The hard pressing need to better ourselves often forces us into radical “push until you puke” workouts, cupboards filled with medication and sponsoring the down payment on our shrink’s new Mercedes. I wish to introduce you today to the medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan and maybe help you realize there are other, gentler options out there.
Gently healing your body and mind
Tai Chi Chuan is exactly one of those, and yet it is so much more. I came across it while researching Chinese traditional exercises and found that it has been widely practiced not only as a form of martial arts, but more so for its health benefits .
It has been developed over hundreds and thousands of years and is even to this day, an evolving art. The medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong stem from the sequences of flowing movements coupled with changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination, and relaxation. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
The 2 practices overlap in terms of movements and in the shared focus on breathing and mindfulness. The movements involved are constantly circular, never forced, muscles are kept relaxed while avoiding tension,the connective tissue is never stretched,while the joints are kept in a state between extended and bent. Both Tai Chi and Qigong are moderate intensity, low impact aerobic exercises, that are suitable for an array of people, from young to old, healthy to those physically impaired.
Now the practitioners boast that medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan has are numerous, but of course, me being the skeptic that I am, have decided to delve into the scientific research behind it and see what claims are backed.
The studies behind the medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan
To my surprise there have been hundreds of researches regarding the potential of Tai chi for treating a whole number of conditions. The most promising results that I have come across were in case studies that tested the medical uses of Tai Chi Chuan for treating anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, substance abuse, high blood pressure, improving immune function, inflammation of joints.
There is also extensive evidence that participants to these trials had increased brain activity during the exercises, and an increased output of endorphins (happy hormones). Tai Chi uses gentle and slow movement in order to keep your breathing balanced . It aims to improve the body’s flexibility, muscle strength and aerobic conditioning. Studies have shown that it can strengthen both your upper and lower body core muscles if regularly practiced.
What I find most encouraging are studies that included only healthy individuals that had a sedentary life. The participants showed a greater state of mind, improved self-esteem, an optimistic mood, they felt energized and relaxed.
Although it might not seem as a significant change to one’s life, that one gentle mood swing might mean the difference between a lonely Saturday night in front of the TV and coming across the answer to life. Always give your mind and your body more options, the answers are not always at the end of a long fought war, but sometimes at the start of a walk through the park.
If you would like more details on the subject or if you have any questions, objections, hateful comments or highly deserved praises to offer please do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Also if you have a product that you would like me to review and research, I gladly welcome the challenge.
Research sources: ncbi , hindawi , ncbi2 .