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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yin Yang Explained

During 207 B.C.- 9 A.D., the early Han dynasty devoted itself to homogenizing Chinese culture and philosophy. Towards this end, thinkers of those times attempted to combine all the rival schools of thought into a single system termed as the Han synthesis.

Han philosophers concentrated specifically on the Five Classics, attempting to derive from them, especially from the I ching, or Book of Changes, the principle of the workings of the universe, which is also called Tao or Great Ultimate. Tao explains the metaphysical workings of the entire universe and is the origin of the Five Agents school of Chinese thought or the YIN -YANG. The workings of Yin and Yang and the progress of the five material agents or wu hsing can explain each and every change that takes place in the universe. It can be it related to nature, the human body, human psychology, the finer arts, historical or political changes, scientific findings or natural calamities. The principle of Yin and Yang is the foundation of the entire universe. It underlies everything in creation. It brings about the development of parenthood and is also the root and source of life and death.

Yin originally meant "shady, secret, dark, mysterious, cold.” Yang, in turn meant, "clear, bright, the sun, heat," the opposite of Yin. From these basic opposites, a complete system of opposites was elaborated. Fundamentally, where Yin represents everything about the world that is dark, hidden, passive, receptive, yielding, cool, soft, and feminine. Yang represents everything about the world that is illuminated, evident, active, aggressive, controlling, hot, hard, and masculine. Everything in the world can be identified with either Yin or Yang. Earth is the ultimate Yin object. Heaven is the ultimate Yang object. Of the two basic Chinese "ways," Confucianism is identified with Yang and Taoism Yin. Yin and Yang oppose one another in their actions; every phenomenon that occurs in the universe can be reduced to one of these opposite forces.

Where Yang stands for peace and tranquillity; Yin stands for chaos and turbulence.
Yang stands for destruction; Yin, for preservation.
Yang brings about disintegration; Yin creates
Water is an embodiment of Yin; fire is an embodiment of Yang.
Each of these opposite forces has the potential to produce the other; the concept of creation occurs under the principle of Yang, the completion of the created thing occurs under Yin, and vice versa. This production of Yin from Yang and Yang from Yin occurs cyclically and constantly, so that neither Yin nor Yang is continually predominant over the other. Every phenomenon or state, and its opposite that we experience, be it poverty and abundance, sickness and health, success and failure can be explained with reference to the transient precedence of one principle over the other. Since neither of the two, Yin or Yang dominates endlessly, which means that all conditions are subject to change into their opposites.

This cyclical nature of Yin and Yang, the opposing forces of change in the universe simply mean that every phenomenon changes to its opposite in an eternal cycle of reversal. Furthermore, since each principle produces the other, all phenomena have, within them the potential to change into the opposite state, that is, joy can change to sorrow, sickness to good health, depression to elation and so on and so forth. Also, even though the opposite may not be apparent, since one state produces the other, no phenomenon/ state is completely devoid of its opposite state.

This cyclic and opposite nature of Yin and Yang is very aptly illustrated through the Yin-Yang or the Tai-Chi symbol which is derived from the universe. This familiar symbol of Yin and Yang flowing into each other, illustrates, with interior dots, the idea that each force contains the seed of the other, so that they do not merely replace each other but actually become the other. The Yin -Yang symbol is therefore, a Chinese representation of the entire celestial phenomenon. It contains the cycle of Sun, four seasons, 24- Segment Chi, the foundation of the I-Ching and the Chinese calendar.

NIH Describes Tai Chi

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/taichi/

Tai Chi for Health Purposes
Tai chi (pronounced "tie chee" and also known by some other names and spellingsa) is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art. A person doing tai chi moves his body slowly and gently, while breathing deeply and meditating (tai chi is sometimes called "moving meditation"). Many practitioners believe that tai chi helps the flow throughout the body of a proposed vital energy called qi (pronounced "chee," it means "air," "puff," or "power"). In the United States, tai chi for health purposes is part of complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. This Backgrounder provides a general overview of tai chi and suggests some resources you can use to find more information.a Among the different names and spellings of tai chi are taiji and t'ai chi. Many consider the term "tai chi" to be a shortened form of "tai chi chuan" (two other spellings are t'ai chi ch'uan and taijiquan).

