For those unfamiliar with the meditation and exercise practice of Tai Chi, it is the most well known branch of Qigong that helps a person to cultivate their own life force energy or Qi. Practiced for over 2,000 years in China, Tai Chi, also known as “meditation in motion” continues to show major physiological and psychological benefits for both young and old.
Courtney Rubin reporting for US News & World Report logged this story on the benefits of a Tai Chi practice. According to Rubin, Tai Chi combines both martial art movements and the breath to create a healing method that promotes strength and flexibility leading to long term health benefits.
In a 2008 analysis, Harvard Medical School’s Gloria Yeh, an internist and assistant professor, reviewed 26 studies in English and Chinese and reported that in 85 percent of trials, tai chi lowered blood pressure. Other studies have shown it to reduce blood levels of B-type natriuretic peptide, a precursor of heart failure, and to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women. The nonprofit Arthritis Foundation offers its own 12-movement tai chi sequence.
Wang says more study is needed. Still, says New York Times personal health writer Jane Brody: “After reviewing existing scientific evidence for its potential health benefits, I’ve concluded that the proper question to ask yourself may not be why you should practice tai chi, but why not.”
Read more from Rubin on the practice of Tai Chi here.