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A Tai Chi Prescription May Be What the Doc Ordered

By Sandy Schroeder

Who would think that an hour of standing in the park, swaying through a series of relaxed poses with 20 other people, might be the best prescription for health and mobility that you could get? A class in tai chi turns out to have all sorts of health benefits.

Now the ancient practice of tai chi is gaining popularity as a natural fitness option for overall health and specific issues. Classes are apt to pop up anywhere. You might find them in your community, or listed and taught online when you can't make local sessions. I found a class in my local park and hung onto it for dear life.  There were more participants each time that I went, and they were all smiling. I left feeling more relaxed and limber.

Overall, mind/body exercises such as tai chi have been discovered for all sorts of results.

  • Deal with depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve balance
  • Increase strength
  • Ease arthritis stiffness and pain

Research Agrees

Dr. Peter Wayne, Harvard Medical School, began researching tai chi's effects and discovered the benefits were similar to using a very potent multi-drug. There were no pills to take, or expensive charges, just weekly sessions of gentle outdoor exercise.

Wayne focused on the active ingredients of tai chi as he and his colleagues studied the clinical benefits of tai chi. Here's an example of their work.

Tai Chi Treats the Body As a Whole

Wayne says tai chi sees the body as an interconnected system. So you won't do one exercise for the biceps and another for the glutes. Instead, tai chi's many standing swaying poses work everything at once, covering the upper and lower body and the right and the left side, plus the core.

As the individual follows the teacher, tai chi trains the body to move in graceful poses that are aligned to improve posture and balance with results that carry over into daily life.  Overall there is less stress and load on the joints too.

The researchers reported their participants improved their ability to move better with less effort and also experienced a mental boost. As the individuals sat or walked more upright they also had a more positive outlook on life.

To see how this new prescription for health could work for you, locate a class and observe a session or find a spot on the grass and begin to participate. Enjoy.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Antonio, Tex.

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