Tai Chi is ageless: it helps memory, soothes pain.

The latest confirmation comes from a study of over-70s at the University of Oregon, which shows that four months of practice is more effective than stretching or other ad hoc gymnastics. In addition, as other research has revealed, the gentle movements of Tai Chi help memory and improve the quality of life of those suffering from osteoarthritis and even Parkinson’s disease. Often referred to as gentle gymnastics, Tai Chi Chuan (or Taijiquan according to the chosen transliteration method) is an internal martial art, related to Wushu Kung fu, with which it shares some principles, and especially to Chi Kung (or Qi Gong), the Chinese medical gymnastics. ‘Tai Chi is a martial art that originated as combat training and perhaps this has led doctors to study Qi Gong more, even though the principles on which the movements are based are the same’, explains Lucio Sotte, a specialist in traditional medicine and Chinese gymnastics. explains Lucio Sotte, a specialist in traditional medicine and Chinese gymnastics. It is precisely this martial aspect that may tempt those who do not like the idea of a soft activity to learn the more or less long sequence of movements that form the basis of Tai Chi: what may appear as a dance is in fact a fight with a shadow adversary, which gives the practitioner a respectable musculature. ‘Of the various styles, the one most suitable for those approaching the practice at an older age is the Yang, while the Chen form requires more effort,’ notes instructor Maria Grazia Franzoni. It can be practised satisfactorily in one’s 80s and beyond, although those who have difficulty coordinating their movements may find it difficult at first. “It is a course that requires patience, but it is suitable for a mature practitioner and for people with movement limitations,” says Sharon Gould, instructor in senior citizen courses, “and it helps strengthen the legs and improve balance and posture. There are, therefore, no contraindications except for “those with serious cardiovascular problems”, Sotte points out. And fall prevention is just one of the benefits of exercise that improves mood and circulation. “According to Chinese tradition, the muscular training achieved through rotational movements is reflected in the activity of the internal organs,’ the doctor continues. One example is the benefits of breathing techniques – abdominal and counter-abdominal or reverse breathing – combined with exercise: ‘These techniques, and especially counter-abdominal breathing, lead to lowering the diaphragm and making more use of the lung capacity that we usually use minimally,’ explains Sotte, ‘as well as massaging the viscera and improving circulation. But there are other advantages: ‘Tai Chi requires attention, you have to follow the instructor’s rhythm and instructions, and this forces you to detach your mind,’ Franzoni explains. It must also be said that Tai Chi is a low-cost preventive tool: ‘The exercises once learnt can be performed at home or practised in a group with the advantage that people socialise,’ Sotte concludes. concludes Sotte. And it is precisely sociability that is one of the virtues of this activity, which is a challenge with oneself and not a competition with fellow practitioners. SOURCE

Taijiquan: the inner martial art

Taijiquan, known in the West as Tai chi is an ‘inner’ Chinese martial art, in contrast to ‘outer’ martial arts such as Shaolin kung fu. Internal martial arts (Neijia) tend to develop first of all the inner strength and vital qi energy flowing through the body. The school of reference is the Wudangs Monastery located in the mountains of the same name in central China. In contrast, external martial arts (Waijia) favour practices aimed at strengthening the physique and are said to have originated in the Shaolin Monastery, after which the famous school is named. Many great martial arts masters liken the difference between inner and outer to that which exists between the two Taoist principles Yin (‘darkness’, ‘cold’, …) and Yang (‘light’, ‘heat’, …): two opposing principles, but which coexist in harmony complementing each other, like ‘two sides of the same coin’. Origin of Taiji: between history and legend According to one legend, Taiji was created by a Taoist Immortal named Chang San-feng (or also Zhang Sanfeng) while observing a fight between a cobra and an eagle. It is said that Chang San-feng was fascinated by the snake’s defensive tactics: if the cobra had tried to escape, it would have been wounded by a stinging peck and strangled to death in the grip of the eagle’s claws. By controlling its fears and maintaining total concentration on the eagle’s various lunges and retreats, the cobra managed to avoid being hit by the eagle’s beaks and managed to bite the eagle’s neck, killing it. Other theories on the origin of taiji narrate that this discipline developed over the centuries from the exercise sequences of the great kung fu masters, which is why it represents a synthesis of the internal and external styles of Chinese martial arts. Whatever the origin, which is now mingled with stories and legends, the bottom line is that tai chi, according to historical sources and records, was born at the end of the 17th century, but only reached its current level of popularity among the population around the 20th century. Today, it is very common to see groups of elderly (or not so elderly!) people practising various styles of tai chi in Chinese city parks. One of the favourite parks is the Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing. Source

