Don’t let the exotic name fool you. A fast-growing body of scientific evidence suggests that Tai Chi offers real health benefits as an adjunct therapy to standard medical treatments for many age-related health conditions.
…and mentions that medical evidence also suggests that Tai Chi may help:
In short, Tai Chi might actually be the real “ancient Chinese secret” to health and longevity.
But what is it? Tai Chi is a low-impact, slow-motion, exercise. It consists of a series of gentle continuous movements that flow into one another at an even pace and require the mind to focus. Deep, even breathing is combined with the movements. The continuous flow of relaxed movements exercises joints and muscles gently, and the required focus improves an awareness of one’s own body and what it is doing (“proprioception” – the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space[iv]). While Tai Chi originated in China hundreds of years ago as a martial art, today it is mainly practiced for exercise and health benefits.
What is a class like? Most classes involve 2 or 3 parts:
Do I need to buy into the philosophy? Nope, not a requirement. Once started, many people simply get curious about the history and origin of Tai Chi, but you do not need to buy into any particular philosophy to enjoy the benefits of Tai Chi.
I’m out of shape – can I really do this? Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels.
OK, I’m sold – what do I do?
[i] “The health benefits of tai chi”, Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, published May, 2009 and updated August 20, 2019. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-tai-chi
[ii] For more information on the University of Pittsburgh’s BRiTE Wellness Center and its programs, see https://www.brite.pitt.edu/ BRiTE Tai Chi classes are taught by Sifu David Slaughter – see www.sifuslaughterscma.com
[iii] “Tai chi: A gentle way to fight stress”, Mayo Clinic Staff, Mayo Clinic, September 26, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184
[iv] See Harvard Medical School article under endnote 1 above.
Mary Lou Ferraro, age 74, has been studying under Sifu Slaughter and practicing Kung Fu and Tia Chi for the past 23 years. A former surgical ICU nurse at the veterans hospital, Ms. Ferraro displays amazing energy, flexibility and power in Kung Fu classes each week, not only keeping up with, but often outshining, her much younger classmates. Ms. Ferraro holds a level three black belt in kung fu after successfully testing for level 3 in early 2019. Ms. Ferraro also practices Tai Chi for increased balance and flexibility, and has taught both Kung Fu and Tai Chi.