- What is neurofeedback?
- How does neurofeedback work?
- Who would benefit from neurofeedback treatment?
- What result do I expect from neurofeedback treatment?
- How many sessions does it take to treat AD(H)D?
- About Acupuncture and Cupping Treatment (Early History, The development of Chinese philosophy, Acupuncture needles, facts of Cupping therapy, Moxibustion)
- How does acupuncture work?
- What conditions can acupuncture treat?
- Can acupucnture change brain function?
- What is Chinese Tea Ceremony?
- What are the benefits of movement meditation?
What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a subdivision of Biofeedback(link is external). In fact, many people’s first reaction to hearing the term “neurofeedback” is usually to ask me, do you mean Biofeedback?, which they have heard about at some point in their life, especially if they once owned a "mood ring".
Biofeedback is the general category, similar to referring to the general term of foods such as “fruit.” Simply put, Biofeedback is a method of gaining information by monitoring skin temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, brain waves and other body conditions to help promote control over normally involuntary bodily processes through conditioning, also called operant conditioning and relaxation.
As with a variety of fruits, such as apples or citrus, or melons, there are several types of biofeedback: heart rate variability (HRV), thermal (as seen in a "mood ring"), muscular (EMG), and neurological (EEG), also called neurotherapy or neurobiofeedback or neurofeedback.
How does it work?
All forms of Biofeedback employ some type of computer or monitoring device along with electronic sensors to give information about what is going on in the body. With neurofeedback, it is giving feedback about specific brain waves: the percentage amount of each one in specific areas of the brain, called amplitude; are the brain waves working harmoniously together (regulated) or is there a dysregulation. I explained in my workshop that when the brain is dysregulated it is like a symphony orchestra tuning up, making a lot of noise that is unpleasant to the ear. Another example I give is you are driving down the road and hit a pot hole and your tire is now out of alignment with the other tires. Because of the misalignment, your car is no longer working as efficiently as before and it might even make it hard to steer the car.
Also, using the example of your car, anyone who has to have a yearly state inspection knows that the car is hooked up to various computers to see if the engine or transmission is working properly. The newer forms of Neurofeedback also provide this type of information. It is now possible to map out the brain through Quanatitive EEG (QEEG), or identify specific regions of the brain that are not working properly. These are called the Brodmann Area. Still other forms of neurofeedback provide information of how your brain compares to others of the same gender and age. This is done through Z-score methods.
Just as your mechanic will inform you of the condition of your car, so too does Neurofeedback provide information about your brain. Once an assessment or evaluation has been done, you can use a wide variety of neurofeedback methods to fix a specific area, and/or dysregulation or just fine tune it, as you can do with your car’s engine.
(information is retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201410/what-is-neurofeedback)
More about EEG:
Electroencephalography, or EEG, monitors brain activity through the skull. EEG is used to help diagnose certain seizure disorders, brain tumors, brain damage from head injuries, inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord, alcoholism, certain psychiatric disorders, and metabolic and degenerative disorders that affect the brain. EEGs are also used to evaluate sleep disorders, monitor brain activity when a patient has been fully anesthetized or loses consciousness, and confirm brain death.
This painless, risk-free test can be performed in a doctor’s office or at a hospital or testing facility. Prior to taking an EEG, the person must avoid caffeine intake and prescription drugs that affect the nervous system. A series of cup-like electrodes are attached to the patient’s scalp, either with a special conducting paste or with extremely fine needles. The electrodes (also called leads) are small devices that are attached to wires and carry the electrical energy of the brain to a machine for reading. A very low electrical current is sent through the electrodes and the baseline brain energy is recorded. Patients are then exposed to a variety of external stimuli—including bright or flashing light, noise or certain drugs—or are asked to open and close the eyes, or to change breathing patterns. The electrodes transmit the resulting changes in brain wave patterns. Since movement and nervousness can change brain wave patterns, patients usually recline in a chair or on a bed during the test, which takes up to an hour. Testing for certain disorders requires performing an EEG during sleep, which takes at least 3 hours.
In order to learn more about brain wave activity, electrodes may be inserted through a surgical opening in the skull and into the brain to reduce signal interference from the skull.
Who would benefit from neurofeedback treatment?