Key Points
Many people who practice tai chi do so to improve one or more aspects of their health and to stay healthy. Resources for finding published research on this practice are listed at the end of this Backgrounder.
It is not fully known what changes occur in the body during tai chi, whether they influence health, and, if so, how. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is sponsoring studies to find out more about tai chi's effects, how it works, and diseases and conditions for which it may be most helpful.
If you are considering or using any type of CAM, talk to your health care provider about it. This is for your safety and a complete treatment plan.

A Description of Tai Chi
Tai chi developed in China in about the 12th century A.D. It started as a martial art, or a practice for fighting or self-defense, usually without weapons. Over time, people began to use tai chi for health purposes as well. Many different styles of tai chi, and variations of each style, developed. The term "tai chi" has been translated in various ways, such as "internal martial art," "supreme ultimate boxing," "boundless fist," and "balance of the opposing forces of nature." While accounts of tai chi's history often differ, the most consistently important figure is a Taoist monk (and semilegendary figure) in 12th-century China named Chang San-Feng (or Zan Sanfeng). Chang is said to have observed five animals--tiger, dragon, leopard, snake, and crane--and to have concluded that the snake and the crane, through their movements, were the ones most able to overcome strong, unyielding opponents. Chang developed an initial set of exercises that imitated the movements of animals. He also brought flexibility and suppleness in place of strength to the martial arts, as well as some key philosophical concepts.

A person practicing tai chi moves her body in a slow, relaxed, and graceful series of movements. One can practice on one's own or in a group. The movements make up what are called forms (or routines). Some movements are named for animals or birds, such as "White Crane Spreads Its Wings." The simplest style of tai chi uses 13 movements; more complex styles can have dozens.
In tai chi, each movement flows into the next. The entire body is always in motion, with the movements performed gently and at uniform speed. It is considered important to keep the body upright, especially the upper body-many tai chi practitioners use the image of a string that goes from the top of the head into the heavens-and to let the body's weight sink to the soles of the feet.

In addition to movement, two other important elements in tai chi are breathing and meditation.b In tai chi practice, it is considered important to concentrate; put aside distracting thoughts; and breathe in a deep, relaxed, and focused manner. Practitioners believe that this breathing and meditation have many benefits, such as:
Massaging the internal organs.
Aiding the exchange of gases in the lungs.
Helping the digestive system work better.
Increasing calmness and awareness.
Improving balance. b For more on meditation, see NCCAM's Backgrounder "Meditation for Health Purposes."

Other Key Beliefs in Tai Chi
Certain concepts from Chinese philosophy were important in tai chi's development (although not every person who practices tai chi for health purposes, especially in the West, learns or uses them). A few are as follows:
A vital energy called qi underlies all living things.
Qi flows in people through specific channels called meridians.
Qi is important in health and disease.
Tai chi is a practice that supports, unblocks, and redirects the flow of qi.
Another concept in tai chi is that the forces of yin and yang should be in balance. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are two principles or elements that make up the universe and everything in it and that also oppose each other. Yin is believed to have the qualities of water--such as coolness, darkness, stillness, and inward and downward directions--and to be feminine in character. Yang is believed to have the qualities of fire--such as heat, light, action, and upward and outward movement--and to be masculine. In this belief system, people's yin and yang need to be in balance in order for them to be healthy, and tai chi is a practice that supports this balance.