Tai Chi improves cognitive performance in the elderly

Tai Chi expands the volume of the brain in older people and improves their cognitive performance of memory and thinking. According to a group of scientists from the University of South Florida and Fudan University in Shanghai, practising Tai Chi regularly would have the effect, in older people, of expanding their brain volume and improving cognitive performance of memory and thinking. The results were based on an eight-month randomised controlled trial in which the group of elderly people who practised Tai Chi three times a week were compared with a group that did not do any exercise. In the same study, the scientists also verified a significant increase in brain volume and cognitive progress in a third group, which participated in lively discussions three times a week during the same time period. In fact, the control group, which did not participate in the interventions, showed a shrinkage of the brain (Brain Shrinkage), consistent with what normally occurs in people in their 60s and 70s.Previous research had already shown an increase in brain volume as an effect of aerobic physical exercise, and in one of these studies an improving effect on memory was also observed; however, this is the first study to show that non-aerobic exercise, Tai Chi, as well as participating in stimulating discussions, induces increased brain volume and improved cognitive performance. Numerous studies have shown that dementia, and the syndrome of gradual cognitive impairment that precedes it, is associated with increasing shrinkage of the brain and that nerve cells and their connections are progressively lost. “The ability to reverse this trend with exercise and increased mental activity means that it is possible to delay the onset of dementia in older people through interventions that have many physical and mental health benefits.”, said Dr. James Mortimer, professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida College of Public Health. Research suggests that aerobic exercise is associated with increased production of brain growth factors. It remains to be established whether forms of exercise such as Tai Chi, which include an important mental exercise component, can lead to similar variations in the production of these factors. Source BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mortimer, J.A.,Ding, D., Borenstein,A.R., DeCarli, C., Guo, Q., Wu, Y., Zhao, Q., Chu, S., Changes in Brain Volume and Cognition in a Randomized Trial of Exercise and Social Interaction in a Community-Based Sample of Non-Demented Chinese Elders, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2012; 30 (4). Read more: https://www.stateofmind.it/2012/06/tai-chi/

Tai Chi for sufferers of knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects about half of all people over the age of 60. Knee joint involvement is very common and can cause significant walking limitations. The main causes of this condition are trauma, abnormal joint development, overweight and high joint stress. Over time, the cartilages of the knee wear down and bone surfaces are exposed to each other. In recent years, numerous therapeutic options have been developed, ranging from simple drug therapy to local injection of cortisone or hyaluronic acid, up to joint replacement with artificial prostheses. Physiotherapy, which aims to increase the mobility and flexibility of the joint as well as strengthen the leg muscles, is also part of a treatment plan. Physical therapy, as well as exercise, are often effective in reducing pain and improving joint function. A new perspective on physical therapy for osteoarthritis comes from a recent paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine, which compares the results of physiotherapy with those obtained through the practice of Tai Chi. The 204 patients included in the study were randomised to a series of Tai Chi sessions, twice a day, for twelve weeks, or physiotherapy treatment twice a week, for six weeks, followed by six weeks of monitored exercise at home. Tai Chi sessions were carried out under the guidance of experienced instructors. The main endpoint was the presence of joint pain, assessed with the WOMAC scale. Secondary endpoints, assessed at 12, 24 and 52 weeks, included joint function and stiffness, the presence of depression and the results of the 6-minute and 20-metre walk test, among others. Participants were allowed to continue using their usual medication, such as NSAIDs and paracetamol. The results showed that both groups had improved pain and similar improvements in most endpoints assessed at 12 weeks and in all endpoints assessed at 24 and 52 weeks. Browsing through the study data, one can see that Tai Chi actually induced a greater improvement than physiotherapy in most of the endpoints considered, but without reaching statistical significance. Except in the assessment of depression, where the Chinese discipline proved superior. This research therefore seems to highlight how Tai Chi can be recommended to patients with osteoarthritis, for the improvement of pain symptoms and overall well-being. The mental and socialisation component of Tai Chi could add specific additional benefits to simple physical exercise. Source Chenchen Wang, et al. Comparative Effectiveness of Tai Chi Versus Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165:77-86.

