How Qigong Heals Trauma and Addiction

Qigong has been proven to heal persons with trauma and addiction clinically supported with the following drug-free approach and research on Qigong/Taichi.

“A qigong and t’ai chi intervention has the potential to contribute to the relief of psychologic and psychosomatic sequelae of torture at two levels. In populations of nontorture survivors, qigong and t’ai chi have been demonstrated to relieve the same symptoms that are highly prevalent in survivors of torture and, as such, have the potential to contribute to alleviating symptoms of tortured individuals. Additionally, the increase in bodily awareness and mental focus accompanying the practice of qigong and t’ai chi may aid torture survivors in processing the bodily aspects of their trauma and facilitating the healing of related psychologic disturbances.

Qigong and t’ai chi incorporate a cognitive aspect not present in most exercise, which may explain why some controlled studies have found greater benefits from t’ai chi or qigong than activities of comparable intensity. Due to their low impact on the body, qigong and t’ai chi are especially useful when aerobic exercise may be too physically strenuous for the individual.

T’ai chi and qigong have been shown to produce statistically significant improvements in psychologic well-being, including significant reductions in mood disturbance, anxiety, stress, tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion, and state-anxiety.

The cognitive component of qigong and t’ai chi practice is an important source of their therapeutic potential. The practice of being fully attuned to one’s surroundings and aware of the present moment is often called mindfulness. Mindfulness practice can help address dissociative alterations in identity by facilitating the person’s identification with their inner self rather than their physical body, which is often a source of suffering in survivors of torture. Qigong and t’ai chi involve an essential mindfulness component, similar to meditation practice that may aid in treating the dissociation characteristic of PTSD.

Both qigong and t’ai chi have been shown to reduce cortisol levels, possibly implicating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in t’ai chi- or qigong-induced stress and anxiety reduction.”

Wikipedia defines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as follows:

PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less frequent and more enduring than the more commonly seen post traumatic stress (also known as acute stress response). Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal – such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance.”

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The stress hormones that trigger the fight-or-flight reaction caused by persistent stress (such as PTSD) over the long term pose serious threats to your health which is why you must address your stress.

Elevated levels of stress hormone cortisol lead to inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and also lead to flare-ups of existing conditions such as ulcers, asthma, cold sores or eczema. Elevated levels of stress hormone adrenaline elevate both blood pressure and heart rate increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke or cancer.

The chemical changes created by stress can alter brain function and trigger anxiety and depression that produce chronic insomnia, obesity and substance abuse; affects cognitive function such as short and long term memory; and reduces sex drive leading to impotence and lower fertility.

Symptoms of persistent stress include anxious or negative thoughts or feelings, loss of concentration, frequent illness, changes in diet or sleep patterns, nervousness, chest pain, irritability, procastination, and feelings of isolation.

While stress produces many negative effects, they are reversible. In fact, stress can be managed and reduced by going with and being in the flow of all things using Qigong and other natural Oriental healing modalities such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Meditation on Three Hearts, Eight Extraordinary Meridians Qigong, and Chinese Tonic Herbs to cultivate the Three Treasures.

According to Qi Dao Master Lama Tantrapa, “Struggling against the flow of a night-dream is a sure way to turn it into a nightmare. Similarly, if you struggle against the flow of your daily life, you single-handedly turn your life into a nightmare. Going against the flow of things only exhausts your energy, takes a toll on your health, and wastes your time. As soon as you realize that life’s challenges can be perceived as learning opportunities rather than problems, you will become less tense or “stressed-out” and find yourself in the flow of life. Being in the flow will empower you to live your dreams.”

Our lives are filled with stress reflected by our mental attitude and emotional experience. Because of our own ignorance, we look for love, happiness, peace, joy and contentment outside where they are not. Meditation and Qigong are simple and direct means to experience within you an ocean of love, peace, joy, happiness and well-being in a continuous basis.

“One’s own thought is one’s world. What a person thinks is what he becomes – That is the eternal mystery. If the mind dwells within the supreme Self, One enjoys undying happiness.” – Maitri Upanishad

Meditation Can Help Active-Duty Soldiers

For service members in the U.S. military, post-traumatic stress disorder can quickly become a part of everyday life. The exposure to life-threatening events can leave soldiers — both retired and active — feeling hopeless, anxious, sleepless or in pain.

