Tai Chi Health Benefits

Western Medicine recognizes a multitude of benefits of practicing Tai Chi: increased oxygen intake and utilization (more efficient breathing), reduced blood pressure, slower declines in cardiovascular power, increased bone density, increased range of motion of the joints, greater leg and knee strength and flexibility, reduced levels of stress hormones during and after practice, an improved immune function, better posture and help alleviating repetitive stress injuries.

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Acupuncture chart from Hua Shou (1340s, Yuan Dynasty)

Anyone, regardless of age or physical ability, can practice Tai Chi since Tai Chi emphasizes technique over strength, using internal energy development rather that external force. Although Tai Chi is generally safe, consider talking with your doctor before joining a Tai Chi program. This is particularly important if you have any significant problems with your joints (hip and knees), spine or heart.

Despite its ancient history, Tai Chi has been studied scientifically only in recent years. Research suggests that Tai Chi offers numerous other benefits beyond stress reduction, including:

  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving balance and coordination by strengthening important joint and muscle groups
  • Releasing mental and physical tensions
  • Improving sleep quality, such as staying asleep longer at night and feeling more alert during the day
  • Slowing bone loss in women after menopause
  • Pain relief for people with arthritis
    (especially knee arthritis (osteoarthritis))
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Countering/balancing a weak immune system
  • Relieving chronic pain and stress or trauma related injuries
  • Improving physical balance and functions within the body
    (digestion, blood circulation)
  • Increasing energy levels in general

Like other martial art and moving art forms that bring mind and body together, Tai Chi reduces stress (mental and physical tensions). Practicing Tai Chi regularly creates a state of relaxation and calm and invokes a strong feeling of connectedness of mind & body. Stress, anxiety and tension melt away as the mind focuses on the present moment, finding balance within constant change. The invigorating and refreshing effects of Tai Chi practice usually last well after completion of your practice session.

See also:

Articles about Tai Chi Chuan in medical, scientific & business publications: