Can Qigong Practice Improve Respiratory Health for Former or Current Flight Attendants?
Call to learn more: 1-603-653-9972
Qigong (an ancient form of meditative movement practice) includes specific meditative movement techniques that have been used traditionally to improve the quality of life and well being of individuals with respiratory disorders.
- A research study is being conducted to determine which qigong breathing practices are most effective in changing measures of respiratory health within the flight attendant (FA) population. The study also seeks to determine which qigong techniques FA will do on a regular basis.
- This is a study that will involve former and current FA who flew during the era when smoking was allowed in the cabins of aircraft. Both healthy FA and those who have developed respiratory disorders, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, are invited to apply.
- Study locations will be arranged to coordinate with qualified FA volunteers.
- This research is being conducted by Peter Payne, SEP, who has taught Qigong for more than 40 years and Mardi Crane-Godreau, Ph.D. Both are from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Dr. Crane-Godreau is a former Pan Am FA who studies the causes and treatment of respiratory disease associated with cigarette smoke exposure.
- Involvement in the study is voluntary. The information collected will be maintained and analyzed anonymously. There are no costs to participate. Participants will have an option to receive results from analysis of the tests and samples collected.
- To receive an information sheet that more fully describes this research or to ask questions about this project contact:
At no cost to participants. We are setting up appointments in Burlington, VT, Boston, MA, and NY City in March and April.
Peter Payne, SEP, Q.T.
Mardi Crane-Godreau, Ph.D.
Ingrid Svensborn, R.N.
Geisel School of Medicine
1 Medical Center Drive
Lebanon, NH 03756
Dr. Mardi Crane-Godreau is seeking volunteers of former and current flight attendants to participate in respiratory and vitamin D screening studies.
- Screenings available in the Boston and NYC area.
- We need volunteers who suspect, or have been diagnosed with respiratory disease as well as healthy volunteers.
- There are no age limits.
- If you flew for at least 5 years prior to 1992, and would be willing to participate in this important study, please email: Margaret.A.Crane@Dartmouth.EDU or call (603) 653-9970 and leave a message with your name, email address and phone number.
Thank you in advance for your contribution of time and energy in support of improving human health world wide.
Tobacco Control 2004;13;i8-i19
Flight attendants reported suffering greatly from SHS pollution on aircraft. Both government and airline sponsored studies concluded that SHS created an air pollution problem in aircraft cabins, while tobacco industry sponsored studies yielding similar data concluded that ventilation controlled SHS, and that SHS pollution levels were low. Between the time that non-smoking sections were established on US carriers in 1973, and the two hour US smoking ban in 1988, commercial aircraft ventilation rates had declined three times as fast as smoking prevalence. The aircraft cabin provided the least volume and lowest ventilation rate per smoker of any social venue, including stand up bars and smoking lounges, and afforded an abnormal respiratory environment. Personal monitors showed little difference in SHS exposures between flight attendants assigned to smoking sections and those assigned to non-smoking sections of aircraft cabins.
Conclusions: In-flight air quality measurements in ,250 aircraft, generalised by models, indicate that when smoking was permitted aloft, 95% of the harmful respirable suspended particle (RSP) air pollution in the smoking sections and 85% of that in the non-smoking sections of aircraft cabins was caused by SHS. Typical levels of SHS-RSP on aircraft violated current (PM2.5) federal air quality standards ,threefold for flight attendants, and exceeded SHS irritation thresholds by 10 to 100 times. From cotinine dosimetry, SHS exposure of typical flight attendants in aircraft cabins is estimated to have been .6-fold that of the average US worker and ,14-fold that of the average person. Thus, ventilation systems massively failed to control SHS air pollution in aircraft cabins. These results have implications for studies of the past and future health of flight attendants.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health conducted a landmark study in 2007 on this subject, and follow-up today is needed to understand trends in flight attendant health over time.
- Over 4,000 flight attendants participated in the first study. Help us exceed this number.
- The prevalence of respiratory disease amongst Flight Attendants was approximately three times that found in the general U.S. population.
- In addition, sleep disorders, fatigue, depression and heart disease were greatly increased in female Flight Attendants compared to the U.S. population.
- Release of the FAA Report (Coming Soon!) Read our presentation at the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology conference, Barcelona, Spain 2011
What is Qigong, and what does it have to do with Flight Attendants? –We’re glad you asked!
Qigong is a traditional Chinese health practice; its roots go back at least 5000 years. Like Yoga? Yes, but Qigong has its own unique methods and is increasingly gaining popular and scientific recognition as a powerful and sophisticated way of dealing with a number of health problems including respiratory problems, bone density and the effects of stress.
Research into Flight Attendant health has confirmed what you all know already: Flight Attendants experience a wide variety of extreme stressors. From the need to remain vigilant to safety issues, to poor cabin air, physically difficult working conditions, crazy schedules, jet lag, demanding passengers and (until smoking was banned in commercial aircraft) second-hand cigarette smoke. You know how it is!
These different stressors can affect the body at the time of the event. Some continue to influence health for decades after the event. They impact multiple systems in the body, so one strategy is to find effective interventions that can work on the whole body to reduce imbalances that have adverse effects on health.
Qigong appears to be one of the best candidates! You see, stress operates through its influence on the “autonomic nervous system” (ANS)–that part of the nervous system that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and even some parts of the immune system. When we are in a stressful situation, the ANS helps us deal with it by activating, enabling us to be more alert, stronger, quicker, and to ignore the demands of our own body. But if the stress is too great, or goes on for too long, our ANS may be unable to come back into balance and allow us to recuperate. This “accumulated stress” makes us feel tense, or sometimes numb to our own bodies. In the long run when the ANS is out of balance, it can lead to symptoms: high or low blood pressure, heart disease, breathing restriction, depression or anxiety, and even cancer or immune system disorders!
So where does Qigong come in? Well, it turns out that Qigong is a way of learning to consciously regulate the ANS; in other words, Qigong shows you how to restore balance to your autonomic nervous system, shedding the accumulated stress and enabling your breathing, circulation, digestion, immune system, and even your mood and energy levels, to return to normal.
How does it accomplish this seeming miracle? Qigong draws on a sophisticated “inner know-how”, developed over thousands of years, and recently validated by scientific research. It uses slow gentle movement, accompanied by breathing and focusing the mind in specific ways, to restore the “energy flow” in the body and mind–another way of saying “to balance the nervous system”. You can see a couple of video examples of Qigong exercises here; these are safe and enjoyable, and will reliably help you release excess stress. (insert link to video) Enjoy!
Now, although we know from countless stories about the power of Qigong, and we also know from scientific research that many of its claims are valid, this is not enough for us to be able to say with certainty that it will help Flight Attendants with their accumulated health problems. We were recently funded by the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) to find out for sure. We expect to announce the opening of this study in the Fall of 2014.
In the short term, if you are a flight attendant who flew for at least 5 years prior to the smoking ban and who was not a voluntary smoker, you can participate in a screening study that is being conducted by
Mardi Crane-Godreau and Peter Payne.