I practice Qigong. "Qigong (or ch’i kung) is an internal Chinese meditative practice which often uses slow graceful movements and controlled breathing techniques to promote the circulation of qi within the human body, and enhance a practitioner’s overall health" – Wikipedia.
The specific style of Qigong that I practive is called YiQuan and we focus on health benefits of Qigong. I’ve been now practicing it for more than 3 years. I’ve written about my first YiQuan Qigong lesson in late 2006 and also a review of YiQuan almost a year later.
Unfortunately, there’s not much information about Qigong in English, espcially free information. There are some books, many translated book and it’s good. Lately, though, I’ve found a good Qigong podcast (audio, like a radio). This is a weekly podcast, with each episode about an hour long, which is available through Blog Talk Radio. The podcast is called "The Secrets of Qigong master" and you can listen to it on their site, download the sound files or subscribe using iTunes for automatic updates, which is what I do.
Listening to some of these episodes I found it fascinating how masters of different styles and schools share the same vision of Chi, the universe and health. Some of the questions and answers go deep into these issues which makes the interviews very interesting.
So, if you’re into energy practice, energy healing, internal martial arts, and especially if you practice some form of qigong, don’t pass on this fine podcast.
There’s a series of enrichment lectures at Google (the company) and they make them available for public viewing on YouTube. The lectures are not strictly technical and encompass a wide variety of topics with guest speakers.
The below video is of a lecture describing the basics of Oriental medicine practices, especially acupuncture and acupressure. There’s also specific attention to stress in traditional western medicine and in eastern.
In the second part, after the description, an eastern medicine doctor applies short acupunture treratment to some of the listeners and guides through a short relaxation meditation.
I’ll start with going over the structure of the book, chapter by chapter, and will conclude with my impressions of it.
In the preface Thomas tells that he started this project back in 1995 and worked on the manuscript for seven years. Several years later, in 2008 his son Clint was dying of cancer. Before he passed away Clint had promised his father to “keep in touch”. And he kept his promise. According to Walker, numerous anomalous and highly improbably events have happened later that year, described in the preface.
The book has 10 Chapters, each touching different aspect of parapsychology, spirituality or research.
The first chapter, titled “The Force – From Ch’i to Cosmological Constant and Beyond”, Walker starts with the Chinese concept of Ch’i (also spelled Qi), which is what chinese call the Life-force. Ch’i is believe to flow in the body, mainly through a system called meridians, which are highly relevant into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He refers to 1960s research of Professor Kim Bong Han in which he identified a series of unknown ducts in the bodies of animals and people that followed the paths of acupuncture meridians. He later discovered 2 more networks of such ducts bring to greater interconnection of cells in the body. Later follows a story about how the knowledge of Qi was brought to the west in the 20th century and how it was tested in medical tests to be helpful. Following with some research that was done on Qi, he finishes with the research of Professor William Tiller of Stanford University in which he develops a new theory build upon Einstein’s cosmological constant.
Chapter 2 – New Dimensions: Perceptions beyond the Body – talks about Near Death Experiences (NDE), Out of Body Experiences (OBE), explains what psi and parapsychology is. Explains the main areas of psi research from its early history in late 19th century through the 20th, including detailed history of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) research into remote viewing, backed by CIA.
Chapter 3 – More Dimensions: The Body beyond the Body – tells about the more esoteric subject of human bodies beyond the physical, such as etherial, astral and further, based on Theosophy. Detailed history of Kirlian photography and its research is described.
Chapter 4 – Where Do We Go? Arguments for an Afterlife – delves deeper into the research of NDEs, reincarnation research by late Dr. Ian Stevenson. Wakers covers the subject of mediumship, both in history and in research, such as Gary Schwartz’s research. Ending the chapter a detailed story of the great magician Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Chapter 5 – Paranormal Panache: Superstars of Psychokinesis – tells about the rarer macro-psychokinesis events, starting with 19th century Daniel David Home , who even performed for emperor Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II, researched, and never found cheating. He was most known for his ability to levitate objects and even himself. Following is the story of Nina Kulagina, heavily researched Russian woman with strong psychokinetic abilities. Later follows the story of most controversial Uri Geller. The chapters ends with an overview of micro-PK research by PEAR, Dr. Dean Radin and others.
