Effects of Chinese Calligraphy on Health: Lana Moshkovich

Today's society disregards the importance of calligraphy as an integral part of the modern Chinese language. Others claim it is merely a practice for old men. But this is unfair and unwise. Calligraphy, although considered to be dated in some circles, is about much more than simply passing the time; it is a unique, essential form of Chinese art. Chinese calligraphy has been scientifically investigated within the contexts and principles of psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience (Xu, M., Kao, H. S., Zhang, M., Lam, S. P., & Wang, W. (2013). Cognitive-Neural Effects of Brush Writing of Chinese Characters: Cortical Excitation of Theta Rhythm [Abstract]. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1-11. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600314/ ).  Additionally, Chinese calligraphy is traditionally used to enhance an individual's self-reflection, as well as control. A series of experiments concluded an overall physciological slowdown in the practitioner's vital signs ( heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure) throughout the course of the writing act, which then lead to emotional relaxation, calmness and tranquility. Similarily, the National Central University in Taiwan conducted a study with thirty graduate students and staff members (13 males and 17 females ages 19-35)with no prior experience of Chinese calligraphy to compare the effectiveness of both calligraphy and meditation on stress (Kao, H., Zhu, L., Chen, H. Y., Liu, I. C., Zhang, M., & Chao, A. A. (2014). Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction: An experimental comparison. Psychology Research and Behavior Management PRBM, 47. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928403/ ). Paired-samples t-tests indicated that both Chinese calligraphy and meditation together had significantly decreased the post-treatment heart rate. Other forms of art therapy, such as dance or music, have positive effects on relaxation butbring little improvement in the individual's cognitive abilities, whereas Chinese calligraphy  benefits the individual's cognitive and verbal abilities while promoting relaxation and expressiveness. Calligraphy was as an equally useful technique for reducing stress as meditation. Chinese calligraphy is not a hobby. It is also not a practice only for sages or old men. Everyone can benefit from learning and practicing Chinese calligraphy, even if you don’t know Chinese.

 

References

Xu, M., Kao, H. S., Zhang, M., Lam, S. P., & Wang, W. (2013). Cognitive-Neural Effects of Brush Writing of Chinese Characters: Cortical Excitation of Theta Rhythm. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1-11. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600314/

Kao, H., Zhu, L., Chen, H. Y., Liu, I. C., Zhang, M., & Chao, A. A. (2014). Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction: An experimental comparison. Psychology Research and Behavior Management PRBM, 47. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928403/

You Might Also Enjoy...

Traditional Chinese Organ Body Clock

Chinese Medicine’s 24 hour body clock is divided into 12 two-hour intervals of the Qi (vital force) moving through the organ system. Chinese Medicine practitioners use The Organ Body Clock to help them determine the organ responsible for diseases.

Successful treatment of headache

Approximately 4% of adults experience headaches nearly every day. Migraine and tension-type headaches are common headache disorders in clinic and result in significant reduction in social activities and work capacity of the suffers (Woolhouse, 2005).      

Healing Colors Meditation Exercise

This is a great meditation as part of a night time routine, and has also been shown to be helpful if you wake in the middle of the night to facilitate a return to restful sleep.

Pain Management for Osteoarthritis

This week’s blog has been stimulated by a recent publication in The Journal of the American Medical Association evaluating the use of regular intra-articular corticosteroid injections for symptom management and cartilage volume in osteoarthritis (OA) of th