Tag Archives: Tai Chi

Tai Chi Is A Great Treatment For Stress And Helps Foster Good Posture

Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and other meditative forms of martial arts have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. These meditative forms of martial arts are occasionally named internal forms. Forms such as 8 palms or BaGua are based off the numerology of works such as the I Ching. These martial art forms concentrate on body posture and alignment, relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing. This article will talk mostly about Tai Chi, although any Chinese internal art could apply to what is being discussed here.

Tai Chi is a great remedy for stress and helps promote good posture as well. A lot of Tai Chi practitioners claim that they never need to visit a chiropractor. Chinese medicine has a great influence on Tai Chi practice, which is a holistic approach to well being that integrates what Westerners might call homeopathy, massage, and physiotherapy as well as acupuncture and ideas of how the body works. A lot of highly sought after and highly priced medical physicians are also naturopaths and homeopaths and have taught themselves the system of Eastern medicine.

A typical session of Tai Chi lasts about an hour. Students are encouraged to focus their attention on the basic movements and relax. These movements are designed to enhance balance, body awareness, coordination, flexibility, and strength. Also a major part of internal Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi is deep breathing exercises. If practiced properly, these arts can be used for self-defense. Tai Chi teaches sticky hands drills, search hands, and push hands for training on how to knock someone to the ground, search for the center of a person’s balance, and incapacitate them from doing the same to you. It may be a difficult skill to learn, but if you know how to properly use it, it can come very handy in a fight.

Tai Chi lessons are designed to cultivate a healthy spirit in a person which means it can improve will power, body control, and concentration and help alleviate stress. Tai Chi is very rarely used for fighting. In fact, most people don’t use it for any combat purposes. Since Tai Chi is often performed in slow manner, the motions may not be suited for children, who become easily bored and restless (adults usually enter a zen like state). This is where its stress relieving benefits can come in. In countries Taiwan or like China, Ba Gua and Tai Chi are usually the last arts a practitioner can learn after the other more external (kicking and punching) forms of Kung Fu.

If you are searching for a fantastic way to improve your health, posture, balance, concentration, and strength and eliminate the levels of stress in your body, internal martial arts such as Tai Chi would be an ideal addition to any of your exercise routine.

Tai Chi Can Help Reduce Arthritis Pain

The inflammation of the joints is what causes arthritis pain, and in certain instances, by the drying of synovial fluids that cause the joint to literally rub bone against bone with not enough fluid to lubricate it. In more advanced cases, the pain experienced can be many times greater, which usually is experienced in the initial stages of arthritis. In addition, arthritis causes substantial reduction of range of motion and causes the joints to significantly stiffen. People assume that arthritis is a disease of the elderly but now it appears that a lot of very young people suffer from this condition as well. According to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, it estimated that, in the United States, almost 300, 000 children suffer from arthritis.

China is the place where Tai Chi originated. In parks across this country, groups of people practice this form of martial art every morning. Practicing Tai Chi requires internal strength and power. Its actual name is “tai chi chuan,” which, in English, translates to “ultimate supreme boxing.” Tai chi was developed as a component of Neijia which is a type of traditional Chinese defense art. Its movements and techniques have been described comprehensively in the Tai Chi Classics masters, which is a set of writings. Chinese tradition states that if a person becomes conscious of the ways in which Tai Chi can be utilized as self-defense, it indicates that the person understands fully well this martial art.

Dr Lam, a Tai Chi master and a family practitioner in the late 1990s used a team of Tai Chi specialists and health care practitioners to establish a program of modified Tai Chi to help manage arthritis stiffness and pain and to help treat arthritis itself.

A study shows that tai chi helps lessen pain and improves various health factors of people who were in the test group.

In the American Medical community, some doctors denied the benefits of the routine and declined to consider its techniques. However, a report from CNN stated that, based on a study, Tai Chi did have benefits but they were still too early to concretely establish the practice as a healing technique. The uncertainty of the results was due to a claim by a certain doctor that the design of the study was flawed.

A few years ago, health researchers from Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia performed additional tests on tai chi. They concluded that both hydrotherapy and Tai Chi can actually help eliminate or at least reduce arthritis pain and occasionally, the related stiffness. Tai chi also helps increase the range of movement of the patient subjects. The tests examined 150 woman and men over 60 years of age who all had chronic arthritis. The research was headed by Marlene Fransen and was published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2007. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, a waiting group and a hydrotherapy or Tai Chi class. The hydrotherapy and Tai Chi class attended classes for an hour twice a week. Significant improvement was seen 12 weeks later, when measurements of joint function and pain were conducted. The progressive pain alleviation and joint function continued another 12 weeks later, with no subject showing aggravation of their symptoms.