Peopel who struggle with the following conditions will likely benefit from neurofeedback treatment:
- Stress— worry and fearfulness
- Anxiety, panic, hypervigilance
- Sleep disorders
- Learning problems— ADHD symptoms, lack of focus, inability to attend to tasks
- Headaches and migraines
- PTSD and trauma symptoms
- Head and brain injuries
- Cravings and addictions
- Low self-esteem and self-image
- Stuck patterns of thinking and behaving
What result do I expect from neurofeedback treatment?
Increased mental clarity and focus
Dropping away of fears
More appropriate response to situations
Feeling lighter and greater ease
Increased motivation and ability to accomplish tasks
How many sessions does it take to treat AD(H)D?
The treatment result largely depends on individual differences. Generally speaking, 40 sessions are recommended for people with ADHD. Each session takes about 45 minutes. Some homework may be required to facilitate the consolidation of therapeutic gains.
About Acupuncutre Treatment
We provide holistc treatment for people who prefer natural healing approaches. As an important treatment form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture treatment is to inert disposable needles into the acupuncture points along the correspondent meridians so that body metabolism is promoted and enhanced.
History of acupuncture treatment
Acupuncture, or needle puncture, is a European term invented by Willem Ten Rhyne, a Dutch physician who visited Nagasaki in Japan in the early part of the seventeenth century. The Chinese describe acupuncture by the character 'Chen', which literally means 'to prick with a needle', a graphic description of this therapeutic technique.
Acupuncture has a clearly recorded history of about 2,000 years, but some authorities claim that it has been practiced in China for some 4,000 years. The Chinese believe that the practice of acupuncture began during the Stone Age when stone knives or sharp edged tools, described by the character 'Bian', were used to puncture and drain abscesses. In fact the Chinese character 'Bian' means the 'use of a sharp edged stone to treat disease', and the modern Chinese character 'Bi', representing a disease of pain, is almost certainly derived from the use of 'Bian stones' for the treatment of painful complaints.
The origin of Chinese medicine is a fascinating story and acupuncture represents only one facet of their medical system. The first recorded attempt at conceptualizing and treating disease dates back to about 1500 BC during the Shang dynasty. Tortoise shells with inscriptions dating from that time have been found, and it is thought that these were used for divination in the art of healing. The philosophical basis of much of the very early Chinese medicine seems to have been to seek harmony between the living and their dead ancestors, and the good and evil spirits that inhabited the earth.
The Development of the Chinese Approach to Medicine and Science
The first known acupuncture text is the Nei Ching Su Wen and there is a great deal of controversy about the exact origins and authorship of this book. The Nei Ching Su Wen is divided into two main sections, the Su Wen, or simple questions and the Ling Shu, or difficult questions. The book is also known by a variety of alternative titles such as the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, or the Canon of Medicine, but all these titles refer to the same basic text.
The initial section of the Nei Ching Su Wen involves a discussion between the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, and his Minister, Ch'i Pai. This discussion lays down the philosophical basis of traditional Chinese medicine, and makes the Nei Ching Su Wen more of a treatise on health and disease rather than a textbook of medicine. Early Greek texts on medicine are mainly of interest to the medical historian rather than the practicing physician. For instance, Hippocrates does make many excellent philosophical and practical observations about disease and the doctor-patient relationship, but for the most part these texts are recipe books for a variety of ill-defined diseases. The Nei Ching Su Wen is timeless and deals almost exclusively with philosophical concepts, many of which seem to be as important today as they were 2,000 years ago.
Professor Joseph Needham, one of the greatest living experts on Chinese scientific philosophy, describes some aspects of the ancient Chinese system of science as mediaeval and retrogressive He feels that many of these concepts have distorted that development and obvious potential of Chinese medicine There is undoubtedly an element of truth in this but there is still a great deal of useful and valuable information within the traditional Chinese approach to medicine.
The Western doctor observes the facts before him and uses the current physiological theories to explain them. Chinese medicine is based on a much wider world view, which is described in the Nei Ching Su Wen, and these ideas are woven into a complete and intact system based on a philosophy different from that of modern Western medicine. The concepts of Yin and Yang, and the number five, are two of the more important ideas that permeate much of traditional Chinese scientific thought.
