What is Tai Chi?
The Chinese exercise system of Tai Chi Chuan, as we know it today, was developed about 500 years ago, though the philosophy behind it can be traced back a further 1,500 years at least. Based on the Daoist principles of balance, harmony and naturalness, the series of carefully structured, gentle flowing movements, accompanied by natural breathing, has evolved into one of the most effective and comprehensive exercise routines. Designed to relax both the mind and the body and lift the spirit, Tai Chi develops the whole person, improving both physical and mental health.
What are the benefits?
Tai Chi's healing power has been well-known in Chinese culture for centuries. It has been used for many disorders, including heart and circulation problems, addictions, arthritis, muscular injuries, asthma and nervous disturbances. Contemporary research has shown a correlation between Tai Chi and enhancement of the immune system.
With regular practice, Tai Chi develops stamina, strength and flexibility. The flowing movements release the tensions that are so common today, allowing the body to start to perform as it should, muscles relax, breathing deepens and circulation, posture and balance improve, all of which will enhance every day life.
As Tai Chi is a weight-bearing exercise, it helps maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Recent NHS research has shown that it can reduce the incidence of falls in older people.
If you need to rebuild your health, regular practice of Tai Chi can be excellent for your heart and lungs and raise your level of cardiovascular fitness.
Tai Chi is a proven antidote to stress. The movements slowly relax and calm the mind. This is why Tai Chi masters often refer to it as "moving harmony".
Who can do it?
Tai Chi can be done by people of all ages and at all levels of fitness. It is not competitive and everyone works at their own level and for their own benefit. It is absorbing but not exhausting or stressful.
There is no need for any special equipment or clothing, just wear something loose and comfortable and socks or flat, soft soled shoes.
Tai Chi helps eliminate toxins from the body; which is why it may help when undergoing chemo or radiotherapy; or taking any medical drugs.
Comments from students of Tai Chi at the SECHC: 'less stressed'; 'helped me cope with my treatment'; 'painful bone growth on ankle has disappeared'; 'feel calmer'.
- Tai Chi reduces stress responses, lowering the incidence of anxiety, depression, fatigue and general mood disturbance. *
- Boosts the immune system. *
- Improves postural control, while stretching, toning and relaxing the body in a cumulative way that no other exercise can achieve. *
- Tai Chi is probably the lowest weight bearing exercise, and modified forms can be suitable even for arthritis sufferers. *
- Tai Chi has been recommended as an adjunct therapy for chronic pain, AIDS, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia and any psychosomatic illness. *
- 70% of all Doctor's visits are due to stress. *
Come and join us
Wear something comfy and loose fitting, with flat shoes, such as an espadrille or jazz shoe; or socks or bare feet (nothing tight anywhere). All you have to bring is yourself. Come along and try it out. Sessions are in small groups every Wednesday. 10:30am for advanced students and 12:15 for beginners.
* Taken from Tai Chi and alternative health issue 20; Bill Douglas.