Monthly Archives: December 2016

You may have walked into a studio or seen a YouTube clip of an elderly person practicing slow, smooth, and big movements. If you didn't know something more about Tai Chi, it might be hard for you to believe that it could ever be used for self defense. Yet this ancient art is one of the best tools out there to keep yourself safe in any situation.

It's true that Tai Chi takes more time to learn than some other systems do. With a qualified teacher, it's possible to learn moves that can be applied in a combat situation right away. However, to use Tai Chi as a whole can take longer than usual. It doesn't take 10 years like some people believe, yet realistically, to use Tai Chi as a whole may take 2 to 3 years. Yet the self-defense tools you learn can last longer than other systems because this martial art is designed to be used by the elderly as well as by those who are young.

While a younger person might be able to exchange blows or kicks with an attacker, these kinds of tactics would be far more risky for people who are older. Tai Chi teaches fighting strategies which can cause a lot of damage to your opponent without requiring a lot of physical strength. You learn how to send all your body weight into an opponent. Even if you weigh only 100 or 150 pounds, this can be devastating to anyone who chooses to fight you. You can even learn how to sense weaknesses in your attacker's body so you can take advantage of them. You could pick up, for example, that your opponent has a misaligned vertebrae. If you combined that knowledge with the ability to send all your weight through your strikes, you could quickly stop someone who chose to attack you.

Furthermore, for an older person, an attack might cause serious health problems even with successful self-defense. Tai Chi also teaches how to minimize the damage of an attack. Most people who are attacked will freeze up and get stiff. Not only will this make it more difficult for them to fight, it will also maximize the damage of an opponents' strikes. Tai Chi teaches how to relax during a physical conflict so much that the force can actually pass through you and not do any damage. As your skill increases, you can allow more and more force to go through you without actually hurting you.

If you are an average American, you are much more likely to die because of health and stress related issues rather because of a physical attack. Tai Chi can help you avoid these problems while at the same time teaching you a very effective fighting method. If you can learn to really be relaxed during a physical attack, the day-to-day stresses like traffic and deadlines will not phase you. Add in the other well-known health benefits of this martial art, and you have something that can increase your life expectancy in many ways at the same time.

Make no mistake. Tai Chi teaches real, deadly fighting strategies that you can use to protect yourself in a bad situation. It includes tactics that work even if you are elderly. Yet it simultaneously gives you stress management tools and other health benefits as well. Is Tai Chi real for self defense? Definitely!

Sigung Richard Clear has over 30 years of continuous study in Martial Tai Chi and Chi Kung both in the U.S. and China.

Following the Christmas and New Year celebrations it's a good idea to give your body a little extra support in readiness for the challenges ahead and to replenish depleted reserves.

After all the festivities your body can feel sluggish and low in energy. In Chinese medicine terms, this is commonly due to the depletion of the body's Yin energy from excessive indulgence in rich food and alcohol as well as late nights and generally overdoing things. Common symptoms include fatigue, soreness and weakness in the lower back and legs, light-headedness, dizziness, irritability, mild anxiety and depression, poor concentration, night sweats, insomnia, unrefreshed sleep, dry skin, dry or sore throat, hot palms and flushing of the face. In Chinese herbalism this syndrome is defined as "Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency".

The Liver and the Kidney meridian systems serve as the basic reserve of Yin energy, which is said to nourish and revitalise the cells, tissues, organs and systems of the entire body. It is believed that abundant reserves of Yin energy fortify all the biochemical and physiological processes of the body and provide the foundation for healthy physical and mental activity as well as balanced emotions. In turn, this allows for the free flow of Qi (pronounced "chee") or expendable energy derived for air, food and water, which invigorates and animates the body and its organ functions.

Good reserves of Yin energy and free flowing Qi, together with well nourished Blood and ample physical and mental drive (Yang energy) helps restore health, promotes resilience and manifests as vitality.

Examples of herbs to tonify the Yin, Qi, Blood and Yang are as follows: -
1. Yin tonics include Ligustrum or Chinese Privet berries, Poria mushroom, Schizandra berries, Rehmannia root, Codonopsis root and Lycii fruit
2. Qi tonics include Panax Ginseng root, Atractylodes root and Codonopsis root
3. Blood tonics include Polygonum root, Rehmannia root and Lycii fruit
4. Yang tonics include Cinnamon bark and Schizandra berries

When properly combined into a balanced whole body tonic these herbs: -
- enhance vitality and wellbeing;
- increase resistance to illness;
- provide energy;
- relieve tension and mild anxiety;
- improve resistance to stress and illness;
- aid digestion and the assimilation of nutrients;
- tonify the Liver;
- enhance the elimination of waste;
- gently activate metabolism;
- promote circulation;
- strengthen ligaments and tendons;
- support brain function;
- improve sight and sense perception; and
- provide antioxidants

Finally, for best results when taking Chinese tonic herbs it is recommended that people exercise regularly, eat fresh wholesome foods, drink adequate pure water, practice relaxation and maintain healthy relations with family and friends.

Paul Keogh ND, DMH is a qualified Naturopath and medical herbalist with 20 years combined experience in clinical practice and the development of medicinal-grade, integrated Chinese and western herbal medicines. Paul regularly reviews the benefits of vitamins, supplements and vitamin tablets for different goals and conditions.