Yin and Yang are opposite aspects of the material world. Like night and day they are interdependent, and the existence of one end of the spectrum presupposes the existence of the other aspect; i.e. Yin is necessary for Yang to exist, and vice versa. At first the idea of Yin and Yang seems very simplistic; it is not, it describes the fundamental fluctuating balance of nature. A modern concept that pre-supposes the existence of Yin and Yang is ecology, one of the main principles of which is that the forces of the environment must be in a fluctuating balance.
The number five is also very important to Chinese thought. For example, there are five notes in the musical scale, five tastes for food and five elements in the physical world (earth, fire, water, wood and metal). The five elements are not just atomic constituents of matter, they have also been described as the five transitional stages of all physical materials. It is these philosophical ideas that form the basis of much of the discussion in the Nei Ching Su Wen.
The authorship of the Nei Ching Su Wen is attributed to Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor, but there is some doubt as to whether Huang Ti actually existed and a great deal more doubt about the claim that he wrote the Nei Ching Su Wen. Genealogies of the Chinese dynasties list him as the third of first five rulers of China, and ascribe the dates 2697-2579 B.C to him. Ssu-Ma Ch'ien, an historian of the second century BC begins the Historical Records with an account of Huang Ti and defines him as the founder of the Chinese civilization, and the first ruler of the Empire. He is one of three legendary Emperors who founded the art of healing; the others are Shen Nung and Hsi.
It is probable that the Nei Ching Su Wen was written by a variety of people and was updated by several important Chinese physicians. Some authorities date the Nei Ching Su Wen from 1000 BC whilst others, probably more correctly, date this text to the Warring States period (475-221 BC). The Ling Shu was almost certainly added during the Warring States period, and the twenty-four chapters that comprise the Nei Ching Su Wen were probably revised and re-written at this time.
The Development of Chinese Philosophy
The Warring States period is a particularly interesting time in Chinese history and has exerted a great deal of influence on Chinese thought. Two main philosophical ideologies became part of the mainstream of Chinese thought at this time, Taoism and Confucianism.
Confucianism defined the social status of prince and pauper within Chinese society and elected the Emperor a god. It result in a basically feudal and totalitarian system of government that still exists today, in an adapted form. Confucianism impinged on medicine in that it was opposed to the development of anatomy and surgery, one of its main tenets being that the whole body was sacred and should remain complete throughout life and also in death. The Confucians believed that it was important to present oneself to 'the ancestors' whole, and there-fore one of the most feared methods of execution in ancient China was decapitation. Acupuncture and related methods were the logical answer to this constraint, as they were able to cure internal disease with external means.
The Tao literally means the 'way' and the philosophy of Taoism is a method of maintaining harmony between man and his world, and between this world and beyond. The Tao, or the 'way', has been linked to a separate creed called Taoism but its basic naturalistic philosophies permeate all Chinese thought and religion, including Buddhism. Yin and Yang are very much part of the Tao, as the Book of Changes states, 'one Yin, one Yang, being called the Tao'. The religion of Taoism became formalized during the Warring States period and a book of poems entitled the Tao attributed to Lao Tsu (c. 500 BC ), describes many of the basic concepts within this philosophy.
The Taoist concept of health is to attempt to attain perfect harmony between the opposing forces of the natural world, between Yin and Yang, the belief being that the only way to be healthy is to adjust to the natural forces within the world and become part of their rhythm. It is further realized that the natural forces are completely dependent on each other; earth is dependent on rain and rain is dependent on heaven, which in turn cannot exist without the earth. In the same way Yin cannot exist without Yang, and yet the two are opposites. The concept of a unified, but at the same time polar force, governing natural events, is central to much of Chinese thought.
At first glance these concepts seem to be an irrelevant side-line to the development of a system of medicine, but acupuncture, and its development can only really be understood if the reader grasps the traditional Chinese approach to health and disease In essence, the ideal of health is perfect harmony between the forces of Yin and Yang; this represents the correct 'way' or Tao. Disharmony brings disease and death. Taoism is a passive philosophy, exalting the art of detailed and accurate observations. This was also an essential part of the development of Chinese medical thought and allowed detailed observations on organ structure and function to be made, as discussed in the first chapter.
