Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the dietary recommendation that became popular in the 1990s. For food of the areas around the Mediterranean Sea, see Mediterranean cuisine.

Ingredients for the sauce "allo scoglio" for pasta with
 cherry tomatoes "Pachino IGT/IGP", parsley and garlic
(to which must be added the Seafood).
The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece, and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products.

On November 17, 2010, UNESCO recognized this diet pattern as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco.

Despite its name, this diet is not typical of all Mediterranean cuisine. In Northern Italy, for instance, lard and butter are commonly used in cooking, and olive oil is reserved for dressing salads and cooked vegetables. In North Africa, wine is traditionally avoided by Muslims. In both North Africa and the Middle East, sheep's tail fat and rendered butter (samna) are the traditional staple fats, with some exceptions.

The most commonly understood version of the Mediterranean diet was presented, amongst others, by Dr Walter Willett of Harvard University's School of Public Health from the mid-1990s on. Based on "food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece, and southern Italy in the early 1960s", this diet, in addition to "regular physical activity," emphasizes "abundant plant foods, fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert, olive oil as the principal source of fat, dairy products (principally cheese and yogurt), and fish and poultry consumed in low to moderate amounts, zero to four eggs consumed weekly, red meat consumed in low amounts, and wine consumed in low to moderate amounts". Total fat in this diet is 25% to 35% of calories, with saturated fat at 8% or less of calories.

Olive oil is particularly characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. It contains a very high level of monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid, which epidemiological studies suggest may be linked to a reduction in coronary heart disease risk. There is also evidence that the antioxidants in olive oil improve cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol reduction, and that it has other anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects.


Although it was first publicized in 1945 by the American doctor Ancel Keys stationed in Salerno, Italy, the Mediterranean diet failed to gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. Objective data showing that Mediterranean diet is healthy first originated from the Seven Countries Study . Mediterranean diet is based on what from the point of view of mainstream nutrition is considered a paradox: that although the people living in Mediterranean countries tend to consume relatively high amounts of fat, they have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in countries like the United States, where similar levels of fat consumption are found. A parallel phenomenon is known as the French Paradox.

A diet rich in salads was promoted in England during the early Renaissance period by Giacomo Castelvetro in A Brief Account of the Fruits, Herbs and Vegetables of Italy. He attempted, without success, to convince the English to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Health effects

A number of diets have received attention, but the strongest evidence for a beneficial health effect and decreased mortality after switching to a largely plant based diet comes from studies of Mediterranean diet, e.g. from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

The Mediterranean diet is often cited as beneficial for being low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. One of the main explanations is thought to be the health effects of olive oil included in the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in salt content. Foods such as olives, salt-cured cheeses, anchovies, capers, salted fish roe, and salads dressed with extra virgin olive oil all contain high levels of salt.

The inclusion of red wine is considered a factor contributing to health as it contains flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties.

Dietary factors are only part of the reason for the health benefits enjoyed by certain Mediterranean cultures. A healthy lifestyle (notably a physically active lifestyle or labour) is also beneficial.

Environment may also be involved. However, on the population level, i.e. for the population of a whole country or a region, the influence of genetics is rather minimal, because it was shown that the slowly changing habits of Mediterranean populations, from a healthy active lifestyle and Mediterranean diet to a not so healthy, less physically active lifestyle and a diet influenced by the Western pattern diet, significantly increases risk of heart disease. There is an inverse association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the incidence of fatal and non fatal heart disease in initially healthy middle aged adults in the Mediterranean region.

A 10-year study found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle was associated with more than a 50% lowering of early death rates. A 5-year study of 7,447 people reported that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease in people at high risk by "about 30 percent".

The putative benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular health are primarily correlative in nature; while they reflect a very real disparity in the geographic incidence of heart disease, identifying the causal determinant of this disparity has proven difficult. The most popular dietary candidate, olive oil, has been undermined by a body of experimental evidence that diets enriched in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil are not atheroprotective when compared to diets enriched in either polyunsaturated or even saturated fats. A recently emerging alternative hypothesis to the Mediterranean diet is that differential exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation accounts for the disparity in cardiovascular health between residents of Mediterranean and more northerly countries. The proposed mechanism is solar UVB-induced synthesis of Vitamin D in the oils of the skin, which has been observed to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease, and which rapidly diminishes with increasing latitude.

Interestingly, residents of the Mediterranean are also observed to have very low rates of skin cancer (which is widely believed to be caused by over-exposure to solar UV radiation); incidence of melanomas in the Mediterranean countries is lower than in Northern Europe and significantly lower than in other hot countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Its been hypothesized that some components of the Mediterranean diet may provide protection against skin cancer.

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that people who followed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop depression.

Medical Research

The Seven Countries Study found that Cretan men had exceptionally low death rates from heart disease, despite moderate to high intake of fat. The Cretan diet is similar to other traditional Mediterranean diets, consisting mostly of olive oil, bread, abundant fruit and vegetables, fish, and a moderate amount of dairy foods and wine.

The Lyon Diet Heart Study set out to mimic the Cretan diet, but adopted a pragmatic approach. Realizing that some of the people in the study (all of whom had survived a first heart attack) would be reluctant to move from butter to olive oil, they used a margarine based on rapeseed (canola) oil. The dietary change also included 20% increases in vitamin C-rich fruit and bread and decreases in processed and red meat. On this diet, mortality from all causes was reduced by 70%. This study was so successful that the ethics committee decided to stop it prematurely so that the results could be made public immediately.

According to a 2008 study published in the British Medical Journal, the traditional Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against type 2 diabetes. The study involved over 13 000 graduates from the University of Navarra in Spain with no history of diabetes, who were recruited between December 1999 and November 2007, and whose dietary habits and health were subsequently tracked. Participants initially completed a 136-item food frequency questionnaire designed to measure the entire diet. The questionnaire also included questions on the use of fats and oils, cooking methods and dietary supplements. Every two years participants were sent follow-up questionnaires on diet, lifestyle, risk factors, and medical conditions. New cases of diabetes were confirmed through medical reports. During the follow-up period (median 4.4 years) the researchers from the University of Navarra found that participants who stuck closely to the diet had a lower risk of diabetes. A high adherence to the diet was associated with an 83% relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

A 2008 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of three diets: low-carb, low-fat, and Mediterranean. The study involved 322 participants and lasted for two years. The low-carb and Mediterranean diet resulted in the greatest weight loss, 12 lbs and 10 lbs, respectively. The low-fat diet resulted in a loss of 7 lbs. One caveat of the study is that 86% of the study participants were men. The low-carb and Mediterranean diets produced similar amounts of weight loss in the overall study results and in the men. In the remaining participants who were women, the Mediterranean diet produced 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs) more weight loss on average than the low-carb diet.

A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 showed that following strictly the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as the risk of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The results report 9%, 9%, and 6% reduction in overall, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality respectively. Additionally a 13% reduction in incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases is to be expected provided strict adherence to the diet is observed. As well, a 2007 study found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) may affect not only risk for Alzheimer disease (AD) but also subsequent disease course: Higher adherence to the MeDi is associated with lower mortality in AD. The gradual reduction in mortality risk for higher MeDi adherence tertiles suggests a possible dose-response effect.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2009 showed some components of the Mediterranean diet, such as high vegetable consumption and low meat and meat product consumption, are more significantly associated with low risk of mortality than other components, such as cereal consumption and fish consumption. As part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, researchers followed more than 23,000 Greek men and women for 8.5 years to see how various aspects of a Mediterranean diet affect mortality. Moderate alcohol consumption, high fruit and nut consumption, and high legume consumption were also associated with lower risk of mortality.

Mediterranean Diet, articulated into extensive lifestyles interventions in a clinical follow-up study, improves renal artery circulation, decreasing renal resistive index, even without significant modifications of Insulin Resistance. This is a beneficial effect and modifies the pathophysiology of essential hypertension. Another study reported in February 2010 found that the diet may help keep the brain healthy by reducing the frequency of mini-strokes that can contribute to mental decline. Mediterranean Diet is becoming a comprehensive popular and successful translational paradigm for the promotion of healthier lifestyles.

