October 20, 2009

No Pain, No Gain: Togetherness Counts

Tai chi players take note! Researchers are finding that athletes do better when training with others. Emma Cohen at Oxford University found that rowers' pain thresholds were higher when working out in a group, as opposed to in isolation. "Data in other studies suggest that co-ordinated physical exercise can heighten social bonds....As the rowers had been teammates for nearly a year it is possible that the mere presence of friends explains the observed effect." (Reported in The Economist, 9/19/09).

October 12, 2009

Getting to Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall is presenting a fabulous festival of Chinese culture this fall in New York City: everything from the Shanghai Orchestra to the Zhang Family village band and puppets, Lang Lang to Yo-Yo Ma, urban to rural, secular to religious, traditional to contemporary, art, dance, percussion, pipa, qin, calligraphy, films. Not to be missed!

"Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture pays tribute to a vibrant culture and its influence around the globe with 21 days of events and exhibitions at Carnegie Hall and partner institutions throughout New York City. It features leading Chinese musicians, including artists and ensembles traveling outside of China for the first time, performing myriad genres of music. This festival also includes traditional marionette theater, dance, exhibitions, and much more—a true immersion into a world that mixes ancient and modern, familiar and new."
For information, see their site.

October 5, 2009

Tai Chi for Dizziness

Dizziness is no fun for those who suffer from vestibular disorders. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery reports on a study "Tai Chi as a form of vestibular rehabilitation" by Paul S. Lee MD, that used tai chi to help people with dizziness who've not been helped by conventional treatments.

"Researchers conducted a questionnaire study from April 2008 to March 2009 at an outpatient rehabilitation program, utilizing the activities-specific balance confidence scale and dynamic gait index survey, both prior to therapy and at the conclusion of an eight-week course. A total of 21 patients (18 females, 3 males) completed the study to date. Patients reported subjective improvements in their vestibular symptoms. Researchers theorize that the technique may be effective because Tai Chi promotes coordination through relaxation, rather than muscular coordination."

The findings were presented October 2009 at a conference of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.