Scientists Wowed by Tai Chi Health Benefits

By Valerie Burke, MSN on GreenMedInfo

There are good reasons for Tai Chi's exploding popularity—its list of evidence-based health benefits is so long that many are calling this walking meditation, "walking medication"

Tai chi has grown in popularity to the point that it's giving yoga a run for its money. Now practiced by about 3.5 million Americans,[1] Tai Chi boasts a mountain of scientific literature supporting its health benefits for people of all ages and abilities—from healthy young adults to the elderly or wheelchair bound. Investigations suggest a regular Tai Chi practice can bring welcome relief from a variety of medical conditions.

Tai Chi is a mind-body practice with a somewhat fuzzy history dating back about 700 years in China. Foundational concepts are believed to stem from the Tao Te Ching, I Ching and others.[2] Tai Chi remains popular in China, where it's practiced daily en masse, often early in the morning in parks and open spaces. Slow, gentle movements are integrated with breath work and a variety of cognitive components, including mindfulness and visual imagery. The fact that Tai Chi requires very methodical, low impact movements makes it especially suitable for older adults and those recovering from illness or injury.

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