Definitions of Meditation include the following:
An upliftment of mind and consciousness.
A condition of elevation of the spirit.
A stillness of thought that gives birth to new inner experiences.
Cessation of the chatter of the mind to enjoy total calm.
Expansion of consciousness and understanding of life.
Exploration of the worlds between waking and sleeping and between soul and spirit.
Extraordinary states where the reality comprises exquisite beauty, perfect truth and
limitless love.

There are many who have not experienced the flights of the soul and spirit through meditation who allow ignorance or negative opinion to prejudice their minds and make them timid of practicing this simple technique. In our western culture we have been restricted in adopting meditation as a popular practice until relatively recently. Now it is becoming accepted by many individuals but also by the healing professions, particularly those involved in psychology, psychiatry and stress relief. Most importantly, it is now a natural extension of young people's interests, confirmed and strengthened by their direct experiences.

Meditation is now generally seen to offer such benefit that we are encouraged to reconsider our thoughts on the subject and review any misconceptions we may have.

For those who are concerned that they may be influenced in a way that weakens self determination, it must be stated clearly that the meditative state is not a trance-like state but a self induced attunement of awareness chosen by each individual. Each of us stays conscious throughout our 'quiet time', although often with expanded, elevated or vital new awareness.

The practice of meditation is thought by some critics to be a waste of time. However, it is meditating that allows our thought to be free to travel as we first direct it and then rewards us with quality feelings and thoughts that uplift us or bring us peace. Benefits are usually lasting and can result in increased vitality, clarity of thought and feeling and a sense of well being. Time well spent and becomes a channel for our personal inspiration.

Meditation is sometimes seen as strange or a potential threat to religious belief. But as meditation is universal this thought has no credence. All religions embrace some form of meditation and prayer. Meditation is to strengthen spiritual values and encourage the practice of sincere religious principles, allowing that the realm of our own thoughts is a very private province.

Meditation helps us develop the ability to mature as a person, to express our talents and potential and to train our minds so that our thoughts are not capable of destroying our peace but of helping our total well being.

It is then that we can be of assistance to others.

Sally Janssen is a writer, health educator and Yoga teacher well known both in Australia and abroad for her skill in demonstration of the Hatha Yoga practices and her wisdom in applying the principles of Raja Yoga - the study of the mind and consciousness. More details at

Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind - Introducing Spiritual Meditation
Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind - Introducing Spiritual Meditation
In His Book, Yoga Monk Dada Nabhaniilananda, Who Has Taught Meditation For More Than 30 Years Takes The Reader Well Beyond Relaxation And Stress Management. He Answers Common Questions, Explains Clearly How Meditation Works And Gives A Simple Technique.
Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind - Introducing Spiritual Meditation

Chinese herbs can protect the immune system to increase disease resistance.

Researchers have discovered that a class of Chinese herbs known as 'Immune Restoratives' strengthen and maintain the health of the immune system. A Chinese herbal medicine containing the scientifically proven herb Astragalus, blended with seven other potent immune restorative herbs (Atractylodes, Schizandra, Reishi, Codonopsis, Eleuthro, Ligustrum and Liquorice), represents a medical breakthrough in the treatment of immune system depletion and depression.

Evidence demonstrates that these herbs are powerful biological response modifiers (BRM), which increase the immune system's capacity to recover from infection, overcome disease and restore health. They achieve this by enhancing production of defensive white blood cells including phagocytes, leukocytes and lymphocytes, providing antibacterial and anti-viral action, increasing red blood cells and haemoglobin, stimulating hormones such as interferon, promoting release of protective proteins called immunoglobulins, reducing inflammation, improving detoxification and increasing the adaptive function of adrenal cortex to resist stress.

Research proves this Astragalus herb formula can restore a healthy immune system and speed up recovery from colds and flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis, glandular fever, Ross River virus and post-viral fatigue syndrome. This formula can help strengthen the immune system during surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and for chronic hepatitis and HIV/AIDS sufferers. It also assists with recovery from childhood illnesses, post-operatively and following physical trauma. For sports people and during times of physical stress it helps maintain peak effort, while increasing resistance to infection and enhancing general well-being at all ages.

The profound immune restorative effects from the above Astragalus eight Chinese herb combination are exemplified by the following quote: -

"Physically debilitated from recurrent respiratory infections, I couldn't maintain my triathlon training program. I am a past Australian Junior Triathlon champion and a member of the current under 23 Australian Triathlete team. Blood tests indicated very low immunity. For 12 months before I started taking the Chinese Immune Tonic I experienced cold and flu-like infections every few weeks, constant swollen glands, extreme exhaustion and incomplete recovery after even the mildest exercise. Within 6 weeks on this medicine I was back training and after 3 months my immunity was normal and I was again in good physical condition."

In Summary an Immune Restorative formula provides broad immunological support to:
• Restore a weakened immune system at all ages
• Alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) e.g. after glandular fever
• Increase resistance to infection e.g. cold, flu, middle ear and tonsillitis
• Break the cycle of recurrent infections, e.g. cold, flu, middle ear and tonsillitis
• Enhance recovery from illness and surgery i.e. during convalescence
• Treat chronic viral and bacterial diseases, e.g. chronic hepatitis
• Provide immune support during chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Paul Keogh ND, DMH is a Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. Paul regularly reviews the benefits of vitamins and supplements and discusses health conditions and goals. The discount vitamins and supplements he reviews can be found online.