While 2017 is the inaugural year for the Symposium to be held at Maris Stella, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, it is not the first Symposium on the topic that integrated with a Taijiquan Festival or Retreat.
Modern medical science has begun to focus on whether Taiji and Qigong and other Integrative Health Practices are actually effective in improving health, or just another crackpot therapy.
Two events drew the world's attention to the topic within the last decade. The first was the International Taijiquan Forum (ITF) held at Lakehead University in Thunderbay in Canada in July of 2006 (http://www.taijiforum2006.org). The second was the International Taijiquan Symposium (ITS) held in July of 2009 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. These two academic events forever changed our understanding of Tai Chi and Qigong by emphasizing the amount and quality of research in the field of health.
Admittedly, academics was not the major draw. People came from all over the world not for research, but because the top lineage holder of each of the five styles of Taijiquan (Master Wu Wenhan, Master Yang Zhenduo, Master Chen Zhenglei, Master Sun Yongtian, Master Ma Hailong) were doing workshops.
But the organizers of each of these events had a larger vision than just learning forms. By including both practitioners and medical researchers, they bridged the gap between the anecdotal stories of improved health (which have been around for centuries), and the peer reviewed scientific studies available in the last few years. A rich vein of medical research was presented by these amazing academics.
Furthermore, there is a rich history of dozens of different events run by separate-but-co-operative groups around the topic of martial arts, tai chi (or taiji or taijiquan), leadership, corporate wellness, health practices, integrative medicine, health decision making, healthcare innovation, health economics, geriatric health, alternative and complementary health, placebo, nutrition, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, ethics, martial arts, meditative practices, pain management, stress reducing activities, balance, Qigong, Yoga, Pilates, Reiki, Meditation, Physical Therapy, Energy Exercises, Bodywork, Massage Therapy, Support Group Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and/or any other evidence-based healing practice.
The organizers of this event will be building on the rich history of Taiji, Qigong, and other Festivals and Conferences, as well as the rich history of Symposiums with their focus on medical research of Integrative Health Practices. We hope you will join us.