Benefits of Tai Chi

This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health. (

In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions for example, “white crane spreads its wings” or martial arts moves, such as “box both ears.” As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention as in some kinds of meditation on your bodily sensations. Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery. (

A tai chi class practices a short form at the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Watertown, Mass. (

A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age. An adjunct therapy is one that’s used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient’s functioning and quality of life. (

Tai chi in motion

A tai chi class might include these parts: (

Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body. (

Instruction and practice of tai chi forms. Short forms forms are sets of movements may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you’re older or not in good condition. (

What is Tai Chi

Qigong (or chi kung). Translated as “breath work” or “energy work,” this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down. ( trials have found tai chi to be effective in treating arthritis, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.Tai Chi improves balance and stability in older adults. Tai Chi helps to relieve back pain and pain from arthritis. Tai Chi reduces stress and promotes overall health. Tai Chi eases Fibromyalgia pain and improves quality of life. Tai Chi improves reasoning abilities in older adults.Tai Chi improves brain function and reasoning ability among older adults. Tai Chi reduces stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.Tai Chi can help you stay calm when faced with stressful situations. You can use your mind to think rationally and solve problems. Tai Chi helps you improve your memory and reasoning skills. Tai Chi improves your overall well being.


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