Menopausal disorders, treating them with Tai Chi

Women entering the menopausal phase go through a hormonal change that often transforms their moods and radically alters their lifestyles. However, menopausal complaints can be alleviated, for example by practising Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that resembles gentle gymnastics, with movements performed slowly to strengthen the muscles, calm the spirit and also rebalance the body. There are two ways to eliminate hot flushes, the imbalance of the sleep/wake cycle and night sweats. One is that of chemistry: taking drugs and supplements that restore normality. The other is precisely the one we have proposed to you: change your lifestyle. A somewhat outdated but still valid study (Relation of demographic and lifestyle factors to symptoms in a multiracial/ethnic population of women 40-55 years of age; E. B. Gold et al., Am J Epidemiol, vol.152, no. 5, 2000) showed that Chinese and Japanese women who regularly practise Tai Chi suffer much less than Western women from incontinence and urinary leakage and from flushing and sweating. Another research conducted by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center suggests that the combination of Tai Chi and Green Tea could help reduce the risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women. The survey was conducted on a sample of 170 women with an average age of 57 years and lasted about six months. Approximately 5 million people in Italy are affected by osteoporosis and 80% of them are women. It is now possible to establish a direct correlation between the practice of this Chinese discipline and a decrease in menopausal complaints. It is, of course, recommended to practise this sport regularly and consistently to reinforce its benefits. The women who were least affected by menopausal symptoms among the 170 were those who took green tea and practised tai chi at least three times a week. What is Tai Chi Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art based on the concept of balance between ying and yang. In fact, it is also a form of ‘preventive medicine’ practised in the East, a kind of gymnastics that can prevent ageing and keep you fit for as long as possible. Tai Chi can also be practised to increase balance and reduce the risk of falling in the elderly. There are various styles of Tai Chi. The most practised is Yang. The practice of this art relies on the use of certain forms: a concatenation of gestures and movements that are performed very slowly. Paradoxically, it is precisely in the slowness of execution that the beneficial effect of the exercise lies. While performing the movements, you also practise regulating your breathing technique, producing a relaxing effect. Clearing the mind of worries also greatly reduces stress levels. The benefits of this martial art, as you can see, are many and the ways in which it is practised make it very suitable for women and the elderly. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to take a tai chi class as soon as possible: it could help eliminate many menopausal complaints. Source

Tai Chi: 10 benefits and scientifically proven reasons to practice it

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 wellTai 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 2)Reducing stressHow 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 sugarTai 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 cholesterolThe 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 heartTai 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 betterPractising 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 strokeAs 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 depressionA 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 concentrationResearchers 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. 10)Joint benefitsA 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. Source

