-spicy or salty food.

9. Stay away from the sweets.

10. Never blind-believe in organic foods, just buy the normal veggies from the groceries, and
dip the veggies in water for 20 minutes before you rinse and cook.

11. Don’t eat those pricy foods such as abalone nd shark’s fin, and just enjoy the simple tea
and simple meals.

12. Never take anything besides drinking water after 7:00 p.m.

13. Never smoke, drink or chew gum or betel nuts.

14. For the health of brain-1: Use all ten fingers to “comb” your hair from front to the rear
108 times.

15. For the health of brain-2: Place your hands one on the forehead and the other on the
back of the head to massage the head horizontally 108 times.

16. For the health of brain-3: Never play Mahjongg over eight rounds, and never sacrifice any
sleep playing it.
17. For the teeth hygiene 1: Concentrate on your teeth and clench them tight together
during bowel action to prevent teeth decay.

18. For the teeth hygiene 2: Don’t use toothpaste, but use only brush and salt to clean your

19. To preserve eyesight 1: Press the tips of your thumbs to press on both the Inner corners
of your eyes 180 times.

20. To preserve eyesight 2: Use both the middle fingers and ring fingers to massage the rims
of eyes outward 108 times.

21. To preserve eyesight 3: Use your salty saliva secreted by your teeth brushing to wipe
your eyes.

22. To preserve good hearing 1: Use both middle fingers and ring fingers to hold both
earlobes between and massage up and down 108 times.

23. To preserve good hearing 2: Use middle fingers to massage the areas in front of the
upper earlobes 108 times.

24. To preserve good hearing 3: Use both hands to massage the entire area of the earlobes
36 times.

25. For the gastronomical health: Place your index, middle and ring fingers on the navel and
rub 81 times clockwise.

26. For the health of bladder: Place your hands one on the top of the other below your navel
and rub 108 times.

27. To alleviate waist pain: Lie down with both legs drawn to the tummy and kick out 108

28. To alleviate hemorrhoid pain: Lie down and bend the tips of both feet inwards while
contracting your anus 10 times.

29. To preserve leg strength: Lie down and bend the tips of both feet inwards while
stretching both legs straight out and lifting them upward 30 times.

30. To keep shoulders straight: Holding hands together in front and lifting them above head
36 times.

31. To strengthen arms and waists: Do push-up 36 times.

32. Self-healing exercise: Sit still in lotus posture and breathe deeply 36 times with tongue
licking the upper palate, while inhaling with nose and exhaling with mouth.
More photos with Chinese text:

See Youtube video of Mr. Tsiu’s exercises in Chinese:

The Autumn/Fall Season

By Ellasara Kling
The Autumn/Fall season is perfectly designed for letting go. Letting go of the things
we have allowed to reside within us that cause
irritation/disruption/sadness/disharmony of all sorts whether large or small. Like the
leaves that are now preparing to leave the trees, we can prepare to release what we
have clung to that no longer serves us, and by doing so, gain greater clarity,
detachment, understanding, rectitude, — essentially balance and harmony. How do
we know what no longer serves us? Read on in this month’s health topic for some
ideas on this issue.

Autumn/Fall is Lung Season

The organ system for this season is the Lung/Large Intestine. Among its many other
functions, we are most familiar with the idea that the Lungs are in charge of the flow
of air in and out of our bodies. They connect our “insides” with our “outside” through
the nose, its sense organ. The Lung is literally the highest placed organ in the torso
and directs the qi it receives downward to the other organs. It is therefore known as
the administrator of the organ system. The Lung is known as a “delicate” organ and
is, indeed, very sensitive to changes in hot, cold, dryness, dampness, and wind. The
Lung is responsible for providing proper moisture to the skin and similarly through its
paired partner, the Large Intestine, dry hair is a sign of Lung/Large Intestine
imbalance. Skin problems are always associated with the function of Lung energy, as
the skin is its “outer” representative. It also breathes, is delicate and it protects our
“insides” from the outside. Grief and sadness are the emotions associated with the
Lung and crying is its “sound”. An attitude of rectification (setting “things” in balance)
can counter balance Lung sadness, which is important as too much sadness can
dissipate qi.
The Autumn (Lung Season) is
also known for the beginning of cold/flu season. It is most important to take care of
our health by getting the proper rest, exercise (qigong/taiji/meditation/yoga practice is
vital), along with eating for our health and energy. On those wonderful clear Fall
days, be sure to get lots of fresh air and fill and empty the Lungs completely with
long, deep breaths and enjoy the sensation of air going in and out of the lungs and
the inhalation and exhalation of your skin as well. The beginning of Autumn is a
wonderful opportunity – ENJOY!
Eat Seasonal, Buy Local, Think Global!
Some Foods That Harmonize With Autumn
Apples, Apricot, Bamboo Shoots, Barley, Basil, Bai Mu Er – aka White Fungus,
Cauliflower, Chicken Egg, Chickweed, Cilantro, Coriander, Cow’s Milk, Eggplant,
Fennel bulb, Garlic, Ginger, Job’s Tears (Chinese Barley), Kohlrabi, Kumquat, Lily
Bulb, Lotus Root, Lotus seeds, Mustard – leaf and seeds, Onions – Green, Yellow,
Red, Shallots, Parsnip, Peanuts, Pears, Peppermint, Persimmon, Pine Nut, Radish,
Spinach, Strawberry, Walnut, Water Chestnut,
This is a light satisfying soup that is relatively quick to make and that
nourishes the Lung and Large Intestine energies.
Spinach Soup w/Snow Fungus

