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Self-Help

T'ai Chi

T’ai Chi is another natural therapy that has its’ origins in traditional Chinese medicine, in that it aims to ensure a balanced flow of qi (life energy) through the body’s meridians. It is believed that an imbalance in qi causes illness, and t’ai chi is practised as a form of preventative therapy to prevent this.

T’ai Chi is a non-combative martial art that uses various forms (slow movements) for self-defence as well as mental clarity. Yang is the style most commonly practised in the West, which takes the form of a rhythmic series of movements performed slowly and linked into one long, flowing exercise. It can take anything from 5-10 minutes (24 movements) to 20-40 minutes (108 movements), and the sequences have interesting symbolic names, e.g. “snake creeps down to water” and “stork cools its wings”. The result is a very relaxing therapy, that calms breathing and brings body and mind together to balance qi.

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It is not surprising that t’ai chi is sometimes described as “meditation in motion”. T’ai Chi should ideally be practised outside so the universe qi can combine with the body’s qi.

The best way to learn t’ai chi is to attend classes, as some of the sequences are quite complicated and need to be learnt correctly. Sessions are very calm and slow, and it is a therapy good for all ages assuming there is no medical condition preventing it. Daily practice is ideal to achieve any noticeable benefit, weekly at a minimum.

Examples of the benefits of t’ai chi are:

  • Relief of stress, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and generally calming the mind.
  • Helping with conditions of old age.
  • Enhancing mental and physical control.
  • Increased vitality and promoting good health.
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