A series that perfectly combines aerobics, flexibility, balance and weight-bearing exercise with deep breathing and meditation is popularly known as tai chi or "moving meditation’". Dating back to the 12th century, it is believed that the practice was developed as a form of martial art in China by Taoist monk Chang San-Feng. The movements of tai chi are thought to have been derived from observing snake and a crane in battle because Chang San-Feng believed that it was these creatures who could most efficiently overcome a stronger opponent.
In countries in United States, tai chi has gained popularity as a safe, low-impact exercise that can be practiced alone or in a group. Tai chi is believed to improve fitness levels, physical health and emotional well-being of any person who practices it, irrespective of their age and gender.
According to a review published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, this ancient Chinese discipline has some physical and psychological benefits on the body. Stating it safe and effective, the authors believe that the technique promotes balance, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Following are some of the most useful benefits of practicing tai chi.
In a study, people were assigned to a tai chi group for a 3-month long study. At the end of the study, these people reported to have less joint pain and stiffness than what they had at the beginning. Their pain and stiffness was also lesser than patients in a control group.
It was found by the Oregon researchers that people who practiced tai chi had improved sleep quality and length. Besides, a study from UCLS also supported the claim. In their study, two-thirds of the participants had improvements in sleep quality.
Shingles is skin disease caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. In a shingles study, it was found by the researchers that tai chi could prompt an immune response to varicella zoster virus which was similar to that prompted by varicella vaccine.
Although there have been no direct studies to show the reduction in stress by practicing tai chi but the breathing, movement and mental concentration needed to distract from everyday lifestyle can be gained by from tai chi. The best part about tai chi is that its movements are low-impact and gentle thus, it puts minimum stress on the muscle and joints.
Besides the above-mentioned common, positive effects of tai chi on your body, the old Chinese technique is a recipe for wholesome goodness for your mind as well as body.
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