A 2011 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology analyzed the results of 50 studies (35 clinical trials, 2 prospective and 13 cross-sectional) covering about 535,000 people to examine the effect of a Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome. The researchers reported that a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides.

A 2012 follow-up study in Israel, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that even people who regain some weight after going on a Mediterranean diet can derive lasting benefits from it.

See the full article Mediterranean Diet From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies

Improve Your Health, Lose Weight, and Prevent and Fight Disease

For decades, doctors and nutritional experts have observed and confirmed that Mediterranean countries have much lower occurrences of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes in their citizens than northern European countries and the United States. The Mediterranean Diet For Dummies features expert advice on transitioning to this healthful lifestyle by providing meal planning tips, exercise regimens, and more than 150 recipes inspired by the cuisines of Italy, Greece, southern France, and Spain to improve your health, lose weight, and prevent and fight disease.

Rather than focusing on restricting certain foods and ingredients, the Mediterranean diet embraces a variety of food choices that promote freshness, whole grains, healthy fats, more vegetables and less meat, understanding proper portion control, and using items like wine and olive oil to create rich flavors. With The Mediterranean Diet For Dummies you'll find out how a delicious diet can reduce the long-term risk of obesity, heart disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and more.
  • More than 150 tasty recipes
  • Expert tips on meal planning, exercise regimens, and healthy lifestyle choices
  • Prevent and fight diseases by eating delicious food
Whether you're just discovering the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet or are looking for some new recipes to add to your repertoire, The Mediterranean Diet For Dummies has everything you need to start living a healthier life.

See thousands of books and online:

Mediterranean Diet Could Help Reduce Heart Disease

Published on Feb 25, 2013

Dr. Richard Besser reports on the latest study reaffirming value of popular diet plan.

Standard YouTube License @ ABC News

Global National : Pros and Cons of Mediterranean Diet

Published on Feb 26, 2013

Mon, Feb 25 / 2013: There is convincing new proof that a diet rich in olive oil and nuts can cut your risk of a heart attack. Dawna Friesen talks to Dr. Ali Zentner for analysis. For more info, please go to

Standard YouTube License @ Global News

Mediterranean Diet

Uploaded on Feb 17, 2009

Find out the benefits of diet based on Mediterranean cuisine.

Standard YouTube License @ Armstrong Atlantic State University

Typical Foods on the Mediterranean Diet

Published on Jan 22, 2013

If you're interested in following the Mediterranean Diet, this video will help you determine which foods to enjoy and avoid. This diet offers plenty of variety, so you never have to feel deprived while eating healthy!

Standard YouTube License @

Dr Oz - Diet Mediterranean

Uploaded on Dec 22, 2011

Best short guide to healthy food.

Standard YouTube License @ SYMBALLERO

Mediterranean Diet

Uploaded on Sep 17, 2008 provides Mediterranean diet recipes, food, a pyramid and research surrounding this highly regarded diet. Apart from its high level of nutrition and antioxidants, it is renowned for reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, allergies while being a healthy alternative for weight loss.

You can also sign up at that URL for more tips and articles on the mediterranean diet as well.

mokugin81 In The Mediterranean Countries we dont just eat vegetables fruits olives and Avocados. We Also Eat Plenty Of Cheese( France,Italy,Spain) Parma Ham and Chorizo( Italy and Spain) Feta Cheese( Turkey and Greece) Lamb and red Meat in most Countries and in Turkey Kefir is Soo Popular!! This Are Facts!!  
evertharder1949 An informative video on the Mediterranean Diet, and the unlimited food from countries we tend to forget about especially on the African side. The health benefits when you enjoy the Mediterranean culinary delights, are well documented in this...

Standard YouTube License @ Photography Business

Healing Quest: Portion Control - The Sonoma Diet

Uploaded on Nov 16, 2007 Nutritionist Connie Guttersen, author of best-selling 'The Sonoma Diet,' shows us how to improve our health by doing a better job of controlling how much we put on our plate every day.
SSTattler: The Sonoma Diet is a sub-set of Mediterranean Diet.

Standard YouTube License @ Healing Quest

Mediterranean Diet Improves Sex Too!

Uploaded on Jan 29, 2009

Find out why the Mediterranean diet is not a weight loss diet at all but a healthy lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight.

Similar to a vegetarian diet, the Mediterranean diet also shows to improve your sex life. They are a classy bunch though and didn't need to create some racy TV commercial. Check out the facts now!

Standard YouTube License @ DietHealth - Video

A Registered Dietitian Discusses the Mediterranean Diet

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Carol Burke Sloan is a registered dietitian who works with the California Walnut Commission. She has information regarding the new diet study out of Spain showing the cardiovascular benefits of including more olive oil, fish, whole grains, legumes, and nuts in your diet.

Standard YouTube License @ Eat Drink Explore Media

Mediterranean Diet on Greek Food TV ☼ - Healthy Cooking

Uploaded on Sep 10, 2009

The Greek-Mediterranean Diet is the healthiest in the world. Discover the grains, greens, fresh, seasonal recipes and more with Diane Kochilas.

That's it for your Greek Salad & Mediterranean diet. Well-known Greek food expert and award-winning author DIANE KOCHILAS and photographer VASSILIS STENOS own and operate the THE GLORIOUS GREEK KITCHEN COOKING SCHOOL and DV FOOD ARTS CONSULTING. We run cooking classes and organize culinary tours in Greece for recreational and professional cooks. We produce specialty books and other food-and-wine-related literature for a wide variety of clients and independently for the tourist and other markets.

Diane consults on Greek cuisine for restaurants, retail outlets and producers of fine Greek foods. Vassilis Stenos offers an extensive archive of food and travel photographs of Greece. Name: Diane Kochilas Well-known Greek food expert, consultant, chef, and author Diane Kochilas has written 12 books on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. She is the consulting chef at Pylos, one of New York's top-rated Greek restaurants.

Diane divides her time between Athens, Ikaria, and New York. In Athens, where she's lived for the last 15 years, she is the weekly food columnist and restaurant critic for Ta Nea, the country's largest newspaper. Diane writes frequently for the US food press and appears regularly on American television.

Her books: The Food and Wine of Greece, The Greek Vegetarian, The Glorious Foods of Greece, Meze, Against the Grain (good carbs), Mediterranean Grilling, Mastiha Cuisine, The Northern Greek Wine Roads Cookbook , Aegean Cuisine. Forthcoming: The Country Cooking of Greece, Greek Food with Greek Feta.

Standard YouTube License @ Greek Food TV ☼

Diane Kochilas, My Life, My Work and GreekFoodTV ☼

Published on Mar 11, 2012

Welcome to this short video bio of me and my work over the last 20-plus years promoting Greek cuisine all over the world. Greek cooking is so delicious and healthy.

There are so many recipes that are easy, accessible, but most importantly, plant-based. Greece is one of the few countries in the world--the Mother of the Mediterranean Diet, remember!--where vegetables and beans are the ingredients in countless main courses. We don't relegate them to side-dish status. My goal is to share healthy, delicious Greek cuisine with the world. The secrets to longevity are hidden in the traditional cooking. And the key to fighting the obesity epidemic plaguing the United States can be found in the tremendous variety of wonderful Greek food, from luscious fresh vegetable stews and casseroles to savory pies filled with wild greens to desserts made with olive oil. Indeed, olive oil and the generous use of it on almost every Greek dish, is one of the secrets to eating and living well.

I hope the video will be an enticing journey through Greece, one that inevitably ends around a table.

Beyond that, on GreekFoodTV you will find dozens of other videos in which I demonstrate traditional and contemporary Greek classics and lots of regional Greek specialties.

