October 28, 2012, Sunday, 9am-12:30pm
Link to PDF Poster
Call Susan 970-903-5723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Map to Saddleback College, PE 306, Laguna Beach, CA Register with a friend for discounts!
Professional Development: Participants may receive Certification for Brain Workshop™ Clinic for Neural Rehabilitation and are eligible for CE Hours.
A. Matthews, M.S., N.D.
Design: Susan Matthews
Brain Workshop- Tai Chi and Dance for Parkinsons, Brain Injury an Mobility Disorders
DANCING WITH CHI™ ~ Power and Grace
DANCING WITH CHI™ is the most effective and exciting movement and brain training available.
Dancing with Chi™ combines Tai Chi, Dance, and Brain Workshop™ in a powerful exercise program designed to maximize and integrate physical health, rehabilitation, energetic and spiritual well-being. A fun way to retain or regain the vigor of youth, the program addresses many of the conditions of aging and can be used to alter the progression of disease. We specialize in Movement Disorders, Parkinson's, Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Neuropathy. Dance and move, think and feel chi as energy, for better balance, strength, flexibility, mobility, brain health, circulation, digestive health, incontinence. Excellent tools offer powerful training supplements for any person teaching other forms of exercise. Join us in a journey that empowers with new ways to think and move through life. A new way to think and move becomes a powerful force to healthy holistic function.
In our unique approach, Tai Chi and Dance exercises using mind intent and qi movement are detailed and exercises are performed training the imagination to generate a visualization of energy flowing in and through the body. Physical movement is trained to follow the energy flow. In Dancing, this creates more grace plus a powerful and beautiful connection with a dance partner.
Tai Chi teaches how to move with greater balance, efficiency and relaxation, and involves learning specific principles of biomechanics. We learn to work with gravity. Tai Chi exercise is not muscle training, rather it is mind-energy training. Muscle tone and bone strength is enhanced using isometric spiral power-stretching, whole body, not isolated muscle work; an ideal way to improve posture, joint flexibility and bone strength.
Practitioners have cultivated the dynamic qualities found in Tai Chi to enhance physical and mental abilities well-beyond normal, and to further their spiritual paths. In terms of rehabilitation, these same qualities make it a superior exercise to access the brain and nervous system and to heal it through movement. Read the New England Journal of Medicine article on tai chi and balance. PDF
Dance is easy to be passionate about. Nothing is more exciting and fun to share with people than Dance. We are really thrilled to have found this way to combine the principles of Tai Chi and neuroscience with the fun, the art, the joy, the expressive movement and creativity of Dance to create an even more powerful healing and therapeutic modality for people—especially those who have brain function challenges, neurological disorder, or just simply the aging process where people become more challenged with balance and coordination, and flexibility.
We have put together a really exciting and fun program that combines the 'internal principles’ of Tai Chi with Dance steps to get in touch with what's going on inside your body, what you are putting your attention on, what you are thinking of and what you are doing internally with your body, all in order to maximize the benefit of Tai Chi and Dance.
The part of the program called Brain Workshop™ was designed by Movement Disorders Specialist, Susan Matthews, MS, ND. It incorporates exercise based on scientific discoveries about the brain and nervous system that reveal our capability for plasticity--the intrinsic ability of the brain to change, to adapt to environmental, physiological and behavioral cues. Brain Workshop™ Mind and Movement Exercises for Brain Health, available on DVD, use movement to change the structure and function of the brain. Movement with the physical expression of synchronicity, rhythmic, bilaterality, and symmetry has been linked to brain activation during locomotion, neural repair, and rehabilitation, memory acquisition and learning, neural information coding, growth and development, states of consciousness, perception and awareness, and autonomic function. (Read more about Brain Workshop)
What are the important components of a tai chi program or any exercise program for using movement to improve brain function? View this 10-minute video on Five Key Elements for Neuroplasticity. Learn how to exercise to maximally activate the brain to repair, change and grow. expand
For example, we know that bilateral movement, defined here as balanced, integrated, left- and right-sided movement, is necessarily accompanied by balanced brain activity. With each level of integration, such movement activates the motor and sensory neural circuitry of the whole brain. One way whole brain and physical balance is accomplished using Tai Chi principles is by zhong ding or central equilibrium training, from Wu Style Tai Chi. One mental image we hold focus on is a perfectly vertical column of light streaming in from above the top of the head, through the spine, out and below the feet; i.e., a plumb line. (view). The brain follows this internal command to remain straight and unconsciously dictates what the muscles and joints should do. Remembering this line guides posture to improve over time, permits effortless walking and enhances performance of any sport with greater intent, focus, and energy.
