My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dr. Aihan Kuhn, director and owner of the Chinese Medicine for Health Clinic in Holliston Massachusetts, president and founder of the non-profit Tai Chi and Qigong Healing Institute, and accomplished author, has added another volume to her bundle of books that pull together Tai Chi, Qigong, and personal wellness. “Brain Fitness: The Easy Way of Keeping Your Mind Sharp Through Qigong” is a 160 page softback manual on the “Whys” and “Hows” of employing qigong for mental health and brain stimulation. It is simply written so that anyone can follow along and benefit from her proposed regimen.
Dr. Kuhn’s idea is to “use physical exercises and movements to stimulate the brain and get the brain chemicals activated. By balancing the left and right sides of the brain, upper and lower brain, cross-brain, frontal and back brain through body movements and bringing new information to the brain, we help brain cells communicate with each other” (4). There lies the overall concept that ties the book together in its simplicity. And the program itself demonstrates and explains unsophisticated exercises that incorporate specific movements with breathing and imagination.
“Brain Fitness” unfolds in two parts. Most of the front material is instructive, explaining the rationale behind tai chi and qigong, and how these can help prevent brain aging and memory loss. Dr. Kuhn also clarifies the role Daoism plays in her curriculum, and how it has benefited her patients. The first section is the main part of the book, and is full of personal examples, stories and observations.
The final segment of “Brain Fitness” walks the practitioner through “Total-Body Twenty-Seven-Movement Warm-Up Exercises.” Each exercise is nicely photographed with clear descriptions. Once the warm-up is complete, then Dr. Kuhn demonstrates how to use qigong for three specific areas. She maps out fourteen exercises that are particularly for brain and memory. Then there are thirteen particular movements that help “to relieve anxiety, depression, high stress caused by emotional imbalance, and panic attacks” (113). Lastly, twelve exercises that help with the nervous system and autonomic system are illustrated.
“Brain Fitness” is ideal for anyone interested in a simple set of routines that bring together Asian and American concepts of health. But it is even more specifically beneficial for those who want to be proactive in their long-term cognitive wellbeing. I happily recommend the book.
My appreciation goes to YMAA Publication Center, Inc. for providing, upon my request, the free copy of the book used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).
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