If you enjoy this site, you might also enjoy one of my books and want to keep an eye out for my forthcoming book, The Country Cooking of Greece. It was really an honor to have been asked by Chronicle Books to write the Greek tome for what has turned into an award-winning series. For me, that was yet another sign that Greek cuisine in the United States was finely being given its due and finally being embraced by the mainstream. The Country Cooking of Greece will be out in the fall of 2012, and in it I look at the simple, delicious, healthy foods that are still the mainstay of life in the Greek countryside today.

But before the publication of any book, especially a cookbook, which is complicated and multifaceted, there is the process, the road the author takes to get her to those first bound galleys. I thought it would be fun to take readers on a parallel journey, into what went into the making of the book. So starting now, and running through its publication in November, 2012, I will serve forth what I like to think of as a "poikilia" a meze platter of behind-the-scenes tidbits that I hope will eventually entice you to sit down for the full-course meal, the book itself. I share that information on the GreekFoodTv Facebook page.

There, I share recipes that never made it into the actual book for all sorts of reasons, text that I had to cut because of space limitations, photos of places, people, and dishes that we had to nix because they just couldn't all fit, manuscript pages that were edited, cut, slashed, commented on, and filled with queries, and so much more. Mostly, I'll share with you the labor of love, from inception and fruition, which brought The Country Cooking of Greece to life.

I enjoyed every minute of researching this book and hope to share some of the adventures leading to the Country Cooking of Greece (Chronicle Books 2012): For example, one of my favorite farmers and a spearheading figure in the organic movement in Greece, is Alexandra Valopetropoulou, whose farm is just 45 minutes from downtown Athens. She is but one of many passionate artisans working the field, the vine, the table and more all over Greece.

In another photo album I talk about a "Greek Touch:" Rusks. Rusks, or paximadia, as they are called in Greek, are one of the ancient foods that still define Greek cooking today. This ultimate peasant treat, a twice-baked bread that is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner and extremely versatile.

Thanks for joining me at GreekFoodTV, both on youtube and on Facebook. Enjoy all the delicious Greek regional and authentic recipes. Eat and live well the Greek way!

Standard YouTube License @ Greek Food TV ☼

Men in Aprons - Mediterranean Diet

Uploaded on Jun 24, 2011

Chefs Pete & Dave prepare a menu that showcases the wide variety of healthy ingredients that are the foundations of the Mediterranean diet.

Standard YouTube License @ Beverly Hospital

How To Mediterranean Diet

Published on Feb 26, 2013

What Is a Mediterranean Diet?

"The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle where good taste meets good health," says Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways, the nonprofit food and nutrition group that first introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 1993.

There is no single Mediterranean diet. Instead, each region across Europe -- from Spain to the Middle East -- customizes the basic diet to take advantage of food availability and cultural preferences.

Similarities include a reliance on plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, olives, and olive oil along with some cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, eggs, and wine. These foods form the basis of the plan and provide thousands of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that work together to protect against chronic disease.

Most of the foods on the plan are fresh, seasonal whole foods - they're not processed. Preparation methods tend to be simple; foods are rarely deep-fried.

Only small amounts of saturated fat, sodium, sweets, and meat are part of the plan.

The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes leisurely dining and regular physical activity, which are an important part of the equation.

Standard YouTube License @ How Can ItDo

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2007-12-29

"That was nice wasn't it..."
Scott Adams - 2013-03-29

"...soaked parasite growing in your womb!"

Jim Davis - 2013-03-29

"I feel like doing manly things today!"

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-03-24

"...if they are a success or a disaster?"

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. (See as well 
 the author Lynn Johnston).
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Eclectic Stuff & Articles

Definition: Eclectic(noun) a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Mediterranean Diet Proven Key In Avoiding Heart Disease And Stroke

Dean Reinke
Deans' Stroke Musing
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I know this is considered the height of prevention but this is just pure laziness because it doesn't require any intellectual work that would be required if they have to find out how to stop the neuronal cascade of death. See the Mediterranean Diet Could Be Key ... in uInterview News.

The Mediterranean diet, which consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes, nuts and olive oil, has shown to reduce the health risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

A five-year dietary experiment carried out in Spain, consisted of three groups — two that followed a variation of a Mediterranean diet and another that followed (or attempted to follow) a low-fat diet. The two former groups were encouraged to eat the foods aforementioned frequently throughout the week, to limit red meat and baked sweets and to have seven glasses of wine with meals per week. The latter group, while also encouraged to eat lean fish, were told to eat pasta and bread, and to stay away from olive oil and nuts.

All of the participants were at higher-than-normal cardiovascular risk — half had Type 2 diabetes, and roughly 80 suffered from hypertension. Throughout the five years of the study, 8 in the Mediterranean diet groups suffered from a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death, according to the findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Comparatively, a total of 11 on the control diet suffered such an event. These results indicate about a 30% reduction in “events” for those following the Mediterranean diet.

“Really impressive,” Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association told The New York Times. “And the really important thing — the coolest thing — is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”

Despite the low-fat dieters clocking in a daily calorie consumption of roughly 1,960 to the Mediterranean dieters 2,200, it proved less beneficial to the participants’ health. However, it is also important to note that there was no reported weight loss associated with the Mediterranean diet, and a majority of the participants were taking statins or blood pressure or diabetes drugs in an ancillary effort to reduce their heart disease risk. “As a doctor it is easier to say take a pill,” Dr. Ramon Estruch, who conducted the study, told the Boston Globe. “But diet is a very powerful effect in protecting against cardiovascular disease.”

The study conducted in Spain, if transferred to the United States, is likely to show even greater results, as a typical Western diet is generally worse than that of those sampled, according to Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez. “The differences probably would be huge.”

See the original article Mediterranean Diet Proven Key In Avoiding Heart Disease And Stroke
                                  in Deans' Stroke Musing

Mediterranean Diet Has Huge Health Benefits, New Study Finds

Published on Feb 25, 2013

Related article: Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke
Please visit:       The New York Times - Video - Mediterranean Diet

TimesCast: The Times's Gina Kolata talks about a new study, published on The New England Journal of Medicine's Web site, focusing on the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

Standard YouTube License @ The New York Times

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet


The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals. In observational cohort studies and a secondary prevention trial (the Lyon Diet Heart Study), increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been consistently beneficial with respect to cardiovascular risk. A systematic review ranked the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease. Small clinical trials have uncovered plausible biologic mechanisms to explain the salutary effects of this food pattern. We designed a randomized trial to test the efficacy of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and another with nuts), as compared with a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet), on primary cardiovascular prevention.....

See the full article Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet
                          in The New England Journal of Medicine

Why a Little Means a Lot

Peter G Levine
The Stroke Recovery Blog
Saturday, February 16, 2013


10° is all you need to qualify for constraint induced therapy. Just a tiny bit of movement. Just a little bit of movement in the fingers and a little bit of movement in the wrist. This would be movement that many clinicians would call "nonfunctional" movement. That is, many clinicians make the unfortunate mistake of thinking that a small amount of movement is not helpful. The thinking is, small amounts of movement won't help you live your life, so who cares?

But every bit of neuroscience is very clear about this: a little bit movement can lead to more movement through repetitive and demanding practice. Move as much as you can. It may be ugly, it may be "incorrect," it may be "nonfunctional," and it may be "useless." But this is probably more true: Small amounts of movement may turn into something beautiful, something correct, something functional, and something useful. If someone is telling you that your movement is unimportant, or harmful, or irrelevant, politely don't listen.


Zigmars Vilc February 19, 2013 said...
If you think about it you are right it all comes down to willingness to work. If you are not giving up you can get the movement back.

findingstrengthtostandagain March 20, 2013 said...
Immediately following my stoke I used to dream of playing the piano again. Before I had any movement I used to visualize sitting at the keyboard and playing. I dreamed my hands moved and would hear the sound they produced. Slowly, I moved my fingers again. Years passed and I now type with all ten fingers. I can play slow, simple songs on the piano. I took a lot of time and a great deal of determination. I now have a return of more movement than I had thought would ever be possible.

