Category Archives: HEALTH

Daily Cup of Cocoa Helps Prevent Flu

(Lilechka75/iStock)

When winter flu season strikes, your craving for hot cocoa could be a healthy help

BY GREENMEDINFO

November 26, 2018 Updated: November 26, 2018

Nature works in mysterious ways. Just when cold, dry weather chills us to the bone and flu season is in full bloom, we crave a comforting cup of hot cocoa. As it turns out, that chocolate craving may be our body’s innate wisdom at work.

According to a Japanese study, a daily cup of hot cocoa during influenza season may be just what we need to avoid the flu and stay healthy.

The Japanese researchers conducted a three-part chocolate study that included cell tests, animal experiments, and human trials.

In the cell studies, they found that cocoa extract inhibited the flu from taking hold in canine kidney cells. The cells had been infected with human influenza A (H1N1, H3N2) and B viruses, as well as avian flu viruses (H5N1, H5N9).

In the animal trial, mice were given cocoa extract for four days before being infected with the flu virus. The cocoa extract had a preventative effect and significantly improved survival times of the mice.

The daily dose of cocoa for the mice was equivalent to a human drinking two to three cups of a 10 percent cocoa solution. In other words, the amounts were close to what a person might normally drink in a cup of hot chocolate.

Then, the researchers tested their findings in humans. They divided 123 people into two groups. Both groups were vaccinated against the influenza A (H1N1) virus.

For three weeks before and after being vaccinated, one group consumed a cup of hot chocolate every morning. The drink is commercially available in Japan (under the name Kakao 2 Bai) and contains 360 mg of cocoa polyphenols per cup. The control group did not drink any cocoa.

After two weeks, antibodies against the A virus (H1N1) were not significantly different between the two groups. But the cocoa drinking group had significantly more natural killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells recognize and eliminate influenza-virus-infected cells in order to keep the virus from spreading.

In other words, NK cell activity is an indicator of the body’s natural immunity. Vaccine-induced elevations in antibodies, on the other hand, do not necessarily equate to bona fide immunity against infection as they are only a proxy measure of effectiveness.

The fact that cocoa consumption significantly increased NK cell activity compared to the control group suggests that drinking cocoa may inhibit influenza virus infection by stimulating natural immunity and therefore confer real-world protection against the onset of the flu.

Other studies had already found that chocolate elevates NK cell activity against cancer cells. The Japanese researchers believed their finding concerning the NK cell activity may suggest that cocoa polyphenols and especially procyanidins in chocolate might be effective in treating and preventing colorectal cancers and hepatitis B virus infection in humans.

How Does Chocolate Work Against the Flu?

The researchers concluded that drinking cocoa works in three different ways.

First, it inhibits the virus from adsorbing to target cells, as shown in their cell study.

Second, cocoa activates natural immunity. In their human trial, they found that cocoa enhanced the immune response from the flu vaccination. In that way, it provided stronger protection against influenza virus infection and disease onset.

Third, drinking hot cocoa has an anti-inflammatory effect. The researchers believe that the increased survival rates of mice fed cocoa may have been due to the elimination of virus-infected cells in the early stages and promotion of anti-inflammatory effects at the inflammation site.

And there’s one more interesting way that chocolate fights the flu.

The researchers suggested that immediately after drinking cocoa, its healing compounds are present in the mouth, pharynx, and throughout the digestive tract at concentrations that inhibit infection. These compounds work immediately and for some time after consumption. And they work in precisely the places where the virus would likely be present.

Some of these compounds include the polyphenols contained in chocolate. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants and have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

But even when the researchers removed the polyphenols from the cocoa extract, the remaining compounds in the extract were still effective.

Those other active compounds in cocoa include:

• the bitter component theobromine;
• lignin, a dietary fiber;
• free fatty acids; and
• minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc.

Chocolate does much more than fight the flu. In fact, chocolate has well over 40 health benefits and has been called the ultimate medicinal food.

Here are just a few of chocolate’s other amazing properties:

• relieves stress and lowers blood pressure
• better for heart health than statins
• burns belly fat
• lowers diabetes risk

To read more about other health benefits associated with eating chocolate or cocoa-containing foods, visit the GreenMedInfo page dedicated to chocolate health benefits.

