Tai chi has been called many things, beginning with its literal translation, Ultimate Fist. It is also known as a Moving Meditation and as the Longevity Exercise.With so many different qualities and aspects, it’s not surprising that tai chi also brings a wide range of benefits--from stress reduction to stronger punches as well as better sleep and fewer colds.The list goes on, but here’s an overview of the benefits of tai chi, organized in terms of:
• Stress Management
• Self Defense
Health Benefits. Everyone who practices tai chi wins in terms of health benefits. Given the situation with rising health care costs, maintaining and improving physical health is on the minds of many.Tai chi not only exercises the muscles, it twists and stretches all parts of the body. This feels like a massage for the internal organs. With all of this twisting and massaging, blood, other fluids and energy can better flow throughout the body.Tai chi practitioners experience a sense of aliveness, of vitality. They gain more coordination, balance and a simple confidence in moving. With this inner and physical grace, falls and other stumbling mishaps are less likely.If the body is already injured, from an accident or a chronic disease, tai chi can help to relieve the pain and symptoms and to speed recovery.Tai chi is useful for both preventive medicine as well as restoring health after injury or illness. Read about these health mechanisms as well as some background about thehealth benefits of tai chi.
Stress Management Benefits. Stress is not only a leading risk factor for many deadly health conditions, including heart attacks and stroke, it can negatively impact one’s relationships and personal happiness as well.Through the regular practice of tai chi, one can better deal with stress—whether caused by external factors such as death of a loved one or by one’s own negative thoughts. Practitioners learn to move energy in a way that doesn’t continue to feed cycles of negative thoughts and feelings. This also helps to clear out the deleterious effects of stress hormones which are released in stressful situations.Tai chi also helps practitioners to be less susceptible to stress. Just as tai chi strengthens one’s immune system, tai chi can strengthen one’s emotional and mental shields. Because tai chi is all about relaxation, stress and tension have a harder time of locking into a relaxed mind and body.Read more about how tai chi is an effective stress management tool.
Self Defense Benefits. Tai chi was developed to be a highly effective martial art. Those choosing to practice tai chi as a martial art gain solid self defense skills. Good fighting skills require good health, and the health benefits from tai chi are simply part of the package when training for self defense.Tai chi for self defense incorporates internal energy principles of qi use and development. Tai chi is an internal martial art, using both visible external movements as well as invisible internal energy movements against opponents. It relies more on relaxation, rather than muscular strength, against opponents. Practitioners of tai chi as a martial art learn solid self defense skills and relaxation—and not aggression. Read more about the self defense benefits of tai chi here.The range of benefits from tai chi—including health, stress management, and self defense skills--translates to a myriad of reasons to start or to deepen your tai chi practice.