See the original article Why a Little Means a Lot
                                        in The Stroke Recovery Blog

An Appointment With Doom

The Pink House On The Corner
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Last week, we went to see Dr. Doom, who is Bob's ENT (ear, nose, throat specialist). Dr. Doom is probably one of only two doctors I totally trust. Which is rather sad to say, as Bob has 7-8 different doctors...

We went there to get a second (well, actually fourth) opinion on Botox treatments for Bob's cervical dystonia.

The opinions we've gotten so far on this are thus:

First neurologist: "Botox injected in his neck would be fatal. Do you want to kill your husband?"

Second neurologist: "Fatal? No. It won't be fatal if it's done correctly. And it will help him hold his head up!"

Third neurologist: "The Botox could leak through to his larynx and paralyze it which will cause even greater swallowing/aspiration/speaking problems."

All righty.

And I wonder why I'm having problems making this decision...

So basically, I paid Dr. Doom a $35.00 co-pay just to talk to him and get his expert opinion on this matter.

Now Bob's been seeing Dr. Doom since around 2001, when it was Doom who diagnosed and successfully treated Bob's cancer. Doom is not his real name. It's the name Bob dubbed him back then, because Dr. Doom will tell it like is. He does not sugar coat things. And he will lay it all out, worst case scenario, so there won't be "any surprises".

Dr. Doom also does Botox injections. Though he does this "on the side" for cosmetic purposes.

And it's Dr. Doom who has been ordering the swallow videos, so he's familiar with Bob's dysphagia.

So I figured he'd be a good go-to guy for a fourth opinion. I figured he'd tell it to me straight.

And Dr. Doom's opinion was this: "If Bob were my brother, I'd tell him to go for it. The chance of side effects being that bad are pretty slim. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks. In my opinion, Botox is one of the safest drugs around. And even if he has a side effect, it will only be temporary and will wear off in 3 months or so. He could have those injections, Diane, and be holding his head up straight next week! And look at the pain and discomfort he's in now."

And: "The reason that first neurologist told you it could be fatal, in my opinion, is that the doctor just did not want to do the procedure."

And: "Really, Bob's swallow is so terrible, I doubt anything could make it much worse."

And: "Totally safe to do Botox on warfarin. Worse that could happen is Bob develops a hematoma on the injection site. That's sort of like getting a bump on your head. It will go away."

And: "Just make sure the insurance is going to cover it, first. For a procedure like that, the drug alone will cost around $3000."

And: "Ask them to do it to his toes too. Heck, I think it's worth a shot."

Unfortunately, Dr. Doom does not do Botox treatments for cervical dystonia. I asked, as I would be much more comfortable if he did the procedure. But he highly recommended the neurologist who would be doing the injections. He said he's known that doctor for 18 years and has, in the past, actually done Botox injections with him for patients who require Botox on their vocal cords.

So I'm leaning more and more toward the Botox. Though this is still a scary decision to make. I do plan to ask the neurologist about using Phenol instead of Botox. Dr. Doom was not familiar with Phenol as an alternative...

We see the neurologist next week.


Barb Polan March 23, 2013 said...
There's your persistence again! I love it, and it's so good for Bob. Use that to fight for insurance coverage for the procedure.

Rebecca Dutton March 23, 2013 said...
Using a doctor who has experience with a procedure is the only way to go.

Anonymous March 23, 2013 said...
If you have total trust in Doctor Doom, as it sounds like you do, I wouldn't hesitate to follow his advice, including his suggestion on the neurologist to do the procedure.

As Barb said above, I love you persistence.

Hugs, Dan

Thomas E March 24, 2013 said...
My brother had botox on his neck for dystonia. It really helped him.

J.L. Murphey March 24, 2013 said...
In this case experience is critical. 

On a lighter note. I had to laugh at Dr. Doom. It's funny how couples nickname their doctors and staff. For us it's 18 doctors between us. We have Dr. No Bullsh!t for his urologist because the doctor is German and often says it. We have the Piss Ant, who is my husband's physician's assistant for his cardiologist to name a few.

Hang in there with time this will all be a memory.

See the original article An Appointment With Doom
                                       in The Pink House On The Corner

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Aggravation

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, March 24, 2013

What do you do when you are aggravated? I've had one of those weeks this week. To start with I'm back in OT & PT again which is great. The only aggravating part is I'm being worked into a standing schedule. I'm scheduled for 30 minutes of OT and an hour of PT. I could honestly utilize my time better in reverse with an hour of OT time.

As it stands now, the OT is working my wrist, hand and fingers with some elbow. The PT is working on the shoulder, elbow, and ankle. The spasticity is way too bad on some days that the ankle won't move. I'll know before I even get to PT that the session will be a bust on those days before we get started. The ankle is already making walking in the AFO painful. The toes will stretch up towards the ceiling and curl under at the same time. The ankle is pointed down like a ballerina in toe shoes except it rolls inward and locks into position.  Try putting compression socks over that configuration let alone putting your foot and leg into a rigid splint.

Stroke recovery is one step forward and two back. I'm beginning to think of this as the stroke two step dance movement. This blog is going to be like that today. Back and forth between good and bad.

I found when going through the hand grip test of the evaluation...wait for it...I felt my hand give a trembling movement to squeeze the therapist's hand. Better yet, she felt it to! After almost ten months I can focus really hard and get a little response in my hand. But even this small amount of movement takes tremendous effort. I'm hopeful.

Now getting back to aggravation. It used to be yelling, screaming, and punching a pillow was my way of dealing with aggravating things. For the time being, I can't do any of those things. Well I could punch a pillow one handed, but that's beside the point. Now, it's water works. Less than a year ago, weepy would have never happened or be used to describe me. It does now.

I try to pray most aggravating things away, or breathe deeply, and for the most part it still works unless the aggravation comes to quickly and are compounded like body blows to a prize fighter. Such was the case last Thursday.

It started out as a normal sunny day. Not too hot or too cold. After watching a glorious sunrise, and doing my usual morning routine, I reminded my husband I had therapy at 2 PM. He acknowledged with a nod and repeated 2 PM. We went on with our separate morning routines. Around 11 AM he asked if I would like Chinese for lunch. We'd leave around 12:30. At noon, I remind him about our lunch date and prodded him gently to get ready (sock, shoes, primp his hair). At 12:30 he decides to get up, goes to the bathroom and begins to get ready.

By 1:00 we are in the restaurant with our drinks in front of us and food ordered, and then my phone rings. It's our youngest daughter. I explain we are at a restaurant having lunch. She told me it wasn't an emergency and she'd call me later.  I figured if we hurried, I could still make my therapy appointment.

At 1:45, we finished eating and in walks our youngest daughter with toddler in tow. I explain that I have a therapy session that if I don't go now I'm going to be late. I might mention this daughter lives an hour's drive from us so we maybe see her twice a month. I hated to do it, but my therapy is important to me and a priority.

We pass the toddler back and forth for a quick cuddle and kiss from the grandparents, and we were out the door. When he started the car my husband noticed the idiot warning light for fuel was lit. No problem, I've had this happen before and know it has only hit the reserve we can still just make my appointment. It was well within the reserves range for the round trip.

No, my husband panics. We are going to run out of gas on the way and his oxygen tank is almost empty. To save time, I was going to take the car to the closest gas station less than half a mile up the road while he changed out oxygen tanks. He was hesitant about letting me drive by myself but he finally reneged.  I turned onto the main road and hit a construction crew repaving the road. <sigh> Why is it when you are in a hurry everyone gets in your way?

Finally, I pass through the destruction/construction zone and make it to the gas pump. I have five minutes to make it the fiftee- minute drive to my therapy appointment and I reach into my pocket for my ATM card for the gas, but it was not there. Where is my ATM card, I had a brief moment of panic before I remembered I had changed pants before leaving home.