Chapter 6 – Magnetically Magnificent: Exploring the Human Energy Field – starts with Mesmer and his research into fluidum (the force) and animal magnetism. The story continues with Baron Karl von Reichenbach, a promising chemist, discoverer of paraffin who changed his career path to research magnetism in humans, which brought him conclusion similar to that of Mesmer that it’s not regular magnetism but other force, which he called the odic force. Next is the story of English physician Walter Kilner, who on the turn of 20th century, found that he could see energy field around living organisms with special equipment. The chapter ends with more recent research by William Tiller and Chinese Dr. Zheng.
Chapter 7 – Orgasmic Outcast: Was Wilhelm Reich Right? – tells the famous story of Austria-born Wilhelm Reich, physician, whose writings were burned thrice – by German Nazis, by Soviets and by US government. Follower and of Freud and even the director of his clinic in Vienna, Reich linked many health issues with the flow of psychic energy, which he called Orgone energy. He decided to research orgone theory. Thomas Walter tells in detail about the history of his research and his life, which ended in US Prison in 1957.
Chapter 8 – Healing the Rift: Alternative Medicine Arrives – gets into the details of many studies done in the 20th century, following the introduction of Chinese medicine and other alternative medicine practices in the west. Numerous studies showed the intent of healers, such a prayer or applications of the force, whatever it’s called, can greatly and positively affect organisms, including humans. Special attention is paid to Therapeutic Touch and to Chiropractic.
Chapter 9 – Schlock Science: Who Makes the Call? – tells about the difficulties that scientists who challenge the status-quo encounter on their way. Starting with Thomas Edison and his electric bulb invention, following the discovery of cold fusion by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. Then Walter talks about non-psi subject of Mars exploration and the Cydonia region research by Richard Hoagland and the lies of NASA regarding issues related to Mars research. The second half of the chapter leaves the “science” and goes on to describe the history of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of Paranormal), established in 1976 and now called Committee of Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), started by Ray Hyman, James Randi, Marcello Truzzi and others. CSI is claiming to be an investigating organization but it appears to be a dogmatic Skeptical organization which denies any possibility of psi, without a deep look into things.
Chapter 10 – A Path with Heart: The Way Back Home – argues that the heart plays a more central role in the humans than just pumping the blood. Thomas describes various studies that suggest that not everything is controlled by the brain and that some neurological functions are scattered through the body.
Overall, I liked the book very much for several reasons. First, it is easy and fun to read. I simply enjoyed reading it, the text flowed smoothly. Secondly, I learned a lot of new stuff. Even though I thought I knew a lot about psi research, after reading such books as the Entangled Minds
by Dr. Dean Radin, I found a lot of subjects that I didn’t know about.
The book starts with the subject of Ch’i. Being a Qigong (Chi Kung) student myself for almost 3 years now, I tend to believe that there is something to it. I can relate to the fact that martial artists and Qigong masters can feel and “utilize” it.
The book goes over lots of subjects but has points where it goes deeper, telling about a specific person for several pages. So, even if I read about someone in short previously, I still found lots of new information.
Some might argue that the book is not scientific or that it doesn’t present the opposite point of view, i.e. criticisms of the studies. But having a chapter devoted to showing how science refuses to accept views that drastically differ from the status-quo and about the organized pseudo-skeptics, he clearly chose a side. I think it’s OK to write a book which shows what the author believes to be true. After all, there’s enough totally baseless criticism as well. And I also believe that the media and other establishments will much easier accept and transmit any skeptical argument, however vague, over a study proposing any psi effect.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the book to anyone who’s interesting in these areas of the paranormal or parapsychology which are presented in it. If you are a highly scientific person you’ll have 2 choices. Either skip the book or better yet, follow the studies present in the book (there is bibliography and notes) and try to read them yourself before deciding what’s right or wrong.
Kosta wrote in his book that his was not the only western student and later I posted another video, which is claimed to be of another of his western students, in 2000, performing telekinesis for the 3rd level. The video is of a poor quality, though. You can see it at Nei-kung telekinesis by John Chang’s student video
In his great blog about martial arts, Martial development, which also highlights the story of neigong and master Chang in many of his articles, Chris interviewed one of Chang’s western students. The interviewee is Jim McMillan, who’s been a long time disciple of John Chang, according to him.
