Friday, 11 March 2011

Tai Chi for Relaxation and Stress Management

I have been practising Tai Chi for several months and I find that it lowers my stress levels and improves my mood.
In all the forms of Tai Chi there are movements that involve briefly standing on one leg, which may improve balance; circular movements of the shoulders and wrists which improve suppleness and circulation; learning the sequence of the set movements may improve cognitive function such as concentration; the social atmosphere can sometimes forge friendships and alleviate loneliness and anxiety; and the exercise itself can boost a person's mood and alleviate depression. (Chen, Y.K.: Tai-Chi Ch'uan - Its Effects and Practical Applications, pages 10-12. Newcastle Publishing, 1979)
All forms of Tai Chi have been noted by YK Chen as regulating body weight, improving cognitive, lung, digestive and heart functioning as well as improving skin tone and bone structure.
Research on Tai Chi in general, carried out at the University of Toronto by by Dr. Dahong Zhou, shows that Tai Chi provides moderate exercise which is equivalent to brisk walking. Dr. Zhou also mentions that Tai Chi in general reduces stress levels and emotional problems while improving "concentration, attention, composure, self confidence, and self control". Zhou indicates that Tai Chi generally reduces hypertension, relieves chronic headaches, dizziness and insomnia, has benefits for people suffering with mild arthritis and rheumatism, improves breathing and blood circulation and is "an excellent exercise for the mind." His research shows that due to the low intensity of most forms of Tai Chi, that as an exercise regimen it does not lead to fatigue or stress. (Zhou, Dahong, M.D.: The Chinese Exercise Book, pages 19-22. Hartley & Marks Publishing, 1984)
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