Tai Chi Healthways Association provides Tai Chi
instructors and Tai Chi practitioners the evidence of Tai Chi benefits from
medical research and other popular media. Some well-established benefits
of Tai Chi include: it improves balance to prevent falls, Tai Chi has
preventative effects on heart disease, Tai Chi slows the progression of
arthritis, Tai Chi slows the progression of Alzheimer's, Tai Chi can help lower
blood pressure, Tai Chi is useful as stress management, and Tai Chi improves
The Times of India: Tai chi more effective than yoga?
TNN Sep 18, 2013, 12.00AM IST
This graceful form of martial exercise is being touted as the more effective option to yoga.
After years of being exalted as an exotic form of martial arts, Tai chi is now seen by the medic world has an answer to most physical grievances. Week after week, researches are bringing to light the many healing benefits of this form, which includes it being beneficial to people suffering from osteoarthritis, diabetes, musculoskeletial pain triggered from working on computers. It is also being looked upon as an alternative option to yoga.
Tai chi is a series of bodily movements that's performed in a slow and graceful manner, each movement flows to the next without a pause. The technique was first introduced by a Taoist monk who got his inspiration from watching a crane and snake at war. Says Sensei Sandeep Desai, "Tai chi is largely under-utilised here! I've been teaching Tai chi for more than two decades, and I see only those who are spiritually inclined trying to learn this form. But Tai chi is more than just a form that helps you spiritually or helps you attain flexibility. It's an internal form of martial arts, deep and profound. It is not meant for instant gratification or instantaneous results."
Purnima Shah feels that Tai chi helped to bring an attitudinal change in her when dealing with chronic back problems. "It instilled a more positive attitude, and helped me divert my mind from the pain. The pain has reduced to large extend, and my body is no longer stiff, " she shares.
About Tai chi being seen as a better form of yoga. "I have specialised in both tai chi and hathyoga. The stretch in tai chi is not done at the cost of causing discomfort. This is significant, as when you stretch beyond a certain point, the body goes into a shock and recoil state, this is bad in the long run. Tai chi does not encourage that, and usually follows the movements of a cat. Sleep and stretch just enough to be able to spring back into action," explains Desai.
With varied benefits like efficient breathing, flexibility, balance, calm and reduction of stress hormones with minimum effort, it's not surprising that tai chi is taking over yoga.
Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body,
Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind [Paperback]
medical science on the Chinese art of Tai Chi now shows what Tai Chi
masters have known for centuries: regular practice leads to more vigor and
flexibility, better balance and mobility, and a sense of well-being.
Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School also supports the
long-standing claims that Tai Chi also has a beneficial impact on the
health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the
mind. This research provides fascinating insight into the underlying
physiological mechanisms that explain how Tai Chi actually works.
Peter M. Wayne, a longtime Tai Chi teacher and a researcher at Harvard
Medical School, developed and tested protocols similar to the simplified
program he includes in this book, which is suited to people of all ages,
and can be done in just a few minutes a day.
“The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi is
a significant milestone in the integration of Eastern and Western
medicine. It deftly summarizes the scientific evidence for the healing
potential of this traditional Chinese system of body movement and gives
readers practical advice for using it in everyday life. I recommend it
highly.”—Andrew Weil, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of
Arizona, and author of 8
Steps to Optimum Health
“Dr. Wayne gives us a magnificent and useful contribution for the
betterment of our health and well-being through the proper integration
of Tai Chi into our lives.”—Herbert Benson, MD, author of The
Relaxation Response and
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Harmer's Tai Chi study chosen as a top story by Journal Watch Neurology
science professor Peter
in The New England Journal of Medicine has been selected as a Top
10 story of 2012 by Journal Watch Neurology.
study, "Tai Chi and postural stability in patients with Parkinson's
disease," was also recognized by the American Academy of Neurology
as the most important advance in movement disorders research for 2012.
accomplishment resulted from a 24-week study, which was published in the
Feb. 9, 2012 issue of The
New England Journal of Medicine.
and his colleagues found that patients who participated in a tailored
Tai Chi program experienced improved balance and functional capacity.
The study compared the effects of Tai Chi, resistance training, and
stretching on patients. The researchers discovered that the Tai Chi
group performed consistently better than the other groups in maximum
excursion and directional control.
also found that Tai Chi lowered the frequency of falls among the
patients more than stretching and was more effective at increasing
stride length than resistance training.