When choosing chocolate instead of a flu shot, make sure your chocolate is:

1. At Least 70% Dark. The darker the chocolate the less sugar is added. And sugar can be the difference between healthy chocolate and junk food.

2. Raw. The more the cacao bean is processed, the more polyphenols and flavanols are destroyed. So the best source of chocolate antioxidants comes from raw, unprocessed, dark chocolate. In fact, raw cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food.

3. Organic. Non-organic cocoa may contain residues of the dangerous herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) and other pesticides used in conventional farming.

4. Free Trade. Cacao crops are often unfairly traded and have even been linked to child enslavement.

This article was originally published on GreenMedInfo.com

The Power of Vitamin B12, and How to Find a Great Source

BY SPONSORED CONTENT

November 13, 2018 Updated: November 13, 2018
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Do you feel weak and tired? Maybe you need more B12.

Vitamin B12 plays a tremendous role in our physiology. It helps create our DNA, blood cells, and the protective layers that surround each nerve. B12 is also needed for the metabolic action in every cell.

If we don’t have enough of this vitamin to fuel these critical functions, we quickly run out of steam.

Constant Fatigue

Red blood cells carry life-giving oxygen to every part of our body. But a lack of B12 means there are less of these cells available for oxygen transport. The result is fatigue. Getting enough sleep can’t shake this kind of exhaustion, because it’s hard to recoup when your cells are starved for oxygen.

Muscle Weakness

Muscles need oxygen to thrive, but a lack of B12 means they can’t recover from even a little exertion. B12 is also necessary for metabolizing protein and fat—two vital ingredients for building muscle tissue. Without this vitamin, muscles slowly deteriorate.

Pale Skin

Some people have a naturally fair complexion. But if you look corpse-like—as if all the blood has been drained from your face—you may be missing a vital nutrient.

Other skin conditions linked to B12 deficiency.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

One of B12’s many duties is to help produce digestive enzymes. If your B12 is low, it may impact digestive health, so it’s another reason to take B12 as you age.

A lack of B12 can result in constipation, low appetite, inflammatory bowel disease, and candida (yeast overgrowth).

Immune Health

B12 not only helps form red blood cells, but also white blood cells, thus B12 supports immune health.

Finding A Source

Like all other vitamins, we must consume a food or supplement source of B12 because our body can’t make it on its own. We don’t need much—only a few micrograms per day—but it can be difficult to obtain. The richest sources of this nutrient are found in foods few of us ever eat: liver, kidney, and clams. Meat, fish, and dairy offer moderate amounts; eggs even less.

Vegans are known to be at greatest risk of B12 deficiency, because this vitamin is scarce in plant-based foods unless they are fortified with synthetic vitamins.

Although some insist that our nutritional needs can be met exclusively from plants, they may not realize that plant-based B12 is often inaccessible to our body. While animal sources of this vitamin come in a form which is active B12—which means your body can utilize the nutrient right after you consume it— most plant based B12 is in the inactive form. This means that while foods like seaweed, spirulina and nutritional yeast may contain an analog of B12, your body may not be able to absorb much of it.

In fact, consuming inactive B12 may even interfere with our absorption of active B12. Researchers have shown that when subjects eat inactive B12 together with active B12, levels of this vitamin actually decline in the body. This has led some researchers to conclude that inactive forms of B12 are “useless.”

Chlorella to the Rescue

A daily, synthetic B12 supplement can help meet your nutritional needs. But if you prefer a natural, food-based source, consider chlorella—a freshwater algae. In addition to containing protein, fiber, and chlorophyll, chlorella has been proven to contain an absorbable form of active B12. In one study, chlorella was shown to improve vitamin B12 levels in vegans and vegetarians.

Published in The Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers observed otherwise healthy vegans and vegetarians who had low B12 levels. Participants were given nine grams of chlorella granules a day. After 60 days they had significant reduction in their homocysteine levels and MMA levels—both of which indicate a B12 deficiency when elevated.

But not all chlorella supplements are created equally. In order to get at the nutrition inside the algae, you need a strategy to bust open its tough, indigestible cell well. Some manufacturers use heat or chemicals to do the job. Unfortunately, these methods can destroy some of chlorella’s delicate nutrients and contaminate the supplement.

