On June 26, 2015, representatives of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) conducted a Tai Chi Wake-Up Activity and workshop on Integrative East-West Medicine at the HOSA-Future Health Professionals National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California. The workshops were made possible by a collaboration between the CEWM and motivated student leaders and advisors from HOSA, and under the advisement of HOSA National Leadership, including Nancy Allen, Mei Lin Fung, Jim Koeninger, and Karen Koeninger.
HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly Health Occupations Students of America) is a national student organization that includes over 165,000 members through the US, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Italy. The organization is organized in chapters and comprised of young students (middle school through collegiate level) enrolled in health science education or interested in pursuing health-care careers. On June 26, 2015, representatives of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) participated in the annual HOSA National Leadership Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, to share with high school students the role of Integrative East-West Medicine for health and wellness.
At 8:00 AM, Crystal Jing Zhao, MD, PhD, a Visiting Professor at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, along with Allen Jang, ND, a HOSA advisor at the Maranatha High School in Pasadena, CA, led a group of over 100 students in an invigorating Tai Chi Wake-Up Activity. Often described as “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi is a form of exercise originating in Traditional Chinese Medicine that involves a series of slow, graceful movements accompanied by deep breathing. Dr. Zhao, a skilled Tai Chi practitioner who has earned 7 medals in national competitions in China, instructed her group in a classical style of the mind-body practice, showing them the basic form of Ba Duan Ji and demonstrating to them the more complicated 24-form. Following Dr. Zhao’s lead, the students began to feel a sense of calm and clarity as they focused on gently moving their hands like clouds floating across the sky, or “yun shao.” Dr. Zhao reminded the students that between each Ba Duan Ji pose they had to breathe deeply. She emphasized that even between daily activities, they could use these simple poses to reduce their stress and cultivate health. Dr. Jang, a naturopathic physician with more than 30 years of Tai Chi experience, led the students in the more contemporary style of Cardio Tai Chi and demonstrated a sampling of various Tai Chi styles, including 5-Element and Tai Chi Fan.
Later that morning, Ka-Kit Hui, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, led an interactive session on stress-reduction and health cultivation using integrative East-West medicine, a session which brought in approximately 90 individuals including HOSA students, parents, and advisors. In this workshop, Dr. Hui introduced the audience to the science behind acupuncture, Tai Chi, and Chinese herbal medicine. “For maintaining good health,” he said, “there are many herbs in the food that we eat, such as turmeric, which is good for reducing inflammation, and ginger, which can improve digestion.” He continued by asking, “How many of you have a tight neck? A tight neck is not just a pain in the neck; it is a complication of a tight neck, a key area which connects the brain to the rest of the body. A tight neck can lead to many more health issues.” As neck strain and headache tend to be common in hard-working and stressed students, Dr. Hui demonstrated several important acupressure points which they could massage to relieve these symptoms. The workshop closed with Dr. Hui’s take-home message that to maintain health we can do more than just taking medications; people young and old can have a healthy body and mind by making good lifestyle choices, striving for mental tranquility, and cultivating harmonious social relationships.
The Center’s mission is to promote the importance of self-care and health cultivation utilizing integrative medicine principles. Therefore, educating the younger generation is crucial to public health and healthcare at large. Moreover, by seeing the strengths of both Eastern and Western approaches, these budding leaders can have a comprehensive view of health to guide their future careers.
By Vivianne Chang, Human Biology and Society B.S., UCLA 2014
UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, Administrative Assistant
Rosana Chan, MPH, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, Administrator
Click here to view the PDF event report.