I did a quick calculation of gas expended and gas left in the tank. I could make it to the rehab place and
back to the gas station before I had a bone dry tank. I drove back home. Grabbing my ATM card, my husband and his oxygen, locked the door and started the drive to the rehab place.

I'm barely able to do the speed limit because of the granny driving in front of me. Yes I'm a granny too, but at least I'll drive the speed limited and not ten miles a hour slower. I glanced at the clock in my dashboard. I'm only five minutes late, but I still had eight miles to go, and five stop lights. We hit every one on red. I swear the low fuel light was laughing at me at every light.

We pull into the rehab place and I threw the shifter in park and made my way inside. I'm motioning to my husband to park the car. Now I was fifteen minutes late for my appointment for OT. I greet the receptionist who looks at the clock. By their clock there was only five minutes left of my therapy time. I told her to tell the therapist that I was here even though I knew I wouldn't have time with her.

My OT came out into the lobby and saw the look on my face. I started apologizing for being so late and began telling her why, but my aphasia ate my words. Tears started running down my cheek. She put her arm around me and took me to the back room so I wasn't blubbering in the lobby full of patients. Once seated in the back, she handed me some tissues. I was mad and aggravated, but I was crying which made me even more mad and aggravated.

Of course my old, very concerned speech therapist came to my aid because she can speak aphasia. Not many people can, but she is truly a rare gem. Both my OT and speech therapists work almost exclusively with brain injury patients too which helps.

 Finally, I calmed down and my words came back. I somewhat haltingly told them what had gone on. Both were sympathetic and empathetic. There are some important differences between these two abilities, but having both is golden. By the time they were done with me, the water works had stopped and I was ready to begin my PT session.

My PT session was the pits. My emotional outburst caused all the muscles to tighten so my range was not good. My ankle was in high spasticity as I described above and no amount of hand work would break the brain's response. God knows the therapist did try for over an hour using every tool she had available. Finally we both gave up. We'll try again next week.

We made it to the gas station with one tenth of a gallon to spare. Am I good or what?

So how do you deal with aggravation?
Nothing is impossible if you make up your mind to do it.


Hilary Melton-Butcher March 24, 2013 said...
Hi Jo .. impossible I'd say - well no nothing is impossible, just sometimes it's mighty hard. I don't know - it was something I learnt very early on ... putting my mother's needs first after her strokes. That is something people don't realise - the importance and priorities in life ... especially at this sort of time ...  Stress is not required and by due consideration of all around can be avoided ... I sure hope things get easier .. and your therapy will only help if you're relaxed once there ... 

With thoughts - Hilary

Replies J.L. Murphey March 24, 2013 said...
Hilary, You are right on all counts. Nothing is impossible. You have to figure it out. Life is like a giant 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, you just have to figure out where all the pieces go and how. Setting priorities helps you survive. With a puzzle you find the edge pieces for boundaries first. 

Things get easier for me? Nah, not going to happen. There's just lulls where I can catch my breath. And yes, therapy only works well if I'm relaxed.

Debra Giuffrida March 25, 2013 said...
I have been following your physical hell only for a short time. But yesterday I came across an interesting item on a facebook page I follow. This woman is a fermenting fool and proud of it. Well, there was a study that linked kefir (a fermented milk similar to yogurt, I think) with brain chemistry of women and how it changes it for the better. The sentence, above, where you mention your brains response to your emotions and your spasticity made me stop and think about that article. Jo, I am going to find it and send you the couldn't hurt!

Debra Giuffrida March 25, 2013 said...
Found it...

I hope it is something that peeks your interest.

Replies J.L. Murphey March 25, 2013 at 6:07 PM
Thanks Debra, That must be why my lactose intolerant body handles yogurt so well. I've been on a constant diet of yogurt twice a day since before my stroke. I can't imagine what I'd be like if I didn't.

See the original article Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Aggravation
                                       in The Murphey Saga

Rex User - Hayden Allen

Uploaded on Jul 14, 2010

See Hayden Allen using Rex, the Robotic Exoskeleton, a world first product developed by Rex Bionics. (Video Production - 90 Seconds TV )
Disclosure: Rex has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial distribution in the U.S.. 
Rex Bionics - Step into the future with Rex.

Standard YouTube License @ Rex Bionics

Inspiring and Supporting Stroke Survivors

Published on Mar 25, 2013

People who have survived a stroke often find the best support from others who have endured the same challenges. University of Rochester Medical Center experts encourage survivors to take advantage of community support as they recover from a life-threatening stroke.

Standard YouTube License @ University of Rochester Medical Center

I did WHAT?

Let’s do the math: In the stroke community, one topic is about how many repetitions are required to result in rewiring our brain to communicate with a distant muscle no longer connected to its original boss in our brain. We exercise aerobically to optimize neurogenesis, and we try repeatedly to perform the feat we want to accomplish. How many times do we have to repeat it? Two weeks ago, I had the thrilling success of using my left biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus muscles (a.k.a. hamstring) for the first time post-stroke. Out of curiosity, I decided to answer the “how many repetitions does it take?” question: In addition to all the muscle-specific exercises demanded of me by my therapists over the years and many uses of the hamstring Nautilus equipment at the Y, along with attempting to raise my knee (and use my hamstring) every step up on stairs, plus electrical stimulation, and taking nearly-daily walks – all performed over a span of the 3.5 years since having a stroke – I have also WALKED. By that I mean daily incidental walking (incidental to life, with at least a short walk). When I got my new Bioness, I turned in my “trial” unit and it turned out to have saved all my daily walking data, which ranged from a low of 2,500 to a high of 5,000 or 6,000; that’s at the very least an average of 2,000. Although a person with a proper gait is advised to walk at least 10,000 steps/day, I don’t think 2,000 for me is shoddy. I have done that every day for 3.5 years. 365 x 3.5 x 2,000 = 2,555,000. That is two-and-a-half MILLION attempts to use my hamstring. A daunting number, but it works out to about 170 attempts per hour for a 12-hour day ( 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or 3 times/minute during everyday life, which doesn’t seem too hard to do. Got to focus on these fingers.
3  View comments

oc1dean March 11, 2013 said...
In other words our therapists should just give us a clicker and we start counting, I prefer Peter Levines' number, 'A lot' that one is binary. Can you do the movement?
No, you haven't reached a lot yet, keep going. I'm going for the lucid dreaming, you can't waste sleeping time on sleep. Dean

Rebecca Dutton March 12, 2013 said...
My hamstrings are very weak so I am impressed by what you've achieved. You've inspired me to lift my hemiplegic leg and use my hamstrings to bend my knee so my hemiplegic foot isn't in front of my sound foot when I stand up.

findingstrengthtostandagain March 24, 2013 said...
The numbers are exhausting but the results are amazing! :-) I never try to judge myself on the day-to-day usage but it is a pleasant reflection to look back and see the improvement repetition has made possible in my stroke affected leg. Wonderful job on the hamstring use!!

See the original article I did WHAT?
                                        in barb's recovery

Kevin Had Shingles

Jackie Poff
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Those of us who spend much time in a doctor's office should appreciate this! Doesn't it seem more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line? 

Here's what happened to Kevin: 

Kevin walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Kevin said: "Shingles." So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Kevin what he had ...

Kevin said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Kevin to wait in the examining room.

A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Kevin what he had. Kevin said, "Shingles." So the nurse gave Kevin a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told Kevin to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and found Kevin sitting patiently in the nude and asked Kevin what he had.

Kevin said, "Shingles." The doctor asked, "Where?"

Kevin said, "Outside on the truck. Where do you want me to unload 'em?"

Hope this makes you laugh out loud like I did...

Starry Starry Night, (Vincent) Secrets of Old Age

Uploaded on Jun 12, 2010
Monty Becker
Stroke Survivors Tattler

Secrets of old age in picture form, and phrases that were sent to me. Don McLeans song. Good video to reflect upon. Digital sound. Click 480 for better quality. Song about Vincent Willem van Gogh.