Sun Chlorella is superior, because it is produced by pulverizing the algae’s cell wall without the use of heat or chemicals. The result is a product that is more digestible and more nutritious.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Another obstacle our bodies face in its quest for the elusive B12 is the state of our stomach acid—the weaker it is, the harder a time our body has digesting this nutrient. Stomach acid can lose its punch with age, or with drugs. That’s why chronic drinkers or those who are on an acid blocking medication long term often have trouble absorbing B12, even the active form.

If your digestion is compromised, you may need to consume more B12 to meet your body’s needs. An important step to raising your B12 level is to improve your microbiome—the vast colony of bacteria that reside in your colon. Eating more fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha that contain probiotics, and reducing your intake of things that cause gut inflammation, such as processed foods, excess sugar, and anything deep fried, will ensure that your body can adequately absorb the B12 you feed it. Bonus points if you eat prebiotic foods like chlorella, to help the probiotics thrive.

By improving your diet, and consuming more active forms of B12, you can support your overall health and well-being.

Spiritual Practices in Childhood Good for Health and Wellbeing: Report

BY MIMI NGUYEN LY

November 13, 2018 Updated: November 13, 2018

People who are engaged in spiritual practices in their childhood and teens are more likely to be healthier in early adulthood, according to a Harvard study.

Compared to those with fewer or no spiritual habits, people who attended religious services, or were engaged in prayer or meditation in their childhood and teenage years reported better on scores of wellbeing such as life satisfaction and positivity, the study found.

They were also less likely to smoke, use illicit drugs, or contract a sexually transmitted infection.

“Many children are raised religiously and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being,” said first author of the study Ying Chen in a Sept. 13 press release.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices.”

The study is published the November 2018 issue in the American Journal of Epidemiology and was first published online on Sept. 13.

Religious Upbringing, Prayer, Meditation

Researchers wanted to find out how the frequency of spiritual practice—religious services, prayer, or meditation—in their youth affects people’s physical health and mental wellbeing. For the study, researchers analyzed data from 5,000 children from two long-term studies. The children in the studies were followed by researchers anywhere between eight to 14 years.

Researchers controlled for multiple variables, including maternal “health, socioeconomic status, and histories of substance abuse or depressive symptoms.”

According to the results, those who had attended religious services at least once a week in their youth were 18 percent more likely to report feelings of happiness as young adults—aged 23 to 30. They were also 29 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities compared to those who never attended such services.

People who prayed or meditated daily in their youth were 16 percent more likely to report feelings of happiness as young adults, compared to those who had never prayed or meditated. They were also 30 percent less likely to have had sex at a young age, and as a result, were 40 percent less likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection.

A tentative association was also found between people who pray or meditate daily and greater life satisfaction and self-esteem, greater likelihood of being registered to vote, fewer depressive symptoms, and a lower risk of smoking.

“While decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, for adolescents who already hold religious beliefs, encouraging service attendance and private practices may be meaningful avenues to protect against some of the dangers of adolescence, including depression, substance abuse, and risk-taking,” said Tyler VanderWeele, co-author of the study.

“In addition, these practices may positively contribute to happiness, volunteering, a greater sense of mission and purpose, and to forgiveness,” VanderWeele added.

Spiritual practices may be playing a positive role in various ways, the authors said in the study. This may include providing young people with “personal virtue to help maintain self-control” in the face of certain behaviors, and helping them actively cope with stress by encouraging the practice of forgiveness and meditation.

The authors also said that religious congregations or groups could help connect young people to networks in the community, as well as provide them with social support.

Limitations of the Harvard Study

The authors acknowledged a few limitations to the research. The study mainly focused on children of white mothers who all worked in the nursing field. As such, conclusions drawn from the study may not be suitable to generalize the larger population. A previous study by VanderWeele in 2016 had suggested that the effects of religious service attendance for adults are more pronounced in black populations, compared to white population.

Another limitation was that the study did not look at the influences of parents and peers on adolescents’ religious decisions.