Snow fungus
2 bunches of fresh spinach
½ cup of Snow fungus
2 beaten eggs
1-1/2 qt light vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 thin slices of ginger
1 TB soy sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 oz tofu – cut in ½” cubes
2 TB toasted sesame oil
Carefully and thoroughly clean the spinach, remove the stems and cut leaves into 2”
Soak the Snow fungus in hot water until softened and rinse a few times.
Cut into small pieces removing the “stem”.
Bring the broth to a simmer; add the snow fungus, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper
– bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, add the spinach, stir simmer until
spinach begins to wilt
Pour in the eggs slowly in a steady stream stirring the soup gently in one direction
Add the tofu and heat through.
Serve and sprinkle a little sesame oil on top of each bowl.
A Fall Congee:
Congee is especially good for the elderly, people who are ill or recovering from
illness, or people suffering from loss of appetite, and makes a healthy,
breakfast as well.
Make rice congee* w/ ginger, when 90% complete, add scallion whites with a bit of
the green, when ready to serve add chopped cilantro and diced pressed, black tofu
(seasoned with Five Spice Powder and Soy Sauce).
* New to congee a/k/a rice porridge? Here is a basic recipe: 1 cup of rice to 9
cups of water. Wash the rice so that the water runs clear, add fresh water to a
large, heavy bottomed soup pot, bring water w/rice to a boil, reduce heat, cover with
the lid slightly tilted to let some steam out and stirring occasionally (to make certain
the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom).
Cook slowly for about 1-1/4 hours until the rice is creamy. You can add more water if
necessary or if you want it thinner.
You can add almost anything to congee to create the flavor you are looking for.
There are innumerable variations, so use your own imagination. It is best to keep the
taste light, but as above, it can be very flavorful. Serving congee with small bowls of
“added ingredients” gives family/guests the opportunity to flavor it their way to their
own taste.
As mentioned in other articles, every culture has foods that coincide with the
flow of nature. Here are two lively Autumn examples from the Middle Eastern
area of the world.
They each are aromatic/pungent flavored dishes that use many spices you may
already know with a familiar vegetable in, perhaps, a different way.
Middle Eastern Style Cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower
1-2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Enough boiling water to finish the quantity of rice you are using.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cloves finely minced garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
White rice that is ¾ cooked water drained.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Break the cauliflower into large florets and place on a baking sheet
Lightly brush the florets with the oil and bake until they just begin to brown, remove
from the oven.
While the cauliflower is baking, place all the spices in a saucepan/wok and heat
through – being careful not to burn the spices. Then add the boiling water stir and
add the partially cooked rice. Finish cooking the rice. Serve by placing the
fragrant/spiced rice on a platter and then putting the baked cauliflower on top.
The rice carries the fragrant spices and the roasted cauliflower adds a sweet
2 cups water
2 pounds parsnips, washed, peeled and cut into triangular type slices
5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB chopped cilantro or flat parsley
Steam the parsnips until tender, but still strong. Set the parsnips aside separating
them from the steaming liquid which you will save.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a wok/heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat till it
shimmers. Then, reduce the heat and add the spices. .
Lightly toast the spices, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add a 1/2 cup of the parsnip water and simmer covered for 15 minutes not allowing
the water to completely evaporate – -add more parsnip water if necessary.
Stir in the parsnips, covering them with the spice/water mixture and heat through for
a few minutes.
Place on a platter, sprinkle with the lemon juice and cilantro/parsley.
Ginger Tea

