Category Archives: Wellbeing

Udemy discount coupons

66% off Coupons for Qigong courses that are on Udemy.  These Udemy discount coupons should last until the end of 2017!!

Udemy discount coupons

 

The Embroidered Brocade Qigong

We are currently offering a 66% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
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Connecting Heaven and Earth Qigong

A Five Elements, stand-alone Qigong exercise.

We are currently offering a 66% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
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The Eight Exceptional Vessels Qigong

Working with the Qi of the Extraordinary Meridians.

We are currently offering a 66% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
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The Five Taoist Yin Qigong

We are currently offering a 66% discount on this course……….. So you get it for £20.00!
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Taiji, the calm within the storm

Taiji

Taiji benefits all ages. You are never too young, or too old, to learn.

Originating in ancient China, Taiji (also written as Taiji Quan, Tai Chi, Tai Chi Chuan) has gained enormous popularity throughout the world as its health benefits have become more recognised.

Taiji, as practiced in the west today, is a usually seen as a slow, choreographed, set of posture that is used for exercise, relaxation and health. It can perhaps best be thought of as a moving meditation.

There are a number of different styles (family styles such as Chen, Yang, Li, Wu & Sun as well as the more recently formalised Beijing styles) and within these styles there are various forms which consist of a sequence of movements and postures. Originally developed as a martial art, each of these movements was formulated with self-defence in mind.

Taiji has its origins in Taoism and Taoist martial arts. The literal translation of Taiji Quan is “Supreme Ultimate Boxing.” This is not a big-headed, boastful, claim to be the supreme martial art as the term “Supreme Ultimate” refers to the Tao. The symbol that is usually referred to as the Yin/Yang symbol is actually called Taiji and it represents the duality of our perception of Tao, of which the universe is only part. Taiji, in this context, can be seen as a microcosm of the Tao (universe) as its movements, shapes and breathing patterns reflect dynamic forces and interactions of the universe.

The concept of Qi is a fundamental part of Chinese medicine and philosophy. Qi is the intrinsic energy that the universe is made of, and it is also the energy that animates the body. The movements of Taiji promote the circulation of Qi within the body creating health and vitality. The Qi circulates through pathways that are known as meridians and the meridian contain the access points that are used by acupuncture, shiatsu, tuina, etc. for their healing properties and by martial arts for their harming properties.

Using these principals, Taiji Quan is a sophisticated method of combat where the Taiji Quan practitioner aims to neutralize his opponent’s use of force (strength – Li) before “borrowing it” and applying a countering force (focus – Jing) of his own. This is the interplay of Yang and Yin.

To the uninformed, it is hard to see how these slow, graceful and fluid movements could be used for defence against someone who is attacking with speed and strength. In any confrontation, the Taiji practitioner will also move faster………… with a speed to match his attacker’s but with the same fluid, relaxed and rooted movement that has been practiced in the form. It is by practicing at a slow pace that perfection in balance, rooting and technique can be gained.

However, for the vast majority of Taiji players, the martial aspect is never really touched on and the emphasis is on the tranquillity of mind and body, along with all the health benefits, that Taiji provides.

Taiji fosters calmness and tranquillity of mind as the focus of the practitioner is solely on the precise execution of the forms. The precision that is required within the postures also helps correct poor postural alignment that can contribute to tension, excess pressure on joints, or injury.

Today we may use Taiji to rid ourselves of the fatigue that stress, overwork, poor posture and the lack of atunement with our own body can bring. It is aid that Taiji increases longevity…………. This is something that modern scientific research is starting to agree with. This longevity does not mean that you will live forever. What it does mean is that daily practice promotes a healthy body, clarity of mind, better balance, denser bones, better circulation, more balanced blood pressure, lower (more efficient) respiration, and a more efficient and active lymphatic system (assisting the immune system. The list goes on! One more thing that Taiji can do for you is that you smile more……… Great big smiles, that
come from deep within.

