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by Ruby Olar

The practice or "Playing" of Tai Chi Chuan has a long and honorable history in

China where it is still practiced today, as a health exercise by the masses.

The Chinese have extolled the virtues of Tai Chi and the tremendous economic

and social benefits a nation accumulates when its people are healthy and

productive into old age.

It has been scientifically documented that the practice of Tai Chi increases

blood circulation, oxygen intake, range of motion, muscle and bone mass,

muscle and skin tone, balance, posture and mental

alertness. Recent studies show Tai Chi reduces Shingles in seniors and is an

aid in slowing the progression both Multiple Sclerosis and Multiple Dystrophy.

Tai Chi has proven so successful with Arthritis patients that the American

Arthritis Foundation has promoted Tai Chi for Arthritis classes. Tai Chi is an

integral part of the Chinese Medical System that includes acupuncture and

healthful foods. The system is a holistic, preventative medicine approach to


The Tai Chi form is performed in a gentle, slow motion manner, much like

floating or swimming in the air. The movements may be done small or large

depending on each individual's ability. The player slowly shifts weight from

one foot to the other. With turns and twists of the body moves through a series

a postures with descriptive names like, "stroke the bird's tail, wave hands

like clouds, play the lute and white crane cools its wings." The mood may be

deeply meditative or light and friendly.

Tai chi is often referred to as, "The Formless Form." The movements are

traditionally performed in a standard sequence, Yet, this sequence may be

transformed into movement motifs to accent a particular benefit or adapt to a

players individual needs. Moving through a repeated series of movements that

emphasizes the relation between the parts of the body, i.e. hand and elbows,

elbows and hips, hand at eye level, etc. is extremely reality orienting and

sensory stimulating in a very easy non-threatening way. Tai Chi has proven

successful as a therapeutic modality in psychiatric facilities as a reality

orientation, sensory stimulation and mood stabilization tool.

While its sister modality, Acupuncture, is being applied in Western hospitals

for a variety of treatments, Tai Chi is just now being recognized for its many

benefits. Simple, easy to do, pleasant to practice and good for you. Tai Chi

Chuan may very well be the supreme ultimate exercise.

by Ruby Olar
Home Page: Tai Chi Ruby

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