TaiChi Chuan was generated 1000 years ago in China. It is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. Today, TaiChi Chuan has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of TaiChi Chuan trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun.
More and more evidence suggested that practice TaiChi Chuan can improve health in different aspects. It can center your awareness, reduce tension, improve muscle tone, flexibility, body's balance and cardiovascular functions, etc. With purely a health emphasis, TaiChi Chuan classes have become popular in hospitals, clinics, and community and senior centers in the last twenty years or so.
Before its introduction to Western world, the health benefits of TaiChi Chuan were largely explained through the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is based on a view of the body and healing mechanisms not yet studied or supported by modern science. Today, TaiChi Chuan is being subjected to rigorous scientific studies in the West, and a tangible benefit in some areas to the practice of TaiChi Chuan has been displayed.
Researchers have found that intensive TaiChi Chuan practice can promote balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and reduce the risk of falls in both healthy and elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and fibromyalgia. Regular TaiChi Chuan practice was shown to significantly increase psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions.
TaiChi Chuan's gentle, low impact movement burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing. Tai chi, along with yoga, can reduce levels of LDLs 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks. Compared to regular stretching, TaiChi Chuan can greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, TaiChi Chuan and related qigong have been shown to reduce the severity of diabetes. In another study, tai chi has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seems to persist after the tai chi sessions were terminated.
Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because tai chi is a low impact exercise, it may be especially suitable if you're an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.
You may also find tai chi appealing because it's inexpensive and requires no special equipment. You can do tai chi anywhere, including indoors or outside. And you can do tai chi alone or in a group class.Although tai chi is generally safe, women who are pregnant or people with joint problems, back pain, fractures, severe osteoporosis or a hernia should consult their health care provider before trying tai chi. Modification or avoidance of certain postures may be recommended.
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