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Tai Chi is an offshoot of Kung Fu.  A Chinese Monk observed  various animals in movement and adapted the movements for  humans.

 

 

 

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http://www.taichimaster.com/tai-chi/the-tai-chi-tipping-point/

 

Is the Tai Chi tipping point on the horizon or not?

 

Everybody who has been involved in tai chi in the West for the past 10-15 years has known that tai chi is probably going to reach a tipping point were it really reaches the masses; where tai chi really becomes known to the public rather than being some strange exercise that hippies practice.

 

The simple fact still remains most of the public know little of the tremendous benefits of tai chi, how tai chi works or how to learn tai chi. Lets connect Malcolm Gladwell, Swami Vichinanda,Jane Fonda and Bruce Lee with the Tai Chi Tipping Point…

 

 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, he describes the “three rules of epidemics” to determine the conditions for something to go viral. What needs to happen for tai chi to meet these three rules and spread like crazy? And can we learn anything from the popularity of yoga in relation to tai chi?

 

Tai Chi Compared to Yoga

 

Yoga had been around in the West for over 115 years where, in contrast, tai chi has been around for less than half that time or about 40 years.

 

A little known fact is that the West’s awareness of yoga is generally considered to have been brought over by Swami Vichinanda in 1893 at the Parliament of World’s Religions. Yoga’s growth path was unremarkable for most of those years, until about 1980. So what caused yoga to take off in the 1980’s?

 

Well one reason is that some celebrities started promoting it. One of the foremost was Jane Fonda, who is also considered to have founded the aerobics movement. She is a Hollywood star and clearly one of the sex symbols of her generation. So when she started

practicing and promoting yoga many women got on board or more literally on the mat.

 

It is no great surprise that Yoga exploded in part because of Hollywood publicity as many trends are created there.

The Three Rules of Epidemics

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell says that there are Three Rules of Epidemics. Here is a short summary of the three rules:

  1. “The Law of the Few”—Gladwell states: “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.” He goes on to talk about three types of people. Connectors link people up together. These people have massive social networks. Mavens are people who connect us with new information. Finally there are Salespeople who are good at persuading us to try or buy.
  2.  
  3. The Stickiness Factor—Stickiness is related to how a message is remembered and passed on. How much does something become the “topic of the day”?
  4. The Power of Context—Context is an important area taking into consideration the environment and conditions that would need to be present for a trend to go viral, such as demographics and value systems.

If we look the promotion of Yoga by Jane Fonda, we could say that she is a connector, a maven and a saleswoman all in one.  In the early 1980’s one of the big new inventions was the VCR, which dramatically helped the trend to become “sticky.” Finally, the population demographics of the baby boomer generation fit the slot where yoga and aerobics would be appealing. So we could say that yoga definitely meet all of Gladwell’s rules.

 

Who Does Tai Chi in China?

If we look at tai chi in China, 50 percent of all people who practice tai chi are over the age of 50. Tai chi is known for incredibly regenerating people’s bodies—making them healthy—and being one of the best longevity anti-aging programs (see my book Tai Chi: Health for Life).

 

Tai chi is the only non-impact exercise in the world that has a dramatic track record for reversing the aging process. Nothing else has the track record of tai chi. But still, up until the 1960’s when tai chi came to the United States, tai chi was an odd “thing” out there.

 

Some think tai chi is just a martial art, which is just not the truth. Others will say tai chi is a dance, and of course that is not the truth either.

 

What can be said in the current times is that most people associate tai chi with being somewhat good for your health. It is also becoming more well-known that tai chi is also good for all kinds of illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis and fall prevention.

 

However, what has been missing in the tai chi tipping point equation in terms of context in the West is very simple: The baby boomer generation population in America and Europe is only now starting to reach an age where tai chi has real appeal. When you are in your 20’s and 30’s the idea of a low-impact exercise for longevity just doesn’t have the same attraction as it does for a person as they age . When you’re young, you more typically climb mountains, run long distances and do other higher-impact sports.

 

The baby boomer population has finished running their marathons, buying houses, tried and given up psychedelics, and gone through the householder stage . They are now just entering a completely new phase whereby health, extending their life and releasing stress is of utmost importance. They want to see their grandkids grow up.

 

Enter Tai Chi

 

To some extent, whatever the baby boomer generation decides to do, the entire society follows because they constitute something like 30-40 percent of the population. As a result a lot of money follows the boomers along with marketing and paradigm shifts.