*Ginger tea: So many variations on Ginger Tea. . . .So useful on a daily basis and
pleasant to drink. And here’s some of the reasons for its ongoing popularity: Ginger
tea has been used for literally thousands of years in Asian cultures as a medicinal as
well as a pleasant, relaxing and invigorating warm drink. Ginger is known to calm the
stomach, reduce inflammation (as in arthritis and ulcerative colitis), relieve
headaches, stuffed up sinuses and other cold/flu symptoms, reduce menstrual
cramps, alleviate nausea, increase circulation, and much, much more. It is almost a
panacea that also has brilliant culinary benefits.
Ginger tea can be as simple as chopping fresh ginger (about 1 tsp. per 6 oz cup) and
placing it in a pot with cold water, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer for a couple of
minutes. Pour into your cup and sip. . . add honey or other sweetener, if desired.
OR: Ginger tea can be made: 1” of chopped ginger, the whites only of 4-5 scallions
(depending on size) and the dried rind of one tangerine in a quart of water. Bring to a
boil, reduce to a simmer for 4-5 minutes (longer and it begins to get bitter), remove
the “ingredients” and add sweetener – or not – and sip slowly. This common recipe
is terrific for “knocking out” the symptoms of a cold/flu; warming up from a chilly day,
or if you have become drenched, as I just did in a sudden summer rain storm.
OR: Ginger tea can be made with red dates, peppermint, almonds, or other
ingredients if you want to also “target” other experiences you would like to enhance
or balance out. The variations are multitudinous. Experiment and enjoy!
*(As with all strong herbs, consult with your TCM doctor if you have any special
issues or questions.)
Health Topic Letting Go: A path to health and vitality. Whether we live for five more
minutes for 500 more years, I think we would all agree that we want that “time” to be
healthy and filled with vibrant energy. Put another way, we want to “vibrate” in accord
with the energy of Life moment-to-moment-to-moment, for all the moments we have
in this consciousness. What prevents us from having that experience? The things we
hold onto and use to “jam up” our energy and thereby cause energy stagnation.
Where there is vibrancy, there is flow. Where there is stagnation, there is “dullness”
as our rate of vibration in that area slows down.
Of course, we now say, how do I flow more, how do I let go of the habits, thoughts,
feelings, beliefs that are hindering my sense of aliveness? How do I let go of these
things? How do we decide what to “let go” of? One way to get a clearer look at these
things is to consider what is out of balance in our body. Use our physicality as a
mirror for our consciousness. Use Five Element Theory to understand what that
physicality is telling us is stuck in our mind, emotions, beliefs and use the principles
of Five Element Theory to understand how to create the change that brings us that
greater vibrancy, harmony and balance. Ask yourself, for example, if Lung/Large
Intestine/Fall have the emotion of grief/sadness, what would balance out the sadness
I hold onto and carry about? How and where is that manifesting in me? What do Five
Element theory and the principles of Chinese medicine suggest for creating harmony
and balance? How do I apply that to my life?
Another method might be to ask ourselves what do we believe we cannot live
without? A friend wrote me today that there was a time that she didn’t think she could
“go without” cheese, even though it created dampness in her and that created
congestion. However, now that she has done so, that actually small change in her
diet is part of the greater health she is experiencing. I suggest we challenge
ourselves and pick something we think we cannot live without. It doesn’t have to be
the BIG thing, start small, especially if this kind of challenge is new to you.
Experience letting go of “it”. Perhaps, for some people it would be for one day, for
others much longer. It doesn’t have to be giving up a food. It could beincluding
something in. For example, including in new foods that carry the messages of
benefits for the areas you want to strengthen. Including in seasonal foods from a
local market. Or, it could be changing a way of relating to others, to oneself. Such as
finding the time in your busy day to truly listen to the concerns of those around you.
To let go of “busyness”. It could be letting go of staying indoors instead of finding a
pretty place to walk outside. The possibilities are endless. In choosing to increase
our vibrancy our intention will lead us naturally to those things that will work best for
each of us. In these ways, some very small and others not so tiny, we increase our
vibrancy, balance and harmony. In doing so, we increase the quality of our days
here and isn’t that ultimately what we often really want when we say we want
longevity? The ability to have the time to create an
harmonious/balanced/flowing/vibrant/healthy life? Start now.
Wishing you good health! Remember to smile at all things.
Qigong and the Respiratory System
Marty Eisen Ph. D.
1. Introduction