 

In the words of Aldous Huxley (from Island):

“No leaps, no high kicks, no running. The feet always firmly on the ground…movements intrinsically beautiful and at the same time charged with symbolic meaning. Thought taking shape in ritual and stylized gesture. The whole body transformed into a hieroglyph, a succession of hieroglyphs, of attitudes modulating from significance to significance, like a poem or a piece of music. Movements of the muscles representing movements of the consciousness…It’s meditation in action; the metaphysics of the Mahayana expressed not in words, but through symbolic movements and gestures.”

 

Therapist info

Taiji has great health benefits.

 

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Taiji, Taiji Quan & Neijia, Lanarkshire

San Bao Martial Arts School, Lanarkshire

T’ai-Chi London

Town & Village Tai Chi and Qigong is based in Carlisle but covers a large area within Northern Cumbria, running classes as far south as Shap and Penrith and as far north as Brampton.
 

 

Resources

Further information on Taiji including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Taiji please contact us with the details.

 

Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.

 

 

Qigong Basics, getting the most from Qigong

Qigong Basics

Qigong Basics - Qigong for health being practiced at sunset.

Qigong (pronounced Chi-Kung) is an ancient Chinese art for the promotion of health and, when written in Chinese, the word Qigong is comprised of two characters: Qi (anima, vital energy) and Gong (work, cultivation)…………… Qigong literally means energy work, or energy cultivation.  Before this work can be carried out effectively, the Qigong basics must be understood.

There are four main divisions of Qigong, and two methods.

Firstly, let us deal with the divisions of Qigong

  • Spiritual
  • Medical
  • Martial
  • Athletic

The choice of which method that is used is dependent on the goal of the practitioner. However, there is some overlap between the each of the methods.

 

Secondly, the two methods

  • Active qigong – Where physical movement is used to help the practitioner to guide the Qi.
  • Passive Qigong – Where there is no physical movement and it is purely the Yi (cognitive mind) that is used to guide the Qi.

The division of Qigong that we are dealing with here is Medical Qigong. This is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and according to TCM, Qi is life energy and the health of the body is reliant upon smooth, harmonious, flow of Qi within the body and disease is the result of poor Qi circulation and through Qigong it is possible to balance the flow of Qi allowing the body to heal itself.

The Qi is the intrinsic energy, the life force that we share with the rest of the natural world. Qi also refers to energy in the largest sense, it is the stuff of the universe, it is both matter and energy and link that bonds them together. Qi transcends and is not bounded by time or space.

Qigong works by using specific postures and movements of the body whilst combining them with focus (using directed breath) and intention. Through the use of these exercises, the Qi can be cultivated and replenished.

As previously stated, in the precept of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that all diseases are a result of blockage in the meridians (energy channels), causing obstructions and sluggishness in the flow of Qi. A person is healthy only when the Qi freely circulates through the meridians, nourishing all vital organs and tissues. The “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine” (circa 250BC) states: “When the Qi is blocked, there is sickness. No blockage – no sickness”.

Literally thousands of styles of Qi Gong exist so it is a matter of finding the one that is suitable for your needs. Some styles are designed for general health and wellbeing and require daily practice. Other styles/exercises have specific therapeutic qualities and have been developed to treat specific ailments.

Qi Gong can be practiced by just about anyone, whether they are young or old, active, sedentary, or disabled.

Although there are many styles, they are founded on similar principles

  • A relaxed, grounded posture
  • A straight, supple spine
  • Breathing that uses the diaphragm
  • Fluid movement
  • Tranquil awareness

The quality of the Qi Gong practice is far more important than how often the practice is undertaken. Any aerobic exercise can be slowed down to the point where it appears, superficially, to resemble Qigong but as there is no intent, no focus and no guidance of the Qi, it is NOT Qigong.

It is far more beneficial to concentrate one or two styles, learning through experiential awareness than to learn many exercises superficially. It is vitally important to find a good Qigong teacher who has experience of Qi rather than experience of books.

 

Qigong Teachers

Qigong Basics - Painting rainbows,qigong style.

 

If you wish your website to be included on this page please see our Resources Page for details.

 

 

Healing Qigong at Pro Holistic, Lanarkshire

San Bao Martial Arts School

 

Resources

Further information on Qigong including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Qigong please contact us with the details.us with the details.