 

The tai chi community has been saying for about 10 years, maybe even 15 years, “Well, ya know the baby boomers are about 40, 45, and 50.” Well right now we are in the slot because the first wave is coming when they start hitting 60.

 

Baby boomers will finally be confronted with their own mortality. The earlier vanities of youth will flip into the cold hard realities of getting older. This is when many may jump on board with tai chi. As I have said elsewhere, tai chi really is the foremost preventative healthcare solution on the planet. Here is the demographics in the US from the year 2000.

 

US-Population-2000-for-Tai-Chi.png

You can see from the graph the bulge that represents the boomers (note this chart is 10 years old). We’ve now reached the point where the first edge of baby boomers has tweaked over the 60-years-old bracket. The largest segment is just reaching 50, which just happens to be the same age in China when most people start practicing tai chi.

 

What makes Tai Chi sticky?

So what could create “The Stickiness Factor”? You’d have to be living in a cave not to recognize that for the past 15 years the level of general stress in America and Europe is escalating to the point where even medical associations are saying that it is the greatest cause of disease.

 

Tai chi is the one exercise that actually focuses on relaxing your nerves; yoga doesn’t even really do that. With the exception of yin or Taoist yoga, most yoga is not taught with releasing the nerves as a primary focus.

 

Tai chi (and also qigong of which tai chi is a subdivision) systematically trains your nervous system to relax. Tai chi is about relaxation. Relaxation is the opposite of stress and stress is a fancy word for tension. Tai chi is an antidote for tension.

 

Tai chi’s main selling point is not that you are going to look good, but that you’re actually and truly going to feel better. And it’s not a psychological thing about “everybody loves me.” When you wake up with aches and the pains and stress that kills you, you don’t feel good.

 

People get hooked on tai chi when they hit the “aha” moment where they realize they have a fewer pains and also can relax the nagging thoughts and stressful events that overwhelm the system.

It can be said that a large number of people who start and continue practicing tai chi get REAL results or they wouldn’t bother with it. Tai chi works. It addresses the biggest issue of our times directly—relaxation to counter the stress. It also doesn’t take five years of practice five hours a day to feel results. You generally feel results rather quickly, especially if you are training with a qualified tai chi teacher.

 

I might also mention another important aspect that makes tai chi sticky. In most cases tai chi is practiced in groups. This in itself is “sticky” because people like to get together, socialize and practice together. I have seen time and time again long-term bonds and friendships form in tai chi groups. As more and more tai chi groups form, the entire tai chi movement will build.

For tai chi to take off, it will need to be a grassroots trend. I have witnessed it happening in both China and America.

 

The unblocking move is that people have to realize that they can do tai chi in gym clothes. You don’t have to wear some fancy silk outfit. As tai chi makes it way into gyms and parks the momentum will pick up and it will spread quickly. The last point here is that tai chi does not generally require a massive investments – most tai chi classes are affordable and compared to the cost of healthcare tai chi is a great bargain

Edited by lethe
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I started taking tai chi again in late July. I originally started more than 30 years ago, taking it for  3 or 4 months and than stopping, and restarted it 3 or 4 times over the years. I know most of the 107 moves but I'm relearning the sequencing.

 

I've noticed an improvement in relaxation and movement, but I had my first WOW! moment  while showering 2 days ago. I have grab bars as I can lose my balance when my eyes are closed or general washing. Suddenly I realized that my balance was stable, my feet firmly supporting my body, even with eyes closed and shampooing, and my becoming aware or conscious of it didn't change it! The difference is very noticeable to me.  It will be interesting to see if this is occasional or longer term.

 

 

 

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Bike Ride -- I do wear a helmet, as too many friends ended up as quadaplegics due to head injuries. For each bicycle fataility you hear about, probably 10x have major issue post collisions :(

 

On reason I like a recumbent bicycle is less distance to fall before hitting the ground, and less likely to go head first into the ground!

 

Lethe -- what city are you in?  Just checking to see if Austin.  

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 Bike Ride -- I do wear a helmet, as too many friends ended up as quadaplegics due to head injuries. For each bicycle fataility you hear about, probably 10x have major issue post collisions :(

 

On reason I like a recumbent bicycle is less distance to fall before hitting the ground, and less likely to go head first into the ground!

 

Lethe -- what city are you in?  Just checking to see if Austin.  

 

I'm hiding out in Toronto, Canada.....

 

I've seen maybe a handful of people riding these bikes downtown over the years. It's seems that these bikes may be harder for car drivers to see, no? Do you have a cautionary red flag to make yourself more visible?

