Barefoot Doctor's Journal

Take control of your health with this guide to natural health and healing. Get expert advice to help you alleviate pain and live healthy naturally. Access to tools, information and opportunities.

Take control of your health

For 5000 years Traditional Chinese Medicine has help people to relieve pain and achieve a healthy longevity naturally.

A comprehensive guide to natural health and healing, the Barefoot Doctor’s Journal seeks to empower it's readers to take control of their own health, find their own inspiration, help create healthier communities and share the adventure with whoever is interested. Internationally recognized experts in the fields of healthy aging and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Living Younger Longer Institute has helped hundreds of people each year to live healthy naturally.

News You Can Use!

Providing members with the latest scientific research on the ancient healing secrets of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Get information, access to tools, and enjoyable opportunities for a lifetime of active adventure!

May 9, 2023
Joe Brady

Mind/Body Approaches to Arthritis

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Did you know researchers have studied several mind and body practices for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis?

  • Research studies have evaluated the effects of tai chi on osteoarthritis, with most studies focusing on osteoarthritis of the knee. In general, the results have been favorable. Guidelines issued by the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation in 2019 strongly recommend tai chi for knee or hip osteoarthritis.
  • Acupuncture may help to relieve osteoarthritis pain. In some studies on knee osteoarthritis, the pain-relieving effect of acupuncture was comparable to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen.
  • Not much research has been done on massage therapy for osteoarthritis. However, the small amount of available evidence suggests that massage therapy may provide short-term relief from pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.

What do we know about the effectiveness of complementary health approaches for osteoarthritis?

Psychological and Physical Approaches

  • Acupuncture may help relieve osteoarthritis pain.
  • A small amount of evidence suggests that massage therapy may be helpful.
  • Participating in tai chi may improve pain, stiffness, and joint function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Qi gong may have similar benefits, but less research has been done on it.
  • Despite extensive research, it’s still uncertain whether glucosamine and chondroitin have a meaningful impact on symptoms or joint structure in osteoarthritis.
  • The evidence on other dietary supplements is too limited for any conclusions to be reached.

For more information about the effectiveness and safety of mind/body approaches to Arthritis self-care read more.

April 26, 2023
Joe Brady

Whole Person Health and Pain

A Whole Person Approach to Lifting the Burden of Chronic Pain Among Service Members and Veterans

Posted on March 28th, 2023 by Helene M. Langevin, M.D., National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Chronic pain and its companion crisis of opioid misuse have taken a terrible toll on Americans. But the impact has been even greater on U.S. service members and veterans, who often deal with the compounded factors of service-related injuries and traumatic stress.

For example, among soldiers in a leading U.S. Army unit, 44 percent had chronic pain and 15 percent used opioids after a combat deployment. That compares to 26 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in the general population [1,2].

This disproportionate burden of chronic pain among veterans [3] and service members led NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) to act. We forged a collaboration in 2017 across NIH, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to establish the Pain Management Collaboratory (PMC ).

The PMC’s research focusing on the implementation and evaluation of nondrug approaches for the management of pain is urgently needed in the military and across our entire country. Nondrug approaches require a shift in thinking. Rather than focusing solely on blocking pain temporarily using analgesics, nondrug approaches work with the mind and body to promote the resolution of chronic pain and the long-term restoration of health through techniques and practices such as manual therapy, yoga, and mindfulness-based interventions.

Addressing chronic pain in ways that don’t only rely on drugs means addressing underlying issues, such as joints and connective tissue that lack adequate movement or training our brains to “turn down the volume” on pain signals. Using mind and body practices to reduce pain can help promote health in other ways. Possible “fringe benefits” include better sleep, more energy for physical activity, a better mindset for making good nutritional choices, and/or improved mood.

Indeed, there is a growing body of research on the benefits of non-drug approaches to address chronic pain. What is so powerful about PMC is it puts this knowledge to work by embedding research within military healthcare settings.

April 7, 2023
Joe Brady

Complementary Approaches for Pain

How much do we know about the effectiveness of complementary health approaches for chronic pain? A growing body of evidence suggests that some complementary approaches, such as acupuncture, hypnosis, massagemindfulness meditation, music-based interventions, spinal manipulationtai chiqigongand yoga, may help to manage some painful conditions.

What do we know about the safety of complementary health approaches for chronic pain?

Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than several months (variously defined as 3 to 6 months, but longer than “normal healing”). It’s a very common problem. Results from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) show that:

  • About 20.4 percent of U.S adults had chronic pain (defined as pain on most days or every day in the past 3 months).
  • About 7.4 percent of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain (defined as chronic pain that limited their life or work activities on most days or every day for the past 3 months).

The scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help people manage chronic pain. Some recent research has looked at the effects of complementary approaches on chronic pain in general rather than on specific painful conditions. 

Read more and download the free Pain ebook from the National Institutes of Health.

March 16, 2023
Joe Brady

Meditation in Motion

We know that exercise is good for you. We also know that meditation is good for you. What happens when you put those two together?

Yoga, tai chi, and qigong are sometimes called “meditative movement” practices because they include both meditative elements and physical ones. 

  • Tai chi originated in China as a martial art. It may help to improve balance and prevent falls in older adults, and it may be helpful for some painful conditions, such as low-back pain, fibromyalgia, and knee osteoarthritis. 
  • Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that has many different forms. It has not been studied as extensively as yoga or tai chi, but there is evidence that it may help prevent falls and improve symptoms of conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Yoga originated in India and has many forms. It may be helpful for general wellness and for some health problems, such as back and neck pain, menopause symptoms, and anxiety or depression. 
March 6, 2023
Joe Brady

What is qigong and how does it work?

Qigong, pronounced “chi gong,” was developed in China thousands of years ago as part of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves using exercises to optimize energy within the body, mind, and spirit, with the goal of improving and maintaining health and well-being. Qigong has both psychological and physical components and involves the regulation of the mind, breath, and body’s movement and posture.

There are many different types of Qigong some from martial arts are actually quite vigorous, however In most forms of qigong:

  • Breath is slow, long, and deep. Breath patterns may switch from abdominal breathing to breathing combined with speech sounds.
  • Movements are typically gentle and smooth, aimed at relaxation.
  • Mind regulation includes focusing one’s attention and visualization.

Dynamic (active) qigong techniques primarily focus on body movements, especially movements of the whole body or arms and legs. Meditative (passive) qigong techniques can be practiced in any posture that can be maintained over time and involve breath and mind exercises, with almost no body movement.

Is qigong the same as tai chi?

Tai chi originated as an ancient martial art, but over the years it has become more focused on health promotion and rehabilitation. When tai chi is performed for health, it is considered a form of qigong and involves integrated physical postures, focused attention, and controlled breathing. Tai chi is one of the hundreds of forms of qigong exercises that were developed in China. However, rather than an individual exercise Tai Chi was designed to be an entire curriculum of Qigong exercises containing literally hundreds of smaller individual exercises into one that benefits balance, breathing, aerobic power, and a host of other benefits. Other forms of qigong that contain entire curriculums include Baduanjin, Liuzijue, Hu Yue Xian, Yijin Jing, and medical qigong.