Chris asked Jim the following 5 questions:
How did you first become acquainted with the esoteric practice of neigong?
It is often said that a traditional master will test an aspirant’s character and resolve, before deciding whether to accept them as a disciple. Did you face any such trials, or were you accepted immediately?
What preconceived notions about qigong/neigong masters or methods, if any, has your personal experience since proven incorrect?
What sacrifices–time, effort, money, et cetera–are required of a student in the Mo Pai? How do these demands compare to your previous experience in various martial arts schools?
How has this training affected your physical and emotional health? Has it made your life easier, or harder?
Many readers are interested in learning more about neikung, but don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice to offer?
Below is a guest post by Phil, who promotes Yan Xin Qigong method and Yan Xin Qigong audio cassette tapes. After the article, there’s a link to his Ebay store with the tapes. Previously, drew hempel, who contributed various article to this site, has also written about this qigong method on the article: The Highest Technology of All Technologies: The Yan Xin Secret.
Yan Xin Qigong is a qigong that was developed from traditional Chinese qigongs by Dr. Yan Xin. Dr. Yan Xin is one of the most popular qigong masters in both China and the United States and is often credited with achieving seemingly “miraculous” feats. In addition to many healings he has participated in scientific experiments some of which are presented in this paper in the Literature Review chapter. Unlike many qigongs, Yan Xin qigong’s Nine Step Child Longevity method utilizes an audio tape to accompany training that consists of Dr. Yan Xin instructing the proper steps and methods to take in entering the “qigong state.” Most practitioners I have communicated with only do the first step of the nine step method. It can be practiced alone or in a group but, in group practice better results are believed to be obtained. In all cases the practice method consists of listening to the tape and following along (as Dr. Yan Xin is speaking Chinese in the background, while being simultaneously translated into English on the tape, this can be quite an interesting feat for non-Chinese speakers). The reason for this is that it is believed that Dr. Yan Xin can “transmit” qi and information via his voice which helps training progress faster.
I participated in a Yan Xin Qigong practice at the University of Southern Mississippi on Good Friday, April 10, 1988, from seven p.m. to approximately ten-thirty that night. The fact that it was Good Friday was important to Yan Xin practitioners as they believe that when practicing in a group session on holidays better progress can be made as there are many people in approximate mental states or outlooks. The group was smaller than usual I was told, due to the holiday, and was composed of five people: two females and one male from Taiwan, one female from Thailand, and one older female white American (who was Catholic and had just gotten back from church) with the group being composed of people of various experience levels from beginner to many years. The session was led by the group leader, one of the females from Taiwan, and began with a discussion which consisted of us helping the girl from Thailand translate some of Dr. Yan Xin’s speeches into Thai. We had copies of the speech in the original Chinese and a translation into English which was an interesting process and exercise in linguistics.
The next phase of the session was listening to an audio recording of one of Dr. Yan Xin’s qi-emitting lectures. These are lectures in which Dr. Yan Xin emits qi to those in the audience and he tailors each lecture to his specific audiences “needs” as he “senses” them and as well qi can be transmitted by the audio recording. I have serious reservations about the ability of qi to be transmitted by audio tape, however, as I have now been practicing qigong for a long enough time to sense or feel the manifestation that is called qi, I must admit that I did “feel” a strong qi presence or effect that was not there before or after the tape was played. Possibly this could have some relation to subliminal messages, the power of suggestion etc., which are widely believed to have an effect in people when they are implanted in audio recordings. The recording was in Chinese but the group leader translated it for us. For those of us who were non-Chinese speakers it was at times a humourous situation as Dr. Yan Xin likes to jump around to different topics, which often involved the tape being stopped so that we could be further informed of what exactly he was talking about.
