Taichi is one of the most effective exercises that can do wonders for your mind and body. There is growing scientific evidence to suggest that this ancient Chinese martial art form can not only prevent but also treat a host of medical problems. One of the best things about Taichi is that it does not require you to be in the best of health to start practicing.
Let’s have a look at some of the promising health benefits of Taichi that will not only help you in all aspects of life, but also help you in finding inner peace.
1. It helps reduce Stress and Anxiety
People who regularly practice Taichi report that their stress has vastly reduced and they feel better equipped to deal with common life problems. Taichi is one of the creative and soothing ways to improve how you respond to stress. The gentle movements of body coordinated with slow breathing bring about a sense of calmness and helps the mind and body to connect. This ancient martial art form seems to hold a cure for the demanding and stressful lives that we live.
2. Boosts your Brain Power
Some researchers from the University of South Florida collaborated with Chinese researchers to do a comparative analysis and study the effects of tai chi on a bunch of Shanghai residents. They split 120 people into four groups: one group practiced tai chi, one walked, another group was involved in social interaction, and the last group just went about their normal routines.
The results were that after 20 weeks, those who practiced tai chi three times a week had a massive improvement in brain volume, which is an important part of cognition ability since gray matter is known to typically shrinks with age. The social group also saw an improvement, but, not it was not as significant as the tai chi group. Researchers suggest that the high level of attention and regulation of mind, body and breath was the differentiating factor that sets Tai Chi apart.
3. Imroving Self confidence and Getting Rid of Fear of Falling
Taichi is known to improve posture which is one of the most important component of health. Practicing Taichi daily strengthens the back muscles and makes one conscious about keeping a good posture all day. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that people with Parkinson’s disease who practice Tai chi experienced significantly improved posture, and fewer falls.
In a similar study of older adults, 54% of the subjects who practiced tai chi attributed their improved sense of confidence to improved balance. The authors concluded the study stating that “when mental as well as physical control is perceived to be enhanced, with a generalized sense of improvement in overall well-being, it results in significantly higher self- confidence.”
4. A complete health care system
Its an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates breathing, physical postures and focused intention to open blockages in the body which is similar to the same meridian system used in acupuncture. Dr. Danise Nagel, Psychiatrist and Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association mentions about the medicinal benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong in her article.
The gentle, rhythmic movements of these art forms help reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Several studies have pointed about how Tai Chi helps aides and give relief in medical conditions like Parkisnson’s Disease, Heart related diseases, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and Depression.
5. Increases Strength and Flexibility
Tai chi improves both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. When it is practiced regularly, tai chi and Qigong can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking.
“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” quotes internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in his study. Tai chi boosts upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.
Everyone can enrich their lives by adding Qi Gong and Tai Chi to their daily routine. The benefit is for all regardless of ability, age, and belief system or life circumstances. Those who maintain a consistent practice find that it helps regain a youthful vitality, maintain health even into old age and helps in speedy recovery from illness. Most importantly, it helps re- establish the mind and soul connection.