An outline of respiration will be given to help

understand some of the presented topics. The muscles used for breathing
are the diaphragm, which separates the abdominal and thoracic cavities
and the intercostals muscles. Inspiration occurs when these muscles
contract. Contraction of the diaphragm moves it downward, increasing the
vertical dimension of the thoracic cavity, while the contraction of the
intercostal muscles elevates the ribs and sternum, increasing the front-
to-rear dimension of thoracic cavity. Hence, the volume of the thoracic
cavity is increased and so lowers air pressure on the lungs, which allows
air to move into lungs. Relaxation of these muscles reduces the volume of
the thoracic cavity and so increases the pressure on the lungs and air is
Oxygen and carbon dioxide pass in and out of cells by diffusion, which
depends upon their partial pressure PO2 and PCO2, respectively. Blood
returning from the body to the lungs, via the alveolar capillaries has
higher PCO2 and lower PO2 than the inspired air in the alveoli and so CO2
diffuses into the alveoli to be expired and O2 diffuses into the capillaries,
to be carried by the blood to the cells. The higher PO2 and lower PCO2
values in the alveoli are the result of breathing in more O2 than CO2 and
expiring CO2.

The oxygenated blood is carried to the cells by the systematic capillaries,

maintaining the partial pressures of O2 and CO2. Oxygen diffuses from
the blood into the cells, while carbon dioxide diffuses from the cells into
blood, since working cells utilize O2 and produce CO2.

About 95% of the CO2 generated in the tissues is carried in the red blood
cells. Only about 5% of the CO2 generated in the tissues dissolves directly
in the plasma. It is hypothesized that CO2 enters (and leaves) a blood cell
by diffusion through the plasma membrane assisted by facilitated diffusion
through transmembrane channels in the plasma membrane. Once inside,
about one-half of the CO2 is directly bound to hemoglobin at a site
different from the one that binds oxygen. The rest is converted by the
enzyme carbonic anhydrase into bicarbonate ions and hydrogen ions. The
bicarbonate ions diffuse back out into the plasma. The hydrogen ions bind
to the protein portion of the hemoglobin. Hence, there is no effect on pH,
which keeps the body from becoming dangerously acidic.

Only 1.5% of oxygen carried in the blood is dissolved in the plasma;

98.5% is bound to the hemoglobin. The relationship hemoglobin
saturation (the percentage of hemoglobin molecules carrying oxygen) and
PO2 is important one, because hemoglobin carries most of the oxygen in
the blood and allows the percentage of O2 released to be calculated. The
graph of this function is called the oxygen-hemoglobin saturation curve.
Hemoglobin saturation increases with PO2 but levels off, to reach its
asymptotic value of 100%. For example, at a PO2 of 40 mm. Hg., which is
the average pressure in cells in a resting person, the hemoglobin
saturation is about 75%. This means 25% of hemoglobin molecules
release oxygen in the systemic capillaries. However, if activity is increased
and cells need more oxygen, hemoglobin molecules have 75% more
oxygen to provide. Suppose activity is increased and the PO2 in the active
cells is 20 mm. Hg. Then, the corresponding hemoglobin saturation is
about 25% and so 75% of hemoglobin molecules release oxygen in the
systemic capillaries (see the diagram).
Active cells produce more CO2 which combines with water to produce
carbonic acid; also more heat is produced. PO2 decreases which causes
red blood cells to increase production of the compound 2,3-
diphosphoglycerate. Intuitively, the hemoglobin saturation should
decrease for a fixed PO2, since more O2 should be released for the active
cells. This is actually how the oxygen-hemoglobin saturation function
behaves. Lower pH, increased temperature, more 2,3-diphosphoglycerate,
and increased levels of CO2, give a lower value of hemoglobin saturation
for any given PO2 value.

The respiratory rate is controlled by centers in the brain as well as

chemoreceptors. The rhythmicity center of the medulla controls automatic
breathing. The apneustic center and the pneumotaxic center, both located
in the pons, promote inspiration and inhibits inspiration, respectively.
There are also chemoreceptors located in aorta and carotid arteries and in
the medulla. These are influenced more by increased CO2 levels than by
decreased O2 levels and> stimulate the rhythmicity center resulting in an
increased rate of respiration.

