Bet you thought the Chinese New Year began on January 23rd, didn't you? Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first new moon of the first month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar system (this year, 1/23). But in fact, the year of the Water Dragon began yesterday, because February 4th was the first day of 2012, or the first day of the 4,709th Chinese year, in the Chinese Astrological Calendar system. Called the Start of Spring, yesterday delineates the point where a new animal sign begins in Chinese astrology. In other words, that restaurant menu list you've been using all your life? If your birthday is right around now, you might be in for a surprise. To update your personal animal status, here's one of many sites that can waste 20 minutes of your life if you're not careful.
Given the weather lately, it really does feel like the start of spring -- or here in Florida, summer.
January brought a ton of new visitors to the Classical Medicine Journal thanks in part to our post on the 256-year old Qi Gong master being picked up by "discovery engine" StumbleUpon. And here's another inner-Internet-workings time-line: on January 4, CMJ posted a story on urban fish farming which originally ran in the Baltimore Sun on December 26; on January 28, the Los Angeles Times reprinted the same story. Ha! We do try to bring you stories of interest on varied topics and put a premium on information that might not otherwise be easy to find in regular media.
Speaking of, a story that is at once exciting and ludicrous got attention. Many readers were shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that acupuncture may relieve stress. In all seriousness, a study from Georgetown University Medical Center has shown molecular proof of acupuncture's ability to reduce a protein-like substance linked to chronic stress. So far, only rats have experienced the phenomenon. The millions of people for thousands of years who could also vouch for this finding? Purely anecdotal; but soon, perhaps, not written off as placebo.
Finally, readers continue to check the update on Vidatox, the Cuban “homeopathic” cancer drug made with the venom of the blue scorpion. While we're happy to provide a platform for sharing this information, isn't it a bit amazing you haven't heard of this anywhere else?
Until next month, be well and exercise your inner Water Dragon.
P.S. Check out Martin Keane's very first venture into video on the Classical Medicine homepage (scroll down to lower right corner). We're working on a series of informational videos and will put them all together on a Classical Medicine YouTube channel. This first one is intended to introduce the practice. (Gulp) Tell us what you think?
Now that yoga is virtually mainstream and everyone has an older relative with at least one tai chi DVD sitting around (albeit dusty -- and perhaps it's a video tape), can qi gong be far behind?
This begs the question: what exactly is qi gong? Cue a stock photo of a contemplative person, probably a man, holding up his hands at 90-degree angles and peering off with a compassionate but firm look about him. Instead, here's a definition from the International Institute of Medical Qigong:
"Qigong is a combination of two ideas: "Qi" (pronounced chee), which means air, breath of life, or vital life-force energy; and "Gong" (pronounced gung, as in lung) which is the skill of working with, or cultivating, self-discipline and achievement.
Qigong is a mind-body practice that improves ones mental and physical health by integrating postures, movement, breathing techniques, and focused intention."
Articles recently posted in the Classical Medicine Journal highlight benefits of a regular qi gong practice (practice being the operative word here, as all once and future yogis will appreciate); perhaps making time for a regular qi gong class will become the next big thing. Here's some inspiration for that aspiration:
First, new research suggests practicing qi gong can help control diabetes symptoms. And too, practicing qi gong can help regulate high blood pressure (it's in with the "Breathe Deeply" set of recommendations). Perhaps the most dramatic is an article published in the CMJ today which reports on new research suggesting qi gong massage for young children with autism, administered by a trained parent, "resulted in improvement of measures of autism as well as improvement of abnormal sensory responses and self-regulation." This is pretty exciting news by our accounting. Time to learn how to breathe deeply while standing and staring contemplatively off in space. Just teasing -- there's a lot more to it. But qi gong has to be the easiest form of "exercise" ever invented, and it was invented a long, long time ago.
More good news for couch potatoes (ie, most of us): even 15 minutes a day of exercise is beneficial. The excuses are getting harder and harder to find.
No sense in fretting over the inevitability of our need to "eat less, move more." Readers sought out an article on nine different foods that naturally elevate moods for good reason. How about some walnuts and sunflower seeds for that cottage cheese? Go ahead and binge on avocados and oranges. But somehow, bananas in lentils just doesn't sound appetizing.
One more story to check out if you missed it comes from Cuba, whose research seems trapped behind an iron curtain still. Then again, due to a lack of infrastructure and funding, Cuba has liberally experimented with various forms of alternative medicine and consequently, has large samples for their results. Good news about alternative therapies is not welcomed in all quarters of our own country, despite our much-touted freedom of the press. The recent article is about the release of the world's first the world's first therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. Previously published articles detail stunning results using a homeopathic vaccine to divert a projected outbreak of a vile tropical fever -- not to mention the article about Vidatox, the so-called homeopathic anti-tumor cancer drug developed in Cuba from the venom of the blue scorpion.
Wishing you a peace-filled Thanksgiving and a happy holiday season. Don't let any scorpions bite you -- unless they're blue.
Forward to a Friend (link below)