AUTUMN: Metal Element Way of Tao

Fall is the season of harvest, a time to pull inward and gather together on all levels, a time to store up fuel, food, and warm clothing, a time to study and plan for the approaching stillness of winter. Everything in nature contracts and moves its essence inward and downward.Easing Into Autumn Leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry, the sap of trees goes into the roots. This is the time of the Metal element, the lungs, skin, nose, color white, pungent flavor, balanced emotions of joy, harmony, courage. Imbalances such as grief, sadness, and despair can be transformed with our conscious attention to our patterns and practices.

Foods: We become aware of the season’s abundant yet contracting nature. Choose more astringent foods (e.g. spinach and radish) with heartier flavors. Cooking methods involve focused preparation to supply greater energy required by cooler seasons. The essence of food is received through the sense of smell, with baked or sauteed dishes – concentrated foods to thicken the blood for winter. In general, cook with less water, lower heat, for longer periods of time. Include more sour (a little goes a long way) foods such as sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and the sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. To counter dryness, add a small amount of fresh soy products, spinach, barley, millet, pear, persimmon, loquat, seaweeds, almond, sesame seed, honey, eggs, and a little salt in cooking moistens dryness.

Connecting with the Earth. As we root our feet and open to receiving the earth’s nourishing energies, be mindful that the ground is becoming cooler now. Shoes should be warn when standing on cool ground. This includes indoors. Enjoy bare feet when the day is warm and the earth has been warmed by the sun.

What you can do:
Pressing back palms qigong; qi self massage – tapping the thymus gland, SSSSS healing sound, playing the Tiger movement.

Access your inner courage, integrity, happiness - Tiger frolic with healing sound

Access your inner courage, integrity, happiness – Tiger frolic with healing sound; qi self massage lung tops/cross forearms over heart.

Don’t know these practices yet?

Please join us at qigong and /or tai chi class.

Tai Chi May Improve Symptoms and Functional Mobility in Fibromyalgia Patients

May 28, 2012 – Previous researchers have found that 10-form Tai chi yields symptomatic benefit in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). The purpose of this study was to further investigate earlier findings and add a focus on functional mobility.

In a study by Oregon Health & Science University, the researchers conducted a parallel-group randomized controlled trial FM-modified 8-form Yang-style Tai chi program compared to an education control. Participants met in small groups twice weekly for 90 minutes over 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was symptom reduction and improvement in self-report physical function, as measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), from baseline to 12 weeks. Secondary endpoints included pain severity and interference, sleep, self-efficacy, and functional mobility.

Of the 101 randomly assigned subjects (mean age 54 years, 93 % female), those in the Tai chi condition compared with the education condition demonstrated clinically and statistically significant improvements in FIQ scores, BPI pain severity, BPI pain interference, sleep, and self-efficacy for pain control. Functional mobility variables including timed get up and go, static balance, and dynamic balance were significantly improved with Tai chi compared with education control. No adverse events were noted.

Twelve weeks of Tai chi, practice twice weekly, provided worthwhile improvement in common FM symptoms including pain and physical function including mobility. Tai chi appears to be a safe and an acceptable exercise modality that may be useful as adjunctive therapy in the management of FM patients.

This study is published by Clinical rheumatology in its latest issue.

Tai Chi Among American College of Rheumatology 2012 Recommendations for the Osteoarthritis Therapies

May 28, 2012 – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has issued new recommendations for the use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies in osteoarthritis of the hand, hip, and knee. Tai Chi is among the list. The recommendations, available in the April 2012 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, update the organizations 2000 recommendations.

To come up with the recommendations, a list of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic modalities commonly used to manage knee, hip, and hand OA as well as clinical scenarios representing patients with symptomatic hand, hip, and knee OA were generated. Systematic evidence-based literature reviews were conducted by a working group at the Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, and updated by ACR staff to include additions to bibliographic databases through December 31, 2010. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach, a formal process to rate scientific evidence and to develop recommendations that are as evidence based as possible, was used by a Technical Expert Panel comprised of various stakeholders to formulate the recommendations for the use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic modalities for OA of the hand, hip, and knee.

Both strong and conditional recommendations were made for OA management. Modalities conditionally recommended for the management of hand OA include instruction in joint protection techniques, provision of assistive devices, use of thermal modalities and trapeziometacarpal joint splints, and use of oral and topical nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), tramadol, and topical capsaicin.

Non-pharmacologic modalities strongly recommended for the management of knee OA were aerobic, aquatic, and/or resistance exercises as well as weight loss for overweight patients. Non-pharmacologic modalities conditionally recommended for knee OA included medial wedge insoles for valgus knee OA, subtalar strapped lateral insoles for varus knee OA, medially directed patellar taping, manual therapy, walking aids, thermal agents, Tai Chi, self management programs, and psychosocial interventions.

Pharmacologic modalities conditionally recommended for the initial management of patients with knee OA included acetaminophen, oral and topical NSAIDs, tramadol, and intraarticular corticosteroid injections; intraarticular hyaluronate injections, duloxetine, and opioids were conditionally recommended in patients who had an inadequate response to initial therapy. Opioid analgesics were strongly recommended in patients who were either not willing to undergo or had contraindications for total joint arthroplasty after having failed medical therapy. Recommendations for hip OA were similar to those for the management of knee OA.

These recommendations are based on the consensus judgment of clinical experts from a wide range of disciplines, informed by available evidence, balancing the benefits and harms of both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic modalities, and incorporating their preferences and values. It is hoped that these recommendations will be utilized by health care providers involved in the management of patients with OA.