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Secret of Fasting Success in Qigong

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I just emailed the advisor of this research detailing my own fasting training with the parasympathetic results. The below summary is simply revolutionary since it gives the secret why a "modified bigu" diet is necessary for intensive qigong practice. The reduced water and food intake enables the body to stop activate of the stress system (which causes two-thirds of doctor visits!) through classical conditioning (meditation) that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. With a normal diet the continued activation of the sympathetic stress nervous system will continue. Up till now I had no rational understanding of why diet was so important for the qigong practice (besides my experiential results).


Michelle (Mitch) Arnhold


Ph.D. 2008


E-mail: [email protected]

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:




Colorado College, BA, Neuroscience, 1997


Major Advisor(s):


* William Engeland, Ph.D.


Research Description:


Inhibition of the HPA axis is traditionally thought to occur through glucocorticoid negative feedback; however, under conditions of chronic food or water restriction, rapid inhibition of plasma corticosterone occurs following restriction-induced feeding or drinking. Rapid inhibition of the HPA axis is thought to occur through neural pathways independent of glucocorticoid negative feedback. Furthermore, rapid inhibition of the HPA axis can be classically conditioned. These data suggest that repeated alleviation from stress recruits inhibitory afferents that are not active during inhibition of the HPA axis following acute stress. The focus of my research is to examine the hypothesis that repeated inhibition of the HPA axis in a water restriction model recruits multi-synaptic efferents that contribute to inhibition of the PVN. Moreover, additional experiments are proposed to demonstrate that inhibition of hippocampal efferents prevents the conditioned fall in corticosterone.

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