In adult populations, past studies found that attending religious services was associated with greater health and wellbeing compared to prayer or meditation. The current study found that both appear to have a similar benefit for youths.

Today, adults under 40 are less likely to be religiously affiliated, according to results from the Pew Research Center published in June.

“This is especially true in North America, wherein both the U.S. and Canada younger people are less likely to claim a religious identity,” the Pew report said.

The report also said that younger adults are generally less likely to engage in daily prayer.

Compared to those with fewer or no spiritual habits, people who attended religious services, or were engaged in prayer or meditation in their childhood and teenage years reported better on scores of wellbeing such as life satisfaction and positivity, the study found.

They were also less likely to smoke, use illicit drugs, or contract a sexually transmitted infection.

“Many children are raised religiously and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being,” said first author of the study Ying Chen in a Sept. 13 press release.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices.”

The study is published the November 2018 issue in the American Journal of Epidemiology and was first published online on Sept. 13.

Religious Upbringing, Prayer, Meditation

Researchers wanted to find out how the frequency of spiritual practice—religious services, prayer, or meditation—in their youth affects people’s physical health and mental wellbeing. For the study, researchers analyzed data from 5,000 children from two long-term studies. The children in the studies were followed by researchers anywhere between eight to 14 years.

Researchers controlled for multiple variables, including maternal “health, socioeconomic status, and histories of substance abuse or depressive symptoms.”

According to the results, those who had attended religious services at least once a week in their youth were 18 percent more likely to report feelings of happiness as young adults—aged 23 to 30. They were also 29 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities compared to those who never attended such services.

People who prayed or meditated daily in their youth were 16 percent more likely to report feelings of happiness as young adults, compared to those who had never prayed or meditated. They were also 30 percent less likely to have had sex at a young age, and as a result, were 40 percent less likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection.

A tentative association was also found between people who pray or meditate daily and greater life satisfaction and self-esteem, greater likelihood of being registered to vote, fewer depressive symptoms, and a lower risk of smoking.

“While decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, for adolescents who already hold religious beliefs, encouraging service attendance and private practices may be meaningful avenues to protect against some of the dangers of adolescence, including depression, substance abuse, and risk-taking,” said Tyler VanderWeele, co-author of the study.

“In addition, these practices may positively contribute to happiness, volunteering, a greater sense of mission and purpose, and to forgiveness,” VanderWeele added.

Spiritual practices may be playing a positive role in various ways, the authors said in the study. This may include providing young people with “personal virtue to help maintain self-control” in the face of certain behaviors, and helping them actively cope with stress by encouraging the practice of forgiveness and meditation.

The authors also said that religious congregations or groups could help connect young people to networks in the community, as well as provide them with social support.

Limitations of the Harvard Study

The authors acknowledged a few limitations to the research. The study mainly focused on children of white mothers who all worked in the nursing field. As such, conclusions drawn from the study may not be suitable to generalize the larger population. A previous study by VanderWeele in 2016 had suggested that the effects of religious service attendance for adults are more pronounced in black populations, compared to white population.

Another limitation was that the study did not look at the influences of parents and peers on adolescents’ religious decisions.

In adult populations, past studies found that attending religious services was associated with greater health and wellbeing compared to prayer or meditation. The current study found that both appear to have a similar benefit for youths.

Today, adults under 40 are less likely to be religiously affiliated, according to results from the Pew Research Center published in June.

“This is especially true in North America, wherein both the U.S. and Canada younger people are less likely to claim a religious identity,” the Pew report said.

The report also said that younger adults are generally less likely to engage in daily prayer.

In Crackdown, FDA Seeks Details on New Electronic Cigarettes

 

By Reuters

OCTOBER 12, 2018

LOS ANGELES—Faced with a proliferation of new electronic cigarettes and a sharp rise in teen vaping, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent letters to 21 electronic cigarette manufacturers on Oct. 12, seeking information to assess whether the products are being marketed illegally.

An FDA rule banned the sale of new e-cigarette products after August 2016 without regulatory approval. In September, Reuters reported that startups and big tobacco firms launched more than a dozen new high-nicotine e-cigarette products mimicking the popular Juul devices after the FDA imposed the deadline.

