Tai Chi Blog

Tai Chi derives its name from the concept of "Yin" and "Yang" and as a centuries old martial art draws from many different fields and disciplines such as philosophy, martial arts, the strive for longevity, and finding “Oneness” — harmonizing body, mind and spirit not only within oneself but also with everything outside of our own physical being – to quote:

"Yin and Yang – The Mother of Ten Thousand Things."
Lao Tzu

This blog will over time try to feature a variety of aspects of this beautiful and captivating artform.

Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?

from: The New York Times, article by Hilary Achauer : Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?

Len Kaplan began having difficulty walking in a straight line when he was in his 50s. Scoliosis combined with compressed discs in his back were causing his balance to deteriorate. “Physical therapy, regular exercises, just wasn’t getting the job done. I needed something different,” Len, now 80, said. Around that time Len and his wife, Ginny, took a cruise with twice-daily Tai Chi classes. Ginny, 77, said they loved Tai Chi — which consists of slow, controlled movements and deep breathing — so much they found a class in nearby Yorba Linda, Calif., when they returned home. The habit stuck. Read More >

Using Tai Chi to Build Strength

from: The New York Times, article by Jane E. Brody : Using Tai Chi to Build Strength

Watching a group of people doing tai chi, an exercise often called “meditation in motion,” it may be hard to imagine that its slow, gentle, choreographed movements could actually make people stronger. Not only stronger mentally but stronger physically and healthier as well.

I certainly was surprised by its effects on strength, but good research — and there’s been a fair amount of it by now — doesn’t lie. If you’re not ready or not able to tackle strength-training with weights, resistance bands or machines, tai chi may just be the activity that can help to increase your stamina and diminish your risk of injury that accompanies weak muscles and bones.

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Tai chi added to Unesco intangible cultural heritage list

Tai chi, a centuries-old Chinese martial art and an internationally popular form of exercise, has been added to Unesco’s cultural heritage list.

Tai chi has a massive, devoted global following. Millions of elderly Chinese people practise it every day in city parks, and celebrities and other public figures regularly make public references to their practice of it for the health benefits it is said to provide.

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Asia’s centuries-old healing technique

from: BBC, article by Matthew Keegan 29 April 2020 : Asia's centuries-old healing technique

Experts point to the health benefits of tai chi as a reason lifespan has increased in Hong Kong over the last 50 years.

It’s early morning in Hong Kong. As the roar of traffic and rush of the commute begin, the city moves to its usual pulsing rhythm. But in the heart of one of the most hectic urban jungles on Earth is an unlikely garden of calm and healing – a little oasis where the pace is decidedly slower.

Located in Hong Kong Park, a lush green space in the centre of the city, is a dedicated tai chi garden. Designed with a courtyard for practicing, and decorated with bonsai trees, it has a serene quality that comes as a pleasant surprise in an area otherwise dominated by skyscrapers and the rush of city life. The garden is used frequently, if not daily, as locals gather in parks like this across the city, mostly in the morning, to practice the centuries-old martial art.

It’s here under the early morning light that a group of tai chi students, led by their teacher, Master Chow, are using the garden as their classroom. They run through what’s known in tai chi as a “form” – a sequence of fluid moves.

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Tai chi helps reinvigorate stem cells, researchers find

from: Focus Taiwan: Tai chi helps reinvigorate stem cells, researchers find

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) Taiwanese researchers have identified one possible reason that practitioners of the martial art tai chi tout its health benefits: shadow boxing apparently reinvigorates stem cells.

In a study published in the international medical journal Cell Transplantation, a research team found that tai chi can increase the number of stem cells in practitioners.

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Tai Chi Is as Effective as Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

from: Huffington Post UK: Tai Chi Is as Effective as Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

Tai Chi can help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis - at least as much as standard physical therapy and sometimes more, healthcare professionals at the Annual American College of Rheumatology Meeting (2015) in San Francisco have heard last month.

Osteoarthritis, sometimes known as "wear and tear" arthritis is a condition that tends to occur more with age, and happens when the cartilage that normally protects the joints becomes thinner and worn. This can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, especially the knees, hips, spine and fingers. Dr Chenchen Wang from Tufts University School of Medicine has already shown that Tai Chi can be more effective than stretching for knee osteoarthritis and her latest study has now compared Tai Chi to physical therapy in knee osteoarthritis.

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Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Improves Memory, Combats Alzheimer’s

UCLA Center for East-West Medicine: Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Improves Memory, Combats Alzheimer's

Researchers have shown that regular practice of Tai Chi increases brain volume, augments memory and thinking skills, and may combat dementia.

In a randomized controlled trial, researchers have shown that regular practice of Tai Chi in seniors increases brain volume and augments memory and thinking scores. Scientists collaborating from University of South Florida and Fudan University in China showed that Tai Chi that appears to actually increase brain volume. In this study, some participants practiced the ancient Chinese martial art three times weekly over an 8-month period while the control group received no intervention.

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Health Benefits of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and their Relationship to TCM Therapies

UCLA Center for East-West Medicine: Health Benefits of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and their Relationship to TCM Therapies

In this workshop, Dr. Shin Lin, researcher at the UCI Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, describes the principles behind Qigong, an ancient Chinese mind-body practice, and provides research indicating its positive impact on overall health, including for stress release, improved immunity, ease of chronic pain and fatigue, and increased efficiency of exercise workouts, such as lifting weights. Qigong literally translates into “energy + exercise.” Read More >

Parkinson’s Disease and Tai Chi: Bringing Balance to Body & Mind

Summary and excerpts from:
The New England Journal of Medicine | Wellness: Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson's Disease

Tai chi appears to be effective as a stand-alone behavioral intervention and is more beneficial than low-intensity, low-impact exercise programs to improve postural stability and functional ability in people with Parkinson's disease.

Benefits of Tai Chi for those with Parkinson’s Disease:

  • Promotes conscious awareness of movement and actions (beneficial since automatic motions are affected by Parkinson’s)
  • Increases awareness of proper body alignment/posture
  • Improves balance with reduced fall risk (supported by numerous studies)
  • Enhances flexibility
  • Affords a greater sense of well-being
  • Read More >

University of Berkeley | Wellness

Summary and excerpts from:
University of Berkeley | Wellness: Mind-Body Exercise

The ancient practices of Yoga and Tai Chi have become increasingly popular in the Western world, where you’ve probably heard them referred to as “mind-body” practices—a term loosely applied to activities or therapies that combine physical movement with a heightened awareness of the body in the present moment.

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