What is Sign Chi Do?

Sign Chi Do is the perfect tool to be used in the classroom to decrease stress and help focus the class. It incorporates sign gestures with music, movement and intention. Unlike, other forms of meditative centering practices where one is taught to empty the mind in a silent, wordless contemplative process, Sign Chi Do does just the opposite. You are encouraged to focus on a word or affirmation and become one with that word by expressing it in sign gesture using your entire body. This first step of attaching the sign gesture to the word begins the process of integrating that word into your being. The brain recognizes different deeper meanings of the word simply by you drawing it in the space surrounding your body resulting in what is called concordance. You hear the word sung, your body expresses it in sign gesture, your brain sees the picture or the posture of the word in action and immediately chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are released to mimic or 'concord' to the meaning your brain attached to the word. You begin to feel calm or empowered or joyful or peaceful and the result is immediate!

This leads us to talk about posture. Your posture in Sign chi do is determined by the attitude of the word being expressed. For example, if you sign the word 'serenity', your body takes on the posture of showing calmness by moving the hands gently downward in front of your body to show that your innermost being is settled down and serene. On the other hand, if you sign the word 'healthy', your body takes on the posture of showing strength emanating from the center of your chest with the muscles engaged in what looks like a boxers pose. It is this connection between the attitude of the word and the posture of the body that deepens the experience of Sign Chi Do.

Medical research is beginning to show physical and psychological benefits of practicing Sign Chi Do. It's primary effect is in its ability to quiet the inner chatter, keeping an inner stillness in the midst of chaos and thus being more resilient and present. Secondary effects include protecting the body against the effects of stress, enhancing memory, improving balance and giving you an overall enhanced sense of wellbeing.

What Do You Mean By Movement?

Movement is vital to the human body. We are designed to move. It is through expression and gesture that we communicate.

Using the Sign Chi Do technique is often referred to as a moving meditation. So let's talk about movement. Movement is actually medicine for the body, it is vital to the human body. It is through physical movement that we are able to express in an outward manner certain words or positive affirmations.

Medical research is beginning to show physical and psychological benefits of practicing Sign Chi Do. It's primary effect is in its ability to quiet the inner chatter, keeping an inner stillness in the midst of chaos and thus being more resilient and present. Secondary effects include protecting the body against the effects of stress, enhancing memory, improving balance and giving you an overall enhanced sense of wellbeing.

What is the Significance of the Name 'Sign Chi Do'?

The word 'Sign' represents the fact that simple sign gestures are used in a way that gives deep insight and meaning to the words being used. The word 'Chi' (pronounced chee or key) carries significant meaning bridging the gap between health and self. From a health perspective, 'chi' is what if often referred to as vital energy or life source. The word 'Do' is significant because it confirms a personal connection to me as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine D.O. It also means 'the way' in Japanese.

Are Facial Expressions Important in Sign Chi Do?

The simple answer is yes! Mother Teresa once said, "Peace starts with a smile." As we focus on emotional expressions, I would like to describe what I call the Anatomy of a Smile. The forced social smile is different than the genuine smile. The two types of smiles are brought about by different muscle groups., which are controlled by different parts of the brain. The forced smile originates in the conscious brain cortex and can be brought on at will. The genuine smile emerges from the subconscious part of the brain and happens automatically. It is the genuine smile that causes the tiny muscles to contract surrounding the eyes and the pupils to slightly dilate. This gives the face the appearance of being genuinely authentic. This does not occur with the forced smile. Just as facial expressions reflect emotions, so sign gestures does the same thing. In Sign Chi Do, we use sign gestures as the vehicle to express words and affirmations authentically from the depth of our being. As human beings, we are created and wired this way!

Do I Have To Know Sign Language?

No, not at all! The Sign Chi Do technique uses universal sign gestures as an expression of the words. It can be referred to as iconic sign gesture where the gesture resembles the word being expressed. In many cases, the signs resemble ASL but is not actual ASL and is not intended to be used as a means of communication for the hearing impaired community.

Do I Need Any Special Equipment For Sign Chi Do?

No special equipment is needed. It is a perfect program to be used in the classroom to help focus the class in less than 5 minutes. It is a good idea to get into the habit of keeping a small journal to keep track of the meaning of certain words or affirmations as they come alive in movement. Keep in mind that this technique brings out the deeper meaning of the words and every time you do it you may experience something different.

What Do You Mean By 'Stances' Used In Sign Chi Do?

There are eight cardinal stances used in Sign Chi Do. The stances are the positions of the feet used to help maintain proper posture and thus maintain health while in motion. The eight stances include 1) Natural stance. 2) Staddle stance. 3) Front leaning stance. 4) Back leaning stance. 5) Side leaning stance. 6) L-shaped back leaning. 7) L-shaped front leaning. 8) One leg stance.

How Does Sign Chi Do differ from Tai Chi?

Sign Chi Do is different than Tai Chi on many levels. First, when practicing Sign Chi Do you are encouraged to fill your mind (with the words and affirmations) rather than empty your mind as is taught in Tai Chi. Second, words come alive in movement in Sign Chi Do. There is a definite neurolinguistic component to Sign Chi Do. Third, the transitional movement in Sign Chi Do is taught to lead with the toe and then shift the weight vs Tai Chi which leads with the heel. It is a completely different motion. The idea of leading with the toe helps to strengthen the proprioception mechanism in the brain. The essence of the Sign Chi Do technique is to strengthen the brain body connection by engaging all four parts of the brain by using sign language gesure with music and movement. This is not the case with Tai Chi.