Standard YouTube License @ Paco's Studios

Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad"

John C Anderson
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad"
7:30 PM
Saturday, Mar 30 – Sunday, Apr 21, 2013

Location: Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue NW
City:     Edmonton
Venue:    Citadel Theatre
Details:  The Original Desperate Housewife
Category: Theatre
Tickets: …
By Phone: 780.425.1820 
Link: …

The Penelopiad is Margaret Atwood’s brilliantly theatrical retelling of the classic Greek tragedy, Homer’s The Odyssey – as told by Penelope and her twelve maids, the forgotten victims.

The Penelopiad From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Penelopiad is a novella by Margaret Atwood. It was published in 2005 as part of the first set of books in the Canongate Myth Series where contemporary authors rewrite ancient myths. In The Penelopiad, Penelope reminisces on the events during the Odyssey, life in Hades, Odysseus, Helen, and her relationships with her parents. A chorus of the twelve maids, whom Odysseus believed were disloyal and whom Telemachus hanged, interrupt Penelope's narrative to express their view on events. The maids' interludes use a new genre each time, including a jump-rope rhyme, a lament, an idyll, a ballad, a lecture, a court trial and several types of songs.

The novella's central themes include the effects of story-telling perspectives, double standards between the sexes and the classes, and the fairness of justice. Atwood had previously used characters and storylines from Greek mythology in fiction such as her novel The Robber Bride, short story The Elysium Lifestyle Mansions and poems "Circe: Mud Poems" and "Helen of Troy Does Counter Dancing" but used Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths and E. V. Rieu and D. C. H. Rieu's version of the Odyssey to prepare for this novella.

The book was translated into 28 languages and released simultaneously around the world by 33 publishers. In the Canadian market, it peaked on the best seller lists at number one in Maclean's and number two in The Globe and Mail, but did not place on the New York Times Best Seller List in the American market. Some critics found the writing to be typical of Atwood, even amongst her finest work, while others found some aspects, like the chorus of maids, disagreeable.

A theatrical version was co-produced by the Canadian National Arts Centre and the British Royal Shakespeare Company. The play was performed at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa during the summer and fall of 2007 by an all-female cast led by director Josette Bushell-Mingo. In the winter season 2011/2012, the show will be given its professional Toronto premiere by Nightwood Theatre, with an all-female cast led by director Kelly Thornton and starring Megan Follows as Penelope.

See the full article The Penelopiad From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Margaret Atwood From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Atwood at Eden Mills Writers' Festival 2006,
Blackwattle Bay
Margaret Eleanor Atwood, CC OOnt FRSC (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist. She is among the most-honoured authors of fiction in recent history. She is a winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias award for Literature, has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, winning once, and has been a finalist for the Governor General's Award seven times, winning twice. She is also a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community.

While she is best known for her work as a novelist, she is also a poet, having published fifteen books of poetry to date. Many of her poems have been inspired by myths and fairy tales, which have been interests of hers from an early age. Atwood has published short stories in Tamarack Review, Alphabet, Harper's, CBC Anthology, Ms., Saturday Night, and many other magazines. She has also published four collections of stories and three collections of unclassifiable short prose works.

See the full article Margaret Atwood From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tai Chi & Qigong

SSTattler: 1) Tai Chi and Qigong are very close specially about health and for stroke survivors this is the most important aspect. Martial applications as well important but we will not discuss in this article. We will discuss (partly) Tai Chi but we will ask you to read it for Qigong if you want to.
2) The last 2 videos by Dr. Lam is 10 minutes & 45 minutes long but it is worth it.

T'ai Chi Ch'uan From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Yang Chengfu in a posture from the Yang-style
t'ai chi ch'uan solo form  known as Single Whip c.1931
T'ai chi ch'uan or Taijiquan, often shortened to t'ai chi, taiji or tai chi in English usage, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and longevity. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Some of t'ai chi ch'uan's training forms are especially known for being practiced at what most people categorize as slow movement.

Today, t'ai chi ch'uan has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of t'ai chi ch'uan trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu, and Sun.


The term "t'ai chi ch'uan" translates as "supreme ultimate fist", "boundless fist", or "great extremes boxing". The chi in this instance is the Wade-Giles transliteration of the Pinyin jí, and is distinct from qì (ch'i, "life energy"). The concept of the taiji ("supreme ultimate"), in contrast with wuji ("without ultimate"), appears in both Taoist and Confucian Chinese philosophy, where it represents the fusion or mother of Yin and Yang into a single ultimate, represented by the taijitu symbol. T'ai chi ch'uan theory and practice evolved in agreement with many Chinese philosophical principles, including those of Taoism and Confucianism.

T'ai chi ch'uan training involves five elements, taolu (solo hand and weapons routines/forms), neigong & qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (self defence techniques). While t'ai chi ch'uan is typified by some for its slow movements, many t'ai chi styles (including the three most popular - Yang, Wu, and Chen) - have secondary forms of a faster pace. Some traditional schools of t'ai chi teach partner exercises known as tuishou ("pushing hands"), and martial applications of the taolu's (forms') postures.

Since the first widespread promotion of t'ai chi ch'uan's health benefits by Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu, Wu Chien-ch'uan, and Sun Lutang in the early 20th century, it has developed a worldwide following among people with little or no interest in martial training, for its benefit to health and health maintenance. Medical studies of t'ai chi support its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and a form of martial arts therapy.

It is purported that focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. Besides general health benefits and stress management attributed to t'ai chi ch'uan training, aspects of traditional Chinese medicine are taught to advanced t'ai chi ch'uan students in some traditional schools.

Some other forms of martial arts require students to wear a uniform during practice. In general, t'ai chi ch'uan schools do not require a uniform, but both traditional and modern teachers often advocate loose, comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes.

The physical techniques of t'ai chi ch'uan are described in the "Tai chi classics", a set of writings by traditional masters, as being characterized by the use of leverage through the joints based on coordination and relaxation, rather than muscular tension, in order to neutralize, yield, or initiate attacks. The slow, repetitive work involved in the process of learning how that leverage is generated gently and measurably increases, opens the internal circulation (breath, body heat, blood, lymph, peristalsis, etc.).

The study of t'ai chi ch'uan primarily involves three aspects:
  • Health: An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use t'ai chi ch'uan as a martial art. T'ai chi ch'uan's health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on t'ai chi ch'uan's martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
  • Meditation: The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of t'ai chi ch'uan is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.
  • Martial art: The ability to use t'ai chi ch'uan as a form of self-defense in combat is the test of a student's understanding of the art. T'ai chi ch'uan is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces, the study of yielding and "sticking" to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The use of t'ai chi ch'uan as a martial art is quite challenging and requires a great deal of training.

Modern T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Outdoor practice in Beijing's Temple of Heaven.
T'ai chi ch'uan classes with purely a health emphasis have become popular in hospitals, clinics, and community and senior centers in the last twenty years or so, as baby boomers age and the art's reputation as a low-stress training for seniors became better known.

As a result of this popularity, there has been some divergence between those that say they practice t'ai chi ch'uan primarily for self-defense, those that practice it for its aesthetic appeal (see wushu below), and those that are more interested in its benefits to physical and mental health. The wushu aspect is primarily for show; the forms taught for those purposes are designed to earn points in competition and are mostly unconcerned with either health maintenance or martial ability. More traditional stylists believe the two aspects of health and martial arts are equally necessary: the yin and yang of t'ai chi ch'uan. The t'ai chi ch'uan "family" schools, therefore, still present their teachings in a martial art context, whatever the intention of their students in studying the art.

Qigong vs T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Qigong involves coordinated breathing, movement, and awareness used for exercise, healing, and meditation. While many scholars and practitioners consider t'ai chi ch'uan to be a type of qigong, the two are commonly distinguished as separate but closely related practices, with qigong playing an important role in training for t'ai chi ch'uan, and with many ta'i chi ch'uan movements performed as part of qigong practice. The focus of qigong is typically more on healing or meditation than martial applications.

