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Straddling David Gorski's Line In The Sand

Posted Oct 18 2012 1:02pm























David Gorski's blog, " Science-based
Medicine ," is a true asset to field of
functional medicine. Gorski is funny,making his hard science topic wry,and gaffing the snake oil salesmenof 2012 with some academic kindness.Of course, there are plenty of punsutilizing the word "quack."
After you read it for some time, you canunderstand how Gorski and company'slanguage separates itself from someweaselword language used in quackmedicine.
For myself, I found some happinessin the fact that Gorski doesn't considerTai Chi so gawd-awful, and he boldlyplaces Tai Chi on the opposite side of"alternative medicine" because it issimply a form of gentle exercise--and gentle exercise is scientifically-backedto benefit people, medically speaking.

I like believe Gorski likes Tai Chi:

"As I pointed out at the time, let’s say that tai chi is the greatest thing since sliced bread and that it alleviates fibromyalgia pain and stiffness better than anything we’ve yet come up with. Let’s assume all of those things are true, just for the moment: what thought comes to mind to you? I know what thought comes to mind to me. What on earth is “alternative” or “complementary” about such a finding? In reality, such findings would simply indicate that certain forms of low-impact exercise could help fibromyalgia symptoms, which is not anything particularly surprising at all, given what we already know about fibromyalgia."
Gorski points out that some clinical testsof Tai Chi are somewhat valuable, and thatall the "woo" of Qi theory and TraditionalChinese Medicine should not necessarily
need to be associated with such a decentlittle set of isometric Chinese exercises.
But Tai Chi is not isometric. By definition,isometric exercise is strength training,and real Tai Chi forbids the use of strength.That's funny too because I've been askedmany times after giving a demonstration,"so are you clenching up all your muscleswhen you do Tai Chi?" No, no, no. Onemust relax the body far beyond the reachesof clenching, pushing, pulling or any useof strength. " There should not be a single iota
of brute strength remaining within your muscles
and bones." --Fu Wing Fay.
So in this way, Gorski thinks Tai Chi isokay because it's just exercise that canbe broken down to its important parts,and even mockingly replicated as a shamcontrol in a better-designed research study.But he's missing a lot of info in that sequitur.
Let's get back to me and Gorski in a minute.Let's talk about my teacher, Victor ShengLong Fu .Master Fu is arguably the best exerciseinstructor in the world. He says, "Tai Chiis like first grade. BaGua is like tenth grade.Most people cannot go to tenth grade withoutfirst learning grades one through nine."And trust me, BaGua is way over your head.
Master Fu also says,"More than 90 percent of all tai chi is bad. What it mean—‘bad,’ that when you see someone do tai chi, they don’t follow the principles . You don’t know the principles yet, but you can look for yourself if the tai chi is good or bad. When you look, look at the waist. When the tai chi is good, (they) always turn the waist. When the tai chi is bad, the arms move but the waist doesn’t turn, or the waist only turns sometimes. That’s principle. In good tai chi, the waist always turns."
Master Fu's diligent students tend to beamazing. They win martial arts competitions,just as the students of both his father andhis grandfather did.
But Master Fu does not teach "Qi" theory.He tries to be practical and scientific in histeaching methodology. In nine years ofprivate study, I've never heard him frameany lesson inside the woo of Qi (sounds cool).He will show you how to posture your body;and how breath deeply; and how to step
ten different ways.But he doesn't talk about Qi.
What has trickled down from Master Fu'shigh-level teachings is Healing Exercise ,a set of super-gentle, breath-centric exercisesfor seniors, sedentary, injured and infirmed.It's backed by peer-reviewed studies  and
it works. We simply show people how to
help themselves.
I think David Gorski needs to meet myfriend Dr. Liu . She was a pharmacist; thenan M.D. for some 20 years; then she wentback to school to become a TraditionalChinese Medicine doctor. Several membersof her family also share the dualistic
M.D. / O.M.D accolades. Dr. Liu's daughter
has kids attending Harvard, Princeton andStanford simultaneously.
If your lying eyes did deceive you,Dr. Liu is a quack at first glance. She is 80years old, but you would guess her at 50.She walks funny and talks funny, so her
placebo-effect rating should be low; but
she knows everything about everything.David Gorski and company might find itimpressive that she wrote a thesis onherbal treatments for HIV, and demonstratedthat cellular cAMP and cCMP are analogousto yin and yang.
Dr. Liu is the most powerful doctor I've everknown, and I grew up in the business ofwestern medicine. Her prowess withpharmacology and her implementation of
needles fixes everyone I take to her.
Dr. Liu's son won a prestigious award ofinnovation in 2008 for developing a softwarepackage that probability-diagnoses over 9000diseases from 9500 symptoms, and offersthousands of science-based medical treatmentsfrom the combined knowledge of 41 M.D. specialists.Oh yeah, it also offers thousands of TraditionalChinese Medicine treatments, including whereto put the needles.
Back to me and Gorski. Without a single credential,I call myself a scientist. It'd be easy for him to saythat I am not. But maybe he would lend sometiny shred of scientific credence to my universitylevel study of kinesiology; or maybe to my abstractpublished by the University of Salzburg forThe International Congress on Science andSkiing. Skiing might not be David Gorski's cupof tea, but he does live in Michigan and I know
Michiganders do ski in that miserable mess.
Applying the principles of Tai Chi to alpine skiingcreated an "alternative" method of direction changeby posturing the body and turning the waist horizontally.Panting and the use of strength are both forbidden.I wear a tee shirt that says, "Disposable thumbsmake me specialer than most animals." Manyscientists and coaches in the alpine ski universethink I'm a quack. But now, some Austrianaficionados are claiming that all the World Cup ski racers are using my Waist Steering technique .
Where Traditional Chinese Medicine shines isfunctionality. Master Fu says 90 percent of all
Tai Chi is junk. It might be safe to correlate and say
that 90 percent of all acupuncture is junk too--because there are few O.M.D.s like Dr. Liu.
I would like to see bright people like David Gorskiand company create double-blind research studieson high-level masters like Master Fu and Dr. Liu.I always say "the proof is in the puddin'," so if it is,they should be able to extract that proof.
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