Edited by lethe

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http://taichisnob.blogspot.ca/2010/11/monkeys-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my.html

 

Monkeys and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Animals in Tai Chi and the Martial Arts

 

There is a legend about a Taoist monk who came upon a tiger while walking in the woods. He tamed the tiger by staring him down and then climbed on the tiger’s back and road away. “Riding the Tiger” has many implications. Certainly, the safest place to be is on the tiger’s back. Getting off is the problem. The expression is used as a metaphor for bravery and danger and also relates to Tai Chi Chuan. Near the end of the Yang Chengfu long form is a movement called “Retreat Astride Tiger.” It comes before the “Lotus Sweep” and “Bend Bow to Shoot Tiger.” Poor tiger!

The movement of “Retreat Astride Tiger” is similar to that of “White Crane Spreads its Wings.” The right hand is raised and protects the forehead while the left guards the groin. It is single weighted. It leads into a spin that precedes the kick of the “Lotus Sweep.” Yang says, “Although my opponent may be fierce as a tiger, with but the slightest turning motion he will be under my control.”

 

The Taoist priest, Chang San-feng, Sung Dynasty (960-1279), was said to have originated Tai Chi Chuan after observing a fight between a snake and a white crane. When the bird attacked the snake's head, the snake yielded at his head and struck with his tail. When the bird attacked the snake's tail, the snake yielded at his tail and attacked with his head. When the bird attacked the snake's belly the snake yielded at the belly and attacked with both his head and his tail. In the end the bird gave up and flew away. Chang San-feng was able to see Yin and Yang in the snake’s yielding and attack. This led him to embody these principles in Tai Chi Chuan.

 


Anyway, it’s a good story. We westerners think of Chinese culture as nothing if not poetic: indeed the elite of the dynastic eras were scholars and wrote poetry. It was natural that their legends and stories related to nature, and consequently, to animal nature. The Taoists developed many “exercises” with martial arts applications and meditative properties. One tradition is the Five Animal Fun (or Frolics) in which the Crane, Monkey, Deer and Tiger contribute their natural movements to this Qigong form.

In spite of the terms “Fun” or “Frolics,” this is serious business. The Five Animal Frolics, Wu Qin Xi, were created by Hua Tuo, (died c. 208) a renowned Chinese physician. The Five Animals are the Tiger for power and improvement of the lung, the Bear for strength and support of the kidneys, the Deer for grace and care of the liver, the Crane for relaxation and maintaining the heart, and the Monkey for flexibility and aid to the stomach. The movements of the Frolics mimic those of the specific animals.

The Five Animal Martial Arts (not to be confused with the Five Animal Frolics), developed at the Shaolin Temple during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), utilized images and movements of the Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake and Dragon. These styles have been popularized in the recent animated film, Kung Fu Panda, although slightly different animals are featured. In a review of the movie in Kung Fu Magazine, Craig Reid observes:


Although from a historical sense it might have been more nostalgic to model the Fearless Five from Shaolin's original five animal arts (tiger, snake, leopard, white crane, dragon) as created by Jue Yuen, Li Sou and Bai Yu-feng during the 1200's, the filmmakers opted to make the leopard evil, use the dragon as the statuesque holder of the ultimate secret of martial arts, and replace them with two of the more recently created popular animals styles: monkey kung fu (late 1800's by Kou Zi) and praying mantis kung fu (mid-1600's by Wang Lang).

In Tai Chi, of course, the list of references to animal movements is long. Repulse Monkey, or Monkey Retreat, looks very similar to the movement in the Five Animal Frolic Monkey Form. The agility of the monkey swinging hand over hand through the trees is mimicked in an application in which stepping back displaces the grip and energy of the opponent. In the Sword Form animal imagery abounds:
 
Swallow Beats the Water
Bee Enters the Cave
Alert Cat Catches the Mouse
Dragonfly Strikes the Water
Swallow Returns to the Nest
Phoenix Spreads Both Wings
Black Dragon Wags His Tail
Lion Shakes His Head
Horse Leaps Over the Stream
The Swallow Holds Mud In His Mouth
The Rhino Gazes At The Moon
The White Ape Offers Fruit
A Fish Leaps Over the Gate of The Dragon


And so forth.

Metaphor or magic, animal nature was important to the development of Tai Chi and other Martial Arts. Whether descriptive of the movement, the attitude or the strength of the animal, names and images were used in the creation of the Form and still function for us today to add richness and understanding of the history and the purpose of Tai Chi Chuan.
Edited by lethe

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I posted on Oct 2 that I had noticed that my balance while showering had greatly improved and since then my balance in the shower has been perfectly stable. I no longer need to hold the grab bar and can close my eyes, shampoo, and turn right around. There is no longer the tentative feeling!