Specific Health Purposes
People practice tai chi for various health purposes, such as:
For benefits from exercise:
Tai chi is a low-impact form of exercise.
It is a weight-bearing exercise that can have certain health benefits--for example, to the bones.
It is an aerobic exercise.c
To improve physical condition, muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.
To have better balance and a lower risk for falls, especially in elderly people.
To ease pain and stiffness--for example, from arthritis.
For health benefits that may be experienced from meditation.
To improve sleep.
For overall wellness.
For research studies on tai chi for various health conditions, see "For More Information" below.
Many people practice tai chi for health purposes. In the United States, a 2002 national survey on Americans' use of CAM found that 1.3 percent of the 31,000 survey participants had used tai chi for health reasons in the year before the survey. Tai chi is widely practiced in China (including in its hospitals and clinics) and in other countries with a substantial native-Chinese population. In Asia, many people consider tai chi to be the most beneficial exercise for older people, because it is gentle and can be modified easily if a person has health limitations.c Aerobic exercise has benefits to the heart and possibly to cholesterol levels. This type of exercise causes the heart to work harder to pump blood more quickly and forcefully. The body adds oxygen to the blood faster, and the person breathes more quickly. Two other examples of aerobic exercise are swimming and brisk walking.

Side Effects and Risks
Tai chi is a relatively safe practice. However, there are some cautions.
Tell your health care provider if you are considering learning tai chi for health purposes (especially if you have a health condition for which you are being treated, if you have not exercised in a while, or if you are an older person).
If you do not position your body properly in tai chi or if you overdo practice, you may get sore muscles or sprains.

Tai chi instructors often recommend that people not practice tai chi right after they eat, or when they are very tired, or when they have an active infection.
Use caution if you have any of the conditions listed below, as your health care provider should advise you whether to modify or avoid certain postures in tai chi:
Pregnancy
Hernia
Joint problems, back pain, sprains, a fracture, or severe osteoporosis
A CAM approach should not be used to replace conventional medical care or to delay seeking that care.

Licensing, Training, and Credentialing
In the United States, people do not have to be health professionals or to be licensed to practice or teach tai chi. The practice is not regulated by state or Federal governments. There is no standard training for tai chi teachers.
If you are considering learning tai chi, ask about the teacher's training and experience (see also NCCAM's publication "Selecting a CAM Practitioner"). Learning tai chi from a teacher, compared with learning it from videos or books, allows a student to find out whether he is performing the movements correctly and safely.

Tai Chi as a Part of CAM
The concept that sickness and disease arise out of imbalances in a vital energy field (here, qi) is part of some other CAM therapies, such as Reiki (in which the energy field is called ki) and homeopathy (vital force). Within CAM, tai chi is a type of mind-body medicine (one of the four domains, or areas of knowledge, in CAM).d Generally, mind-body medicine focuses on:
The interactions among the brain, the rest of the body, the mind, and behavior.
The ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health.
Some people consider tai chi to be part of the CAM domain of energy medicine, because of the qi concept.d For an explanation of these terms, see nccam.nih.gov/news/camsurvey_fs1.htm.

Some Points of Controversy
As with other CAM approaches, there are aspects of tai chi on which not everyone agrees. For example:
Since little is known scientifically about tai chi, accepting its teachings is a matter of belief or faith rather than evidence-based science.
In addition to more traditional styles, some offshoots and blends of tai chi styles have also evolved. There are differences of opinion over which styles represent the "truest" tai chi.

NCCAM-Funded Research on Tai Chi
Recent NCCAM-supported studies have been investigating:
Tai chi for women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, to see if it helps them cope better, have less stress, and have an improved immune system and quality of life.
Tai chi compared with a cardiovascular exercise fitness program in terms of improving physical fitness and endurance, reducing stress, and improving well-being in adult survivors of cancer.
The effects of tai chi on physical and quality-of-life factors for patients who have chronic stable heart failure.
Tai chi for physical symptoms and psychological factors related to having osteoarthritis of the knee.
The effects of tai chi on rheumatoid arthritis, including on patients' physical function and immunity.