But, as it turns out, meditation can help.

A small study from researchers with the Medical College of Georgia focused on a group of 74 active-duty service members seeking treatment for PTSD symptoms and anxiety disorders at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic in Augusta. Half the group was assigned a transcendental meditation practice in addition to their other therapies, while half continued with their other therapies as usual. Those who meditated were guided in their practice by a teacher and asked to meditate twice daily in 20-minute sessions.

After one month, 83.7 percent of the meditators had stabilized, reduced or stopped the use of medications to treat their PTSD or anxiety disorders, Science Daily reports, while only 59.4 percent of non-meditators did the same. About 11 percent of meditators increased their dosage of medication over the period, while that was true of 40.5 percent of non-meditators.

The study’s authors say it’s a huge sign that meditation can help those who struggle in the field every day. Their results “could have a significant health impact” to “improve quality of life for military personnel,” they write in the study.

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Trauma and Addiction

Born in Hungary into a Jewish family decimated by the holocaust, Dr. Gabor Mate later spent years treating addicts from the streets of the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, B.C. His work emphasizes that early suffering is at the root of addiction because of emotional damage and its effects on the developing brain.

“I do believe that we’re all wounded, but that’s not the same as damaged,” Mate tells audiences.

“When we develop defences as children, we lost sight of ourselves.

“When we recover from addiction we recover ourselves.”

Dr. Maté states: “The chronic condition of severe substance addiction is caused, in most cases, by the distorting effects of early childhood abuse or stress on the developing brain, often in the context of multigenerational trauma and social dislocation.”

Dr. Gabor Maté summarizes what is needed in a recovery program:

“To solve the addiction problem a person needs psychological and spiritual support, support with job skills, support with all kinds of emotional counselling, a really holistic, integrated, long-term program, where he isn’t demeaned, where he isn’t judged, where he isn’t treated like a stupid little kid that needs to be controlled. There needs to be a holistic, loving, respectful, supportive, long-term, patient, forgiving program. A comprehensive, holistic, humane, spiritually-informed … emotionally-supportive, compassionate addiction program.”

– Excerpts Maté, Gabor. Interview with Tommy Rosen on Recovery 2.0, June 2015

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Imagine a treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism that uses no drugs, requires no trained personnel, resources or insurance and makes no money for anyone. This “people’s program” is the anonymous 12-Step groups which have quietly saved millions for 79 years.

But lately, Big Pharma sees potential in all that free healing. Increasingly, it is “partnering” with rehab facilities to monetize addiction recovery, especially by facilitating dual diagnoses that require expensive pills. A patient is no longer just an alcoholic, he is an alcoholic with bipolar disease or major depressive disorder. Ka-ching.

It’s easy to see why Pharma wants a new revenue stream. Its blockbusters like Lipitor, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Singulair and Concerta have gone off patent and Medicare and Medicaid are starting to balk at paying for brand drugs that are no better than generics. (Some states are even suing for reimbursement for what they spent on brand drugs.) Huge fraud settlements in recent years against Abbott, Pfizer, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Merck have also taken their toll.

Less easy to see is why the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), often working closely with Pharma, is trying to fix one of the few things in the health care system that is not broken–free, anonymous treatment for alcoholics and addicts. “All addictions can be eliminated if the brain’s receptors can be controlled,” said an ominous NIDA flier last year announcing a speech by its director. Italics mine. Yes, “all.”

Behind the search for bio solutions like a vaccine to treat addictions is Nora Volkow, NIDA director, called “an early champion of the idea that drug addiction is a medical problem, rather than a lack of willpower or moral fiber” which actually was the founding precept of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. But unlike AA founders who discovered that free, anonymous moral support–without drugs and outside of traditional medicine–worked in almost all cases, Volkow seeks high-tech interventions. “We have identified many of the biological and environmental factors [of addiction] and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease,” she says with Orwellian fervor.

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“Qi and Love are never separate.” – Master Li Jun Feng

My seven books on meditation and QigongAtma (Soul) Yoga – will assist your healing and spiritual awakening. Peace be with you!

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Awakening the Soul

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“This is how I quiet my monkey mind – I become aware of my breath and my monkey mind quiets down. Where awareness goes, energy flows. Where energy flows, awareness follows.”
– Acharya Ricardo B Serrano

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First published March 1, 2016 ©

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