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.