Running and Tai Chi, elixir for the over-50s: long life for neurons and memory

A run in the park helps you think better. Gymnastics with weights, on the other hand, serves to train the memory. But the top prize, among the forms of exercise that are good for the brain after the age of 50, goes to the Tai Chi. Coordination, precision of movements and relative simplicity make this discipline close to the martial arts an elixir of long life for neurons. While it is true that any sport is good for any age, a group of researchers from the University of Canberra has attempted to draw up a guide to the various disciplines and their benefits for the over-50s: a critical age, the Australian doctors write, ‘for reducing the risk of dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases’. But also, without necessarily having to think about Alzheimer’s, to enjoy the positive effects of sport on mood and the growth of new neurons. The study – published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine – analyses 39 recent publications and summarises the results. It divides sports disciplines into two large families: aerobic and strength. The former include running or brisk walking, swimming, cycling and in general all activities that can be performed for long periods of time at the cost of moderate breathlessness. Strength sports, on the other hand, are those that strengthen muscles mainly through the use of weights. “Aerobic activities,” the researchers explain, “are especially beneficial for the cognitive functions of the brain. That is, they improve the ability to reason, understand ideas, learn, make connections, use their creativity. Two practices that cannot be easily classified, such as Tai Chi, would have the same effect. The latter, the scientists write, ‘is an unconventional sport but is particularly suitable for people who are not completely physically efficient’. When it comes to strengthening the memory (which, it may be a coincidence, is often compared to a muscle), strength sports have ‘a pronounced effect’. For the effects of exercise to be felt on the brain, Australian doctors warn, one must reach the threshold of 45 to 60 minutes of at least moderate activity (a minimum of breathlessness must be felt). On frequency, only one motto applies: as often as possible. Even a single day of sport is preferable to the armchair. In fact, gymnastics acts on the brain by promoting the division of neurons (especially in the hippocampus, the area related to memory and learning) and increasing its plasticity (i.e. the ability to form new connections). It then promotes the birth of new blood vessels (thus improving the delivery of nutrients to brain tissue) and reduces inflammatory processes. An American study, in June last year, had gone in search of the link between the benefits of sport on the muscles and those on the brain. Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health had written in Cell Metabolism that a particular enzyme (cathepsin) B is produced by the muscles after exertion, manages to cross the almost impenetrable blood-brain barrier and here it goes into action, promoting the birth of new neurons. In January 2016, in the Journal of Physiology , a group from the Finnish University of Jivaskyla had measured the effect of various sports on hippocampal neurons in rodents.The greatest proliferation coincided with aerobic sports, followed closely by strength sports. No advantage (for the brain) came from high-intensity training, consisting of short but very vigorous efforts. SOURCE

QiGong and TaijiQuan: art beyond medicine. The thousand-year-old medical gymnastics that help heal body, mind and spirit. Part 2

