Tai Chi is easy to learn and enjoyable to do. Even a few minutes of practice can have an invigorating and rejuvenating effect. Regular practice brings about a deep strengthening effect for the whole body and its various systems (nervous, digestive, respiratory, skeleton-muscular, hormonal, etc). Its ability to help in healing a large variety of chronic and acute injuries and illnesses has been the subject of various research programs led by the Chinese medical authorities.
The aim of Tai Chi is to promote the movement of Qi (energy) in the body; this is done by stretching and moving in such a way as to gently open and stretch energy channels (called Meridians in Chinese Medicine) that literally run through our whole body. A key point in doing this form of exercise is to work with relaxing all the facia (a membrane that encases our muscles) plus the muscles, whilst doing deep breathing with slow movements. Both of which are prerequisites to allow Qi to flow in a better way which aids in restoring balance to both mind and body.
Some movements are very gentle, some expansive, others slightly more vigorous but all have a very specific effect. The deeper and more regularly you practice, the more you will come to understand the purpose and power of this discipline and the more you will find long lasting ease of both mind and body.
Feedback from past and current students shows have shown reported benefits which have included increased general health, lowering of high blood pressure, lessening of some forms of asthma, easing of painful joints and better balance. Unlike Western culture, the more Eastern approach to good health is prevention rather than cure.
In the West, we tend to look for ‘cures’ when our bodies start to show signs of stress and aging. From out mid 30’s onwards, we tend to focus on building our pension pots and portfolios, hoping to enjoy financial riches in our old age. However, we often ignore that fact that without good health and pain free movement, we will be very limited in what we can do, where we can go…and what will be worth spending our money on, apart from private health care!
In 2018 there was a documentary on the Television called ‘Trust me I am a Doctor’ and they invited 24 middle aged people along for an experiment to see how Tai Chi measured up to Zumba as a way to keep fit. All the participants had extensive medical tests, lung function, blood pressure, they even measured the elasticity of the arteries, plus joint mobility. The group were split into two, with one doing weekly Zumba and the other doing weekly Tai Chi, all for twelve weeks.
After the 12 weeks everyone had to undergo the same tests and in every case…they all had improved equally and with far less likely hood of injuries in the Tai Chi group. So its official….we don’t have to keep doing very fast classes that can potentially damage us as we age….or have to feel very out of breath…to get fitter…we can just do relaxing Tai Chi….hooray!!