New England Journal of Medicine is the most widely read and cited
general medical periodical in the world, with more than 600,000 readers
in 177 countries each week and more citations in scientific literature
than any other medical journal. As the oldest continuously published
medical periodical, the journal provides physicians with peer-reviewed
research at the intersection of biomedical science and clinical
An effective prescription for joint pain
pain can rob you of life’s simple pleasures — you may no longer look
forward to walking your dog, gardening, or chasing a tennis ball across
the court. Even the basics of getting through your day, like getting into
the car or carrying laundry to the basement, can become sharp reminders of
causes of joint pain include arthritis, previous injuries, the strain of
repetitive movements, posture problems, aging, or inactivity. It is
tempting to avoid the motions that cause you pain. But limiting your
movements can weaken muscles and make joint trouble even worse.
the right exercises performed properly can be a long-lasting way to subdue
ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain. For some people, the right exercise
routine can even help delay or side step surgery.
chi is one of the best exercvise!
Chi Might Help Stroke Survivors Avoid Falls
study suggests the ancient art helps maintain physical balance
6, 2013 Print
Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The ancient Chinese discipline of Tai Chi may
help modern-day stroke patients avoid debilitating falls, a small new
survivors suffer seven times as many falls as healthy adults. These
falls can cause fractures, decrease mobility and increase the fear of
falling, which can lead to social isolation or dependence on others, the
how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a
challenge," lead author Ruth Taylor-Piliae, an assistant professor
at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, in Tucson, said in an
American Stroke Association news release.
team tracked 89 people, who had an average age of 70 and had suffered a
stroke an average of three years before the start of the study.
Twenty-eight of the patients received usual care, 31 were assigned to a
national fitness program for Medicare-eligible seniors called
SilverSneakers and 30 practiced Tai Chi.
Chi, an exercise routine that dates back to ancient China, includes
physical movement, mental concentration and relaxed breathing.
people in the Tai Chi and SilverSneakers programs did one-hour classes
three times a week for 12 weeks. The usual-care group received a weekly
phone call and written material about physical activity.
the three months of the study, the participants suffered a total of 34
falls in their homes, mainly from slipping or tripping. There were 15
falls in the usual-care group, 14 falls in the SilverSneakers group and
only five falls in the Tai Chi group, according to the findings, which
were to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American
Stroke Association in Honolulu.
Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is
important to prevent falls," Taylor-Piliae said. She added that Tai
Chi is also "readily available in most U.S. cities and is
stroke expert not connected to the study said he's seen the discipline's
Chi is an exercise form that emphasizes balance, core strength and
integration of mind and body in movement," said Dr. Jesse
Weinberger, professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at
Mount Sinai, in New York City. "It has previously been shown to
improve motor function and prevent falls in the elderly and in patients
with Parkinson's disease.
addition to being a vascular neurologist, I also practice the Yang style
of the Tai Chi form and I have several patients in my class who have had
strokes or have Parkinson's and they show improvement in balance and
coordination," Weinberger said.
main benefit of Tai Chi for the stroke patient is the integration of
mind and body through meditation in motion to improve motor
control," he said.
agreed that Tai Chi offers a wide range of benefits beyond the physical.
"Psycho-social benefits include less depression, anxiety and
stress, and better quality of life," she said.
presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The link: http://tinyurl.com/b6gnm3q
| BBC News Online: (Medical Research) Tai Chi Proven to Treat Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Lower Back Pain
January 8, 2013
For arthritis, they found 53 trials of 14 different therapies among nearly 6,000 patients. Only tai chi and acupuncture appeared to work.
For fibromyalgia there were 50 trials of 17 different therapies in more than 3,000 patients. Acupuncture and massage came out top, closely followed by tai chi and relaxation therapy ...
For sore backs, yoga and acupuncture appeared the most effective, and there was some evidence to also support the use of osteopathy and relaxation therapy as well as the Alexander technique which focuses on posture and movement.
Lower back pain was the most investigated condition, with 75 trials of 14 different therapies across over 11,600 participants.
According to the lead author of the report, Dr Gareth Jones from the University of Aberdeen, there is very little evidence for most complementary therapies.
"There's either no evidence that they're effective or there's some evidence that they are not effective.
"But there are some exceptions, like acupuncture and the whole body therapies like massage and tai chi, which do appear to work."
-- Michelle Roberts, Health Editor, BBC News Online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20937753
|Harvard Health Publications - "Try
tai chi to improve balance and avoid falls"
"...With its integrative approach that strengthens the body while focusing the mind, tai chi addresses a range of physical and mental health issues—including bone strength, joint stability, cardiovascular health, immunity, and emotional well-being. Tai chi is especially useful for improving balance and preventing falls—a major concern for older adults.