In ancient times, they understood that certain actions, as well as certain types of breathing and pronunciation, regularised the functions of the human body. They knew that the mere act of stretching the limbs had the precise function of dissipating heat, while curling the body did not let the cold pass. And what about the fact that the ‘HA’ sound removes stagnation and drives away heat while the ‘XU’ sound relieves pain. In the chapter devoted to the theoretical foundations of QiQong (Taijiquan style chen xiaojia and qigong, an important sentence written in Su Wen of the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine is quoted: ‘Those who suffer from ailments due to sluggishness of the kidneys, may turn south from 3 to 5 a.m., clear their minds of all thoughts, hold their breath without breathing for seven times, and swallow their breath while stretching their neck slightly to send it down smoothly, as if they were swallowing something very heavy. After doing this seven times, swallow the abundant sublingual saliva. These exercises, which may seem bizarre to us, are nonetheless proof that there were once simple and nature-friendly methods of maintaining a state of well-being. Today we prefer to swallow a pill without even thinking about the real cause of the ailments we suffer. Such incredibly evolved notions are the result of a global knowledge of Mother Nature. It is by imitating the functions and movements of what lives around us, in fact, that we can acquire balance and health: ‘Blowing and puffing, exhaling and inhaling, getting rid of the old and taking in the new, contracting like the bear and stretching like the bird, all help to prolong life’ (Zhuangzi – 369-286 BC). Gymnastics such as QiGong are based on the stimulation of three fundamental points called dantian. The first is located between the eyebrows, the second corresponds to the Ren Mai 17 (Shan Zhong) point and the third, the lower one, about six centimetres from the navel, at the acupuncture point Ren Mai 4. Recent scientific experiments have shown that ‘dantian stimulation and pressure on other points produce direct effects on the nervous and endocrine systems, thereby regulating the functions of certain internal organs. Similar results have been obtained in QiGong with mind-control induced dantian stimulation,’ the authors continue. In QiGong practice, the dantian is used as the focus of attention and acts as a kind of catalyst capable of producing a deep state of mental tranquillity. Studies have shown, by means of an electroencephalographic trace, that the brain waves of a normal individual are characterised by high frequency and low amplitude (50 microvolts), while QiGong practitioners show an alpha wave frequency number of 8 hertz with high amplitude (180 microvolts): an incredible difference that also shows a synchronisation of the various brain districts. This means that a state of deep tranquillity is triggered, but also better functioning, overall, in the brain. Taijiquan, which involves very similar exercises, also brings great benefits to the entire organism. In recent years, there have been numerous studies on the association between traditional arts and health. For example, studies on bone density loss were conducted in 2006 and 2007, in which it was found that those who practised Taiji were able to delay bone loss and the number of fractures particularly markedly compared to those who had not practised it. Excellent results were also achieved in patients suffering from diabetes, whose studies revealed efficacy in improving glycaemic control. The same goes for the immune response, which was significantly better in people who practised QiGong or Taiji. Medical gymnastics have also proven through numerous studies their validity against anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and in reducing falls in the elderly. All of these – modern – studies only confirm the incredible wisdom and wisdom that the ancients have been trying, for years, to deepen and bequeath to us. Wisdom that must not be improved upon or wasted or ignored, but made available to the whole of humanity, so that it can finally grow in harmony with the entire Universe. Source

QiGong and TaijiQuan: art beyond medicine: millenary medical gymnastics that help heal body, mind and spirit Part 1

For the ‘insiders’, this is now common knowledge and appears to be a normal situation: the ancient Eastern traditions bring with them a cultural and medical background that often brilliantly surpasses Western knowledge based on complex scientific research The strength lies in the in-depth knowledge of the human being, who is not merely represented by a physical body, but by pure ‘energy’ that underlies all the laws of the Universe. Once these are understood, in fact, it is much easier to understand the cause/effect mechanisms that arise in the case of pathologies. In fact, true wisdom lies precisely in knowing how to prevent diseases before they manifest themselves, intrinsically reading between the signals that our mind and body send us. In practice, the East has always had a vast knowledge of the Universe and its mechanisms; it locates man within a much broader system. It cannot therefore dwell on the individual functions of organs or psyche without first knowing the entire structure. It is a bit like saying that we study the cells that live inside our bodies, but we do not realise that we ourselves are cells within a further body called Gaia. It too, in turn, lives within another body, called the solar system and so on. It could be said that for Oriental medicine, Giordano Bruno’s words: ‘We live in Infinite Worlds’ were far from heretical but well understood. Every disease, according to Chinese medicine, is simply the result of an energy imbalance, due to a defect in the assimilation or production of Qi (energy). It is produced through our organs and assimilated through our viscera, circulating through what in Chinese medicine are called meridians. Qi can also be modified through the food we eat or the air we breathe, bearing in mind that each of us has a ‘natural’ Qi (the Jing), the one that is ‘given’ to us by our parents at conception. According to experts, the Western approach does not take these factors into account and can be said to be exactly the opposite of the Eastern approach. This is because ‘Western medicine studies above all the matter, that is, the structure, the organ, and starts from them to understand its function and therefore its energy. Oriental medicine, on the other hand, initially perceives the Qi and, from its study, arrives at the function and finally the organ’. Such wisdom here was not so unknown at one time, especially in the philosophical sphere, when Thales similarly claimed that matter was animate and that the spirit was embodied in it. Speaking of wellbeing, from an Eastern perspective, one could say that by knowing the laws of the cosmos (Dao) we can learn to prevent illnesses before they even occur, or at least we can maintain an optimal state of health. Among the many techniques, there are two traditional arts that can be performed by anyone and bring numerous benefits both mentally and physically. These are Qi Gong and Taijiquan. Both techniques are a kind of very slow gymnastics with harmonious and sinuous movements that promote health through the stimulation of energy meridians. They, too, are based on a knowledge of nature and the human body that astounds anyone who tends to delve into its mechanisms. (CONTINUED)

