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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 dementia.
 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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[1] Alcock et al 2012, Hsu 2010, González-Gallego et al 2010, Larrosaa et al 2010, Sticher et
al 2010, Hyman 2009, Garcia-Lafuente et al 2009, Aggarwal and Harikumar 2008, Aggarwal
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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 methods 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 fatigue.

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


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

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

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 balanced?
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,