As acupuncture developed, the Bian stones were discarded and needles of stone and pottery were used. These simple, primitive needles are still used in some of the rural areas of China. Eventually metal needles began to appear and these took the form of the classical 'nine needles'. The 'nine needles' comprised the arrowhead needle for superficial pricking, the round needle for massaging, the blunt needle for knocking or pressing, the three edged needle for puncturing a vein, the sword-like needle for draining abscesses, the sharp round needle for rapid pricking, the filliform needle, the long needle for thick muscles and the large needle for puncturing painful joints.
The main needle now used for acupuncture is the filliform as most of the others have been replaced by more sophisticated surgical instruments, for instance, the sword-like needle has been replaced by the scalpel.
The 'nine needles' were initially made of either bronze, or gold and silver, and seem to have been first used about 2,000 years ago. The tomb of the Prince of Chungshan, dating from the second century BC, was excavated in 1968 and contained a set of nine needles, four being of gold and five of silver. Some acupuncturists use gold and silver needles but the majority only stainless steel filliform needles.
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
The cups may be made of:
Types of cupping therapy
There are different methods of cupping, including:
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.
A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.
Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for about 3 minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood.
You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes.
Afterward, you may get an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Your skin should look normal again within 10 days.
Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing. But that’s not proven.
Some people also get “needle cupping,” in which the therapist first inserts acupuncture needles and then puts cups over them.
What Does the Research Show?There haven’t been many scientific studies on cupping.
One report, published in 2015 in theJournal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, notes that it could help with acne, herpes zoster, and pain management.
That’s similar to the findings from a 2012 report, published in PLoS One. Australian and Chinese researchers reviewed 135 studies on cupping. They concluded that cupping therapy may be effective when people also get other treatments, like acupuncture or medications, for various diseases and conditions, such as:
The British Cupping Society says that cupping therapy is used to treat:
- Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
- Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Fertility and gynecological disorders
- Skin problems such as eczema and acne
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and depression
- Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
- Varicose veins
A discussion of the history of acupuncture is incomplete without mentioning moxibustion. Moxibustion is the burning on the skin of the herb moxa. The Chinese character 'Chiu' is used to describe the art of moxibustion, and literally means 'to scar with a burning object'. Moxibustion does not now involve scarring, but moxa is still used to provide local heat over acupuncture points. It is made from the dried leaves of Artemisia vulgaris and the Chinese believe that the older the moxa, the better its therapeutic properties.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Other acupoint stimulation techniques include: manual massage, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and linaments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.
(retrieved from http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/The_History_of_Acupuncture_in_China/1819)
What conditions can acupucture treat?
Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for the following diseases, symptoms or conditions:
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Induction of labor
Low back pain
Malposition of fetus, correction
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
The following diseases, symptoms or conditions have limited but probable evidence to support the therapeutic use of acupuncture:
Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
Alcohol dependence and detoxification
Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
Competition stress syndrome
Craniocerebral injury, closed
Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
Female urethral syndrome
Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Hepatitis B virus carrier status
Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
Pain due to endoscopic examination
Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
Post-extubation in children
Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
Raynaud syndrome, primary
Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Retention of urine, traumatic
Sialism, drug-induced (excessive salivation)
Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
Spine pain, acute
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Ulcerative colitis, chronic
Whooping cough (pertussis)
Can acupucnture change brain function?
According to Emma Christensen (1998), despite the growing evidence that many ailments respond positively to acupuncture, much of the Western World remains incredulous as to its healing abilities. The centuries-old Chinese practice of acupuncture, rooted in 'non-scientific' and 'non-Western' thought and medicine, has burgeoned during the late-twentieth century trend towards 'alternative medicines.' Numerous clients readily attest to the positive effects of acupuncture in treating such conditions as postoperative pain, asthma, and drug addiction. Even so, many people are skeptical that placing hair-thin needles into one's skin in an effort to change the flow of 'Qi'(pronounced Ch'i) through mystical pathways in the body called meridians could relieve pain or cure a seemingly chronic and incurable problem. In recent years, several theories have been put forth to provide a more Western, scientific explanation for the successes of acupuncture, many of which concern the activation of opioid peptides. Whatever explanation to which one chooses to subscribe, the success and health benefits of acupuncture can stand on their own.