Health Benefits

Before t'ai chi ch'uan's introduction to Western students, the health benefits of t'ai chi ch'uan were largely explained through the lens of traditional Chinese medicine, which is based on a view of the body and healing mechanisms not always studied or supported by modern science. Today, t'ai chi ch'uan is in the process of being subjected to rigorous scientific studies in the West. Now that the majority of health studies have displayed a tangible benefit in some areas to the practice of t'ai chi ch'uan, health professionals have called for more in-depth studies to determine mitigating factors such as the most beneficial style, suggested duration of practice to show the best results, and whether t'ai chi ch'uan is as effective as other forms of exercise.

Chronic Conditions

A Chinese woman performs
Yang-style t'ai chi ch'uan
Researchers have found that intensive t'ai chi ch'uan practice shows some favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and fibromyalgia. T'ai chi ch'uan's gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

T'ai chi ch'uan, along with yoga, has reduced levels of LDLs 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks. A thorough review of most of these studies showed limitations or biases that made it difficult to draw firm conclusions on the benefits of t'ai chi ch'uan. A later study led by the same researchers conducting the review, found that t'ai chi ch'uan (compared to regular stretching) showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, a pilot study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, has found preliminary evidence that t'ai chi ch'uan and related qigong may reduce the severity of diabetes. In a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the t'ai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.

A recent study evaluated the effects of two types of behavioral intervention, t'ai chi ch'uan and health education, on healthy adults, who, after 16 weeks of the intervention, were vaccinated with VARIVAX, a live attenuated Oka/Merck Varicella zoster virus vaccine. The t'ai chi ch'uan group showed higher and more significant levels of cell-mediated immunity to varicella zoster virus than the control group that received only health education. It appears that t'ai chi ch'uan augments resting levels of varicella zoster virus-specific cell-mediated immunity and boosts the efficacy of the varicella vaccine. T'ai chi ch'uan alone does not lessen the effects or probability of a shingles attack, but it does improve the effects of the varicella zoster virus vaccine.

Stress and Mental Health

A systematic review and meta-analysis, funded in part by the U.S. government, of the current (as of 2010) studies on the effects of practicing t'ai chi ch'uan found that,
"Twenty-one of 33 randomized and nonrandomized trials reported that 1 hour to 1 year of regular t'ai chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between t'ai chi practice and psychological health."
There have also been indications that t'ai chi ch'uan might have some effect on noradrenaline and cortisol production with an effect on mood and heart rate. However, the effect may be no different than those derived from other types of physical exercise. In one study, t'ai chi ch'uan has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seem to persist after the t'ai chi ch'uan sessions were terminated.

In June, 2007 the United States National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine published an independent, peer-reviewed, meta-analysis of the state of meditation research, conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center. The report reviewed 813 studies (88 involving t'ai chi ch'uan) of five broad categories of meditation: mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, t'ai chi ch'uan, and qigong. The report concluded that "the therapeutic effects of meditation practices cannot be established based on the current literature" due to the fact that "scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality."

See the full article: 
     T'ai Chi Ch'uan From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Seated Tai Ji: Strengthening Mind & Body

Uploaded on Sep 4, 2009

Dr. Zibin Guo, a UCONN and Harvard trained medical anthropologist and highly regarded Tai Ji master, is developing and refining new specialized programs for people with limited mobility. These programs are already being applied with great success to many of the problems typically associated with physical rehabilitation, back and shoulder pain, stroke, heart attack, sedentary ailments, aging, diabetes, and arthritis.

Standard YouTube License @ Wadel Media

Brain Exercises -Tai Chi for Parkinson's, Stroke, MS

Uploaded on May 29, 2008 - Brain Exercise DVD, Brain Workshop™ Mind and Movement Exercises for Brain Health, shows how it is possible to change the structure and function of the brain, reverse age-related changes in the brain, to rehabilitate and regain lost function after stroke or brain injury. Integrate these ancient Tai Chi principles to maximize any exercise for improving brain health and brain function and to maximize mind-body connection. Two-volume set $34.95 at

Standard YouTube License @ susanamatthews

What is Tai Chi, Really? George Xu Answers

Uploaded on Dec 31, 2008

In What is Tai Chi, Really? Master George Xu, with Susan Matthews assisting, discusses and demonstrates internal principles while performing selected Chen and Wu Style postures. They give the viewer a better idea of what to look for when practicing. Both Master Xu and Sifu Matthews demonstrate a section of the form, then discuss internal aspects. Master Xu demonstrates with Susan how power comes from utilizing internal principles of tai chi.

What is Tai Chi, Really? is for anyone wanting to learn internal principles of taijiquan. The information it contains can benefit beginner or advanced practitioners, whether you focus on health or fighting. Even non-internal martial arts practitioners can use the information to incorporate into their particular style of practice.

Filmed at Shanti School of Taijiquan in Durango, Colorado. 46-minutes. $19.95

Standard YouTube License @ susanamatthews

Susan Matthews Introduction to Qigong Practice

Uploaded on Feb 23, 2008

Susan Matthews shares internal secrets for practicing Qigong. Detailed instruction on "Energy Gathering and Blood Circulation Qigong" DVD contains essential principles for cultivating qi, for training mind to move qi anywhere in the body for self healing, and for training the internal movement of energy.

Standard YouTube License @ susanamatthews

New Creation Tai Chi - Qigong for All Abilities

Published on May 20, 2012

Clip from Anna York's New Creation Tai Chi-Qigong: For seniors, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, stroke, arthritis, diabetes and much more. Seated and standing. Full version: Seven 15-minute segments. Inspiring Seven Days of Creation narrative. For more information:
Doctors are recommending Tai Chi and Qigong classes for a variety of conditions and diseases, and research is proliferating on the benefits of these ancient Chinese arts for balance, coordination, respiration, relaxation and much more. Finding a good Tai Chi or Qigong class near where you live may not be easy though, especially if you are a senior or have physical challenges. New Creation Tai Chi-Qigong for All Abilities gives you an opportunity to take charge of your health and rejuvenate your energy with exercise that is especially designed for you.

Tested. New Creation Tai Chi-Qigong has been tested in hundreds of classes in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports centers, support groups and community groups, as well as in-service trainings for doctors, nurses and therapists. People of all abilities have benefitted, including those with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cerebral palsy, and COPD. Seated and standing versions make the movements accessible for everyone.

Certified teacher. Anna York, a certified Qigong teacher, teaches the movements that helped her recover from severe disability caused by multiple sclerosis. Her experience gives her unique insight into the power and practice of Tai Chi-Qigong for those with disabilities. Her warm heart and engaging style encourage everyone to overcome life's impossibilities and to thrive in body, mind and spirit.

Classroom setting. You will become part of the New Creation class, along with others who are coming together to have a healthier life. Here are some of the real people you will meet on the DVD:

  • Jeff has significantly restored function after a stroke he had over 30 years ago!
  • Yosel, a nationally-known yoga teacher and bodyworker, is doing Qigong to fight multiple sclerosis.
  • Carmen, who has Parkinson's, helps maintain her active life as a wife, mother and community worker by doing Tai Chi-Qigong.
  • Annette and Ernest maintain a strong, healthy senior life by regular participation in class.
  • Anna York, who has recovered from severe disability caused by multiple sclerosis, teaches the ancient Chinese art that helped her find healing.

7-Day Healing & Rejuvenation Plan

New Creation Tai Chi-Qigong provides one 15-minute segment for each day, allowing you to customize the order and number of segments per day to meet your personal needs.

Seven Days of Creation Theme

Seven days of the week are matched with seven days of Creation for an uplifting experience that is easy to remember. Tai Chi and Qigong are most often taught from a Taoist or Eastern perspective that is good for many but foreign and uncomfortable for those who want to stay within their own philosophical and spiritual traditions. As an ordained Christian minister, Anna, authorized by her Tai Chi Master, developed a way of integrating the classical Chinese movements and archetypal nature imagery with a Genesis creation story narrative that is inspiring for those of any faith.
  • Day1: Beginnings
  • Day 2: Heaven
  • Day 3: Solar System
  • Day 4: Earth
  • Day 5: Growing Things
  • Day 6: Birds & Animals
  • Day 7: Rest & Rejuvenation
New Creation Tai Chi-Qigong helps participants discover how these ancient arts can be an essential part of their overall path to rejuvenation, healing and hope.