 

Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.

 

 

Stress Management the Holistic Way

Stress Management

Stress management - stress can affect anyone, even the carers.

Stress management refers to a variety of techniques and psychotherapies that are designed to controlling stress levels within an individual, especially chronic stress.

We all know, or at least think we know, what stress is but even the professionals, who have spent their lives studying it, still have difficulty in exactly what stress is. Despite their efforts over the last half-century there is still no agreed definition yet we all know what stress is, in the same way that we all know what happiness is, but like happiness it has different qualities for different people.

Basically, stress is a term that describes our natural fight or flight response. Our primeval survival response that helped our species to continue existing. It is this inborn response that prepares us for fight or flight from anything that we perceive as dangerous, or a threat to our survival. And in the interests of our survival, this response is extremely sensitive and is set to recognise and react to even minute levels of potential danger, whether it is real or merely a perception.

In the 21st Century we may not be being chased by sabre-toothed tigers but this response to danger is still hard-wired into our system. Today’s modern stressors produce the same emotional and physical response but are brought on by a perceived imbalance between demands placed and what resources and time are available. They can be the result of fear of missing a deadline, of making a mistake in a tender, of not getting the job right, of redundancy, of not matching up to one’s peers…………… the list goes on. This means that you experience stress whenever you are faced with an event or situation that you perceive as challenging to your ability to cope. If you see the event or situation as only mildly challenging, you will probably feel only a little stress; however, if you perceive the situation or event as threatening or overwhelming your coping abilities, you will probably feel a lot of stress.

Is this, in itself bad? No, not really. Imagine the relief and sense of achievement of the caveman who has outrun the sabre-toothed tiger………….. Stress is a motivator and, on completion of a successful task, it can be rewarded and the stress levels drop to be replaced by a feeling of euphoria…………… However, it rarely works that way and one stressor can be piled on another until coping is no longer possible. Daily exposure to stressors can have negative consequences by causing hyper-vigilance or over-reaction during times when a state of calm awareness would be more productive. With daily exposure to these stressors, stress hormones can accumulate in the body and cause feelings of being burnt-out or depressed.

 

Effects of stress hormones

Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.

Constant stress causes continual release of various stress hormones which can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress-induced hypertension
  • Effects on metabolic processes
  • Lowered energy levels
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Decrease in testosterone levels in males
  • Irregular menstrual cycles in females
  • Lowered immune system

Research has shown that stress hormones are a major contributing factor in many major illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Certain skin disorders, infections and psychological problems like generalised anxiety, panic, OCD, PTSD, depression, dissociative disorder, phobias and psychosis, have also been linked to cumulative stress.

 

Self-help methods of managing stress

  • Exercise – The easiest way to deal with cumulative stress is through physical exercise. During exercise, we metabolise excessive stress hormones and restore our body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Even five to ten minutes of exercise, where a sweat has been worked up, will metabolise stress hormones and prevent their excessive  build-up. Exercise releases endorphins, which help us to feel better.
  • Taiji – Developed by the ancient Chinese, Taiji is one of the internal (soft) martial. It is increasingly practised in the West as a means of stress management and holistic exercise. Taiji is a series of slow, choreographed movements, or postures. At the core of Taiji is the concept of life essence, or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), that flows, in meridians, through the body. When the flow of Qi is disrupted, illness is the result. Regular practice of Taiji is said to strengthen and improve Qi and according to scientific studies, Taiji is an effective healing tool for a range of disorders, particularly chronic (for example, arthritis and heart disease) and stress related conditions.
  • Qigong – Qi Gong is a combination of meditation and gentle, fluid, body movement with an emphasis on abdominal breathing. The, proper, practice of Qigong fills the mind to the point where there is no room for the stressors that permeate our daily lives. It is extremely difficult to empty our minds, our thoughts. The universe loves a vacuum and as we try to empty our mind, it takes the opportunity to fill it to overflowing. With Qigong the mind becomes full, full of one thing, the focus on the Qigong exercise. There is no room for anything else and this lets the practitioner step into the eye of the hurricane, to that calm spot where the stresses of life are absent. From there, these stresses can be observed with an air of detachment and life can be prioritised in a way that is beneficial to body, mind and spirit.
  • Meditation – It does not necessarily take years of meditation to combat stress. Meditation provides stillness and nourishment for our conscious (spirit) brain (cognitive mind) and. There are many types of meditation to choose from but they all share the understanding that the more you meditate, the lower the stress levels and the better you will feel. Zen meditation is particularly good for reducing stress levels.
    During Zen meditation, you become more accepting of your thoughts and feelings and how they relate to the world around you. This enables you to reassess your life, your goals and your relationship with the world, enabling your mind to become increasingly peaceful.