The Chinese practice of acupuncture can be defined as a procedure that nourishes and aids the body's natural healing processes. After the client's health evaluation is complete and the acupuncturist has established the person's individual case, the practitioner can begin the actual treatment. "Classic acupuncture," as Cohen defines it, "Is the art of inserting very fine, sterile, metal filoform needles into certain points along the channels and collaterals [of the body] in order to control the flow of Qi." Usually needles are placed several centimeters into the skin for certain distinct periods of time; sometimes this is accompanied with a small electric shock or heat (called Moxibuston).
Qi is the fundamental concept behind the Chinese and Eastern justification for the function of acupuncture. Chinese texts describe channels of energy called meridians that flow throughout the body in regular patterns, a system just like the circulatory system or the nervous system. Flowing through these meridians is Qi, vital life energy. Disease, defined as the imbalance in the flow of Qi, can result from blockage of the meridians or a deficiency of energy. "Disharmony of Qi will affect spiritual, emotional, mental, and the physical aspects of the body. The acupuncturist works to restore your Qi to a natural and healthy level of circulation" (7). Needles are used to puncture the meridians where they come close to the surface of the skin in order to unblock or nudge the Qi to flow back into its proper channels, thus restoring its balance in the body.
During the past few decades, the practice of acupuncture has come under the intense scrutiny of the Western nations (primarily the United States, England, and Europe), and there has been a push to formulate a scientific explanation for the consequences of this 'mystical phenomenon' on the body. Although no singular theory has been successful in entirely proving or discovering the intrinsic significance of acupuncture on the nervous system, it is generally accepted that the effects of acupuncture on the body involves the release of opioid peptides in the body.
The opioid peptides are a comprised of endorphins, enkephallins, and dynorphins, types of neurotransmitters, and are found in neurons throughout the body. Opioid peptides are thought to be closely involved with the perception of pain in the central nervous system (2). This hypothesis involving the opioids describes that pain is felt when the nervous system gets trapped in a kind of negative feedback loop. This can occur when either the brain hasn't registered the pain because the input to the nervous system isn't sufficient to reach the absolute threshold to release endorphins or the pain originates at a different source than where the body actually perceives the pain. In the later case, although endorphins have been released to one area, the root cause of the pain remains damaged and continues to cause pain even after the body has presumably taken care of the problem. Needling in acupuncture triggers the release of opioids in the nervous system by drawing attention to the problem area, either directly or indirectly . After the afflicted area can move and operate freely without the hindrance of pain and the pattern in the nervous system that was creating the pain is broken, often the area will proceed to heal naturally.
R. Melzack and P.D. Wall proposed another theory for how acupuncture affects the nervous system called "the gate theory." In this idea, impulses are transmitted through the nervous system from neuron to neuron, resulting in interpretation of the perception of pain in the brain. If a neuron is bombarded with too many 'pain signals' at once, it closes down, like closing a gate. This blocks any further impulses from reaching the brain. Acupuncture, presumably, does what the body would otherwise do naturally but does not because there is an insufficient amount of impulses to cause the neuron to 'close down.' "Stimulation [by the acupuncture needle] prohibits the passage of stronger pain signals down the same nerve and produces an analgesic effect" (4).
While theories describing opioid peptides and "the gate theory" provide the infrastructure for gaining a better scientific understanding of acupuncture, there are two other related concepts that are of importance to understanding the function of acupuncture. The first is the idea of 'pain memory.' " 'Memory," as Dr. Anthony Campbell states on this issue, "does not refer to the conscious recollection of painful events, but to the persistence of functional and possibly structural changes in the central nervous system as a result of injury to distant parts of the body" (2). This is the idea that pain can persist after all obvious, physical problems have been corrected, such is the case of such enigmas as thalamic pain and phantom limbs. Pain remains because, through the course of the actual injury, changes were made in the nervous system itself, such as reverberating neuronal circuits or biochemical changes (2). In effect, there is a 'memory' of the pain that has actually been ingrained into the person's physiology that acts as if the condition were still present. Acupuncture can help to restore the nervous system to its previous condition by "providing a train of impulses to the central nervous system," and "turn[ing] off a painful circuit"(2).