The respiratory rate is also increased by vigorous exercise. The exact

explanation is not known, but it is not the result of increased production of
CO2. Since the scientific interpretation of Qi is controversial, the following
modern definition has been adopted. Qigong is a body-mind exercise that
integrates body, mind, and breath adjustments into one (1). An important
component of this definition is breathing adjustments. First, the effects of
breathing on the autonomic nervous system will be discussed. Section 3
investigates the movement of the diaphragm. The effects of Qigong on the
frequency, rhythm, and depth of respiration appear in Section 4. Next,
Qigong’s relation to respiratory functions and illnesses are described. How
Qigong reduces the number of free radicals and so might prevent some
diseases, including cancer, is discussed in Section 6. Finally, some effects
of left, right and alternate nostril breathing are presented.

2. Autonomic Nervous System Effects

Inspiration increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.
This will decrease the heart rate; lower the blood pressure; increase saliva
secretion, alimentary tract movement, and bladder contraction. Expiration
increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This will
increase the blood pressure; decrease saliva secretion and GI motility,
and dilate the pupils of the eyes (1). Other effects of activating the
autonomous system can be found in (2).

Thus, adjustment of breathing can influence the tissues, glands and

organs of the body via the autonomic nervous system. For example, there
are Qigong exercises for treating hypertension, enlarged prostate and
heart arrhythmias. These require several steps which must be learned and
usually a Qigong teacher is required. All of these methods have the
common feature of adjusting the breath. There is a simpler technique for
these problems that requires little study and can usually be mastered
alone. It only involves adjusting the respiration rate and is described in

Joint research, conducted by the University of California and the Shanghai

Qigong Research Institute in 2004, provides another illustration of the
effects of breathing on the autonomic nervous system (1). A metronome
was used to synchronize subjects’ respiratory frequency. Both the
respiration and heart rate were recorded simultaneously. Calculations of
the variance of respiratory and heart rate frequency showed that they
were identical with each other. A stable respiratory frequency induced a
stable heart rate with the same variance.

Conversely, improper breathing patterns can have adverse health effects.

For example, a hypertensive person, who normally inhales longer than he
exhales, will tend to raise his blood pressure.

3. Diaphragmatic Effects
The amplitude of the diaphragm’s movement, as observed by x-rays, is
enlarged in experienced breathing exercisers. For example, the amplitude
of diaphragmatic movement, for some practitioners of Internal Nourishing
Qigong, was about 150mm. This is 3–4 times as great as normal (1).

Another research project measured the amplitude of the diaphragmatic

movement of a tuberculosis group when breathing deeply. It averaged
29.7mm. After two months of Qigong practice it averaged 59.7mm (1).

In another experiment for treating bronchial asthma and chronic

bronchitis subjects practiced Relaxation Qigong (Fang Song Gong) and
Lesser Heavenly Circulation (Xiao Zhou Tian). After gaining some
proficiency, fluoroscopic observation showed that the movement of their
diaphragms significantly increased while practicing qigong. In addition,
their respiratory frequency (number of breaths per minute) decreased (4).
Some subjects’ respiratory frequency was reduced to 2–3 breaths/min.
while practicing the Lesser Heavenly Circulation (also called Small
Circulation Qigong or Microcosmic Orbit) (1).

The normal respiratory rate in adults ranges from 14 – 16 breaths per

minute, but is greatly reduced for experienced Qigong practitioners while
practicing. Hence, the energy expended is less than in normal breathing,
even though the diaphragm has a greater displacement. Coupled with the
fact that the larger displacement of the diaphragm allows greater oxygen
absorption and carbon dioxide expulsion, more energy is produced during
Qigong practice, than when resting and breathing normally. Additionally,
the greater movement of the diaphragm produces a stronger massaging
effect on abdominal viscera, which aids both digestion and elimination.

4. Effects on Frequency, Rhythm, and Depth of Respiration

Normally, an adult’s respiratory frequency can range between 12–18
breaths per minute. It depends on the person’s condition and posture.
Energy and oxygen consumption vary when standing, sitting, and lying,
being less when lying. Intentionally reducing the respiratory rate, even if
lying and only for a few minutes, results in

During static Qigong in the seated position subject’s respiratory frequency

is reduced to 4–5 breaths/min. Skilled practitioners can exhibit very slow
respiratory rates between 1–2 breaths per minute, or even lower (1).
They are relaxed and no discomfort is exhibited at this low respiratory
frequency. This is the result of other physiological changes induced by

During Qigong practice, the maximal ability to move gas in and out of
lungs, usually quantified by measuring maximum expiratory flow rates
(ventilatory capacity) can be about 28% lower due to the decrease of the
respiratory frequency. However, the tidal capacity (the amount of air your
lungs hold during normal breathing) can average about 78% higher
because of the increase in respiratory depth (1). Moreover a higher uptake
rate of oxygen is observed. Hence, the saturation of blood oxygen is
maintained at a physiological level or higher, which provides better
conditions for cells to take in sufficient oxygen. Thus, experienced Qigong
practitioners won’t suffer hypoxia from low respiratory rates.