The agency on Friday sent letters to companies including Reynolds American Inc, a unit of British American Tobacco Plc, which makes the Vuse Alto device, asking for evidence that the products were on the market before the August 2016 cutoff.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency “will not allow the proliferation of e-cigarettes” being sold without proper approval.

The agency also sent letters to Fontem Ventures, a unit of Imperial Brands Plc, seeking information about its myblu e-cigarettes, as well as smaller companies including Kandypens, Myle Vapor, and VGOD.

Shares of British American Tobacco on Friday were down 3.9 percent and Imperial Brands fell 6 percent in London.

A spokesman for British American Tobacco said the company will provide to the FDA information to show it is in compliance with the rule. He said the company notified the FDA in May that the product was a “repackaged and re-branded” version of a product that was on the market before August 2016.

A spokesman for Imperial Brands said the myblu products are in compliance with FDA rules, adding that the company will provide the requested documentation soon.

Representatives for the other companies did not respond to requests for comment.

If the FDA determines the e-cigarettes were introduced after the August 2016 deadline, companies could face fines or have their products seized from store shelves. Gottlieb said the agency was concerned about sweet flavors in several of the products, which he said are “one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of e-cigarettes.”

Popular Among Teens

The FDA has faced increased pressure to act as the sleek Juul e-cigarettes have surged in popularity among U.S. teenagers. Juul Labs Inc’s share of the e-cigarette market rose to more than 70 percent, up from 13.6 percent in early 2017, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen retail data that does not include online sales.

Juul sales grew from 2.2 million devices sold in 2016 to 16.2 million devices last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many high schools have resorted to locking bathrooms—jokingly called “Juul rooms” by students.

The Juul design mimics a flash drive—with plug-in cartridges of concentrated nicotine juice. It is far more compact than earlier vaping devices and produces less vapor, making it easy to use without being detected—an attribute some health advocates say attracts teenagers.

Juul was on the market before the August 2016 FDA deadline, but other companies have introduced new copycat devices after the cutoff date without regulatory consequences.

Anti-smoking advocates including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids complained about the Juul lookalikes in an August letter to the FDA, saying the companies had “evaded the review process.”

The FDA has recently cracked down on what it calls an “epidemic” of youth e-cigarette use, threatening last month to ban Juul and four other leading e-cigarette products unless their makers take steps to prevent use by minors.

Healing effects of Falun Gong practice

1992. Residents of Sichuan province perform the first exercise of Falun Gong. Millions in China discovered the powerful health benefitsof the practice.
1992. Residents of Sichuan province perform the first exercise of Falun Gong. Millions in China discovered the powerful health benefitsof the practice.

Falun Gong is “a great ocean of truth …” – scholar and writer Zhong Weiguang

Why Falun Gong practice attracts millions of people?

There are many healers known in history who helped people to get rid of their ailments. In religious teachings in the past, they talked about miraculous healings, but to do it on such a colossal scale, as it does Master Li Hongzhi and his teachings, is just inconceivable. In addition, in-depth research has been conducted by experts, confirming the authenticity of people’s recoveries as a result of practicing Falun Gong.

What is Falun Gong?

After revising ancient teachings of self-improvement and having made it understandable for people of today, Master Li Hongzhi called it Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa), and crowds of people came to the lectures of Mr. Li, even in government circles this qigong practice was admired extraordinarily.

Falun Gong is different from other qigong practices being taught in China. While it does include slow-moving energy exercises, it also involve something more—teachings that guide students on a path of moral self-improvement and discovery in their daily lives. At the core of these teachings were three principles and the desire to align one’s self with them in thought and action—Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance (Zhen Shan Ren ).”

Changes in the way of thinking, in the way a person looks at the world, have an effecton one’s physical condition,on improving his health.

Research by experts

In order to understand the contribution and effects of Falun Gong on healing and fitness for health improvement, Beijing Zizhuyuan Assistance Center in October 1998 invited leading experts and medical professionals to conduct a sociological survey among Falun Gong practitioners in Beijing. Of the 584 practitioners who responded, 174 were men and 410 female.  The method used in this study was to ask the randomly chosen practitioners to complete questionnaires. Altogether 700 questionnaires were sent out. After classification, statistical study, and analysis by a group of scientists and physicians, the results showed that there were tremendous improvements in the physical condition of these  Falun Gong practitioners after practicing Falun Gong, and annual medical expenses decreased sharply. Out of 527 people, 63.9%  of them completely cured their diseases. After practice, 90.20 % of people had remarkable improvement of their general physical condition (See Study 1).

