According to a new study, it can act on stem cells to improve circulatio
Practising Tai Chi may help extend life. A new study published in Cell Transplantation has revealed that this traditional martial art from China may counteract ageing by increasing the number of a particular type of cells, those expressing the CD34+ protein on their surface, which are considered to indicate the presence of blood stem cells involved in cell renewal, differentiation and proliferation.
Led by Shinn-Zong Lin, an expert from the Centre for Neuropsychiatry at the China Medical University Hospital in Taichung (Taiwan), the authors of the study assessed whether Tai Chi could promote longevity by comparing the rejuvenating and anti-ageing effects of this martial art with those of the habit of brisk walking. The experiments involved three groups of volunteers under 25 years of age for one year: one practised Tai Chi, another practised brisk walking and the third did not exercise at all. ‘We used young volunteers,’ Lin explains, ‘because they have a better cell renewal capacity than the older population and we also wanted to avoid having chronic diseases and medications as interfering factors.
Analyses revealed that compared to those who do no physical activity or those who engage in brisk walking, those who practice Tai Chi have a significantly higher number of CD34+ cells. Based on these results, Lin explains, it is possible to hypothesise that ‘Tai Chi predisposes to vasodilation and increases blood flow’.
According to Paul R. Sanberg, an expert from the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida in Tampa, USA, “this study represents the first step towards scientific proof of the possible health benefits of Tai Chi”. However, the expert emphasised that “further studies on how Tai Chi may exert benefits in different populations and on different parameters of ageing are needed to understand its total impact”.
Source: Tai Chi for Longevity