Rhythmic movement is important for balance in locomotion and emotional states. Brain Workshop™, Tai Chi and Dancing with Chi training consists of tools and specific movement principles that practicing therapists can use to aid in learning and memory acquisition. For example, speech and reading therapists can incorporate rhythmic movement and music as a right-brain activity to facilitate left-brain re-patterning. Similarly, this mind-body integration training uses movement synchronization and rhythm, coupled with mental practice that affects both physical and mental balance. For the symptoms of depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and improved overall mental health, Brain Workshop™, Tai Chi and Dancing with Chi™ techniques are like EMDR therapy using the whole body. Similar benefits can be achieved in many other types of exercise that contain rhythmic mind/movement principles. Running, walking, tennis, golf, and everyday activities can be enhanced. Contact us for information regarding training specifically for therapists.
Brain Workshop™, Tai Chi and Dancing with Chi™ training is used for speeding neural repair and to induce plasticity. We maximize the brain’s ability to change and grow in every part of this program. This program can help if you are recovering from stroke, brain injury, or have progressive neurological symptoms as seen in Parkinson's Disease and multiple sclerosis.
VISUALIZATION AND FOCUS
Specific ways of focusing attention, including visualization and movement imagery as describe above, are receiving greater significance for treatment potential. New imaging techniques show that when you visualize going over movement in your mind, neuronal (nerve cell) activity in the brain actually mirrors that movement. This capacity of the nervous system is just beginning to be explored in brain injury research and treatment. Tai Chi and other internal martial arts training tools greatly enhance mental agility by tapping into the mind connection between visualization of internal energy (chi or qi) and movement. What makes our program unique is the powerful synergy created when Tai Chi principles are applied to Dance for healing.
Why does tai chi work? Watch this 3-minute video showing how a person with Parkinson's can improve balance better than normal using visualization of internal energy.
We are blending Tai Chi and Dance into a new form of energetic, creative self expression. Studies have shown how much more effective people's functioning can be if they incorporate creativity along with analytical thinking, visualization along with movement. We are blending this in a really fun, playful and effective way. We are balancing yin and yang: Dance being considered more yin or feminine, Tai Chi and the martial arts being more masculine or yang. Everything we are doing is working towards a holistic model. Blending power and grace--blending both in a way that balances one’s being with power and grace when required. We feel this approach is extremely helpful to rehabilitation work and a lot of fun. This blending activates and integrates right brain activity. Right brain and artistic activation can be used to help heal analytical deficits. We are excited to also incorporate Chinese calligraphy painting blended with movement as another fun and integrative therapeutic and fun tool.
We are concerned not just with physical healing, but also with spiritual healing which is connected to the heart, emotions, and psychological healing. When we are blending the principles of Tai Chi that incorporate that with the creativity, joy and music of Dance we get a really beautiful holistic experience. The internal principle of sensing human energy fields in Tai Chi combined with the external movement of Dance is a bridge to the spiritual dimension or the spiritual experience. In that sense this is an extremely holistic approach to healing that works on many levels. Combining the yang-masculine aspect of Tai Chi with the more yin-feminine aspects of Dance is really about expression of beauty, grace and joy of movement simply for sake of joy and movement and the expression that comes from it. This is an extremely healing experience. It has been shown that anything learned in a positive emotional state of joy is actually wired more permanently into the brain. So one of the things that we focus on in our work is bringing out the joy—the joy of creativity and the love and the beauty that comes from it; healing the heart, thus not only working on the physical, but working on the healing power of beauty that opens the heart and brings a really full experience to the human spirit.