 

Without doubt the Tai Chi.....

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What an inspiration to hear about your Tai Chi instructor. My husband goes to a Tai Chi class for people with PD once a week. The local parkinson's groups support the program so he pays just $5 a class or $30 a month for as many classes as he can go to (he also goes once a week to a PWR! Moves class). As they say, exercise is medicine! 

 

 Sorry for the late response.  How long has your hubby gone to classes?  Has he or you noticed any improvements?

 

Does he practice at home?

 

Last week I noticed that my 70 year young instructor's arm muscle tone appeared good and mentioned to her that she had muscles. She told me to feel it and I couldn't believe how strong it was and she told me to push her and her resistance was very strong!

 

She is small and appears fragile. I am thin but wiry and have done a lot of heavy lifting  while working in the film biz, but because of PD my muscle tone is poor and any muscles have lost their strength.

 

I assume tai chi is responsible for her muscles.....

Edited by lethe

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I saw a notice about a beginning Tai Chi class at my YMCA. Just as I was about to sign up, they dropped it. I asked why? They said "not enough interest"....

Damn!

Edited by musicman

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Awesome string! What about coordination? My balance is still pretty ok but am uncoordinated as they come. Don't get me wrong, I've always been a klutz since birth, but I've come to a whole new level of eclectic moving.

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Lethe - My husband has been going to Tai Chi for about two years. His balance is pretty good and I think the class helps. He doesn't usually practice at home but he does do "PWR! Moves" exercises at home, rides his bike, pole walks, and still climbs a ladder to fix the coolers on our roof. The back problems he has experienced in the last year have limited is exercise more than the PD. This week, we took our first hike in more than a year and I think we are going to be able to go hiking regularly again! He even carried the backpack with our lunch and it didn't seem to aggravate his back. It was a short hike, just a couple of hours. Oh yes, we always take a lunch even when we hike just a little ways! Sorry for the late response.

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In addition to the already mentioned newfound balance in the shower, more recently I’ve noticed a new feeling of calm and an improved ability to recover quickly from stressful situations.  It’s subtle and strange as I can almost feel it in a physical sense.  The best way I can describe it is that it seems like a natural body chemical (cannabinoid??) has been activated or increased that centers and calms me.  Less anxiety, more focus.

 

I really noticed it after my visit to the animal shelter.  I won’t get into it now, but the shelter has been controversial for decades......  Very myopic, ideological, with  no vision or sense of potential.  Bureaucracy at it’s worse...  I was pissed off and let the representative know, silently.  Normally I’d be affected for almost a week, but by next day I was calm and not agitated at all – like water off a ducks back.

 

I attribute this to Tai Chi.

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http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-tai-chi

 

  The health benefits of tai chi

This gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many ills of aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.
 

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.

 

In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions — for example, “white crane spreads its wings” — or martial arts moves, such as “box both ears.” As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations. Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

 

Tai chi movement

 

A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center. An adjunct therapy is one that’s used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient’s functioning and quality of life.

 

Belief systems

 

You don’t need to subscribe to or learn much about tai chi’s roots in Chinese philosophy to enjoy its health benefits, but these concepts can help make sense of its approach:

  • Qi — an energy force thought to flow through the body; tai chi is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi.

  •  

  • Yin and yang — opposing elements thought to make up the universe that need to be kept in harmony. Tai chi is said to promote this balance.

Tai chi in motion

 

A tai chi class might include these parts:

 

Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.

 

Instruction and practice of tai chi forms. Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you’re older or not in good condition.

 

Qigong (or chi kung). Translated as “breath work” or “energy work,” this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down.

 

Getting started

 

The benefits of tai chi are generally greatest if you begin before you develop a chronic illness or functional limitations. Tai chi is very safe, and no fancy equipment is needed, so it’s easy to get started. Here’s some advice for doing so:

 

Don’t be intimidated by the language. Names like Yang, Wu, and Cheng are given to various branches of tai chi, in honor of people who devised the sets of movements called forms. Certain programs emphasize the martial arts aspect of tai chi rather than its potential for healing and stress reduction. In some forms, you learn long sequences of movements, while others involve shorter series and more focus on breathing and meditation. The name is less important than finding an approach that matches your interests and needs.

