Smile and Relax. The Neuroscience of a Smile With Tatiana Britvina
April 8 Program Host: Vicki Dello Joio



What is a SMILE? Recent studies show that we start to smile before birth. We know that a Smile is not just a facial expression. It is the external manifestation and indication of the state of our mind, including our emotional state. A good authentic smile is associated with joy, appreciation, love, happiness, empathy, mercifulness, sincere forgiveness, generosity, wonder, serenity, thankfulness, peacefulness, deep relaxation.  As positive feedback, these same experiences can be evoked in our mind by our own good sincere smile itself. Like a chain reaction, our smile and empathy can be disseminated by others.

Neuroscience investigations related to empathy, joy, Qigong state, meditation, wandering mind, and even to mirroring of good emotions by others are flourishing. The basics of “fight and flight” response and the role of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems in stress and relaxation are becoming the standard examples for the elucidation of Yin-Yang theory.

In this Qi Talks, Tatiana will touch on the research on the silent/unthinking mind and how it is associated with the Qigong state of stillness, echoing the Dao philosophy: “Be vacant and you will be full” (P.Goullart), or “Give the mind a complete rest... If you do that, then, someday, perhaps the mind will find its way back to the source of itself”(M. Rinaldini). 

When we smile and relax – we allow our natural defensive and self-healing mechanisms to operate effortlessly, with inherent intelligence and competence.

You could say that all good things in our life are related to a Smile! 

Tatiana Britvina is a Registered Acupuncturist, BC (Canada), and a Certified Qigong Teacher. She has a PhD in Neuroscience (University of Calgary, UofC) and two Masters of Science degrees in Physics: from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (with a specialty in plasma physics) and from UofC (with a focus in biophysics).

As a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at UofC, Tatiana worked with patients with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremors, depression, chronic pain, and epilepsy. She also taught mathematics and physics to university students at Moscow Aviation Institute and at UofC . She was awarded for her seven years of teaching Neuroanatomy to undergraduate medical students at UofC.

For the last seven years, Tatiana has worked in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture, TCM herbs, and QiGong. After graduating from Calgary College of TCM and Acupuncture and receiving her license, she began her own clinical practice in BC, as an acupuncturist and a Qigong Teacher. The ancient medical approach “Treat a person, not a disease” became the main philosophy in her clinical practice.

While working in the clinic, Tatiana observed that the integration of acupuncture, herbs, Tui Na massage/acupressure, and Qigong, along with personalized approaches for individual patients, produced the best results. She observed that these treatment modalities may work synergistically and complementary to one another in order to reach the main goal – to allow the self-healing program of the body/mind to operate more efficiently.

As a physicist and neuroscientist, Tatiana was astonished by the mystery of the Qi phenomenon. She is passionate about combining TCM, acupuncture, and Qigong with western medical science knowledge in her clinical practice. 

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