5. Qigong Effects on Respiratory Functions and Illnesses

Other parameters, besides the ventilatory and tidal capacities, are used to
study lung function. Some examples are: (forced) vital capacity – the
maximum amount of air a person can expel from the lungs after a
maximum inspiration, timed vital capacity – the maximum amount of air
during a forced vital capacity determination that can be expelled in a
given number of seconds, maximal ventilatory volume – the maximal
amount of air that a person can breathe in or out in a short period of time,
typically 10, 12, or 15 seconds but recorded as the volume in 1 minute.
The Total lung capacity is the volume of air in the lungs after the deepest

Airway or respiratory (tract) resistance (also called impedance) is the

opposition to flow caused by the forces of friction. It is defined as the ratio
of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. If the pressure varies with time,
the average pressure is used when a single value is given. Admittance is
the reciprocal of the resistance.
In 2002, the Shanghai Qigong Research Institute studied the changes in
respiratory function of 312 Health Qigong practitioners at two six month
intervals. The results of the two tests showed that their vital capacity,
timed vital capacity, and maximal ventilatory volume all increased
significantly. The first-second exhaling speed of practitioners over 60 also
increased significantly (1). These results indicate that regular Qigong
practice not only increases lung volume and respiratory capacity, but also
improves the common syndrome of respiratory deterioration related to

The forced respiratory gas flow rate capacity (The modern terminology
might be maximal ventilatory volume.) and respiratory tract impedance
were tested in bronchial asthmatics before and after Qigong practice. The
forced tract impedance was significantly reduced and the forced
respiratory gas flow rate capacity was significantly increased (1). The
findings, indicating improvement in respiratory function, provides evidence
that Qigong for treatment of bronchial asthma was effective.

Capacity tracing equipment was used to measure respiratory gas flow

rates, intrapleural pressures, and thoracic gas volumes for a Qigong and
control group of 7 subjects by Corey (1). Using these measurements,
respiratory tract impedances were calculated. Then, the ratio of
admittance to thoracic gas volume, called the admittance ratio, was
calculated before and after Qigong practice. The Qigong group’s
admittance ratio rose quickly by 12.1% , on average, to about 20% at the
end of the practice. Though dropping quickly after Qigong practice, the
admittance ratio was still 8% higher than the control group. The control
group’s admittance ratio remained the same. These results suggest that
Qigong can improve respiratory function. Since there were only a small
number of subjects, larger scale experiments should. Sun Yinxing et al.
(5) studied changes in respiratory function of 14 elderly patients suffering
from respiratory or cardiac disease after 18 months of practicing Tai Chi
and Qigong (5). Their vital capacity, total lung capacity, and forced vital
capacity significantly increased on the average by 3.31%, 7.34%, and
18.11 %, respectively. Although there were a small number of subjects
and no control group, the improvements in lung function deserves further
The effect of 3 months of Qigong combined with standard drug therapy for
20 chronic respiratory patients was investigated by Li Ziran et al (6). The
control group consisted of 10 subjects taking only drugs. The combined
therapy was more effective in improving symptoms, energy, appetite, and
sleep. During the course of treatment, the combined therapy group’s
breathing rate decreased significantly, on the average, from 19.3 breaths
per minute to 6.6. The breathing rate of the controls only went, on the
average, from 20.1 to 18.2.

Hua Huang (7) used Relaxation Qigong, quiet breathing, two or three
times daily for 20 t0 30 minutes, self-massage, concentrating on
acupoints, and other such techniques to treat bronchial asthma. All 99
patients practiced seated to lessen the chances of an asthmatic attack.
Drugs were only used for acute attacks. These treatments were
administered from one to two months. Improvement was measured by the
five following criteria: decreased frequency, severity and duration of
asthmatic attacks, less usage of drugs, and increased capacity for physical
work. Four years later 30 patients had no attacks for at least one year.
Twenty-four improved in more than two of the five criteria. No change or
improvement was exhibited by 6 patients.