About Anna York

Anna York has lived with multiple sclerosis since age 19 and was once severely disabled, using a wheelchair and electric scooter. Tai Chi and Qigong have been an essential part of her remarkable recovery. She now lives an active life and is a certified Qigong teacher, specializing in classes for those with disabilities. She does speaking and training for healthcare organizations and for support groups and community organizations. She is a Healthcare Educator and Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Anna's book, Rising UP!, is available on Amazon and in many digital formats.

For more information or individualized instruction, go to:

Standard YouTube License @ Annasyork1's channel

Sheila From The Heart: Tai Chi Qigong For Stroke

Uploaded on Jul 11, 2011

A stroke survivor in rehabilitation speaks from the heart about her experience of recovery through Tai Chi and Qigong. She encourages viewers to do Tai Chi and Qigong and buy Anna York's book, Rising UP!: My Recovery from Multiple Sclerosis, Disability and Despair. The book is available in digital and print versions on Amazon and at

Standard YouTube License @ Annasyork1's channel

Tai Chi

Published on Jun 6, 2012

Laura demonstrating the 10 step Tai Chi that is helpful for those who is handicap, such as strokes. Billy, age 84 ,with a stroke in 1992, left side paralyzed will demonstrating the 10 step Tai Chi. Note the steps are modified to accommodate his handicap.

Standard YouTube License @ DesertBreeezeTaiChi

Project Somerset Tai Chi Registered Charity

Uploaded on Jul 20, 2011

Project Somerset Tai Chi is a registered charity. We raise money to enable volunteers to be trained - OCN Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi qualification - who then go on to deliver free Shibashi to elderly or disabled goups. Testimonies from the groups all provide evidence that this form of 'exercise' gives them many benefits.

Standard YouTube License @ Taichicourses's channel


Uploaded on Oct 14, 2008

Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Instructors course DVD. This course is OCN accredited and available online from The gentle movements are suitable for use with all health groups and current students include cardiac rehab nurses, OT's, Tai Chi instructors and Complementary Practitioners, all who wish to use this gentle style for their clients. Visit for more information

Standard YouTube License @ Taichicourses's channel

Stroke Recovery Exercise (Tai Chi)

Uploaded on Mar 31, 2010

A tai chi based exercise for the side effects of a stroke. Private tuition around Slough and Windsor. Class in Wooburn Green, Bucks. Contact 0793 112 5439 or and

Standard YouTube License @ kdwyermedia

Dr Paul Lam Welcome Message for the Tai Chi Workshop 

       in Sydney 2012

Uploaded on Jan 20, 2012

Journey of Self Discovery By Dr Paul Lam

It is wonderful to see many friends coming back year after year, special welcome to Charlie who has not missed one single workshop, the last 14th years! Although last year got lost and went to the USA workshop instead, so it still counts. It is also very wonderful to meet many new comers; I look forward to working with you. A specially welcome our friends from far away, remote places, and overseas.

From the late 80's I started taking a group of instructors and students to the Beijing Institute of Sport. The top tai chi body then in China, almost all gold medalists and official sets are composed there. I did that for ten years, and we learned a lot. However challenges are that they don't quite understand Tai Chi for Health, safety and most importantly learner orientated teaching. Let me explain with some examples, student/teacher mismatched, poor organization and at the end not learning as much. We thought that we can do the training better in one week rather than two to Beijing. We aimed to create a friendly interactive place for all of us to learn, to network and to grow together. Experienced and learner orientated teachers to teach small individualized class. Our administration would be so seamless done that you would not be aware of the challenges of organization behind the scene.

When I share my idea with my colleagues, some don't believe it would work, they kept asking me "How do we get tai chi people to come?" Well you did! Year after year, by now together with the USA annual workshops, we have done 23 successful one week workshops!

The workshop became a great place to learn and or to improve your tai chi, to make new friends or renew friendship and to share this special tai chi spirit. When we get together we energize each other, and help each other to grow in physically and mentally health and spiritually! More importantly we are going to have a wonderful time! I can tell you on behalf of all the instructors how much we enjoy working with you, and how much you have inspired and taught us!

Let me share a tai chi chi principle with you. A tai chi principle is the reason that makes tai chi almost magical in improving health and wellness. Tai chi is the way of nature, in nature there is a natural tendency toward balance and harmony which brings about positive result. So it is only natural that tai chi brings about better balance and harmony to the internal energy.

The eye is the energy of the spirit - the window of the mind. Often you would notice people practice tai chi with eyes a little downcast, like this as I show you Chen style Single Whip movement. This would lower your internal energy. Now look at the way with the direction of the energy, you can feel your energy being stronger and more wholesome. The principle is to connect your vision with your internal energy.

Looking down is actually part of human nature. All of us at times feel unsure about ourselves, and that makes us to looking down which would lower our energy. It is easier to know but much more challenging to do this well. However, no matter what level of tai chi you are, if you are aware and focus on this principle, you will improve. When your visual direction is right, your energy is stronger, your tai chi, posture and feeling about yourself improved. Everyone is unique and valuable! Just like all our tai chi are different but unique and wonderful and it will become more valuable if you continue to focus and improve on the important principles such as this one. As your tai chi improves you will become more comfortable and happy with yourself. Like Jef Morris says: "Tai Chi makes you love yourself a little more". Every day as we learn and practice more tai chi, we become more comfortable and happier with ourselves. That would in turn improve your tai chi.

Let me demonstrate a couple movements in different styles: Yang Style and Sun style Single Whip.

I wish you a wonderful journey with tai chi, and in particular a fulfilling and fun time this week. Please let me know if there is anything I or my colleagues can assist you to this goal. I very much look forward to share the spirit and enjoy our tai chi journey together during this week.

Introducing the team of instructors.

Standard YouTube License @ Paul Lam

Tai Chi for Beginners - 8 Lessons with Dr Paul Lam

Uploaded on May 21, 2011

Tai Chi for Beginners

The ancient practice of Tai Chi Is clinically proven to be one of the most effective exercises to improve health, fitness and relaxation. Tai Chi consists of fluid, gentle and relaxed movements suitable for anyone and can be practiced almost anywhere. After an introduction about tai chi, the contents and the benefits you can gain from learning Tai Chi for Beginners, you will be taught four Qigong exercises for energy and relaxation and foundational movements designed to ease you into the tai chi set.

8 Virtual Lessons With Dr Paul Lam

Why not take the first step on your journey to better health and wellness by trying out the first lesson for free! You will soon discover how easy it is to learn from Dr Lam's virtual lesson format. In all the 8 lessons, he will guide you, step-by-step, through each movement. The forms will be taught from different angles — with close ups, repetitions and diagrammed illustrations. Each form will be divided into small sections so you can follow him with ease. Throughout the lessons, Dr Lam will explain the tai chi principles and how to use them to improve your tai chi.

At the end of the DVD, Dr Lam demonstrates the entire set with both front-on and back-on views.

Dr Paul Lam

An Australian family physician and tai chi expert, is a world leader in the field of tai chi for health. He has a deep understanding of tai chi principles and over 30 years of teaching experience. He has authored several tai chi books and produced numerous best-selling instructional tai chi DVDs. His Tai Chi for Health programs have impacted millions worldwide.

The Six Easy Steps

  • Step 1. Warming up exercises
  • Step 2. Gentle stretching exercises.
  • Step 3. Cooling down exercises
  • Step 4. Four Qigong Exercises
  • Step 5. Five Foundational Movements
  • Step 6. The Beginner's Set

Standard YouTube License @ Paul Lam