Tai Chi Alternative Medicine
The practice of Tai Chi such as that taught in Portland Oregon, started as a form of martial arts taught in China several centuries ago. Today you will find this mind-body practice being used as a (CAM) or complementary and alternative medicine in many countries, including the US where the benefits of this practice are just now beginning to be seen by many in the medical community as having intrinsic value and true healing qualities.
Many experts refer to Tai Chi as the practice of “moving meditation” as those who practice this ancient martial art move their bodies slowly through a series of very carefully coordinated forms that require one to be very aware of only the form that they are performing and of their breathing. This is very similar to the most basic form of meditation, where one is taught to be aware of and focus only on one’s breathing letting go of all other thoughts.
Bit of History
The history of Tai Chi Chuan varies depending on where you hear it, but the most popular legend claims that a Taoist Monk named Chang San-Feng created a set of exercises for himself and his fellow monks that imitated the movements of the animals he saw each day. When combined with meditation it allows one to balance the forces of Yin and Yang within the body and Qi which is one’s life force. The concept here is that when you achieve a balance of Yin and Yang your Qi will flow more freely and improve both physical and mental health.
As to how popular and effective the practice of Tai Chi or as it is also know Taiji is, a National Health Interview survey conducted in 2007 showed that approximately 2.3 million adults in the US practiced Tai Chi Chuan as form of CAM over the 12 months preceding the date of the survey. This number has continued to grow as research shows that Tai Chi not only helps with physical conditioning, but weight loss, easing the pain of arthritis and osteoarthritis and can help improve balance in the elderly as well as many other benefits.
In the same year the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM funded a study regarding the use of Tai Chi for adults to see how it boosted their immune response to the varicella-zoster virus. This is the virus that causes shingles in adults, the results showed that taking Tai Chi classes may have actually improved overall immune system response as well as the feeling of overall well-being in those who were involved in the study.
Concluding Tai Chi
While Tai Chi is considered to be a very effective form of complementary and alternative medicine, it is not intended to be a replacement for your conventional treatments and you should consult with your doctor before taking classes or making any changes to your medications or treatment.