For many centuries in China, Tai Chi has been practiced in one form or another. It has a variety of styles or techniques and each of them have been found appropriate for use on people suffering from arthritis. The five essential forms of tai chi are:

  • Sun style             
  • Yang Style
  • Chen Style
  • Wu style of Wu Chien-chuan and Wu Chuan-yü
  • Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang or Wu

Tai chi’s benefits and why it’s very helpful in treating arthritis may be due to its use of gentle circular motions, instead of movements that are jerky in nature. There are 12 primary movements in Tai Chi and these movements are repeated many times and can be performed in a span of three minutes. Tai chi websites, video, books and other sources are available to explain the techniques used in this defense art.

Tai Chi offers light to moderate exercises that are very beneficial to people with arthritis, in addition to the circular movement that help promote enhanced range of motion. Although it may not work for everyone, tai chi is actually a strenuous type of workout. It seems to work in about 78 percent of cases in which it was utilized for reducing arthritis pain. Weight reduction and cardio-vascular health are its other benefits, which can be very important for the management of pain in people with arthritis. Management of stress using this exercise technique can help control the pain. In fact, the health benefits derived from Tai Chi go far beyond simple pain relief to various other factors related to general well being and health. Tai Chi boosts the quality of life of arthritis sufferers, is a totally holistic mind and body integration technique, helps to promote good posture, and is quite easy to learn.

It has a variety of styles and forms many of which are appropriate in the reduction of arthritis pain; however, it is important to look for an instructor who has experience working with people with arthritis and other special needs. As with all forms of exercise regimen, prior to beginning the regimen, you need to confer with your health care provider or doctor about the exercise classes you plan to attend. Your doctor or health care provider should make sure that the exercises are suitable for total body condition. They will also decide whether Tai Chi is a suitable and effective form of therapy for your arthritis.

Research On The Benefits Of Tai Chi And Qigong For People Suffering From Type II Diabetes

When I started doing research on the benefits of Tai Chi for diabetes, I was surprised that resources about them were difficult to come by. Because, it seems on the surface that Tai Chi can bring about a variety of benefits to people suffering from diabetes. Practitioners of the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi believe it not only boosts microcirculation, it also is reputed to be an extremely effective technique for managing stress, and is a very good and gentle way to burn a significant amount of calories. Actually, Tai Chi can assist the body achieve homeostatic chemical levels. For instance, a research performed on sex hormones showed that Tai Chi can have a “balancing effect” on the hormonal chemistry of test subjects, reducing the unnaturally high levels of estrogen in older men, while elevating the unnaturally low levels of estrogen in older women.

These results gave us reason to conclude that there probably had been meaningful studies done on the benefits of qigong and Tai Chi’s in regard to diabetes, assuming that these outcomes and results in other studies initially indicate that at least Qigong and Tai Chi may offer a lot to patients with diabetes. But unfortunately, like I mentioned before, there doesn’t seem to be much out there (at least from Western research) that would validate qigong and tai chi as a bone fide complementary treatment for diabetes.

Nevertheless, two studies performed by Chinese medical institutions showed very promising outcomes. Research from the Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology of Beijing discovered that blood sugar can be successfully reduced by performing qigong exercises. In the study, 43 percent of patients required less medication while eating more staple foods. Another study conducted by the Nanjing University discovered that Tai Chi exercise can help regulate metabolic dysfunction of geriatric obese people with type II diabetes mellitus by normalizing the endocrine-nervous system in the body. Why then doesn’t Western medical research conduct more medical studies on this?

Unfortunately, NIH funding for all research pertaining to “complimentary” and alternative health treatments are less than ½ of one percent. This means that homeopathy, herbal medicine, meditation yoga, etc. etc. all share that very thin slice of the NIH budget pie. A lot of individuals suffering from various conditions who have benefited from Qigong and Tai Chi will not be experienced by the millions of others with the same conditions until the NIH meaningfully increases funding/attention for Qigong and Tai Chi research. Until sufficient studies are done, doctors won’t have the knowledge required to provide their patients with the right information about Qigong and Tai Chi as a potential healing alternative.

One viable option is to ask your doctor to conduct some studies on this for you. Be that as it may, let’s discuss the current treatments for diabetes, and then systematically compare the benefits of Tai Chi to see whether it can be also an effective healing alternative for diabetes; as always, we advice people not to self-treat. This article is intended to instigate a dialogue between your doctor and you, as well as medical research institutions and your doctor and to campaign on your behalf in order to acquire effective natural treatments such as Tai Chi, fully researched, so that you can avail yourself the best possible options for your plan of treatment.

A Post Graduate Medicine Online article mentioned that “The attainment of ideal body weight, exercise and diet, exercise are the core components of any treatment regimen (for type II diabetes).” According to the article, Tai Chi has been shown to be a very useful exercise not only because it provides cardiovascular benefits (approximately similar to moderate impact aerobics), but also because it burns a substantial amount of calories despite its low impact and gentle nature. Tai chi actually provides more health benefits to a person with type II diabetes than downhill skiing and surfing. Attaining such cardiovascular and caloric burning benefits and with such a gentle exercise as Tai Chi may be extremely helpful for people suffering from diabetes.

