More on Alternative Medicine becoming Mainstream

Andrea McCloskey suffers from fibromyalgia and used to take countless medications, including a high daily dose of the pain-killer Oxycodone. Now McCloskey takes no medications at all and is even working again.

She credits alternative health care practices offered at the Hazleton Health and Wellness Center.

“I feel so much better. It’s a fantastic exercise,” she said following a recent session.

While “alternative” is the accepted term, instructor Mark R. Reinhart prefers to use “complementary” to describe his brand of health care, specifically the Qigong (chee-gong) and Taiji (tai-chee) classes he teaches at the center.

Qigong and Taiji are similar practices consisting of fluid body movement, controlled breathing, balance and absolute concentration. “They have the same core principles: alignment and flow,” Reinhart said. “It pulls your focus in so you can’t think about anything else.”

Reinhart finds nothing wrong with traditional medicinal practices if used reasonably, but believes exercises such as Qigong and Taiji should also be incorporated to develop an entire healing of the mind, body and spirit.

“I’ve always been drawn to the culture; it always made sense,” said Reinhart, who has studied martial arts since 1975 and has been practicing Chinese internal arts for the past 15 years.

Reinhart received his Qigong therapist certification in 2005 and earned his Master of Medical Qigong degree in 2007. He now studies Chinese herbology one weekend a month in New York, the final requirement for full certification in Chinese herbal medicine.

Taiji is a trademark program at the Health and Wellness Center used to target specific conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, but according to Reinhart, the class is beneficial for just about any condition.

“There’s no question it works. It’s guaranteed to change you,” he said.

The arts of Qigong and Taiji have raised questions from the traditional medical field regarding their true value, but some studies have shown the practices work – and not only for rehabilitation or simple aches and pains.

Research conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine has shown that after 10 Taiji classes over five weeks, adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder displayed a decrease in anxiety, daydreaming behaviors, inappropriate emotions and hyperactivity, along with a greatly improved conduct.

Other studies, about the effectiveness among older patients, showed similarly favorable results. The Baylor Medical School conducted a study in which researchers took cells from long-term practitioners of Qigong and gathered the same cells from ordinary test subjects. The study found that the cells of those doing Qigong live up to five times longer.

Reinhart’s students were not hesitant to add to these favorable claims.

McCloskey, who has been practicing Qigong for about two years and Taiji for one year, was able to talk her daughter, Shannon Petrill, into joining the classes.

“Mom got me into it. One centering breath and I was hooked,” Petrill said.

Petrill is no stranger to exercise. She used to weight-train until she began suffering from a few nagging injuries.

“Now I’m in the best shape ever without any injuries,” she said. “I don’t have half the problems I used to.”

After retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police, Frank Matweecha became overweight and had minor problems with his heart and blood pressure until he began taking the Taiji classes with Reinhart. He has taken Taiji for about a year and has noticed significant changes in both his health and appearance.

“You get stronger the more you do it,” he said. Even his doctor has noticed an improvement in his health.

Reinhart has used Taiji to alleviate pain in his arm due to chronic tendonitis.

But Reinhart stresses to his students that if they want the Qigong or Taiji to work at its full potential, they must put in the time and effort to continue learning.

“Everyone thinks they’re too busy,” he said. “The exercises work great but you have to do them, you have to make time. You have to focus and do it completely.”

Focus is one of the main themes of these exercises. According to Reinhart, with complete concentration during the workouts, physical tension is released, which allows the participants to mentally let go of any stress they may have.

“You learn how to relax on all different levels,” he said. “This is a progression into physical and mental relaxation. You have to incorporate this into everything you do; that’s where you really get the benefits.”

The purpose of this art is to offer people a calming exercise that can be done anywhere at any time when stress builds up, even if it’s as simple as conducting different breathing patterns while sitting in traffic.

“There’s no reason not to go through your day relaxed,” he said.

1 comment so far

  1. […] Alternative Medicine Campaign wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptResearch conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine has shown that after 10 Taiji classes over five weeks, adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder displayed a decrease in anxiety, … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: