Gentle Acupuncture    Tai Chi

Tai Chi ( 太极拳, Tai Chi Chuan, Tai Ji Quan, Taiji )

Tai Chi is a traditional martial art and health-promoting exercise that originated in China
700 years ago. Zhang Shan Feng was said to be the founder. In hundreds years Tai Chi
has been modified a lot and developed into many styles or schools, such as Yang (杨),
Chen (陈), He (和), Sun (孙), Wu (吴), Wu (武), Li (李), Hao (郝) etc, as well as a  
comprehensive and shorter style Form 24 Tai Chi (4-6 minutes to play) and National/Asian
competition Routine Form 42 Tai Chi (6-10 minutes) lately.

Tai Chi is practiced by tens of millions of people every day, and provide a variety of health
benefits. Research has shown that Tai Chi and Qigong not only help improve one's
balance and muscle tone, but that they may strengthen the immune system, restore
flexibility and agility, increase a person’s awareness of his or her surroundings, and lower
stress and anxiety levels. The gentle and slow exercise can prevent or ease many ills of
aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of life.

Tai Chi was created based on the unification of Yin and Yang, stillness and movement,
emptiness and fullness, softness and hardness, retreating and advancing, gazing and
looking, etc. While playing Tai Chi, your movements, breaths and mind are highly related
in harmony. Today, although the martial art aspect is still applicable, Tai Chi is practiced
mainly for preventive and therapeutic purposes, to keep fit and prolong life. Tai Chi is
receiving great attention from people around the world in regards to its healing effects on
the body and mind.

Tai Chi has a very close relationship with
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. Both
them share same philosophy that things are made of Yin and Yang. For example, human
are made of female (Yin) and male (Yang); legs are Yin, arms are Yang; chest is Yin, back
is Yang; inside is Yin, outside is Yang; Earth is Yin, Sky is Yang. The philosophy considers
that the physical body, the universe, the four/five seasons, and everything under heaven
and earth are closely related. The relationship between the internal organs, meridians,
the spirit, and the physical form are mutually related and function in unison with the entire
body.


Why chose Tai Chi as a regular exercise?

1. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from young to aging, from strong to weak,
from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery, for
preventive and therapeutic purposes, to keep fit (especially for internal organs), make
strong and prolong life. The benefits have been confirmed by 700 years history.

2. While playing Tai Chi, your movements, breaths and mind are highly related in
harmony. This is distinguished character of Tai Chi. It is often described as "meditation in
motion,"

3. No over-stretched joints or over-repeated movements, no sports injury that frequently
happened in many kinds of sports. Tai Chi is a kind of gentle, slow exercise that were
reported very good for heart and vessel system. You can chose and play Tai Chi even you
feel very weak, or is recovering from some severe diseases.


Benefits and Components of Tai Chi

Stress reduction, better focus and concentration, increased flexibility, improved strength, enhanced
immune system, better energy balance, improved memory, improved circulation, increased
coordination, some healing effects,  and prolong life, et al.

Tai Chi has three major components—movement, meditation, and deep breathing.

Movement -- all the major muscle groups and joints are needed for the slow, gentle movements in tai
chi. Tai chi improves balance, agility, strength, flexibility, stamina, muscle tone, and coordination.
This low-impact, weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and can slow bone loss, thus
preventing the development of osteoporosis.

Meditation -- research shows that meditation soothes the mind, enhances concentration, reduces
anxiety, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate.  

Deep breathing -- exhaling stale air and toxins from the lungs while inhaling a plentitude of fresh air
increases lung capacity, stretches the muscles involved in breathing, and releases tension. It also
enhances blood circulation to the brain, which boosts mental alertness. At the same time, the entire
body is supplied with fresh oxygen and nutrients.  


Our Free Program for Tai Chi

Currently, regular Tai Chi classes are not offered by Gentle Acupuncture. But we provide a special
Tai Chi program for our long-care patients and without extra appointment when those patients come
for their acupuncture sessions.

Any patient who had over ten visits of acupuncture treatment in Gentle Acupuncture clinic, qualify
for free training in Basic Tai Chi. By Basic Tai Chi, we mean the rehearsal of fundamental forms of
Tai Chi practice, certain coordination of the legs and arms, as well as breathing, that are elementary
to the harmonizing of mind and body such a practice undertakes.

Just make your interest known to your acupuncturist when you come to this office!


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References:

1.李德印, "简化太极拳", 门惠丰, "太极拳竞赛套路",  中华武术杂志编辑部《太极拳入门》, 人民体育出版社,
1993
2.青山, 石恒 《杨式太极拳 发劲、运气、练势》, 北京体育大学出版社, 1994.
3. Harvard Health Publications, The health benefits of Tai Chi. http://www.health.harvard.
edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2009/May/The-health-benefits-of-tai-chi
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Such as Salem, Derry NH, Hampstead NH, Hudson NH, Londonderry NH, Manchester NH, Pelham NH, Plaistow NH,
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