The second concept that requires understanding is the notion of trigger points. These are points on the body that have been studied for many years in Western medicine that, when compared, correspond precisely with Eastern acupuncture points. These are places in muscle tissue that, "are tender when pressed and may give rise to referred pain and other remote effects" (2). The existence of trigger points has been medically proven, and may result from the misuse or over-extenuation of a muscle. Acupuncture is often useful to neutralize these points, as well as medical procedures such as local anesthesia and corticosteriods.
Lao-tzu tells followers in Tao te Ching that, "The simplest pattern is the clearest." Perhaps it is that Westerners are looking too hard to find a complex explanation for acupuncture. The Chinese belief of the flow of Qi through the body provides a very simple rationalization that has held for over four millennia, while Western science is still floundering for concrete evidence at the level of the neuron. In view of our class's idea of the nervous system as boxes of input and out put within other boxes within other boxes, couldn't the insertion of a needle into a trigger point be regarded as a simple road-sign urging the action potential in one direction or the other as it travels from one neuron to the next? Any kind of pain perceived in the brain is only a distinct pattern of neuron discharges communicating with one another through changes in electrical and chemical potentials. Acupuncture can be regarded as another form of input to the nervous system affecting the overall cycle of input and output, supplementing the processes that are already occurring naturally.
(Reference: Theories on the Effects of Acupuncture on the Nervous System, E. Christensen, 1998)
1) Acupuncture.com, How Does Acupuncture Work?
2) Acupuncture in Practice by Dr. Anthony Campbell
3) British Medical Acupuncture Society
4) Examining Traditional Chinese Medicine
5) Foundation for Chinese Medicine
6) Harvard Brain
7) Introduction to Acupuncture
8) "Neuropathways of Acupuncture Analgesia"
9) Rhema Home Page
What is ChineseTea Ceremony?
The way tea culture and tea ceremonies evolved in the Chinese society mirrors the importance of this wonderful beverage which was first discovered and enjoyed in China. Tea was cultivated in the beginning mainly as herbal medicine and mostly within temples. Monks began to use tea for its peace and calming effects and as a sign of humility and respect for nature.
Chinese tea ceremony was born as a result of the respect for nature and need for peace which the religious ceremonies involved. The philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism have blended together giving birth to the magical Chinese tea ceremony. The traditional tea ceremonies were described as “he” which translates as “peace”, “jing” which translates as “quiet, “yi” which means “enjoyment” and “zhen” meaning “truth”.
As the time passed, Chinese people started to appreciate tea’s enjoyment and social value, besides its medicinal purposes. Tea ceremonies went from being only religious manifestations to becoming social, cultural and traditional events in different celebrations to honor the royal family or to mark different important events in people’s lives.
One of the famous Chinese tea ceremonies is the one named Gongfu tea ceremony, also known as Kungfu tea ceremony. It is known as the Chinese traditional tea ceremony and its place of birth is unknown. Some historians place it in Fujian region, while others place it in Guangdong region. Oolong tea is traditionally served during this ceremony.
Gongfu tea ceremony has been highly commercialized in the last years, for tourist entertainment. Gongfu cha literally translates as “making tea with efforts” and it actually represents the ceremonial of preparing and serving oolong tea as a sign of respect for the guests the tea is prepared for, and humility when it comes to nature. Nowadays the tea shops in China and Taiwan which have a very similar tea ceremony, have been carrying these traditional ceremonies as a way to make tourists and tea connoisseurs to interact with each other and especially with the Chinese tea traditions.
History of Chinese Tea Ceremony
One of the first written accounts about the tea ceremonies dates as far back as 1200 years ago, during the Tang Dynasty. The serving of tea was also named “cha dao” which meant “the way of tea”. Attention to tea preparation and serving were the preoccupations of the Chinese tea connoisseurs which transformed the way tea was regarded by the Chinese.
Compressed tea such as pu-erh for instance, or powder teas lost their popularity and by the end of the 14th century the loose leaf method gained adepts. This meant that tea ceremonies changed the usual ritual and other tools were being used different from the ones popular in the early days when the tea ceremonies were still novelty. In Japan tea production started around 12th century and followed Chinese models. The tea way in Japan finally evolved into what we call today the Japanese tea ceremonywhich was meant to be an exclusive ceremony only for political and military elites.