Next, we progressed to the practice of the first step of the Nine Step Child Longevity method and our group sat in a circle. The method involves the playing of an audio tape and following the instructions and visualizations. In this qigong you can stand, sit on the edge of a chair or sit or lie down on the ground. Then your hands are placed facing upwards in a specific manner depending on your gender. Your tongue is then placed in various locations in the mouth depending on certain diseases or health states. You are then led through a series of visualizations in which you are to imagine yourself as a young child at different ages depending on your gender. Then progressive visualizations are added. The process reminds me very much of deepening techniques in hypnosis (see 1964 Elman). Thus, if you wished to look at qigong as a form of self-hypnosis then Yan Xin Child Longevity Qigong would most likely produce one of the deeper and more profound states of self-trance when all nine steps are able to be visualized. The ending procedure slowly brings one out of the “qigong” state and involves some additional visualizations and rubbing and massage of the body. There is a supplementary closing exercise for those that are having trouble coming out of the state. When the closing was completed everyone in the group had a profound sensation of heat and one individual had even removed his shirt, which is not recommended by Dr. Yan Xin. The American female, a newcomer to the group, had told me before the session that she had never had any sort of sensations during practice, however, during this session she as well felt the profound heat. This was one of the more powerful qigong sessions I have personally “felt” or experienced during a first time practice of a method among the various qigongs I have practiced or been exposed to.
Yan Xin (Yan Shin) Qigong: One of the most popular forms of qigong practice in China and worlwide. It represents the traditional Chinese qigong. It is an ideal art and technique to treat illness, preserve health, achieve longevity, improve efficiency, develop special human body functions, etc. There are hundreds of methods in Yan Xin Qigong, all have been refined over a long time and proven effective by millions of practitioners.
Nine Step Method (Child Longevity Nine Step Qigong): A very popular method in Yan
Xin Qigong, safe and practical. In modern China, millions have been practicing the method for years with promising results. Practicing it’s first step is a starting point for the learning of all other Yan Xin Qigong methods.
Yan Xin Qigong Advanced Methods: Master Yan Xin has conducted training workshops in which he taught many special advanced methods in very unique ways. Due to the unconventional energy level of these methods, workshop participants are required to keep these methods confidential. The Nine Step Method is a popularized version of an advanced method in traditional Chinese Qigong.
Qigong (Chee- gong): A form of meditation and cultivation practice that is very popular in China. It is a holistic method for healing the body and the mind as well as for promoting the human potential. There are some similarities among qigong, tai-chi, martial arts, transcendental meditation, yoga, and zen. However, the true concept of qigong is beyond simple meditation.
Qi: A Chinese character which means air, atmosphere, vapor, and gas such as oxygen. In qigong and traditional Chinese medicine, qi has a broader meaning, involving intangible substances and abstract concepts, and is considered to exist as an energy field in myriad of things.
De: A Chinese character which literally means virtue and morality. De is a grounding concept in all qigong practice and cultivation. To make progress in and to keep the benefits of qigong practice, it is crucial to always hold the a moral standard.
External Qi: Well trained qigong masters and practitioners can emit qi to others through special ways. Usually, this type of qi is very productive in qigong therapy and qigong training.
Internal Qi: Qigong practitioners are able to feel certain substances flowing inside their bodies during practice and in other situations, which help the practitioners improve qi circulation among channels and acupuncture points.
Channels or Meridians: In the view of traditional Chinese medicine, the Qi and other
substances circulate inside one’s body through these certain routes. Many of them originate from internal organs and end at fingers, toes, or certain acupuncture points.
Acupuncture points: Over a hundred of special points in human body that serve intricate functions and are critical in many acupuncture therapy. Many of them are located on the head and along the spine. Some examples are:
Bai Hui (accumulation) acupuncture point: located on the top of the head, Tian Mu (heavenly eye) acupuncture point: located between the two eye brows, Shen Que (spirit’s palace) acupuncture point: located at the navel, and Yong Quan (sprouting spring) acupuncture point: located at the center of the foot.
Opening: Almost all methods have particular opening positions to prepare the mind and the body to enter a qigong state. It is important that the opening method is followed exactly to maximize the benefits of qigong practice.
Lotus: An aquatic plant, native to southern Asia, having large leaves, fragrant, pinkish flowers, and a broad, round, perforated seed pod (The American Heritage Dictionary). The lotus flower has a long relationship to Chinese philosophy and is commonly used to symbolize virtue and morality.
