The Natural Healing Research Foundation’s Senior Wellness Program is one of the most popular and dynamic programs provided at the Honolulu Qi Center. Senior citizens are educated on natural healing and prevention practices, which are effective, cost efficient, motivational, and accessible. Community members gather to learn and practice these natural self-healing methods for the prevention of heart disease, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, amongst other health concerns.
The major goals of the program are to help each individual detoxify and rejuvenate their body and to regularly implement practices which balance and strengthen the body for greater prevention. To achieve this, two simple but powerful tools are used:
1. Three Qi Gong classes per week.
2. Weekly nutrition classes with simple healing food recipes to prepare at home.
These classes bring strength to the body through gentle stretching; improve emotional health through gentle release during animal-related exercises; and enhance relaxation through meditation. The healing food samples and recipes show seniors first hand, the benefits that simple ingredients have on the overall balance and vitality of their bodies. Participants in the Senior Wellness Program know first hand why previous studies have revealed that qi gong can improve balance, increase circulation, improve flexibility, decrease depression and irritability, boost the immune system, and enhance overall health and well being. The Senior Wellness Program now services over 75 people three times a week, offering all services on a donations only basis.
A pilot study was initiated in 2008 due to the Senior Wellness Programs’ popularity and the marked improvements in health and wellbeing that participants reported since the program began in 2007. This study has been examining the health changes of the seniors attending this program. To take part in this research study, participants need to meet the following criteria:
1. Participants must be new to the Senior Wellness program.
2. Willing to undergo simple testing.
3. Must take part in other necessary data gathering activities on Wednesdays when qualified volunteer staff are available.
Because of these requirements, the number in the study has grown very gradually to fifteen over the past year. Those interested in participating follow this easy procedure:
1. Fills out a questionnaire on past and present health conditions.
2. Obtain blood pressure, pulse, lung air volume, and blood oxygen levels from a certified doctor.
3. Obtains a blood test report through his/her doctor, which is then brought to the Center.
4. Obtain follow-up measurements every 6 months.
To date, clear improvements have been observed with current participants. Three cases are presented:
*Reported Health Levels range from 1-5. “1” refers to frailty and daily dependence on others, whereas “5” refers to robust fitness.
Case 1 Participant
This 68-yr-old woman has participated in the program for about 5 months. When she began, she had the following health problems: depression, joint pain, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), lifelong obesity, and elevated cholesterol. After 5 months, her blood pressure, amount of oxygen in the blood, and Reported Health Levels have all improved. Blood testing across 6 months showed that her high levels of creatinine (related to renal function) and triglycerides and Cholesterol/HDL ratio (related to heart disease prevention) all returned to normal levels.
Examining her questionnaires at start and at 5 months revealed that her depression, tinnitus and joint pains disappeared. She discontinued the use of the Sam-E supplement for depression and aspirin for her joint pain. Her hours of sleep per night went from an average of 7 to 8. Her appetite went from “so-so” to “good”. She went from feeling “always tired” to “average energy level”. These improvements occurred despite breaking her wrist and the experience of a sudden death in the family during the five-month period.
Case 2 Participant
This 72 yr-old woman has been in the program for 8 months. When she joined she had acid reflux, runny nose, and painful back, leg, and fingers. She has regularly attended both the exercise and nutrition classes. At home she does the Facial Completion Exercises while using the stationary bike. Some of her highlighted results are noted:
- Her systolic blood pressure lowered markedly from 163 to 132.
- Her stomach is feeling better. She completely stopped her dependence on antacids. She reports, “ I used to throw up at least 1x a week and constantly had to eat antacids. I had a large bottle [of Tums] next to my bed cause I often felt bad and uncomfortable but after doing the Qi exercise and learning how to swallow my saliva all the way down to the Dantian [in the exercises] I no longer have this problem and have thrown the Tums away.”
- “My nose used to run every morning for at least 1-2 hours and was quite annoying, but after doing the exercise for sinus every morning, I no longer have this problem. In fact, my grandson, who is nine years old, has that problem too, so he does that exercise.”
- Her leg and back pain has completely diminished.
- She has healed her “trigger” thumbs and stopped having pain in them after the first two weeks of doing the Rooster Comb exercise daily.
- She had a pinky finger that was extremely painful but that became pain-free after several weeks of kidney exercises. She was interested to learn from one of the program instructors that pinky finger symptoms are related to kidney health in the perspective of a natural healing modality.
Case 3 Participant
This 89-yr-old man has been in the program for 8 months. He had a stroke in 2006 affecting the right side. Since he began 8 months ago:
- His blood pressure and amount of oxygen in the blood have improved.
- His Reported Health Levels went from level 5 (“I am well. I am less fit than the robust group, but I don’t have any active disease”) to level 6 (“I am very fit, robust, active, energetic, and well motivated. I exercise regularly. I am in the most fit group for my age.”).
- His range of motion was measured in September and October 2008, during which time his right shoulder’s range of motion increased from 132° to 140°. (The unimpaired left side showed a shoulder range of 150°).
- His nighttime urination decreased slightly from 1-2 times a night to 1 time a night.
These are just a few of the positive cases of seniors attending the program. Further time is needed for new research participants to join and enough data can be gathered to perform statistically significant analyses on the group’s changes.
The pilot study so far has spotlighted some remarkable cases of health improvement in seniors attending the Wellness Program. With more time and funding, continued detailed research can be done to document statistically, the health changes in the group and determine which aspects of health and /or disease are most affected by the Senior Wellness program.