Decreased vital capacity was directly associated with increased mortality

in the Framingham Study on risk factors for heart disease (8). Another
long research project on risk factors for longevity concluded that vital
capacity was more significant in predicting longevity than cholesterol,
smoking or insulin metabolism (9). Qigong’s ability to increase vital
capacity may be another reason that Qigong may increase the chance for
a longer life.

6. Qigong and Free Radicals

Free radicals are unstable atoms, molecules or ions with an unpaired
electron in their outermost or valence shell. To regain stability free
radicals seize electrons from stable molecules causing cell damage, which
may lead to cancer, more rapid aging and other degenerative diseases.

Normal metabolism creates certain harmful byproducts, such as, free

radicals. The production of these radical can be increased by physical
(working too hard, insufficient rest or illness), mental or environmental
(pollutants) stress.

To combat these radicals the body produces antioxidant enzymes – such

as: glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, methione reductase
and catalase, which neutralize them.

However, the body can be unbalanced by illness or stress and the high
demand for antioxidants cannot be met.
One solution is to use antioxidant supplements (Vitamins A, C, E;
selenium and germanium), antioxidant enzymes, or coenzyme Q10.

Another cheaper and readily available solution is to practice stationary,

deep breathing exercises as in some forms of Qigong. This will produce an
increased demand for oxygen which is taken up from the blood by a cell.
Free radicals are neutralized by combining with the oxygen molecules.
Thus, the daily practice of quiet Qigong can enhance your health

The exact explanation of why slow, deep breathing alone can increase the
oxygen level in the blood and the uptake level is not known. Some
research on these facts appears in (10) and (11).

Some forms of Qigong reduce stress and so reduce the number of free
radicals. Other types of still Qigong decrease the uptake of oxygen
because they reduce metabolic activity and so reduce the production of
free radicals. In fact, some practitioners can almost completely eliminate
their need for food (Bigu) or sleep and greatly reduce their need for air,
without any ill effects (12).

Some forms of Qigong may enhance the body’s production of antioxidant

enzymes and so promote health. For example, some experiments have
been conducted to measure levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in
subjects practicing Qigong. SOD protects cells from the free radical
superoxide. One trial consisted of 200 subjects, ranging from 52 to 76,
divided into a Qigong and a non-practitioner group, each composed of 50
men and 50 women. The Qigong group practiced E Mei Nei Gong, Liu Bu
Yang Sheng Gong, relaxation and self massage for at least a half an hour
per day for about one year. SOD levels increased significantly in the
Qigong group compared to the control group (13). Another research
project (14) also found a significant increase in SOD levels in116 subjects
after practicing Qigong for two months.

More research on Qigong’s effects on other antioxidant enzymes produced

by the body is required.

Since free radicals can be neutralized by combining with oxygen

molecules, why not breath rapidly and forcefully (hyperventilate)?
Hyperventilation can result in paresthesia in the hands, feet and lips,
weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, headache,
chest pain, slurred speech, , and sometimes fainting Although the
concentration of O2 in the blood is increased, the concentration of CO2 is
drastically reduced and the blood becomes more alkaline or the pH is
increased. Thus, the hemoglobin saturation is increased and less O2 will
be released for use by cells.

7. Effects of Left, Right and Alternate Nostril Breathing

Breathing through the left, right or alternating nostrils is used in some
forms of Qigong but is more commonly practiced in Yoga Breathing
(Pranyama) exercises. Ancient texts mention 72,000 subtle channels
(nadis) in which prana (vital energy) flows. Two

main channels are the ida and pingala nadis. The

ida and pingala run from the left and right sides, respectively, of the
Muladhara (Base Chakra or energy center) near the base of the coccyx to
the Sahasrara (Crown Chakra near the posterior fontanelle at top of the
head. These nadis enter each of the chakras on one side and emerge from
the other side as they coil their way to the crown of the head. At the Ajna
chakra, positioned between the eyebrows, Ida and Pingala send branches
to the left and right nostrils, respectively.
Ida is white, feminine, cold, represents the moon and is associated with
the Ganges River. Pingala is red, masculine, hot, represents the sun and is
associated with the Yamuna River.

Ultradian rhythms are an important characteristic of the autonomic

nervous system (ANS). These occur because one branch of the
sympathetic nervous system (SNS) dominates one side of the body, and
one branch of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) dominates on
the opposite side, and then the two systems switch dominance periodically
on the two sides. This leads to lateralized rhythms of the ANS and their
respective innervated organs and structures, including the cerebral
hemispheres (15).