In the same year,1998, the National Sports Commission in China organized medical researchers to conduct a survey on all qigong practices, including, of course, Falun Gong.The results were obtained from Beijing, Wuhan, Nanchangand Shenzhen, as well as the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Anhui. As a result of this survey information regarding health-related changes was gathered, a comparison was done between the health condition before and after practicing Falun Gong. The survey results indicated that the overall effectiveness of Falun Gong practice in healing illnesses exceeded 98%. (See Study 2).

Study 1: The Effect of Falun Gong on healing illnesses and keeping fit

A Survey among Practitioners from Beijing Zizhuyuan Assistance Center (October 18, 1998)

Table 1: The change before and after practice in terms of disease symptoms and medicine consumption:

Table 1: The change before and after practice in terms of disease symptoms and medicine consumption:

Table 2: The Effect of Falun Gong on healing illnesses and keeping fit

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Table 3: Physical health improvement after practice

Condition Improved Same Worse Not answered Total
Number of Participants 527 33 0 24 584
% 90.2% 5.7% 0% 4.1% 100%

Note for Table 3: After practice, over 90% of people’s health had remarkable improvement and no single case had a decline in health. This indicates the significant effect of Falun Gong in promoting health.

Study 2: The Effect of Falun Gong on healing illnesses and keeping fit

A Survey among Practitioners from Beijing, Wuchang, Dalian, Nanchang, and also Guangdong, Guangxi and Anhui provinces conducted at the request of Sports Commission, 1998

Table 4:
Condition Completely Cured Noticed Positive Changes Same Total
Number of Participants 25,662 5,027 372 31,030
 %  82.7% 16.2%  1.2% 100%

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List of experts and medical professionals participating in this survey and statistical analysis:

Wang Qi, Chief Physician, General Hospital for Armed Police

Li Naiyuan, Chief Physician, Stomatological Hospital of the Beijing Medical University

Zheng Lihua, Deputy Chief Physician, People’s University of China Hospital

Qu Zengqiu, Pharmacist, People’s University of China Hospital

TianXiulan, Managing Physician, Beijing Hospital of Nuclear Industry

Jing Lianhong, Physician, Dongshi Hospital for Women and Children

Similar studies were also conducted in Taiwan:

All doctors and scientists who conducted similar studies come to the same conclusion: practicing Falun Gong leads to improved physical and mental condition of the person. Living life in accordance with the high principles and standards in conjunction with smooth meditative exercises fills the human body with energy.

Expert on Chinese and Western medicine, John Yang M.D., explains: “Falun Gong not only affects your flesh and blood, it works in the body at different levels and reaches the deepest roots of the disease.”

Healing effect of Falun Gong on millions of people

In December 1992, the Oriental Health Expo was held in the World Trade Building in Beijing. In front of the Falun Gong booth, the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, along with some early disciples, adjusted the bodies of the people who came by. This location of the exhibition had the longest queues.

One day, a middle-aged woman came to see Mr. Hongzhi. She needed help, and was leaning on her husband’s arm. The woman had a tumor in her abdomen. Her belly was appeared as though she was ten months pregnant. Hospitals had not been able to heal her, so she came to the expo and found Mr. Hongzhi. He intervened, immediately adjusting her body. He made a movement with his hand, as though stretching into somewhere and taking something out. Her belly was deflated right away and returned to normal size. Afterwards the waistband of her trousers could hold two of her. The people who witnessed this at the time were frozen stiff, and were stunned into silence. When they realized what they had seen, there was a thunderous burst of applause, extending for some time. Other expo patrons come over to see what had happened.

The couple was so excited and grateful that they immediately knelt down and kowtowed to thank Mr. Li Hongzhi. He leaned over and helped them stand up. The couple immediately wrote a letter of gratitude and gave it to the expo’s organizing committee. Li Rusong, head manager of the expo, read the letter aloud over the audio system and said, “The first appreciation letter is praising Falun Gong and Falun Gong has the most appreciation letters.”

