March 18, 2004
Need a health boost? Try Tai Chi. This traditional Chinese martial art has a long list of health benefits including effects on balance, flexibility and cardiovascular health, according to a new study. Tai Chi also helps reduce the risk of falling among the elderly.
Tai Chi is the combination of deep breathing with relaxation and postures that flow from one to another through slow movements. It has been practiced in China for centuries. While many already swear by the benefits of Tai Chi, now there is scientific evidence to back it up. Researchers from Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston analyzed 47 research studies on Tai Chi.
Researchers found Tai Chi has many health benefits. They found improvements in patients who had undergone heart bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, heart attack, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Tai Chi also appears to reduce pain, stress and anxiety in people. Benefits in balance, flexibility and strength were also reported.
Recent studies suggest Tai Chi also boosts immunity to the shingles virus among seniors as well as offers benefits to people with Parkinsonís disease.
While the mechanism behind Tai Chi is not fully understood, study authors say it is clear Tai Chi is helpful for those with chronic health conditions. They say another big plus with Tai Chi is itís an art that can be practiced at any age.
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2004;164:493-501
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