Health Benefits of Tai Chi and QiGong

AGING, slowing the aging process. Research at Baylor Medical School has found that some cells from the bodies of long-term QiGong practitioners live five times longer than the same cells from ordinary test subjects.

Other research from The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension looked at several aspects of aging. They determined that QiGong is an effective measure in preventing and treating geriatric diseases and delaying the aging process.

ARTHRITIS. T'ai Chi's low impact causes no joint damage (unlike other higher impact exercises), while its weight-bearing aspect may encourage development of bone mass and connective tissue. The program won the endorsement of the Australian Arthritis Foundation. Korean research reported significantly less pain, fewer difficulties in the activities of daily living, and better sense of wellbeing in general America's Arthritis Foundation decided to adapt the program.

BACK PAIN. Prevention Magazine reported a study where, after one year of T'ai Chi classes, a group of men and women ages 58 to 70 found increased strength and increased flexibility in their back, helping to reduce the odds of back pain.

CANCER. Several clinical studies reported that a combination therapy of drugs with personal practice of QiGong provided a better outcome than drug therapy alone.

CARDIOVASCUALAR BENEFIT. Research has shown that the extremely gentle low impact T'ai Chi exercise can provide the same cardiovascular benefit as moderate impact aerobic exercise.

CIRCULATION & NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS. T'ai Chi promotes circulation and can have a very integrating effect on the mind and body. QiGong and T'ai Chi promote stress management and blood circulation. Some QiGong exercises, such as Carry the Moon, specifically promote circulation in the scalp.

DEPRESSION & MOOD DISTURBANCE. Regular (daily) T'ai Chi practitioners usually find less incidence of depression and overall mood disturbance.

DIABETES. T'ai Chi's stress management and increased circulation qualities make it ideal for diabetes.

FLEXIBILITY enhancement. Harvard Women's Health Watch reported an Emory University study showing that T'ai Chi may possibly improve elasticity in ligaments and tendons, create stronger knee flexors and extensors, and create better posture.

GERIATRIC FITNESS. Prevention Magazine reported that "T'ai Chi may be the best exercise for people over the age of 60 providing cardio fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility all in one simple workout that is easy on the joints." Tai Chi practice may help seniors avoid falls.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. T'ai Chi can significantly lower high blood pressure in many cases.

KNEE STRENGTHENING. Knee problems are a common problem as we age. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducted a study on older adults using 20 weeks of T'ai Chi training. The overall findings suggest that Taiji (T'ai Chi) training improves knee extensor strength and force control in older adults.

MENTAL HEALTH. The Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, conducted studies to see how QiGong practice would affect mental health. The result was that a group that had practiced QiGong for over two years had a curative rate on symptoms of psychosomatic disorders about twice as high as a QiGong group practicing less than two years.

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