 

Therapist info

Stress management - stress can lead to poor, physical, health.

 

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Pro Holistic Stress Management, Glasgow

 

 

Resources

Further information on Stress Management including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Stress Management please contact us with the details.

 

Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.

 

 

Makko Ho Exercises for Qi Developement

Makko Ho Exercises

The Makko Ho (Makko-Ho) are the meridian stretching exercises that were developed by Mr. Nagai as an aid to promote health and well-being. The stretches are designed to stimulate the flow of energy (Qi) in the meridians as well as stretching and strengthening the muscles.
When he was 42 years old, Mr. Nagai suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his body. Doctors said that he would never recover his full body movement but he was determined to find a way back to full health and prove the doctors wrong. It took him three years to gain his full health during which he developed the Makko-Ho exercises.

Posture

Makko Ho - Makko-Ho Metal posture

A basic rule of thumb is that you should, over time, increase the stretch until you get close to your own limitations, using the breath while remaining calm and relaxed. It is more important that you are aware of the tensions in the body that occur during the execution of the exercises than trying to undertake overly strong stretches.
The exercises enhance the Qi flow in all twelve meridians with each stretch working on a Primary Meridian pair according to the Five Elements (Qualities) of Chinese Medicine.

 

  • Primary Fire – Heart and Small Intestine meridians
  • Secondary Fire – Heart Governor and Triple Warmer meridians
  • Earth – Stomach and Spleen meridians
  • Metal – Lung and Large Intestine meridians
  • Water – Bladder and Kidney meridians
  • Wood –Gall Bladder and Liver meridians

The most important thing is to learn to breathe properly, to allow your body to benefit from the positive energy (Qi) that they take in with each inhalation and let their body benefit from the elimination of negative energy when they exhale.
There is a great description of the Makko-Ho at Pro-Holistic

Salt and High Blood Pressure

Salt and High Blood Pressure

We need salt to survive………….. but too much is possibly a health risk too far.

How Salt Affects Blood Pressure: Salt and High Blood Pressure
Salt (sodium) is essential for our bodies to function and it is our kidneys that control the level of salt. Too much salt and our kidneys extract it, passing it into our urine. But the kidneys can be overloaded, when our salt intake levels are very high, and they cannot keep pace, leaving excess salt in our bloodstream. This makes our bodies hold on to more water, increasing the blood pressure.

Recommended Salt Intake:
Adults should eat no more than 5g of salt a day: that’s around one full teaspoon.
Children should eat less:

  • 1 to 3 years: 2g salt a day
  • 4 to 6 years: 3g salt a day
  • 7 to 10 years: 5g salt a day
  • 11 years and over: 6g salt a day

Lowering Your Salt Intake:
Processed foods tend to use salt as an additive and flavour enhancer with around 80% of the average person’s daily salt intake coming from processed foods. So, it is in our best interests if we cooked our own food and had complete control over our salt intake.
Make use of the nutrition labels on food packaging:

  • High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g
  • Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g

Some foods are almost always high in salt simply because of the way they are prepared.
Other foods, ones that we tend to eat a lot of such as bread and breakfast cereals, can contribute a lot of salt to our diet. This is due to the amount eaten rather than their individual salt levels.
Foods to Avoid:
These foods are almost always high in salt. To cut down on salt, eat them less often or have smaller amounts:

