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What is Tai Chi? Benefits, Styles and Philosophy

Want to experience a mind-body practice that includes both self-defense and amazing health benefits? Say no more, because in this article we will be talking about how tai chi could be just the experience you need.

Tai chi is a form of martial arts that was primarily made to give you a physical experience that goes hand in hand with mindfulness.

Originating in China, tai chi doesn’t just supply you with self-defense techniques. It also offers amazing health benefits.

Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Over the years, this form of martial arts has already proven its health benefits to almost all ages. This healthy exercise is known for its safety since its movements don’t put too much pressure on the muscles.

1. Better balance

There have been documented studies that prove Tai chi’s effectivity in improving an individual’s balance. According to a 2004 research on tai chi, this exercise has healthy physiological and psychosocial benefits to a person’s balance. The study also attested that it has a positive impact on a person’s respiratory and cardiovascular function.

2. Good for mental health

In a research published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 92 prenatal depressed women were assigned to do tai chi and yoga for 22 weeks.

They were randomly asked to do the exercise for at least 20 minutes per group. At the end of the trial, results showed that these women had lower summary depression scores. The test results also showed that these women had lower anxiety scores as well as their sleeping disturbances decreased.

As a result, research suggests that it is a good exercise in helping both anxiety and depression. It also helps other symptoms of mental health problems such as sleep deprivation.

3. Combats chronic pain

A meta-analysis published in the year 2016 was conducted over 18 randomized control trials to prove the effect of tai chi in chronic pain.

The main goal of the study was to evaluate the effects in combating different chronic pain conditions. After a number of controlled trials, they were able to prove that this exercise really does have a positive impact on people suffering from chronic pain.

The researchers also found out that in a matter of 6 weeks of tai chi, it could help improve chronic pain.

They also believed that doing this form of martial arts for an even longer period could lead to better results. In addition to that, they also found out that this form of martial arts has additional benefits for people suffering from osteoporosis.

4. Prevents trips and falls

In a meta-analysis done in a study published in the year 2016, researchers were able to prove the effect tai chi has in fall reduction on older people. Findings showed that tai chi exercise helps reduce chances of tripping and falling on older adults.

Researchers believe that tai chi contributes to older people in the integration of the skeletal, muscular, and neural functions upon practicing tai chi exercise.

5. Treats cognitive impairments

As time goes by, you will most likely experience cognitive impairments due to aging. A study was published in 2013 to assess the effects of tai chi on the cognitive functioning of older people.

The meta-analysis conducted had to include 9 variables to further check the effect sizes and forest plots of the variables. At the end of the study, researchers found out that 4 out of 9 variables were said to have improved after a series of tai chi exercises.

Thus, they concluded that tai chi has a positive impact on an adult’s global cognitive and memory functions.

Tai Chi Styles

There are various kinds of Tai Chi. But there are five main styles that people are practicing even to this very day. Some practitioners usually focus on a single style. However, there are some practitioners who combine two or more styles.

  • Chen Style: is the oldest form and is even considered the father of all styles. This style is a combination of fast and slow movements. It also includes some jumping and at the same time, stomping.
  • Wu Style: is the second most well-known style. This style usually includes pushing of hands and weapons training.
  • Yang Style: is the most popular among the four and is said to be practiced all around the globe. It includes slow, gentle, and large movements.
  • Wu/Hao Style: is the 1st Wu Style. The movements are usually a combination of Yang and Chen Styles.
  • Sun Style: is known to be used for physical therapy. It involves smooth and flowing movements.

Philosophy Behind This Form of Martial Arts

The practice of Tai Chi is said to follow the principles of Taoism. For Taoists, they believe that it is vital to maintain the balance of Yin and Yang. Ying is known to be feminine in character.

It involves soft movements just like the water. It is composed of inward and downward movements. While Yang, on the other hand, is said to be more masculine. They believe it possesses the qualities of fire; involving upward and downward movements.

Taoism also believes that for a person to be overall healthy, he/she needs to maintain the balance of Yin and Yang. Thus, it requires the practice of Tai Chi.

Via: MedicalAlertAdvice | MedicalNewsToday

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