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TAI CHI HEALTH ARTICLES & HEALTH TIPS

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"In the thirty years that I have been teaching and practicing Tai Chi Chuan, I have seen many benefit from its regular practice over time.  Improvements in breathing volume and blood oxygen levels, balance, flexibility, and general increased health and stamina are some of the things that people tell me are the results of their time spent in the cultivation of the Tai Chi Chuan movements...these are the most rewarding things a teacher can hear, and have kept me endeavoring to teach this art.".....sifu Jeffrey Zauderer

Here are some of the articles that have appeared in research and health publications since about 1990.
 
Studies by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), launched in1990:
Two studies, one by Steven L Wolf, PhD, and the other by Leslie Wolfson, MD, and collegues, found that Tai Chi was effective in improving balance and strength among older people. Older people taking part in a 15 week Tai Chi program reduced their risk of falling by 47.5%.
 
The Harvard Health Letter (21:11, 1996) reports a study in the May 1996 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showing that the slow and precise movements of Tai Chi Chuan improved the balance of seniors.
 
The University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, 1998, cites the benefits of the "smooth, balanced, and low-impact" exercise to health.
 
The CIGNA newsletter, Wellbeing, winter, 1998, advises that Tai Chi Chuan has been shown to increase immunity, reduce stress, alleviate gastric problems, hypertension, and other ailments.
 
The Harvard Woman's Health Watch, Dec 2000, article, "Tai Chi: Meditative movement for Health" cites the benefits for women, and lists Master William C.C. Chen's video's as a selected Woman's Health Watch resource.
 
The Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2001; 23:139-146, documents improvements over a 6 month period in physical functions in daily and more strenuous activities.
 
Br. J. Sports Med 2001; 35:148-156
Li, Hong, and Chan
Tcc is a moderate intensity exercise that is beneficial to cardiorespiratory function, immune capacity, mental control, flexibility, and balance control.
 
Journ. Altern. Complement. Med. 2003, Oct, 9,(5):747-754
 Tsai JC, Wang WH, Chan P, et al.
    The Beneficial Effects of Tai Chi Chuan on Blood Pressure and Lipid Profile and Anxiety Status in a Randomized Controlled Trial
        found were a decrease of 15.6 mm Hg Systolic and 8.8 Diastolic pressure, decrease of total serum cholesterol of 15.2 mg/dL, with increased HDL and decreased LDL, as well as decreased measures of anxiety.
 
 
The Archives of Internal Medicine, Mar 8 2004, report many benefits to heart, circular system, and joint problems, as well as other chronic health conditions. The study was done by
Wang  Chenchen, MD, at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass.
 
AARP Bulletin for May, 2004 recommends the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan for its readers.
 
Recent articles have appeared demonstrating the benefits of tai chi chuan for arthritis. Here are some links to some sites: (just click on the link)
 
 
This article reviews several clinical studies that demonstrate benefits in improved range of motion, cardiovascular wellness, oxygen uptake and motor control.
 
 

 
 
SOME HEALTHY IDEAS FROM TAI CHI CHUAN

Even if you don't have the time to practice Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Chi Chi Gung, here are some simple exercises that can make a difference in your life.

ABDOMINAL BREATHING: Relax. Stand or sit in a fairly straight chair. To shift your breathing from upper chest to lower abdomen, place the hands a few inches below the navel. Breathe slowly so that the area under the hands expands against a slight pressure exerted by the hands on the lower abdomen. Relax, and the air slowly exhales. Repeat with inhalation, etc. Do this for five minutes to start with. This basic awareness and development of abdominal breathing is central to many meditative and martial arts. Reader's Digest for December 2000 featured an article about "belly breathing" and its benefits.


RELAX THE KNEES, HIPS, AND SHOULDERS: this releases a lot of stored tension, and allows you to focus on deep breathing, especially when standing.

 
ROCK THE FEET: This is an excellent exercise if you sit for more than 30 minutes, especially in confined spaces, airplane seats, waiting rooms, etc.
Stretch-out the legs, and stretch the toes down to the ground. Next, flex the toes upward creating a rolling motion over the heel. Breathe in as the toes go up; exhale as the toes go down. Repeat for several minutes.
The AARP Bulletin for June 2004 has an artical about deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), and recommends exercising similarly to this toe stretch, heel-rock exercise. If you sit for half an hour, or longer, this could be a very beneficial practice.

Point of View:   A nice example of how a frame of mind in a situation can affect an inner state of relaxation is related by Chuang Tzu in the story of The Empty Boat:  If someone is rowing and bumps into a log, he pushes it aside, and continues on his way.  If he bumps into an empty boat, he pushes it aside, or perhaps ties it securely somewhere out of the way. But if its a boat with people in it, he gets angry.
 
Creativity:  Research by Dr Gene Cohen at George Washington University, and by others elsewhere, has been showing a relationship with creativity and thought to physical well-being and health. The site (this is a  clickable link):
www.dispatch.co.za/2004/05/13/features  has a nice summary report about this kind of research.   Make Tai Chi Chuan one of your creative activities!