In the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Tai Chi and the impact that it had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.
Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, were that Tai Chi could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of the heart and it was also stated that Tai Chi also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.
This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise.
Tai Chi amalgamates abdominal (Dan Tien, or Hara) breathing, relaxation and fluid, graceful, movement throughout the set of movements, known as the “form”. In doing so it can produce changes the brain wave pattern (lowering to Alpha waves), also producing a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slowing respiration and producing a profound feeling of wellbeing.
Tai Chi players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.
The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Centre, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.
Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.
“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Tai Chi practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.
Tai Chi helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.
Importantly, they also recognise that Tai Chi also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”
Tai Chi has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery. It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors. Not so now! Now we see Tai Chi being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise. Not only that but many doctors are also practicing this art to benefit their own health.
Tai Chi is a wonderful art to learn……………………. It’s never too early and it’s never too late! There is bound to be a Tai Chi class in your neighborhood……………….. go find it now!