The Gongfu tea preparation began in the 18th century. Some scholars believe trace its origins in Wuyi in Fujian because it was from there that the production of oolong tea for export began, while others think that it was the people in Guangdong who started this particular part of the tea culture.
The Asian cultures are perfectionists by definition so when performing a tea ceremony everything needs to be perfect. For each tea ceremony starts with preparing in advance the right atmosphere, the necessary tools and especially taking time to prepare your soul for the entire ritual.
When performing a traditional Chinese tea ceremony there are six important aspects to be taken into account before actually performing it.
# 1 Attitude means everything. Chinese people believe that one’s state of mind or attitude can be passed really easily to the others. That is why before actually performing the tea ceremony one needs to relax first, think about positive aspects of life and be at peace with himself or herself and with the entire Universe. The entire tea ceremony needs to be done in a calm and relaxed manner to truly create a peaceful and unique Chinese tea ceremony.
#2 Tea selection is highly important. An oolong tea variety is usually being used for the traditional tea ceremony and sometimes, more rarely, pu-erh can also be used. For the Gongfu tea ceremony green tea is usually avoided. But that isn’t all. The tea variety must be carefully selected in advance taking into account both physical and spiritual characteristics. Physical characteristics refer to fragrance, taste and shape while the spiritual ones refer to the tea’s history, name and origin.
#3 Water selection needs special attention. A perfect tea needs to be prepared with the perfect water. The best quality tea leaves prepared with inappropriate water give a bad taste to the tea. For the traditional Chinese tea ceremony only the purest and cleanest water is used to ensure not only a perfect tasting beverage, but also a tribute of respect and admiration to mother nature.
#4 Necessary tools. You cannot prepare the perfect tea without the right tools. For the tea ceremony the perfect teaware is needed to ensure the right brewing and the magical atmosphere of the entire ceremony. The items must be both practical and aesthetical, the perfect ying-yang combination. The mandatory tools are a Yixing teapot or a porcelain teapot, a tea pitcher or chahai, a brewing tray, a teaspoon, usually three small cups and a tea strainer.
#5 Don’t forget the ambiance. A peaceful and calm ceremony needs a comfortable, quiet and clean room. Chinese usually use artwork and beautiful items to enhance the overall atmosphere and to make their guests feel relaxed and fully enjoy the entire ritual.
#6 The technique needs to be perfect. The perfect tea and atmosphere aren’t perfect without a technique to match them. The manner of serving should be relaxed and graceful reflected mostly through hand movements, facial expressions and the traditional ceremonial clothing.
What are the benefits of movement meditation?
Not everyone is suited to all meditation techniques. Some people do really well lying down or sitting still, and other people are suited to meditation that occurs during repetitive movement. Some people use both, depending on the circumstances and what they prefer.
So here is a bit of information about moving meditations; which are the kind that I prefer to do. Having a panic disorder forced me to look outside of what was the norm (at the time that I was researching meditation) for other ways to still my mind, and I found that for me, walking, repetitive art strokes, and even rocking were more conducive to me reaching a calmer, focused place; than simply forcing my body to be still.
I decided to learn how to work with my body, instead of against it, which is what it felt like when I made myself be still for too long. They're also fantastic for people who keep falling asleep during stillness meditations. I've also met a few people now who have problems like RSL (Restless Leg Syndrome), who simply can't trust their body to relax or sink into stillness. It can be very frustrating, especially as cultivating a sense of mental calmness and focus is a core building block for many forms of pagan or animistic spirituality.
Movement meditations can be very helpful. They involve repetitive movement in order to keep the body occupied so that at any time - if you feel you that you are panicking or stressing about not getting the meditation right - you can focus not only on your breathing, but also on your body movements the move and flex of your muscles.
An additional benefit of movement meditation for beginners that are having no success with techniques that require physical stillness; is that it can teach you what sort of mindframe you are aiming for so that, when you do attempt to master physical stillness techniques, you know in advance what to expect.
Some people walk at a mostly empty park or oval in a wide circle. If you do this enough, your body will start to learn the dimensions of the circle, and will be able to keep walking on this path even as your mind starts to find places of stillness and calm. The benefit of walking meditations is that you also get some gentle exercise, which enervates the body and mind, and helps to shape wellbeing.