Critical Incident Stress Management - A Body-Centered Approach adapted from Tai Chi and Qigong

Posted by on August 4, 2019

In May 2019, Baltimore Tai Chi’s instructors, Eric Johnson and Fiona Newton presented a session at the International Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) 15th World Congress at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore. The session was described as ‘A Body-Centered Approach to CISM: A Unique Method Adapted from Tai Chi, Qigong, and Meditation’ and focused on how responders to critical stress incidents, or those working with them in therapeutic situations, can learn how to quickly and easily reduce their own stress levels and, with simple training, learn to help others do the same.

The presentation was well attended and gave participants an opportunity to participate in short exercises to understand how the proven body-centered approach to CISM can be used to prevent stress and aid in recovery from critical situations. These simple techniques derived from tai chi, qigong, and deep breathing meditation not only help with recovery from critical situations but, learned in anticipation of such events, provide people with simple tools they can use to maintain a calm and relaxed state during the crises. Research, as well as Eric’s years of experience working with veterans and others suffering from PTSD, has shown that tai chi, qigong, and deep breathing can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, lower heart rates, and reduce levels of stress hormones. They are also shown to lower anxiety levels and relieve depression. A number of attendees checked their heart rate before and after our workshop, and noted how their heart rate was much slower after doing the exercises and many commented that they felt calmer and more relaxed after doing the exercises.

If you are interested in finding out more about this approach to managing critical incident stress, and courses and workshops for veterans and others who have been exposed to critical incidents or may be suffering from PTSD, please contact Eric on 410 296 4944 or



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