In Tai Chi, for example, one performs a series of slow, circular movements, as in a silent dance. One recharges oneself with energy or relaxes through body movements. Tai Chi techniques have very ancient roots and are based, among other things, on Taoism. Even today, Tai Chi is much more than just gymnastics. Science is taking it up as a form of prevention and complementary and alternative medicine.
Here are some of the main benefits of Tai Chi:
1) Aging well
Tai Chi is a real health boon for the elderly after the age of 60, when the body begins to show signs of weakening. So says a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and sponsored by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Of 69 elderly subjects observed, 29 had been practising Tai Chi for three years or more for at least one and a half hours per week. The results showed that these subjects were healthier, especially with regard to blood pressure, vascular resistance and pulse pressure. Tai Chi involves gentle, harmonious movements that can be practised even in old age.
Read also: Tai Chi: the recipe for ageing well
How to reduce stress? First of all, it is good to carve out a moment of relaxation every day. And your relaxation can be accompanied precisely by Tai Chi, which can combine the benefits of meditation with those of movement. With its slow, circular gestures, Tai Chi not only makes the body agile and harmonious, but also has a beneficial effect on the nervous system, resulting in a reduction in stress.
Read also: 10 zero-impact ways to reduce stress
3) Lowering blood sugar
Tai Chi is said to be beneficial for lowering blood sugar and particularly indicated for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted on a group of Korean diabetics and lasted six months. The practice of Tai Chi was constant and regular and led to a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar. Patients have learnt to cope better with the disease and live with more energy and vitality.
Read also: Tai Chi: and the martial art cures your diabetes
4) Reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol
The practice of Tai Chi could be helpful in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol. This was found by studies conducted at the University of Taiwan, where the inhabitants practise this discipline par excellence. Over the years, science has begun to confirm the numerous psycho-physical health benefits that this ancient practice can bring to our daily lives. Tai Chi may not work miracles, but it doesn’t hurt to try, as doing a little extra physical activity can be a real cure-all.
Read also: High blood pressure: 10 natural remedies to lower it
5) Wellness of the heart
Tai Chi, beneficial for the heart and indicated for those with heart failure. This is shown by a study conducted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston on 100 patients. Tai Chi has a positive impact on quality of life and well-being. It allowed patients to overcome laziness and at the same time not exert too much effort without giving up exercise.
6) Sleep better
Practising Tai Chi can be helpful in case of sleep problems. A study of 112 elderly people with moderate sleep disorders was conducted at the University of California. Sixteen weeks of practising Tai Chi significantly improved quality of life and sleep duration. The study was published in the July 2008 issue of the scientific journal Sleep.
7) Recovering after a stroke
As highlighted by Harvard University, a study published in the January 2009 issue of the scientific journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair revealed that in 136 patients who had suffered a stroke at least six months earlier, 12 weeks of practising Tai Chi helped improve balance, accompanied by a rehabilitation programme consisting of breathing, stretching, muscle and joint exercises, and walking.
8) Treating symptoms of depression
A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that accompanying common treatments for depression symptoms with Tai Chi can help improve patients’ quality of life and health status. The study was conducted on elderly people who, despite their advancing age, were able to practise Tai Chi due to its slow and gentle movements.
9) Benefits for the brain and concentration
Researchers at the University of South Florida collaborated with Chinese experts to investigate the benefits of Tai Chi on the brain. They found that, after 40 weeks, those who practised Tai Chi three times a week benefited from the greatest improvements in the brain, particularly in its volume, which could shrink with age. This would be due to the high level of attention and concentration required to perform the Tai Chi movements correctly.
A study conducted at Tufts Medical Center found that adults who suffered from osteoarthritis in their knees saw a real improvement in symptoms with regard to pain and joint function by practising tai chi twice a week. In addition to the benefits for the body, research has shown positive effects of Tai Chi for relieving anxiety and improving breathing through a combination of movement and meditation.