Beating Stress with Tai Chi:
By: Michael Appleman, CEO

What is Tai Chi?:

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition. It is currently practiced as a elegant form of exercise. It relates to a series of movements performed in a slow, focused style that is accompanied by deep breathing.
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Translations

Tai Chi, which is also called Rai Chi Chuan, is an uncompetitive, self-paced method of gentle physical exercises and stretching. Each position flows into the next without a pause. This assure that your body is in continual movement.

Tai Chi has many different styles. Each style may subtly accentuate assorted Tai Chi values and methods. There are variations within each style. Some styles may center on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is different from yoga, another type of meditative motion. Yoga includes assorted physical postures and breathing techniques, along with meditation.

Who Can Use Tai Chi?:

Tai Chi is low striking and puts minimal stress on our muscles and joints. This makes Tai Chi generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. Because Tai Chi is a low impact exercise, it may be especially suited if you're a burn survivor or an older
adult who does not exercise.

You may also find Tai Chi attractive because it is inexpensive and requires no special equipment. You can do Tai Chi anywhere, including indoors or outside. And you can do Tai Chi alone, with a DVD or in a group class.

Although Tai Chi is most like safe for most people, burn survivor's, pregnant women or individuals with back pain, fractures, joint problems, muscle problems, severe osteoporosis, suffering or had a hernia or on medications should consult their health care provider before trying Tai Chi. If needed adjustments or avoidance of certain postures may be needed.

Why Should I Try Tai Chi?

When learned correctly and performed on a regular basis, Tai Chi can be a affirmative part of an general plan of attack to improving your health. The benefits of Tai Chi may include:

- Decreased anxiety, depression and/or stress
- Improved aerobic capacity
- Improved agility, equilibrium and flexibility
- Increased energy, power and strength
- Improved mood
- Improved muscle strength and definition

To determine the health benefits from Tai Chi it would be best to have more research. Some grounds shows that Tai Chi also may help:

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- Help lower blood pressure
- Help lower your joint pain
- Improve overall well-being
- Lower symptoms of congestive heart failure
- Lower your risk of falls in older adults
- Raise your quality of sleep
- Raise your immune system

How To Get Started:

Although you can rent or buy videos and books relating Tai Chi, you might want to think about seeking counseling from a well-qualified Tai Chi educator to gain the full benefits and learn the best techniques.

You can find Tai Chi classes in your community. To find a class near you, contact local fitness centers, health clubs and senior centers. Tai Chi instructors do not have to be licensed or attend a training program. It is a good idea to ask the instructor about his/her training and experience, and get recommendations if possible.

A Tai Chi instructor can teach you specific positions and breathing techniques. An instructor can also teach you how to practice Tai Chi safely, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, balance or coordination problems or on medications. Although Tai Chi is slow and gentle, and does not usually have negative side effects, it may be possible to get injured if you do not use the proper methods. After learning Tai Chi, you may feel positive enough to perform Tai Chi on your own. Maintaining The Positive Results While you may gain benefits from using a Tai Chi class that lasts 12 weeks or less, to maintain and possibly increase the benefits you should continue Tai Chi for the long term. In order to create a routine you might want to find it positive practice to perform Tai Chi and do it at the same time every daily in order to create a routine. If your unable to do Tai Chi on a schedule you might still like to try it whenever you have a few minutes. You might want to try using the calming mind-body concepts of Tai Chi when you are in a stressful situation.

After learning Tai Chi, you may feel positive enough to perform Tai Chi on your own.

Maintaining The Positive Results:

While you may gain benefits from using a Tai Chi class that lasts 12 weeks or less, to maintain and possibly increase the benefits you should continue Tai Chi for the long term.

In order to create a routine you might want to find it positive practice to perform Tai Chi and do it at the same time every daily in order to create a routine. If your unable to do Tai Chi on a schedule you might still like to try it whenever you have a few minutes. You might want to try using the calming mind-body concepts of Tai Chi when you are in a stressful situation.

Think about giving Tai Chi a try and live with the benefits you can gain from the ancient Chinese tradition.

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