Studies have shown tai chi to reduce falls in seniors by up to 45%, Dr. Wayne says. It can also improve balance in people with neurological problems. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found the program particularly effective for balance in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Tai chi helps improve balance because it targets all the physical components needed to stay upright—leg strength, flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes—all of which tend to decline with age..."
|Tai Chi to Combat Stress and Improve Your Brain
By Kathrine Ayers | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Wed, Jul 11, 2012 3:47 PM EDT
In Chinese, "tai chi" directly translates as "supreme ultimate". Originally, tai chi was developed as a self-defense strategy that eventually evolved as a graceful form of exercise.
Today, this ancient exercise is known in Chinese culture as being the "supreme ultimate" for your body. Tai chi is meditation in motion as its peaceful constant movements connects the body to the mind.
What Style Is Best for You
There are different types of tai chi and are differentiated by their rhythms. Yang tai chi is the type most commonly practiced in the United States and is characterized by even and slow movements. A derivative of the Yang is Wu tai chi. Wu tai chi takes most of its slow and even movements from the former, but then interjects some smaller and more compact rhythms. Individuals with varying fitness levels can practice these two forms of tai chi, but it is most suited for the elderly and the disabled. Then there is also the Chen tai chi, which alternates from slow rhythms to more rapid ones. This style requires coordination and could strain the knees and back. You would need to be more physically fit to participate in this style.
Interconnectedness is the foundation of tai chi. Fluidity between body parts and movements is essential. You should never stop or break between movements. Though tai chi has individual moves for each body part, it is important to focus on transitioning them slowly from one move to the next. This will train your mind to focus on the present movements. Tai-chi is self-paced and non-competitive. This ancient exercise is all about achieving a relaxed state by connecting the mind and body.
Tai chi As Stress-Buster
Tai chi brings the mind and body together. When engaging in this exercise, you must have complete focus on your movements and breathing. Focusing on the present creates a meditative state that promotes calmness and relaxation. When you find that your mind is wandering, simply catch yourself and focus once again at the present moment.
Unfortunately, the long-term benefits of tai chi have not been studies. But preliminary research has shown that tai chi does improve one's health. It is known to lower blood pressure, improve balance, alleviate depression, relieve chronic pain and increase energy.
A recent Harvard study has even found that tai chi can improve your brain functions. According to Harvard Medical Instructor, Catherine Kerr, "Tai chi is a very interesting form of training because it combines a low-intensity aerobic exercise with a complex, learned, motor sequence. Meditation, motor learning, and attentional focus have all been shown in numerous studies to be associated with training-related changes-including, in some cases, changes in actual brain structure-in specific cortical regions."
Tai Chi: The No-Sweat Way to Boost Immunity
Prevent colds and flu with
this easy 20-minute workout
To keep sick days at
bay, trade your vitamin C in for a dose of tai chi. It's cheaper,
more effective (revving up your body's disease-fighting defenses by
as much as 47%), and even triples the protection you get from a flu
shot. The secret to tai chi's elixir-like quality, scientists
suspect, lies in its slow movements and controlled breathing. Tai
chi then marshals the power of both to fight germs. It also zaps
stress and helps you to sleep better--both key to a healthy immune
system. Get started today with our no-sweat 20-minute routine--you
don't even need to change!
Read more: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/boost-your-immune-system-naturally-tai-chi#ixzz2KKHS7RVc
|Time Magazine - "Why
Tai Chi is the Perfect Exercise"
"It's easy to tell people to make exercise part of their daily routine. It's not so easy to tell them what to do. Some folks like to run marathons or climb mountains. But if you would rather care for your body without risking life or limb or increasingly creaky joints, you might consider Tai Chi Chuan, the ancient martial art that looks like a cross between shadow boxing and slow-motion ballet...
Practitioners praise Tai Chi's spiritual and psychological benefits, but what has attracted the attention of Western scientists lately is what Tai Chi does for the body. In many ways, researchers are just catching up to what tens of millions of people in China and Chinatowns around the rest of the world already know about Tai Chi. Scientists at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene reported last week that Tai Chi offers the greatest benefit to older men and women who are healthy but relatively inactive. Previous studies have shown that Tai Chi practiced regularly helps reduce falls among healthy seniors. The next step, from a scientific point of view, is to determine whether Tai Chi can help those who are already frail..."
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