MEDITATION FOR RELAXATION
All physical and mental health is dependent primarily on a fine-tuned nervous system, yet rarely does physical exercise take this approach. Most of what we see these days is muscle exercise with secondary effects on the cardiovascular system and internal organs. Practitioners of Chinese internal martial arts, such as Tai Chi, have consistently used various forms of “meditative” movement such as Tai Chi and Qigong to promote longevity. Using proven methods to relax the mind and heart, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress, inflammation, increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure, promote sleep and induce plasticity. Formation of new neural pathways can be made by using a multilevel approach to activate the brain for health, healing and even higher consciousness.
SENSORY INTEGRATION, MIND AND CHI
In Tai Chi and Dance, engaging and integrating multiple sensory systems, both physically and with mind intention, wakes up the entire body and brain, improves balance, speed and strength, and can speed up the healing process. These systems include: visual, kinesthetic, the sense of gravity and position, muscle load, stretching and contracting, sensors in the skin, and the sensation of qi (vital energy). These techniques and others to train the mind achieve three levels of adaptation. First, increased awareness of the sensation of internal qi energy flowing in the body; second, the ability to harmonize internal energy and physical movement, and finally, the training cultivates awareness and harmony with the energetic movement in the space surrounding the body.
BLOOD CIRCULATION, MASSAGE AND CHI
It is critical to nourish the brain with massage and movement that increases head and neck blood circulation. Along with meditative movement and visualization of internal energy (chi, qi) flow, massage calms and de-stresses the nervous system, helping to generate stronger whole body integration. Chinese Meridian Massage and Qigong movements stimulate chi energy circulation, opens blood circulation to deliver oxygen, and stimulates lymphatic drainage to reduce toxicity.
Merged PET-MRI brain section illustrating changes in cerebral blood flow during movement visualization. From: Lafleur, M. F., et al., 2002. Motor learning produces parallel dynamic functional changes during the execution and imagination of sequential foot movements. Neuroimage. 16, 142-157.
We regularly consult with a team of nutritionists and recommend a well-balanced diet essential for good health that is natural, seasonal, moderate and chemical free. It is important to avoid foods that are overly processed and foods that contain additives and preservatives. As much as possible these foods should be organic and grown locally to reduce exogenous estrogens, pesticides and other toxins. Chemical toxicity has been shown to be a considerable factor in Parkinson’s Disease. Since the soils are depleted, supplements that are derived from naturally harvested foods are recommended, rather than petrochemicals, other inorganic chemicals, or through synthetic manufacturing.Body Balance™ is recommended as whole food nutritional supplementation for your brain that provides essential nutrients, trace minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Body Balance™ is 98% inner-leaf aloe vera juice providing the most essential element to reduce inflammation and toxicity! Chronic inflammation and toxicity in the nervous system is now recognized as the predominant underlying condition in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS, fibromyalgia, as well as chronic pain, migraine, allergies, Lupus, and autoimmune diseases. Our recommended supplements provide the essential trace minerals, amino acids, vitamins, active enzymes and antioxidants necessary for healing. Body Balance™ is 98% inner-leaf filet aloe vera juice that provides the most essential element to reduce inflammation and toxicity. Please visit http://www.mylifeforce.net/susanmatthews.
DAILY HOME PRACTICE IS SUPPORTED WITH INSTRUCTIONAL DVDs
Tai chi principles, exercise sets and dance movements are available for home practice on several instructional DVDs produced by MastersFromChina.com, PTRVideo.com, Serai Communication Arts, and DynamicSomatics.com.
Highly Recommended by practitioners, doctors and therapists!
EARN BRAIN WORKSHOP CERTIFICATION by attending one of the seminars held nationally.
PRIVATE CONSULTATION Contact Susan about scheduling an online Private Consultation appointment via Skype or to schedule a personal nutritional consultation. Read below to learn essential nutrition for the brain.
LOCAL CLASSES Contact Susan about classes in Southwest Colorado, Northwest New Mexico.
PROGRAM DATES AND DETAILS
Testimonials from participants!
—Multiple Sclerosis and Brain Workshop
—Multiple Sclerosis and Body Balance
—Lower Brain Stem Stroke