Zen Wellness Tai Chi

Why Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is both a preventive and a complementary therapy for a wide range of conditions. Specifically, it is beneficial for chronic pain, gout, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, headaches, and sleep disorders. Tai Chi is also beneficial for the immune system and the central nervous system, which makes it especially good for people with a chronic illness, anxiety, depression or any stress-related condition. The deep breathing of Tai Chi regulates the respiratory system helping to treat respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It also stimulates the abdomen, which aids digestion and helps relieve consti pation and gastrointestinal conditions. Many studies indicate that elderly people who practice Tai Chi are much less prone to falls, a serious health risk to people in that age group.

Millions of people world wide, enjoy the long-term benefits of practicing Tai Chi.  Our Tai Chi program offers courses for the total beginner or the advanced practitioner.

Tai Chi improves overall fitness, coordination, and agility. People who practice Tai Chi on a regular basis tend to have good posture, flexibility, and range of motion, are more mentally alert, and sleep more soundly at night.

Zen Wellness – Tai Chi and Health

By Dr. David Frens
Retired Neurologist
1st degree Black Belt
Sun City West, AZ

As we enter the twenty-first century, chronic health issues have become an increasing concern. This seems especially true for seniors who are experiencing these conditions and are seeking ways to prevent or treat their chronic health conditions and enhance their quality of life. While the preceding century saw much advancement in care and prevention, it, unfortunately, also saw a rise in stress and sedentary life style related aliments, including obesity, anxiety, hypertension, musculoskeletal impairments, bowel dysfunction, and many more. These later conditions have several factors in common: many can be prevented by life style changes and many are often quite resistant to conventional treatment once they have become chronic. Additionally, in many cases, conventional treatments appear to be associated with a significant incidence of side effects.

Because of these issues, health care trends in the twenty-first century are moving toward a willingness to try treatme nt approaches derived from cultures and philosophies which differ from those in western cultures. An example of this is the growing interest in western cultures in Chinese Tai Chi and other energy enhancing breathing exercises as tools useful in proactive health maintenance and treatment of chronic health impairments.The Chinese culture has used Tai Chi and Chi Gong (energy enhancing breathing exercises) for centuries to maintain a healthy body and calm mind. Many in western cultures who have learned these practices have noted similar beneficial effects.

In terms of treating chronic disease, Chinese medicine teaches that Tai Chi and Chi Gong beneficially stimulate all organ systems, helping to prevent or treat disease. A recent study using empiric western methodology found that performance of Tai Chi by seniors with shingles could significantly reduce the pain in those performing Tai Chi versus those not doing so. One explanation for the findings would be the possibility that performance of Tai Chi enhanced the immune system – an explanation in agreement with the Chinese belief that Tai Chi can enhance all organ system functions, including those of the immune system. These touch points between eastern and western beliefs and practices in areas of health maintenance and disease treatment should prove useful in providing future innovative approaches to the goal of achieving an enhanced life experience.

So, what is Tai Chi, can seniors do it, and does it have beneficial effects? These are the impact questions for seniors to consider.