T'ai Chi for Healthy Aging

Are you looking for relief from pain? increasing your flexibility? or a way to cooperate with your joints as they age? The Qigong form of T'ai Chi (pronounced: tie chee) is for you!

What is T'ai Chi? An ancient form of movement practiced first hundreds of years ago in China as a form of the martial art Kung Fu...

...now, it has spread to the Western world. It offers the following health and social benefits.

  • Noncompetitive
  • Nonimpact
  • Highly aerobic (in the sense that you are breathing deeply)
  • Wonderfully beneficial for joint health
  • Increases blood oxygen levels and flow
  • Decreases high blood pressure
  • Increases range of motion
  • Useful in reducing the effects of stress
  • Increases your balance and gracefulness
  • Offers the opportunity to meet and socialize with like-minded people your age

It's also worked to help fibromyalgia, shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome.... Read more here.

T'ai Chi--not Yoga Exercise

These two are not the same, although they both have roots in the Eastern world. Yoga focuses on moving into a position ("pose") and holding it, while breathing as deeply as possible. To skip over to the page on benefits of yoga, click here. Simply close page to return!

In contrast, T'ai Chi practice moves constantly, from one position to another, smoothly and gracefully.

T'ai Chi also is not a martial art, although it shares historical roots with Kung Fu. For example, when you "strum the lute" you are picturing destroying your opponent's shoulder...

...and in Qigong (chee-goong), you are picturing the flow of healing energy traveling down into your wrist.

Still Curious? Here's the "Why" behind T'ai Chi

How does it work? Three theories form the explanation behind this complementary medicine--in Traditional Chinese Medicine in general and in Qigong specifically.

Yin-Yang Theory: behind the movement lies the theory common to Chinese medicine of two forms of energy--yin and yang, dark and light, energizing and renewing. Moving in this discipline is designed to balance these opposing forces.

For visual learners, Sifu (Kung fu teacher) Wing Lam demonstrates the Yang Style of Qigong in this 93-second video. English text in the middle of the video explains exactly what Mr. Lam is doing well...straight, moving, balanced moves.

The Five Elements Theory--five elements in nature which correspond to body systems, all of which must be balanced for optimum health.

  • Wood: Liver, growth at birth, yang.
  • Fire: Heart, maximum growth, yang.
  • Metal: Lungs, declining functions, yin.
  • Earth: Spleen, stabilization, balanced between yin and yang.
  • Water: Kidneys, rest, yin.

In the Six Stages Theory, disease proceeds from certain less vital organs and systems toward the most critical ones, such as the pericardium and liver.

And that's just the start of what I'm learning as I study various forms of complementary and alternative medicine!

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