The concept of martial arts often brings to mind action, high energy and speedy moves. However, tai chi is the meditative and stress-relieving martial art known for its slow-paced and fluid movements.
Tai chi, often practiced in groups outdoors or in a wellness center, was once exclusively practiced throughout Asian cultures. In recent years the practice has attracted large numbers of adherents in the Western world due to its purported health benefits such as reduced inflammation, increased energy and stamina, improved mood, and blood pressure regulation. Medical research continues to substantiate these health claims and host of other benefits as well. Learn more about the benefits of tai chi, and visit the Gonino Center for Healing to try your hand at this amazing practice!
In a study conducted at the Korean Academy of Nursing, post-menopausal women who practiced tai chi for six months showed improvements in cardiovascular health as well as higher quality of life scores. Mental functioning also showed significant gains in the group that performed tai chi compared to the control group.
In a large-scale review of studies that measured the effectiveness of tai chi for coronary disease rehabilitation, researches concluded that tai chi improves cardio-respiratory fitness including improved blood pressure. Other studies support the meta-analysis with similar findings in showing cardiovascular improvements among all age groups and health status.
Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms
According to researchers in partnership between the Arthritis Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, participants who practiced tai chi twice a week for 8 weeks reported significant improvements in fatigue, stiffness, and pain. Better balance and a greater sense of well-being were also reported.
One of the most often observed benefits includes a reduction in inflammation which is prevalent in most types of arthritis. The lead author of the study, Leigh Callahan, PhD, stated, "Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.”
Contributes to Better Balance
Tai chi helps to improve and preserve your body's sense of balance or proprioception. As your body ages, proprioception declines which leads to problems related to imbalance such as falls and vertigo. Tai chi not only preserves proprioception but actually improves it showing significant benefit at reducing symptoms of sensory malfunction which leads to instability and falls.
Additionally, tai chi has been shown to increase muscle strength and agility which also contributes to greater balance and sense of control in body movements. Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School reports, "Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen." These gains in muscle strength not only prevent falls but also contribute to faster recovery in case of falls that could normally require lengthy rehabilitation.
Tai chi provides significant health and mental benefits for all ages and learning tai chi is easy and adaptable for all skill levels. Contact the Gonino Center for Healing to learn more!
Song R, Ahn S, So HY, Park IS, Kim HL, Joo KO, Kim JS. Effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Quality of Life in Post-menopausal Women. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2009 Feb;39(1):136-144. https://doi.org/10.4040/jkan.2009.39.1.136
Yang Y, Wang Y, Wang S, Shi P, Wang C. The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology. 2017;8:1091. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.01091.