 

Check with your doctor . If you have a limiting musculoskeletal problem or medical condition — or if you take medications that can make you dizzy or lightheaded — check with your doctor before starting tai chi. Given its excellent safety record, chances are that you’ll be encouraged to try it.

 

Consider observing and taking a class. Taking a class may be the best way to learn tai chi. Seeing a teacher in action, getting feedback, and experiencing the camaraderie of a group are all pluses. Most teachers will let you observe the class first to see if you feel comfortable with the approach and atmosphere. Instruction can be individualized. Ask about classes at your local Y, senior center, or community education center. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org; 800-283-7800, toll-free) can tell you whether its tai chi program, a 12-movement, easy-to-learn sequence, is offered in your area.

 

If you’d rather learn at home, you can buy or rent videos geared to your interests and fitness needs (see “Selected resources”). Although there are some excellent tai chi books, it can be difficult to appreciate the flow of movements from still photos or illustrations.

 

Talk to the instructor. There’s no standard training or licensing for tai chi instructors, so you’ll need to rely on recommendations from friends or clinicians and, of course, your own judgment. Look for an experienced teacher who will accommodate individual health concerns or levels of coordination and fitness.

 

Dress comfortably. Choose loose-fitting clothes that don’t restrict your range of motion. You can practice barefoot or in lightweight, comfortable, and flexible shoes. Tai chi shoes are available, but ones you find in your closet will probably work fine. You’ll need shoes that won’t slip and can provide enough support to help you balance, but have soles thin enough to allow you to feel the ground. Running shoes, designed to propel you forward, are usually unsuitable.

 

Gauge your progress. Most beginning programs and tai chi interventions tested in medical research last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By the end of that time, you should know whether you enjoy tai chi, and you may already notice positive physical and psychological changes.

 

No pain, big gains

 

Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here’s some of the evidence:

 

Muscle strength. In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls).

 

In a Japanese study using the same strength measures, 113 older adults were assigned to different 12-week exercise programs, including tai chi, brisk walking, and resistance training. People who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength — almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.

 

“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.”

 

Flexibility. Women in the 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

 

Balance. Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.

 

Aerobic conditioning. Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits. But in the Japanese study, only participants assigned to brisk walking gained much aerobic fitness. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can offer, you may need something more aerobic as well.

 

Selected resources

Tai Chi Healthwww.taichihealth.com

Tai Chi Productionswww.taichiforhealth.com

Tree of Life Tai Chi Centerwww.treeoflifetaichi.com

 

Tai chi for medical conditions

 

When combined with standard treatment, tai chi appears to be helpful for several medical conditions.

For example:

 

Arthritis. In a 40-person study at Tufts University, presented in October 2008 at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, an hour of tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved mood and physical functioning more than standard stretching exercises in people with severe knee osteoarthritis. According to a Korean study published in December 2008 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eight weeks of tai chi classes followed by eight weeks of home practice significantly improved flexibility and slowed the disease process in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and debilitating inflammatory form of arthritis that affects the spine.

 

Low bone density. A review of six controlled studies by Dr. Wayne and other Harvard researchers indicates that tai chi may be a safe and effective way to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women. A controlled study of tai chi in women with osteopenia (diminished bone density not as severe as osteoporosis) is under way at the Osher Research Center and Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

 

Breast cancer. Tai chi has shown potential for improving quality of life and functional capacity (the physical ability to carry out normal daily activities, such as work or exercise) in women suffering from breast cancer or the side effects of breast cancer treatment. For example, a 2008 study at the University of Rochester, published in Medicine and Sport Science, found that quality of life and functional capacity (including aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and flexibility) improved in women with breast cancer who did 12 weeks of tai chi, while declining in a control group that received only supportive therapy.

 

Heart disease. A 53-person study at National Taiwan University found that a year of tai chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure, and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C-reactive protein in people at high risk for heart disease. The study, which was published in the September 2008 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found no improvement in a control group that did not practice tai chi.

 

Heart failure. In a 30-person pilot study at Harvard Medical School, 12 weeks of tai chi improved participants’ ability to walk and quality of life. It also reduced blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart failure. A 150-patient controlled trial is under way.

 

Hypertension. In a review of 26 studies in English or Chinese published in Preventive Cardiology (Spring 2008), Dr. Yeh reported that in 85% of trials, tai chi lowered blood pressure — with improvements ranging from 3 to 32 mm Hg in systolic pressure and from 2 to 18 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.

