Tai Chi is a familiar word in eastern alternative energy medicine, but is increasingly becoming popular to the western medical world too, in last few decades. What actually does it mean? Well it is two words, with two separate meanings. The word “Tai” means ‘Big’ or ‘Great’. “Chi” means the ‘ultimate energy’ or ‘great system’. So to put in together and it is about generating energy through movement. It is an ancient Chinese method of harmonizing the mind and body through both the mental and physical well-being while promoting healing practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits.
The Chinese perform Tai Chi regularly in groups in public places. Now in America we are embracing the ancient alternative healing practice that has so much to offer our society such as stress reduction, relaxation and so much more. Tai Chi health benefits seem to be limitless.
According to the Mayo Clinic Tai Chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. It is great for older adults who might not otherwise exercise and is noncompetitive, at your own pace of gently exercise and stretching. Tai chi has many different styles and each style has its own purpose for various tai chi principles and methods. Some may focus on health maintenance or muscle tone, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of Tai Chi.
Tai Chi Is: Often described as “meditation in motion”
- A form of relaxation.
- Tai Chi is used as a form of meditation with deep breathing combined with a series of slow and graceful movements.
- Tai Chi practiced correctly — the movements of will appear rhythmical, effortless and in continuous flow and it can also can be an effective system of self-defense.
- Tai Chi improves flow of energy through the body which promotes healing to the whole body in many ways.
- Tai Chi can improve strength and flexibility while reducing pain and stiffness.
- Tai Chi promotes and improves coördination and balance which can be extremely beneficial to anyone at any age to prevent the risk of falling, but especially to older adults.
- Tai Chi improves and enhances sleep.
- Tai Chi provides a greater awareness and calmness that tends to give an overall sense of well-being to mind and body.
- According to research Tai Chi has many health benefits for older adults because of its gentle nature and slow form of movement that provides a great form of exercise without the risk of harm or injury.
What Does the Research Show Us?
Because of the slow gentle nature of Tai Chi, researchers are particularly interested in the potential health benefits of Tai Chi for older adults.
- According to Harvard Medical Health Publication — There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice has value in treating or preventing many health problems. Check out http://worldtaichiday.org/WTCQDHlthBenft.html
- The (NCCAM) – National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine studies suggest a wide range of health benefits from regular practice and exercises of Tai Chi.
- The Oregon Research Institute found that tai chi participants doubled their ability to perform moderate to rigorous activities as those that did not participate and those that had the greatest benefits were those that had the poorest health and function.
Some Health Disorders That Tai Chi Helps:
- Sleep Disorders: Another study by Oregon Research Institute found that Tai Chi can aid in sleep. 118 individuals performed a low-impact class for 24 weeks. The reported results averaged that they fell asleep quicker and stayed asleep longer.
- Diabetes: The University of Florida performed a study with 62 diabetes patients. After 6 months the participants that practiced in 2 Tai Chi classes and 3 days home practice per week had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels and higher energy levels than the control group.
- Helps Balance: The National Institute on Aging (NIA) preformed two studies in the 1990’s that showed Tai Chi exercises in older adults diminished greatly the fear of falling. Some other studies performed by sports medicine indicated that Tai Chi may improve sensitivity to nerves signals in ankles and knees that can help prevent falling. Although according to evidence-based reviews Tai Chi only helped with balance.
- Mental Focus And Slowing the Aging Process: Research shows that Tai Chi helps slow the aging process while promoting focus and mental clarity.
- Help For Osteoarthritis: Research also indicates that osteoarthritis sufferers can be greatly improved by Tai Chi. One three-month study of 72 osteoarthritis sufferers found that those who did Tai Chi were able to move their joints easily and with less pain than those who did not practice Tai Chi. Other research by NCCAM to check out @ nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/011510.htm
- Shingles: Is a painful viral disease that causes blisters and a bright red itchy rash. According to NIA And NCCAM research showed that Tai Chi prompted an immune response to the varicella-zoster virus similar to that prompted by the varicella vaccine.
If you suffer from a chronic health condition, you just need to relax, or just have trouble getting yourself to exercise that we all need to stay healthy, Tai Chi can be a God sent because you can do it at your own pace, learn it on your own, or take classes from the trained professional. Tai Chi is a natural remedy that can provide your body with healing and enhance your mind and body with relaxation and strength.
I recently started practicing Tai Chi and I find it relaxing, easy to do with the slow movements that doesn’t stress the body out. There is something so mystifying to the slow graceful movements to this ancient Chinese practice. I find it fun and look forward to the classes and practicing it on my own daily. I haven’t yet been able to reap the full benefits of this exercise and healing that is provides but have felt a change in my body that makes me embrace this practice and recommend it to anyone of any age. This has become a part of my green and healthy lifestyle. Check it out and try it – you have nothing to lose but much to gain. Our bodies and minds needs nurturing and Tai Chi provides this for you as an alternative and natural remedy for good health.