References
Sources are primarily recent reviews on the general topic of tai chi in the peer-reviewed medical and scientific literature in English in the PubMed database, selected evidence-based databases, and Federal Government sources.
Adler PA, Roberts BL. The use of tai chi to improve health in older adults. Orthopaedic Nursing. 2006;25(2):122-126.
Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002. CDC Advance Data Report 343. 2004. Accessed on May 25, 2006.
Chu DA. Tai chi, qi gong and Reiki. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2004;15(4):773-781.
Effect of tai chi vs. structured exercise on physical fitness and stress in cancer survivors. Description of a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center sponsored by NCCAM. Accessed on May 2, 2006.
Farrell SJ, Ross AD, Sehgal KV. Eastern movement therapies. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 1999;10(3):617-629.
Lan C, Lai JS, Chen SY. Tai chi chuan: an ancient wisdom on exercise and health promotion. Sports Medicine. 2002;32(4):217-224.
Lewis D. T'ai chi ch'uan . Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery. 2000;6(4):204-206.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Expanding Horizons of Health Care: Strategic Plan 2005-2009. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2005. NIH publication no. 04-5568.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Mind-Body Medicine: An Overview . National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Web site. Accessed on August 8, 2005.
Robins JL, McCain NL, Gray DP, et al. Research on psychoneuroimmunology: tai chi as a stress management approach for individuals with HIV disease. Applied Nursing Research. 2006;19(1):2-9.
Tai chi 101. American Tai Chi Association Web site. Accessed February 2, 2006.
Tai chi: Bottom Line monograph. Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed August 8, 2005.
Tai chi: Natural Standard/Harvard Medical School monograph. Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed August 8, 2005.
Wang C, Collet JP, Lau J. The effect of tai chi on health outcomes in patients with chronic conditions: a systemic review. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2004;164(5):493-501.

For More Information
NCCAM Clearinghouse
The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on CAM and on NCCAM, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. Examples of publications include "Energy Medicine: An Overview." The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 1-866-464-3615Web site: nccam.nih.govE-mail: info@nccam.nih.gov
PubMed®
A service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), PubMed contains publication information and (in most cases) abstracts of articles from scientific and medical journals. CAM on PubMed, developed jointly by NCCAM and NLM, is a subset of PubMed and focuses on the topic of CAM.
Web site: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrezCAM on PubMed: nccam.nih.gov/camonpubmed
CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects)
CRISP is a database of information on federally funded scientific and medical research projects being conducted at research institutions.
Web site: www.crisp.cit.nih.gov
ClinicalTrials.gov
ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of information on federally and privately supported clinical trials, for a wide range of diseases and conditions. It is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Web site: www.clinicaltrials.gov

Acknowledgments
NCCAM thanks the following people for their technical expertise and review of this publication: Gloria Yeh, M.D., M.P.H., Harvard Medical School; Laura Redwine, Ph.D., VA San Diego Healthcare System; Dan Halpain, A.B.T./H.H.P.; Chenchen Wang, M.D., M.Sc., Tufts-New England Medical Center; Adeline Ge, M.D., NIH Clinical Center; and Shan Wong, Ph.D., and Patrick Mansky, M.D., NCCAM.

NCCAM has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy in this information is not an endorsement by NCCAM.
This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.
National Institutes of HealthU.S. Department of Health and Human Services
NCCAM Publication No. D322June 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Marc's Biography

Marc had studied Tai Chi Chuan for three years under the tutelage of Grandmaster Dennis Brown and his esteemed staff of black belt instructors. Dennis Brown’s School of Tai Chi focuses specifically on teaching the Yang-style 108 Long Form as well as several weapon forms. Marc has learned three Tai Chi Weapons forms including Broad Sword, Straight Sword and Long Staff.

Marc has also studied with several other Masters and instructors around the country in order to learn and experience other Tai Chi forms.
Warren Conners, teaches Chinman Ching style
Judith, teaches a unique form of the Yang long form
Master Lu, teaches Yang-style long form in Salt Lake City, UT
Yan Gaofei, teaches Chen style at the National Headquarters for Chen Style Tai Chi in Hollywood, FL.
Carol Ann Gallagher, teaches Taoist Tai Chi in Skaneateles, NY.
Daoshing Ni, teaches Eight Treasures Qi Gong at Yo San University in Los Angeles, CA.
Eric Chen, teaches Yang style Taiji at the National Wu Shu Training Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Susanna DeRosa, teaches Yang style in Princeton, NJ.