Information on diabetes provided by the Top5plus5.com website elucidated that the kind of exercise a patient performs is critical to his well being. According to the website, “Since exercises that involve heavy lifting or straining can provoke eye damage, patients suffering from active diabetic retinopathy should not participate in these activities. Also patients need to realize that high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage that in turn can lead to loss of feeling in the feet, with a consequent elevated chance of ulceration and blistering. People suffering from progressive heart damage related to high blood sugar need to be warned about the likelihood of sudden heart failure and death.” In regard to the health of the heart, Tai Chi can offer promise so vital to diabetic patients. On October 9, 2004, the BBC reported that “Heart failure can be treated with Tai Chi.” This study was “excellent news,” for the British Heart Foundation and, in the future, Tai Chi could be integrated into treatment programs in the UK.

We strongly advice that all potential treatments should be always approached in conjunction with your doctor and, once again, we urge you to never self-treat. The articles published at the World Qigong and Tai Chi Day are intended to bring up dialogue between your doctor and you, and hopefully between health institutions and your doctor. We earnestly hope that this will result in a more practical doling out of medical research funding towards Qigong and Tai Chi, and other natural health modalities. We hope that medical investigators will approach Qigong and Tai Chi with a desire to discover “why these therapies help a lot of people” instead of pursuing an agenda to disprove their efficacy. The manner the studies are performed is just as important as the actual performance of the studies.

As more and more medical universities offer tai chi to aspiring doctors and nurses, we hope that in the near future, doctors too, will start to discover for themselves what health technologies and Qigong and Tai Chi have to offer on a personal level. Western healthcare’s future should not be a conflict between conventional therapies and alternative therapies, but an enlargement of conventional therapies that would allow whatever works best for the patient. Such a vision is shared by many of us and others in the medical field, and World Qigong and Tai Chi Day celebrates their efforts.

Anyone Can Experience The Various Benefits of Tai Chi

Each morning as you drive or walk to work, you may have a chance to pass a group of people standing in one place and moving their bodies in slow movement. Since nothing vigorous is happening, how can this be considered an exercise? But that is exactly what Tai Chi is, exercise.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a combination of meditation and a moving form of yoga. It has roots in the martial arts despite the fact that most of its movements, known as sets or forms, are done slowly, gracefully, and gently. Though there are many versions as to how Tai Chi originated, this exercise is believed to have been founded and developed by Chang San-Feng in the 12th century.

According to historians, the practice and theory of Tai Chi evolved through the integration of the principles of Chinese philosophy that included both Confucianism and Taoism.

In 1947, Grandmaster Chen Man Ching stated “Stay relax. You must stay relaxed at all times when practicing Tai Chi. You will discover in time that relaxation will become part of your mental and physical state.”

To understand the concept behind Tai Chi, no amount of rushed attempts to understand its technique will allow that. Lots of practice as well as great patience are required to enable Tai Chi to search for your inner chi and empower your body. Only when your inner chi has been found can you then start experiencing a harmony of soul, mind, and body.

The Benefits of Tai Chi

There are several benefits that can be gained in performing Tai Chi. People in China believe that this exercise can treat depression, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease; strengthen muscles; and increase longevity. Some adherents who regularly perform the exercise also believe it boosts stamina. Jo Li, a Tai Chi devotee for two years recently realized that he can run for a longer period of time without becoming tired easily. Research has revealed that Tai Chi does have aerobic benefits and provides benefits in endurance and oxygen uptake.

Most people mistakenly think, thanks to Hollywood, that Tai Chi is just for people who don’t want to do strenuous exercises or for old people. This exercise is now being endorsed as another fitness option for pregnant women due to its slow and gentle movements. For pregnant women who have never before done any type of exercise, Tai Chi can be also quite beneficial as it lessens the risk of these women injuring themselves. Yoga and other exercises often entail a certain amount of movement that could be difficult for pregnant women in advanced trimesters.

For pregnant women, coping with changes in work, lifestyle and body size can be very stressful. This is where Tai Chi’s meditation aspect comes into the fore. Helping the mind to concentrate on the repetitive slow motions of the breathing and the deep breathing exercises can help bring relief to these external changes. Patience is also cultivated in Tai Chi. This virtuous quality is especially valuable when the baby is born. What can a woman be more concerned about than having a stable mind and body during her pregnancy? In 1996, the Emory University conducted a research that proved Tai Chi exercise does help lessen the chances of falling by about 50 percent.

Besides pregnant women, Tai Chi can also benefit children. In Wiltshire, England, an English teacher introduced Tai Chi exercises to her class before starting lessons. She noticed that after the exercises, the children become calmer in class, were better prepared for their studies, and performed better in class. A series of studies listed by the American Journal of Medicine and Sports showed that tai chi can boost performance, focus, and concentration.

The popularity of Tai Chi among the ever growing number of people practicing it shows these people’s respect, confidence, and belief in it. Tai Chi’s popularity has spread to all corners of the world. The UN World Health Organization has in fact, officially recognized an event called Tai Chi Day (which began in 1999) that is celebrated every year on the last Saturday of April. During this day, free classes are offered in various clinics and mass Tai Chi workouts are held in participating cities.