The nasal cycle is the alternating obstruction of the left and right nostrils.
It is a physiological condition resulting from activation of one half of the
ANS by the hypothalamus and is not pathological nasal congestion. This
cycle, known long ago by Yogis, was first described by the physician
Richard Kayser in 1895 (16). Research indicates that the nasal cycle
closely mimics the ultradian rhythm of alternating cerebral hemispheric
activity. Its period ranges from 25–340 minutes while awake and from
25–300 minutes while asleep. The left nostril is more open and the right
more congested when the right hemisphere of the brain is more active
and is associated with increased activity of the PNS. The right nostril is
more open and the left more congested when the left hemisphere of the
brain is more active and is associated with increased activity of the SNS.

Studies have also shown that these lateralized ultradian rhythms are also
tightly coupled to the ultradian rhythms of the neuroendocrine,
cardiovascular, and fuel-regulatory hormone (insulin) systems. Recent
research comparing plasma catecholamine levels in the venous circulation
of both arms, while resting, found that that the norepinephrine levels
alternated with the rhythm of sympathetic dominance of the nostrils (15).

In the 1960’s, Kleitman proposed the Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (BRAC)

hypothesis for studying psychophysiologial states. It was based on how
rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement sleep were coupled to
ultradian variations in physiological activity. However, it did not integrate
the observations on the lateralized activities of the ANS and the central
nervous system. A new hypothesis takes these observations into account.
The nasal cycle is used as marker for psychophysiological states. Right-
nostril breathing dominance marks the activity phase of the BRAC and
more SNS activity; left-nostril dominance marks the rest phase of BRAC
and increased PNS activity (15).

Different physiological states are associated with dominance of one or the

other nostril. For example, deep sleep is initiated quicker with left nostril
dominance since PNS activity is enhanced. Left nostril, right brain
dominance, is better for receiving new ideas, while right nostril, left brain
dominance is advantageous while talking. The right side of the brain is
more intuitive and creative. The speech center is located in the left
hemisphere for right-handed and most left- handed people.

Autism and early language impairment may be associated with left

handedness and left eye preferences. The patients with autism had no
normal nasal cycle and probably had almost continuous left nostril
breathing dominance (15).

Consciously breathing through one nostril can be used to induce different

physiological states. Increasing the flow of air in the right nostril
stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and so increases the heart
rate, produces more sweaty palms, dilates the pupils, opens up the lungs,
etc. Increasing the flow of air through the left nostril stimulates the
parasympathetic nervous system and so increases digestion, lowers the
heart rate, relaxes muscles, etc. (17). Practicing alternate nostril
breathing can balance both of these systems brain activity. The pattern of
“thought waves” can be changed by consciously altering nasal dominance
by forced nostril breathing using the congested nostril (18).

Left hemispheric stimulation, by 20 minutes of forced unilateral right

nostril breathing, led to a significant bilateral decrease of 25% in
intraocular pressure in 46 patients with open and closed angle glaucoma

Some obsessive compulsion disorders are associated with an abnormal

nasal cycle and have been treated by Yogic breathing techniques (20).

108 school children, ranging from 10 to 17 years, were randomly assigned

to four groups. Each group practiced: (i) right nostril breathing, (ii) left
nostril breathing, (iii) alternate nostril breathing, or (iv) breath awareness
without manipulation of nostrils. These techniques were practiced for 10
days. Verbal and spatial memory was assessed initially and after 10 days.
An age-matched control group of 27 were similarly assessed. All 4 trained
groups showed a significant increase in spatial test scores at retest, but
the control group showed no change. Average increase in spatial memory
scores for the trained groups was 84%. It appears yoga breathing
increases spatial rather than verbal scores, without a lateralized effect.
Spatial & verbal cognitive tasks, are supposed to be right and left brain
functions, respectively!

130 right hand dominant, school children between 11 and 18 yrs of age
were randomly assigned to 5 groups. Each group had a specific yoga
practice in addition to the regular program for a 10 day yoga camp. The
practices were: (1) right-, (2) left-, (3) alternate- nostril breathing (4),
breath awareness and (5) practice of mudras (yogic hand gestures). Hand
grip strength of both hands was assessed initially and at the end of 10
days for all 5 groups. The right-, left- and alternate-nostril breathing
groups had a significant increase in grip strength of both hands, ranging
from 4.1% to 6.5%, at the end of the camp though without any
lateralization effect. The breath awareness and mudra groups showed no
change. Hence, these results suggest that yoga breathing through a
particular nostril, or through alternate nostrils increases hand grip
strength of both hands without lateralization (22).

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