Here is how doctor of technical sciences Yan Seng described the way he started practicing Falun Gong:

One day in July 1995, I received a book from my parents in China. The name of the book was Zhuan Falun. The author was Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa. I could not get away from the book that night, and I continued to read it until five o’clock the next morning. It was the same for the next few days. The reason that this book attracted me so much was that I felt I finally found what I had longed after.

Benefits that you get from practicing Falun Gong, cover almost anything,” said a teacher from Russia Svetlana Kiseleva.

For Kerry Dobson from the state of Pennsylvania, simply climbing out of bed used to be a struggle. Half of her body lost sensation as a result of Lyme disease. She suffered from this disease for 10 years. It had grown progressively worse, to the point of being crippling. “I would have paid anything, or travelled anywhere, to get well. I was desperate,” Kerry recalls. But as fate would have it, Dobson’s solution was waiting for her in a local park, and it didn’t cost a cent.  At the recommendation of a friend from China, Kerry began practicing Falun Gong.  A few weeks later, she had her life back.

“I was a heavy smoker, says John Yang M.D., who smoke done to two packs of cigarettes a day. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not quit.” But everything changed when he started to learn Falun Gong. Since then, for the past 14 years, Dr. Yang never smoked again.

Through consistent and dedicated practice, the student of Falun Gong strives to achieve a state of selflessness, inner purity and harmony. By practicing five sets of exercises, people become more pure, kind, honest, and therefore healthier. Ultimately they reach a state of spiritual attainment that in Asian traditionis known as“enlightenment.”

Persecution and the forced removal of organs (forced organ harvesting)

By the end of the last century in China an estimated 70-100 million people were practicing Falun Gong, and its popularity was growing. It was this growth that triggered jealousy and fear in Jiang Zemin, the then-leader of the Chinese Communist Party. In addition, the political ideology of the ruling Communist Party of China based on lies, violence and  struggle is the opposite of the principles of Falun Dafa which are based on “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.” Out of jealousy and paranoia, Jiang Zemin began the persecution campaign: he vowed within three months to eradicate this teaching of kindness. He established the 610 office, an agency very similar to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo, which was specifically created to persecute Falun Gong and its followers, people who were absolutely innocent and not  interested in politics.

Television programs began to rumors and defamation against Dafa. Practitioners were beaten up right in the streets, thrown into jails without trials, and sent to forced labor camps. Thus began the genocide of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners and selling them for profit, which was sanctioned by the CCP regime, was in disputably proven by Mr. David Matas, well-known Canadian human rights lawyer,  and David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia Pacific region) in their book ‘Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs,’ shocked the world. It became known that from 2000 to 2005 in China there were about 60,000 organ transplantations performed. The source of 41,500 of these transplants is unknown.

In prior times, the followers of Buddhism, too, were persecuted, and Christians who followed Jesus, jailed and even killed for over 300 years. But the torture, which Falun Gong practitioners are now subjected to in China, and the forced removal of organs for profit have no precedent. Thisform of evilis unprecedented on this planet.

Falun Gong in the world

Inhuman persecution backfired: today people practice Falun Gongin in more than 100 countries, and more and more people are opposed to the brutal persecution in China.

In May 2012, US Congressman Albio Sires from New Jersey spoke at the House of Representatives to honor the 20th Anniversary of Falun Gong’s public introduction and its founder Master Li Hongzhi. He said: “Mister Speaker, I rise today to honor the Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) movement and its founder, Master Li Hongzhi. Throughout the world, there are an estimated 100 million people in over 120 countries throughout the continents of Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and North and South America who practice Falun Dafa.

Falun Dafa has helped many improve their health, purify their minds and uplift their spirits, increasing not only health standards around our  state and the world, but also promoting qualities that strengthen us as humans.

Mister speaker, please join me in commending Master Li Hongzhi and the practitioners of Falun Dafa on “World Falun Dafa Day” and the “New Jersey Falun Dafa Month” celebrations. Let us wish that these wonderful practitioners of Falun Dafa continue to make an impact on their communities by observing the principles which they follow.”