Marc is an alternative sports enthusiast and experienced television producer. He has produced a number of sports and entertainment shows for TV. He has been snowboarding for thirty six seasons. He also enjoys to ocean kayak, surf, skateboard, mountain bike, road bike, dirt bike ride and play disc golf on a regular basis. Marc is currently the executive in charge of production for Fox's long running show, America's Most Wanted. The show recently caught its 900th fugitive.

“Regular practice of my Tai Chi form has helped a great deal to enhance my balance, coordination and endurance. These are all important skills for the various sports that I participate in. Most importantly my practice of Tai Chi Chuan has taught me how to meditate and aid in finding the present moment.”

Qigong Defined

The word Qigong (pronounced chi kung) is a combination of two ideas: “Qi” means air, breath of life, or vital energy of the body, and “gong” means the skill of working with, or cultivating, self-discipline and achievement.

The art of Qigong consists primarily of meditation, relaxation, physical movement, mind-body integration, and breathing exercises. Practitioners of Qigong develop an awareness of qi sensations (energy) in their body and use their mind to guide the Qi. When the practitioners achieve a sufficient skill level (master), they can direct or emit external Qi for the purpose of healing others. For thousands of years, millions of people have benefited from Qigong practices and believed that improving the function of Qi maintains health and heals disease.

In traditional Chinese medicine, good health is a result of a free flowing, well-balanced energy system. It is believed that regular practice of Qigong helps to cleanse the body of toxins, restore energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and help individuals maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Although there is not yet an instrument that can measure the strength of Qi and that we may not fully know what Qi is physically, research has shown that external Qi of a Qigong master could produce significant structural changes in water and aqueous solutions, alter the phase behavior of dipalmitoyl phosphatidyl choline (DPPC) liposomes, and enable the growth of Fab protein crystals (Yan et al. 1999).

It has been said that Qigong is one of the most powerful healing traditions ever developed in human history. It is literally a health wonder of the world.

Meditation Defined

There are various types of meditation - prayer is probably the best known, but there is also TM (Transcendental Meditation), mindfulness meditation, and from the Eastern tradition, Zen meditation, Buddhist meditation, and Taoist meditation.

The meditation encompasses such diverse methods as:
Formal sitting in which the body is held immobile and the attention controlled. e.g., Zazen, Vipassana


Expressive practices, in which the body is let free and anything can happen. e.g., Siddha Yoga, the Latihan, the chaotic meditation of Rajneesh.

The practice of going about one's daily round of activities mindfully. e.g., Mahamudra, Shikan Taza, Gurdjieff's "self-remembering".

All these practices have one thing in common - they all focus on quietening the busy mind. The intention is not to remove stimulation but rather to direct your concentration to one healing element - one sound, one word, one image, or one's breath. When the mind is "filled" with the feeling of calm and peace, it cannot take off on its own and worry, stress out, or get depressed.

According to Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of mind/body medicine, meditation can be broadly defined as any activity that keeps the attention pleasantly anchored in the present moment. When the mind is calm and focused in the present, it is neither reacting to memories from the past nor being preoccupied with plans for the future, two major sources of chronic stress known to impact health. "Meditation," says Dr. Borysenko, "helps to keep us from identifying with the 'movies of the mind."


Recommended Schools for Advanced Studies

Dennis Brown's Wu Shu Shaolin http://dennisbrownshaolin.com/

Warren Conner http://www.taichicenter.com/

Michael Ward http://www.e-cloudhandstaichi.com/

Judith

Medical Benefits of Tai Chi

GENERAL BENEFITS:T'ai Chi teaches inner strength while toning muscles, increasing flexibility and boosting immune power. It is also said to reduce stress, store up energy, increase body awareness, and improve balance and coordination. Men's Health Magazine, 8 Mar/Apr `93 p. 66-69

IMMUNE SYSTEM:A study conducted in China indicates that T'ai Chi may increase the number of T lymphocytes in the body. Also know as T-Cells, these lymphocytes help the immune system destroy bacteria and possibly even tumor cells.Prevention Magazine V. 42, May 90, p.14-15


AGING, DIABETES, AND TUBERCULOSIS:According to T'ai Chi enthusiasts, the discipline can prevent many ailments, including high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and diabetes, and US scientists agree that T'ai Chi can offer some important fitness benefits, particularly for older adults.Modern Maturity, V. 35 June/July 92 p. 60-62