  • bacon
  • ham
  • pickles
  • prawns Salt and High Blood Pressure
  • cheese
  • salted nuts
  • dry roasted nuts
  • salt fish
  • smoked fish
  • smoked meat
  • soy sauce
  • stock cubes
  • gravy granules
  • salami
  • anchovies

In other foods, the salt content can vary widely between different manufacturers or brands. It is best to compare these before purchasing and choosing the variety that has a lower salt level. This is one of the real benefits of nutrition labels.
These foods include:

  • pizza
  • sandwiches
  • bread products such as crumpets, bagels,etc
  • sausages
  • pasta sauces
  • crisps
  • breakfast cereals
  • ready meals
  • soup
  • tomato ketchup
  • mayonnaise
  • sauces

Remember to check the label and save your kidneys, heart and blood vessels any grief.

Scotch Broth

Scotch Broth

We are still in the middle of winter ……….brrr.  Get the body’s central heating going with a hearty bowl of Scotch Broth.

Ingredients

  • One boiling rib (700g) Scotch Broth
  • 75g pearl barley soaked overnight and then drained
  • 150g dried marrowfat peas, soaked overnight and then drained
  • 200 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g kale washed and finely chopped
  • 200g turnip (swede) peeled and finely diced

 

Instructions

  • Place the rib in a large pan with the soaked peas, barley and the parsley stalks. Cover with 2.5 litres of cold water and bring slowly to the boil.
  • Skim off any surface scum and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the peas are tender.
  • Add the vegetables, bring to the boil again and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove the rib from the pan, remove the meat from the bone and cut it into pieces. Add this to the soup and serve.

A hearty broth that warms you through and through………………. Enjoy!

Basic Frittata

Frittata

“Omelette with substance” is how frittata was first described to me and I still think that’s the most  apt way of describing it.

Frittata is the Italian version of the omelette but it is deeper and far more substantial with various herbs and vegetables added.  It can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients: –

  • 5 eggs
  • 4-5 mushrooms (sliced)
  • 6-8 spring onions
  • 150g of peas (fresh or frozen
  • 2-3 tbs of olive oil
  • 100g of grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

 

Finely slice the spring onions and soften in the olive oil.  Add the mushrooms and peas and cook, over a low heat, for 15 minutes.  Beat and season the eggs before adding to the mixture and cooking, again over a low heat, until the underside is done.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top and grill until the parmesan is melted and the top of the frittata is cooked.

 

Delicious and nutritious……………… easy to cook too!

Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup

Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup

Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup is a delicious and nutritious chilled soup for one of those hot summer days!  Simple to make and great to eat.

Ingredient list: –

  • 450ml (3/4 pint) of stock (vegetable, or chicken)
  • 375g (12 0z) of finely chopped carrots
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Freshly grated ginger (to taste)
  • Grated rind of one orange (unwaxed)
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) of Greek yoghurt
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbl spoon of coarsely grated orange peel

Simmer the carrots, in the stock, until they are tender.  Let this cool off and place in a blender/food processor with the yoghurt, grated ginger, orange juice and seasoning.  Place in the fridge until chilled and served garnished with the coarsely grated orange peel.

Enjoy!

 

It’s Time to Benefit From Tai Chi

In the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Tai Chi and the impact that it had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.

Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, were that Tai Chi could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of the heart and it was also stated  that Tai Chi also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.

This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise.

Tai Chi has wonderful health benefits

Tai Chi amalgamates abdominal (Dan Tien, or Hara) breathing, relaxation and fluid, graceful, movement throughout the set of movements, known as the “form”.  In doing so it can produce changes the brain wave pattern (lowering to Alpha waves), also producing a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slowing respiration and producing a profound feeling of wellbeing.

Tai Chi players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.

Tai Ch in Beijing

The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Centre, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.

Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.

“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Tai Chi practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.

Tai Chi helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.

Importantly, they also recognise that Tai Chi also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”

Tai Chi has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery.  It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors.  Not so now!  Now we see Tai Chi being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise.  Not only that but many doctors are also practicing this art to benefit their own health.

Tai Chi is a wonderful art to learn……………………. It’s never too early and it’s never too late!  There is bound to be a Tai Chi class in your neighborhood……………….. go find it now!