Tai Chi and Alzheimer’s (Emotional-Affective Integration Therapy)

We propose the summary of an article by Dr Romeo Lucioni with a proposal for rehabilitation: Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, progressive degenerative dementia for which neither an aetiology nor a satisfactory pharmacological therapy has yet been found. Although it cannot be cured, this syndrome, characterised above all by the impairment of mental and cognitive functions, allows a ‘space’ of ‘curability’ that tends to widen both due to the efficacy of new drugs and specific rehabilitation and psychotherapeutic interventions that tend to restore and restructure psychic functions. Among these non-pharmacological therapies, the E.I.T. (Emotional-Affective Integration Therapy), which uses Tai Chi Chuan as its basis and has been structured through the experiences of sensorimotor therapy, emotional-affective therapy and expressive-relational therapy, is of great importance. It is a psychotherapeutic intervention that, beyond psychodynamic-interpretive considerations, uses movement, sensations, emotions, affections and rational elaborations, in addition to the intuitive-instinctive ones, to give the ‘sick subject’ the possibility to restructure his own psycho-neuro-biological potentialities, thus allowing a recovery of basic functions and a real and quantifiable rehabilitation. E.I.T. has patient-centred objectives, among which the following should be emphasised – control of psycho-behavioural symptomatology – restructuring of the ego’s adaptive potential; – containment and modulation of emotional responses; – strengthening of affective and relational availability; – recovery of motor and perceptive potential; – rediscovery of modulating variables that, filtered by affectivity, stimulate the ability to cope with discomfort and limitations; – desire for self-discovery and proactive will in the search for autonomy and freedom; – curbing the tendency to isolate oneself and ‘stagnate’ in some corner, making one take a leading rol The observations reported so far have led to considerations of particular interest regarding the improvements achieved: 1. Reduction or disappearance of explosive and uncontrollable emotionality 2. Disappearance of flight tendencies 3. Increased expectations 4. Recovery of motor and gestural rhythm. 5. Ability to relate. 6. Transmitting one’s sensitivity to others, 7. Recovery of initiative. 8. Recovery of humour and sarcasm. 9. Recovery of mimicry. 10. Cognitive skills. Mnestic capacities Tai Chi and senile dementia After eight months of this light exercise, healthy Chinese seniors in a recent randomised controlled trial boasted significant brain-related benefits. ISSUE: Although previous studies have demonstrated the ability of aerobic exercise to increase brain volume and improve memory, it is unclear whether a less intense form of exercise, particularly Tai Chi, can generate the same brain benefits. METHODOLOGY: Scientists from the University of South Florida and Fudan University conducted a 40-week randomised controlled trial with 120 elderly people without dementia, Shanghai, China. They compared the cognitive health of Tai Chi practitioners with that of members of a group who had not undergone any intervention, with MRI examinations as well as neuropsychological measures for dementia, learning ability, and verbal fluency throughout the study period. RESULTS: Subjects in the control group showed brain shrinkage consistent with what has generally been observed among people between 60 and 80 years of age. Participants practising Tai Chi three times a week, however, showed a significant increase in brain volume, as well as improvements in their memory and thinking test scores. CONCLUSION: A regular Tai Chi exercise regime enlarges the brain and improves cognitive abilities in the elderly. IMPLICATION: Since previous research has shown a link between dementia and brain shrinkage, a less intense form of aerobic exercise, such as Tai Chi, may delay the onset of this degenerative mental disease. SOURCE: Tai Chi chuan and chronic and degenerative diseases| Lotus Centre Blog