CARDIO-RESPIRATORY EFFECTS:The data substantiate that practicing T'ai Chi regularly may delay the decline of cardio-respiratory function in older individuals. In addition, Tai Chi may be prescribed as a suitable aerobics exercise for older adults.Journal of American Geriatric Society, Nov. 1995, 43 (11) p1222-1227 ISSN 0002-8614 Journal Code

ARTHRITIS:No significant exacerbation of joint symptoms using this weight bearing system of exercises (Tai Chi) was observed. T'ai Chi exercises appear to be safe for RA patients . . . Weight bearing exercises have the potential advantages of stimulating bone growth and strengthening connective tissue. . .American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,June 1991, 70 (3) p. 136-141

HYPERTENSION, INSOMNIA, ASTHMA AND AGING:Proponents claim that T'ai Chi can also (1) cure illnesses such as hypertension, asthma, and insomnia, (2) prevent arteriosclerosis and spinal deformity, and (3) shorten recovery phase from long-term illness. Results from a study by Chen Munyi (1963) with elderly T'ai Chi practitioners show that this group had RTs, strength, and flexibility superior to non-practitioners. (American Psychological Association)American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1981 SprVol 9(1) 15-22

FATIGUE, PAIN/ACHES, HIGH BLOODPRESSURE, BREATHING:Participants observed a "big increase in breathing capacity", adisappearance of backaches and neck aches, those with high bloodpressure claimed a drop of 10 to 15 mm Hg systolic at rest, and all participants claimed to have more energy in their daily work.Hawaii Medical Journal - Vol 51 No. 8 August 92


SPORTS HEALTH:[Former] Boston Celtic's star Robert Parish, who, at age 39, is the oldest player in the NBA, credits the ancient martial art of T'ai Chi with his durability. Parish remains dominant in his 17th season in the league, and he has no plans to retire. He started all 79 games that he played last year for the Celtics, averaging 14.1 points, shooting 54 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free throw line, and racking up a season total of 705 rebounds and 97 blocked shots. Inspired by his success, fellow Celtics players Reggie Lewis and Rick Fox have signed on with Li (Parish's T'ai Chi instructor).Gentlemen's Quarterly V. 62 Dec. 92, p 256-60

BALANCE:A ten year study on aging through Harvard, Yale and EmoryUniversities determined not only that T'ai Chi was superior to more technological balance therapies, but that T'ai Chi reduced the risk of injury by falling by 48%. Complications from these injuries are the sixth leading cause of death in older Americans, and account for about $10 billion loss per year to the economy.USA Today, May 1996Institute of Chicago indicates that people with moderate balance problems can be helped by practicing T'ai Chi. Participants . . . of the 2 month course . . . experienced about a 10 percent improvement in balance. An Emory University study supports [these] findings. Prevention Magazine V. 46 Dec. 94 p. 71-72

MENTAL & PHYSICAL STRESS:Mind & body exercises, such as . . . T'ai Chi . . . are increasinglyreplacing high-impact aerobics, long distance running and other bodypunishing exercises of the 1980's . . .Mind/body workouts are kinder to the joints and muscles . . reduce the tension that often contributes to the development of disease, which makes them especially appropriate for high powered, stressed out baby boomers. Unlike most conventional exercises, these forms are intended to stretch, tone, an relax the whole body instead of isolating parts . . . [T'ai Chi] is based on a series of progressive choreographed movements coordinated with deep breathing.Working Woman Magazine V 20 Feb. 95 p. 60-62+

PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS:Relative to measurement beforehand, practice of T'ai Chi raised heart rate, increased non-adrenaline excretion in urine, and decreased salivary cortisol concentration. Relative to baseline levels, [Test Subjects] reported less tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion and state-anxiety; they felt more vigorous, and in general they had less total mood disturbance.
American Psychological AssociationJournal of Psychosomatic Research, 1989 Vol 33 (2) 197-206

