T'ai chi chuan, also known as Tai Chi, is a fitness regimen that was developed to promote the flow of qi, or energy within the body.
Through slow flowing movements, Tai Chi increases strength and muscle tone, enhances range of motion and flexibility, and improves balance and coordination. As well, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine believe that although these positions are low impact and low intensity, they have the power to break up qi blockage, and re-establish the flow of this vital force.
All Tai Chi movements are pairs of opposition, i.e. left and right, yield and thrust, etc., which reflect the attempt to harmonize the two opposing forces of yin and yang.
Ultimately, Tai Chi is a moving form of meditation where precision movements and controlled breathing are synchronized to enable the practitioner to flow with the direction of energy in and around the body.
Tai Chi has beneficial effects similar to those of western aerobic exercise, minus the stresses and strains. This could account for its recent surge in popularity in the West.
What Can Tai Chi Treat?
Tai Chi offers a variety of quality of life benefits, such as improved cognitive ability, decreased levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and muscular tension, improved circulation, speed of rehabilitation following surgery, injury, or serious illness, and enhanced energy combined with an overall sense of well being.