Tai Chi in the news

2014.06.15 – The Telegraph – Tai Chi – Tai chi is the perfect antidote to a digital age

Taiwanese scientists are making new claims for the health benefits of tai chi, and it’s the ideal way to slow down

…“I first tried tai chi 10 years ago. Thought it was a complete rip-off,” says one of my classmates.. “Different frame of mind then, I suppose.”

…Bored, baffled, ripped-off: all things that crossed my mind in my first few weeks learning tai chi. But eight months in, I can’t get enough of it…

…News stories sporadically proclaim tai chi’s health benefits, from boosting memory to slowing the progression of Parkinson’s. Only last week Taiwanese scientists found that people who practised tai chi had a higher number of stem cells than those in other groups. It’s “the first step to providing scientific evidence” for tai chi’s health benefits, according to Dr Paul Sanberg at the University of South Florida. But the numbers of people practising tai chi in the UK are tiny compared with those doing yoga. The reason often cited is that it’s harder; some say it’s more like taking up an instrument than an aerobics class…

…I would love to say my first really revelatory tai chi moment was during the “White Crane” …But it wasn’t. For me the first signs of progress showed up quietly, between the cracks of a busy week when I began to pay attention to things I hadn’t noticed before. One morning I was waiting for the kettle to boil when I realised I was standing in Form One – a straight standing posture – but it felt entirely wrong. Hearing my teacher’s voice in my head I dropped the tension in my jaw, my shoulders, my chest, my hands and my belly…

…Talking to family and friends, I’ve noticed there are still broad misconceptions about tai chi in this country. Not least that it’s an elegant, feminine and slightly useless martial art, reserved for the elderly. Our class, of all sizes and ages, has twice as many men than women…

…tai chi really gets interesting when you forget about what you look like, and start to notice how you feel.”…

…Tai chi is mentally, as well as physically, grounding. I’m finding it the perfect antidote to the pace set by the digital world; having been seduced for years by the delights and benefits of click-of-a-button rewards, I’m relearning that working slowly, with method and intention, can be just as gratifying…

…Paul Cavel, a teacher, swears that tai chi helped him recover from a motorcycle accident aged 24… and now at 51 “more flexible and in better condition than before the accident”…

…Looking for other recovery stories… people with anything from acute and chronic illnesses and depression to cancer or debilitating back pain…even helped a 100-year-old lady who believed she’d become too weak to open doors until she tried tai chi…

Tai chi rewards a curious mind, so take an interest in the secrets that the moves are founded upon...

…Practise between classes…

 2013.02.06 – The Telegraph – Tai Chi – Tai Chi ‘reduces fall risk for stroke patients’

Doing Tai Chi exercises three times a week could greatly reduce the risk of falls among stroke survivors, researchers have found.

Stroke survivors are particularly at risk from falls Tai Chi could help prevent falls by improving people’s balance, muscle strength and endurance as well as providing psychological benefits…

…Dr Ruth Taylor-Piliae… “Learning how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a challenge. Tai Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is important to prevent falls.” …

2012.04.05NHS Choices – Your health, your choices – Tai chi and heart health in older people

Research looked at heart health of older people who did tai chi

Researchers found that older people… were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger…

The improvement of heart function combined with increased muscular power meant that the martial art should be considered the preferred technique for elderly people to maintain good health…

Tai Chi… is based on co-ordination and relaxation rather than muscular tension. It is believed that focusing the mind solely on the movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity…

…In the Hong Kong study, pulse measurements showed that Tai Chi specifically improved expansion and contraction of the arteries — known as arterial compliance, an important indicator of heart health — and increased knee muscle strength…

How tai chi can help children to concentrate – by SARAH HARRIS, Daily Mail

The ancient Chinese art of tai chi has turned a failing primary school round by helping pupils to concentrate and improve their behaviour…

Each morning before lessons, pupils spend ten minutes on exercises which aim to integrate and relax the mind and body… ‘Tai chi calms the children down and gets everyone in the right frame of mind’ … ‘The first lessons of the morning are literacy and numeracy, and the pupils are completely focused on that after tai chi…

‘Before school all the children are hyperactive and are running about and that is not the best preparation for class’… ‘After tai chi they are very calm and relaxed and settled for class… ‘At first some of the pupils did not take it seriously. They did not see it as a form of exercise like football or netball but it is. Now most enjoy it.’

2011.05.18 – The Independent – Tai chi improves balance, mental health in elderly: study

A review of medical studies gave the thumbs-up on Monday to tai chi as a way of preventing falls and improving mental health in the elderly, but does not confirm other claims made for the Chinese martial art.

British and South Korean researchers looked at 35 assessments of tai chi… There was evidence that, among the elderly, practicising tai chi helped sense of balance and boosted psychological wellbeing…

2009.10.29 – The Telegraph – Tai Chi ‘can ease the pain of arthritis’

Practising the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi can significantly ease the pain of arthritis, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that after just 12 weeks patients were in less than half as much pain as before they started performing the exercises…

2004.03.09 BBC News – Tai Chi ‘improves body and mind

The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi can help to improve people’s health, research suggests.

Doctors in the United States analysed 47 studies looking at the impact Tai Chi had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS. They found that it could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of their heart… it also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety…

Practitioners say it can have a positive effect on people’s health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility… They say it is also helpful for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress…

…these studies reported that long-term tai chi practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders…

…helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”. But it also had benefits for people with serious conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure…

“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.” …