Spontaneous movements and sounds: During qigong practice, some people may feel that certain parts of the body have the tendency to move or may want to make sounds. The movements can be either gentle, such as stretching arms and waving hands, over very dynamic, such as running and trembling. The sounds can be either soft, such as whispering and singing, or very loud, such as laughing or crying. These qigong reactions are usual and helpful to the practitioners and their family members. It is very important to keep good thougths and positive attitudes should such reactions occur. Follow the spontaneous reactions naturally whenever the body perceived, and do not panic. However, do not use force to intentionally induce such movements and sounds.
Thought Adjustment and Mind Cultivation: In qigong practice it is very important to keep good hopes, optimistic attitudes, considerate thoughts, benevolent wishes, etc. Constantly think of the good side of life, and forget all past regretful mistakes, unfortunate incidents, miserable experiences, and sorrowful feelings. Always forgive, pardon, understand, and sympathize other people and things, regardless of what happened in the past. Indeed, holding high virtue and morality is the fundamental principle of all qigong practice. Regarding everyone and everything as teachers and treating all as kins are criteria for thought adjustment and cultivation.
Breath Adjustment: As in all other meditation methods, qigong practice also requires suitable breathing control. Deep, long, subtle, and smooth breathing is most favorable. When, at certain point, holding the breath is needed, it is extremely advantageous to hold the breath as long as possible. Other forms of breathing can be achieved gradually with systematic training.
Ending: This last part of a qigong method helps to maintain the effects of each practice. It cannot be neglected since it is an important part integrated into the method. Good results often come out during the ending procedures. It is also intended to seal the Qi energy inside the body and to protect the individual from any undesired feelings.
Yan Xin Qigong – Audio Cassette Tape
Child Longevity Nine Step Qigong
Step by Step instructions with the Voice of Dr. Yan Xin
Rare collectors item.
No refunds allowed, Exchange Only,
There’s a new video on You-Tube which shows the exam for a 3rd-level Nei-kung by the first westerner student of John Chang, the Magus of Java, who is teaching the Mo Pai school of kung-fu. To pass 3rd level a student must demonstrate certain telekinetic abilities by using his yin chi.
You can read more about Nei-Kung, John Chang, his amazing abilities and his school in the book The Magus of Java: Teachings of an Authentic Taoist Immortal by Kosta Danaos, another student of his. I’ve read it and highly recommend getting it, if you’d like to read first hand account with this rare man.
The description to the following video on Youtube.com site tells the following:
It was just last year I found this person. He is the first Westerner to ever be admitted into the ancient school of Mo Pai. About four or five other Westerners have become students, but all have failed for one reason or another. There has never been another Westerner to have ever reached the 3rd level.
This person is currently in training to go on to the 4th level of nei-kung which is different from chi gong, despite what other alleged, pseudo authorities say.
The short segment is his testing for the 3rd level when he passed in 2000.
Notice that the boxes are against a wall, and they fall forward and not backward as if there was something blowing them backward from the front. There are two methods of either pulling them forward or pushing them backward. The distance between his hand and the boxes is over 9 feet; a tape measure is seen on the floor.
As you can see in the video, along with the Wester student is the world famous master/teacher, John Chang and his son.
I think the video speaks for itself, although the quality is quite poor, since for some reason the put the camera against a bright window, which washed out much of the detail. What do you think of this video?
Gurdjieff and the Triode Amplifier: Your I-thought is the Pre-Amp, Taoism is the Triode Amplifier
by drew hempel, MA
Normally the mind is weak and we are controlled by our emotions, causing sickness and lack of potential free energy.
As Gurdjieff states the West relies on dualism – whereas he relies on the Law of Three. There is an exception though in the West – THE TRIODE AMPLIFIER.
To turn your mind into a triode amplifier you first need a PRE-AMP. The I-thought – without visions and without words – is the pre-amp grid which reverses and amplifies the weak current that normally exists in our brain.
80% of our brain’s energy is used for vision but when we are asleep people rely on sound to wake us. Just as Einstein used the Doppler Effect to develop his theory of relativity – so too does the phase-shift of frequency create a significant increase in amplitude.
That’s the secret of quantum chaos Brian Goodwin – a biologist who authored “Temporal Order of Cells” and is now the inspiration for digital biology at M.I.T. Basically Kirkhoff’s Law – harmonic functions – apply equally to mechanical and electrical systems.
So back to your brain – the pineal gland exists between the ears – in the center of the head. When we hold onto the I-thought we activate the pineal gland as the pre-amp grid, just like a triode tube amp.