MENTAL HOMEOSTASIS:Psychological homeostasis refers to emotional control or tranquility. It has been stated that the biological function of human emotion and repression is primarily homeostatic. Evidence suggests that a feedback relationship exists between forms of homeostasis, and the body-mind type of therapies (including acupuncture and T'ai Chi) thus have a combined physiological, physical, and psychological effect.
(American Psychological Association)American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1981 Spr Vol 9 (1) 1-14


PSYCHOLOGY:"T'ai Chi is a natural and safe vehicle for both clients and staff to learn and experience the benefits of being able to channel, concentrate and co-ordinate their bodies and minds: to learn to relax and to "neutralize" rather than resist the stress in their personal lives. This is an ability which we greatly need to nurture in our modern fast-paced society."
Dr. John Beaulieu, N.D., M.T.R.S. Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, N.Y.C. [Refer to the T'ai Chi book "The Supreme Ultimate" for full text]

PSYCHOSOMATIC ILLNESS:A holistic paradigm, T'ai Chi, is proposed as a theoretical basis for treating psychosomatic illness.
(American Psychological Assn.)Journal of Black Psychology, 1980 Aug. Vol 7(1) 27-43

TAI CHI HELPS UNDERSTAND CHANGE:Suggests the imagery of the T'ai Chi figure . . . can serve as a model for understanding the processes of change within psychotherapy. The T'ai Chi figure expresses the themes of unity and completeness, the dynamic of interplay and balance of opposite forces, and the cyclical nature of therapeutic change.
(American Psychological Assn.)
Psychologia, An International Journal of Psychology in the Orient, 1991 Mar Vol 34 (1) 18-27

TAI CHI & GESTALT THERAPY:T'ai Chi, a Chinese system of integrated exercises, [is] an effective adjunct to Gestalt Therapy. (American Psychological Association)
Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1978 Fall Vol 10 (1) 25-31

POSTURAL CONTROL:T'ai Chi, a traditional Chinese exercise, is a series of individual dance like movements linked together in a continuous, smooth-flowing sequence . . . An analysis of variance (ANOVA) demonstrated that in 3 of 5 tests, the T'ai Chi practitioners had significantly better postural control than the sedentary non practitioners.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 1992 Apr Vol 46 (4)295-300

BEYOND TRADITIONAL CARE:Health practitioners encountering clients who are faced withproblems that do not seem to respond to traditional health care . . . may employ some of the health traditions of other cultures and to view the body and mind as a balanced whole. Massage, acupuncture and T'ai Chi . . . focus on the mind/body connection to facilitate healing through relaxation, pressure points, and movement.
AAOHN Journal, 1993 July, 41 (7) 349-351

SUPPORT GROUPS RECOMMENDING T'AI CHI:MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, FIBROMYALGIA, PARKINSON'S DISEASE, LUPUS, MIGRAINES, CHRONIC PAIN, AIDS ("Proper exercise [for AIDS sufferers] is typified by T'ai Chi.") (Dr. Laurence E. Badgley, M.D.)

Defining Tai Chi

Meditation in MotionTai chi, with its focus on breathing and flowing gestures, is often described as "meditation in motion.” It emerged sometime between the 1300s and 1600s in China. Some say it was developed by monks, others by a retired general. They agree its ancient roots are in the martial arts, but tai chi movements are never aggressive. They are based on shifting body weight through a series of light, controlled movements that flow rhythmically together into one long, graceful gesture. The sequences have poetic names, such as "waving hand in the cloud” or "pushing the mountain,” and can be quite beautiful to an observer.

Tai chi movements are intended to balance the flow of qi in mind as well as body. They use the whole body and are performed slowly, with concentration on breathing and inner stillness.

The concept of qi is at the heart of tai chi. In Chinese medicine, it's believed that disease is due to blocks or imbalances in the flow of qi. Chinese use acupuncture, herbs and tai chi in the belief they can help balance the flow of qi to cure illness and maintain health.

Most Western doctors question the concept of qi, since it hasn't been scientifically proven to exist or to aid health and healing. Nevertheless, some physicians who treat the elderly or those with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis have been impressed by how tai chi improves pain, range of motion and physical balance.