How beneficial are Taiji classes? In the United States, medical researchers analysed 47 studies looking at Taiji classes and the impact that Taiji had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.
Their findings were that Taiji benefits include improved balance, flexibility and even the health of the heart.
Their findings, published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, state that Taiji benefits also resulted in reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.
This art originated in China, centuries ago, as a martial art but its health giving properties were such that it is now widely practiced purely as a health and wellbeing exercise. Combining abdominal breathing, relaxation and fluid movement between postures, Taiji produces a bio-feedback loop that gradually deepens this relaxation, slows the respiration and produces a deep feeling of wellbeing.
Taiji players know through experience that it can have a profound, positive, effect on their health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility. It is also beneficial for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress through the inner calmness that it produces.
The study (by doctors at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston) suggests there is medical evidence to back up those claims.
Their findings, based on a review of studies published in both English and Chinese state.
“Overall, these studies reported that long-term Taiji practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders”.
Taiji helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”.
Importantly, they also recognise that Taiji also has benefits for people with serious, chronic, conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
“Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”
Taiji benefits are well recognised and Taiji has been used in Chinese hospitals for years in the treatment of chronic illness and also prescribed to people who have had heart attacks and heart surgery. It used to be the case that this type of treatment regime was written off as “quackery” by western doctors. Not so now! Now we see Taiji being recommended as a post heart bypass, etc. exercise. Not only that but many doctors are also joining Taiji classes and practicing this art to benefit their own health.