So normally there’s ALWAYS a weak current between the inner ears – the grid of the I-thought blocks that current and then amplifies it as a reversed current – a 180 degree shift.
This is just like how pedaling a bike makes you go forward – but you can’t explain this to someone, they just have to learn how to do it. The first time I was lied to, that I remember, was when I was taught how to ride a bike. The mind or talking and seeing is cheap. We learn through experience.
Einstein liked to use bike riding as a metaphor – just keep moving so we off-set the inertia which normally makes the wheels wobble side to side. You can see this by holding a wheel at the axle and spinning it – you can’t hold it because it wobbles side to side.
So gravity is just the velocity and acceleration of the forward motion while the mass causes the inertia. Intensity of energy is actually caused by frequency, not mass as amplitude. So gravity uses logarithmic math while quantum energy uses divide and average statistics but BOTH are dualistic. The triode amp is different – it uses Gurdjieff’s Law of Three whereby the I-thought, as the Pre-Amp, harmonizes the Will and
The amplified current is the kidney energy (will), the spinning of the wheel, is the reverse breathing, activated through the I-thought.
But remember – the whole system relies on putting that PRE-AMPLIFIER or grid in place.
Gurdjieff emphasized that most Western alchemists just focused on the chemistry – what Taoists call the Jing – and therefore the energy level was just left at the emotional level.
He said the reason is because the West is too materialistic and didn’t take into account that alchemy starts with the I-thought. So will power is driven by the I-thought – the YI or intention in Taoism – reverses the desire of what our eyes see, so that the weak current between our ears now, with the pre-amp in place – the grid of the I-thought, is activated, reversed and AMPLIFIED.
One of the most known concepts of Taoism and of Chinese medicine and of martial arts is the concept of Qi, also spelled as Chi. I suppose most of the people reading this blog are familiar with this concept. If not, simply speaking Qi is the chinese concept of the life-force energy that penetrates living and non-living things in the world. Of course, this is over simplified as there’s yin chi and yang chi and I’m not that knowledgeable in these concepts myself.
Anyway, another concept, known almost as well, is the Dantien (or Tan t’ien or Dantian). Dantien refers to the point in the body, which is considered to be the center of gravity if the body, but more importantly, it is considered to be the storage point for the Qi energy in the body. In my Qigong Yiquan lessons we’re often referring to this point as to where the Qi energy flows, so to speak. The Dantien is located in the abdomen three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel.
Several months ago one of my Yiquan co-students was in Hong Kong and visited the learning group of master of my our teacher, who is around 70 years old now. He observed the lessons and at some point the master called him and demonstrated him some of his abilities. One thing I remember that he told was that the master asked him to put fist on master’s abdomen. The student told that he could feel something like a ball inside the belly which the master was moving around, moving the fist of the student with it. He was really amazed by this feeling but I couldn’t grasp why it was so special. My teacher also referred to this ability of his master.
Yesterday I continued to read the book The Magus of Java by Kosta Danaos and I’ve read the chapter called “Yin and Yang”. In this chapter, Sifu John Chang explained to Kosta and some other students the concepts of Yin Chi and Yang Chi. He also explained about the four first levels of the Neikung training that he teaches. One of the descriptions in the chapter struck me because of what I’ve been told above. Here Kosta described the ability of one o his friends who was a Korean Master and a practitioner of neikung.
This man had a “ball” in his belly at the dantien point, a solid mass that he moved around at will. Manipulating the ball, as John had indicated, this man could pass ch’i energy into his arms and legs. One physician, upon examining him, had thought my friend had cancer when he felt the huge lump; the doctor had gone through the roof when my friend had caused the ball to dance around… “This man is at least Level Three.”
John Chang then explained that the ball is a solid lump of hardened yang qi he can tap into and use, at will.
I think I need to show this page to my teacher and ask him what his thoughts of this are. But I was totally shocked, since now I could connect this description in the book to something I’ve heard at my Yiquan training. Very interesting.
This king kong of pranayamas helps you detoxify your system, oxygenate your blood, magnify the benefits of the Kundalini Yoga exercise you are doing and generate terrific energy within. If you suffer from heat related issues or high blood pressure, you should use caution when practicing Breath of Fire.