 

Parkinson’s disease. A 33-person pilot study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, published in Gait and Posture (October 2008), found that people with mild to moderately severe Parkinson’s disease showed improved balance, walking ability, and overall well-being after 20 tai chi sessions.

 

Sleep problems. In a University of California, Los Angeles, study of 112 healthy older adults with moderate sleep complaints, 16 weeks of tai chi improved the quality and duration of sleep significantly more than standard sleep education. The study was published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Sleep.

 

Stroke. In 136 patients who’d had a stroke at least six months earlier, 12 weeks of tai chi improved standing balance more than a general exercise program that entailed breathing, stretching, and mobilizing muscles and joints involved in sitting and walking. Findings were published in the January 2009 issue of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Edited by lethe

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Thanks for all the information on studies of benefits of Tai Chi. I am practicing it daily with the DVD available from Don and Victoria Fiore  called Easy Tai Chi-Qigong for people of all ages and especially for seniors and people with Parkinsons.  You can find it on this website.  For those of us who weren't athletes prior to PD it is a great way to get your body moving.  My rigidity and pain and energy levels have already improved in just a short time (about a month).

 

Looking for different activities I enjoy to exercise it dawned on me that my player piano (collecting dust) is perfect for finger exercises and aerobic workout when using foot pedals.  I used to be able to go through 10 songs but my present ability is only 2 ...will have to work my way back up.  Don't laugh.  Pumping works your calves, ankles, thighs, arms (holding onto piano so don't move backwards) fingers. Your HR increases and you can work up to a sweat! 

 

Playing music can also be an emotional release.  I played "Memory" and as if for the first time read the lyrics.

 

"Memory, all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days, I was beautiful then. I remember the first time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again.

 

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise.  I must think of a new life, and I mustn't give in. When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too and a new day will begin."

 

Gotta go play some music. Micki

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Thanks for all the information on studies of benefits of Tai Chi. I am practicing it daily with the DVD available from Don and Victoria Fiore  called Easy Tai Chi-Qigong for people of all ages and especially for seniors and people with Parkinsons.  You can find it on this website.  For those of us who weren't athletes prior to PD it is a great way to get your body moving.  My rigidity and pain and energy levels have already improved in just a short time (about a month).

 

   It’s really made a difference for me too. Improved balance and stability, especially while showering, quicker recovery from stressful situations, and my psychological “sense of well-being” baseline has risen. I’m also sleeping better.    

 

Looking for different activities I enjoy to exercise it dawned on me that my player piano (collecting dust) is perfect for finger exercises and aerobic workout when using foot pedals.  I used to be able to go through 10 songs but my present ability is only 2 ...will have to work my way back up.  Don't laugh.  Pumping works your calves, ankles, thighs, arms (holding onto piano so don't move backwards) fingers. Your HR increases and you can work up to a sweat!

 

  I walk a lot and will often carry heavy groceries home.

 

Playing music can also be an emotional release.  I played "Memory" and as if for the first time read the lyrics.

 

Music is definitely therapeutic. I joined Spotify because I listen to a lot of music and it makes it easier to find new stuff.

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Don Fiore has been my husband's Tai Chi teacher! Don is not teaching where my husband goes now but it has been wonderful to learn from a such an excellent instructor!

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Lethe, I am going to start a new thread to alert people to the article you posted. I find the info. so amazing. Golden, how cool is that to have had Don Fiore as your husband's instructor !? I want to spread the word about Tai Chi as it can be beneficial to any of us even with our limitations. Micki

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Lethe, I am going to start a new thread to alert people to the article you posted. I find the info. so amazing. Golden, how cool is that to have had Don Fiore as your husband's instructor !? I want to spread the word about Tai Chi as it can be beneficial to any of us even with our limitations. Micki

 

 

     Feel free to repost the article - the link is at the top. I was actually surprised at the results of taking Tai Chi, the degree to which it helped.

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Lethe, I don't know how to repost your article, I just mull my way through as best as I Can. Micki

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Thanks Lethe.

 

I'm actually starting to enjoy the movements after a month.   One of my biggest balance/fall issues is standing in place or tripping.   So by doing the tai chi stand (knees slightly bent) I can shift weight to either leg while maintain posture.

 

In the morning I'm navigating a dark house, which is a classic for trip/fall.  Since I'm not leaning forward, but remaining up right over my legs. Much better balance, and this morning my Golden didn't move out of my way.  Toes felt him before I could see him. Didn't trip and fall (he loves it when I do, as it means he can give me doggy kisses when I am on the floor!).

 

Still need to step it up a little and work on core strength. 

Edited by TexasTom

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