Close

MDA London News

We are an active organisation promoting the wonderful art of Traditional Tai Chi Chuan. Find out more about how you can enjoy something practised by millions of people around the world.

Stay up to date with our news, upcoming events, workshops and seminars

Tai Chi could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life !

Harvard Women's Health Watch

The health benefits of tai chi

This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.
Updated: December 4, 2015 Published: May, 2009

Tai Chi is often described as "meditation in motion," but it might well be called "medication in motion."
There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health.

In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions — for example, "white crane spreads its wings" — or martial arts moves, such as "box both ears."

As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations. Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched.

Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most !t to people con!ned to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

Tai chi movement
"A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age," says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School's Osher Research Centre.
An adjunct therapy is one that's used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient's functioning and quality of life.

Belief systems
You don't need to subscribe to or learn much about tai chi's roots in Chinese philosophy to enjoy its health benefits, but these concepts can help make sense of its approach:

Qi — an energy force thought to #ow through the body; tai chi is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi.

Yin and yang — opposing elements thought to make up the universe that need to be kept in harmony. Tai chi is said to promote this balance.

Gauge your progress.
Most beginning programs and tai chi interventions tested in medical research last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By the end of that time, you should know whether you enjoy tai chi, and you may already notice positive physical and psychological changes.

No pain, big gains
Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn't leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here's some of the evidence:

Muscle strength.
Tai chi can improve both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. When practiced regularly, tai chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking.
"Although you aren't working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body," says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. "Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen."

Flexibility.
Tai chi can boost upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.

Balance.
Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one's body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and #exibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.

Aerobic conditioning.
Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic bene!ts. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can o"er, you may need something more aerobic as well.
... See MoreSee Less

Wishing everybody
a happy Christmas
and New Year

from the international
Master Ding Academy
... See MoreSee Less

 

Comment on Facebook

Happy holidays 😃

Happy New Year to you, too! www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxEkrgusnmQ

Tai Chi & Alternative Health Issue 88 is now out.

Here is the Editorial of this issue.

The modern world we live in today is ever so busy. So much so that it has the potential to literally sap away all our energies if we allow it. Too often, we forget to look after our own well being, as we focus most of our daily activities externally – work, friends and family. Little time is left for oneself and often it is a case of ‘Too little, too late.’ We should take time out to “service” our bodies, just like our cars. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama gave an interesting reply, ‘Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.’ We should look after our health in order to derive a better quality of life. Good health is one of the most valuable and important aspects of our life. Regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan will help maintain our health – mind, body and spirit.

In this issue, we look at the growing evidence for the health benefits of Tai Chi Chuan with help of a medical systematic review charting art’s evidenced benefits by Patricia Huston and Bruce McFarlane. Master John Ding’s articles, Power through Structure and Tai Chi Chuan applications will provide valuable reference points as regards to improving your form and applications. Nick Cheang’s article, “Formlessness” looks at how it comes from actualisation of Tai Chi's concepts and principles, rather than from the pursuit of ever more physical movement. We also have an abstract, “Dynamic Stillness” from Ged Sumner’s book, “Body Intelligence Meditation” to give us an insight of the mystery of life being the blend of dynamism and stillness. Lastly, a big welcome to our new contributor, Jamiel El-Sharif who shares his understanding of the importance of the Tai Chi principle – Peng Jing.

As this is our last issue for 2017, we at the TCAH team would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May all your goals be achieved in the coming year. For the Chinese readers, “Kung Hei Fatt Choy” in the coming Year of the Dog, which begins on the 16th February 2018.

Until, then see you next year!
... See MoreSee Less

Tai Chi & Alternative Health Issue 88 is now out. 

Here is the Editorial of this issue.
 
The modern world we live in today is ever so busy. So much so that it has the potential to literally sap away all our energies if we allow it. Too often, we forget to look after our own well being, as we focus most of our daily activities externally – work, friends and family. Little time is left for oneself and often it is a case of ‘Too little, too late.’ We should take time out to “service” our bodies, just like our cars. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama gave an interesting reply, ‘Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.’ We should look after our health in order to derive a better quality of life. Good health is one of the most valuable and important aspects of our life. Regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan will help maintain our health – mind, body and spirit.  
 
In this issue, we look at the growing evidence for the health benefits of Tai Chi Chuan with help of a medical systematic review charting art’s evidenced benefits by Patricia Huston and Bruce McFarlane. Master John Ding’s articles, Power through Structure and Tai Chi Chuan applications will provide valuable reference points as regards to improving your form and applications. Nick Cheang’s article, “Formlessness” looks at how it comes from actualisation of Tai Chis concepts and principles, rather than from the pursuit of ever more physical movement. We also have an abstract, “Dynamic Stillness” from Ged Sumner’s book, “Body Intelligence Meditation” to give us an insight of the mystery of life being the blend of dynamism and stillness. Lastly, a big welcome to our new contributor, Jamiel El-Sharif who shares his understanding of the importance of the Tai Chi principle – Peng Jing.
 
As this is our last issue for 2017, we at the TCAH team would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May all your goals be achieved in the coming year. For the Chinese readers, “Kung Hei Fatt Choy” in the coming Year of the Dog, which begins on the 16th February 2018.

Until, then see you next year!

8 months ago

Master Ding Traditional Tai Chi

Harvard University
How does Tai chi affect health?
... See MoreSee Less

Load more

Start Your Journey

Experience traditional Tai Chi first hand or find out about becoming an instructor of Master Ding Academy