Of course, they are talking about implanting a device in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but why don’t they look into tai chi and qigong doing similar stimulation and results, especially since this article talks about deep breathing, meditation, and even yoga. Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s what we’re doing when we do tai chi! Better take notes.
Researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s current estimate of 47 million cases of dementia (expected to triple by 2050), including Alzheimer’s.
Tai chi is a physical activity and mentally stimulating exercise, two factors that recent research suggests can prevent dementia in millions.
In a recently published article (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-third-of-dementia-cases-could-be-prevented-alzheimers-report/), researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s current estimate of 47 million cases of dementia (expected to triple by 2050), including Alzheimer’s.
For healthy mental activities, researchers recommend people stay in school at least until past the age of 15. The article doesn’t specify kinds of physical exercise, but most articles about that subject usually talk about aerobics, interval training, resistance training, even weight lifting.
More and more, people are talking about the benefits of tai chi and qigong, especially for older people who have put off exercise practices in their younger years. It’s lower impact and offers a wide range of desirable results with proper practice. Plus, it’s one of the more preventative practices I’ve ever seen in my life.
I’m seeing more young people looking into tai chi. I think one reason why is that they are born into more sedentary lifestyles, more urban, more media eccentric, more passive. Yet, they know they need something that gives their mind and body connection more stimulating health and longevity activities.
This is the very same reason Boddhidharma (Damo) introduced exercises to Buddhists in China 2600 years ago. The body is your vessel through life. Treat it well and give it what it needs. We’re all learning what that means and we’re looking for ways to treat our bodies and minds better.
I noticed while reading the dementia article that physical exercise, which it recommends, of course, is known to help reduce the effects of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, three factors that cause dementia.
Rather than reciting the old cliché of killing two birds with one stone, I would prefer to say “giving two birds life with a single act.” I feel like tai chi and qigong offer strong possibilities for helping a lot of people who would otherwise suffer from what the article refers to as the world’s “most feared illness in old age.”
Seniors who believe they have a purpose in life may sleep better, researchers say.
Give yourself a little purpose by adding tai chi to your daily routine. Findings from this study doesn’t talk about tai chi, but I believe it would be just as valid as any other “purpose.”
from NPR.com by Christianna Silva
The content of this report resonates with the growth of millennials who do tai chi. I think, however, that they are not finding tai chi as easily as I wish they would. The article stresses the role of the internet in promoting self-care among millennials, though self-care has been around forever. Tai chi is ultimately self-care that contrast with the consumer approach to self-care mentioned in the report. Many people buy products (self-care kits) or subscribe to a twitter bot to remind them to take care of themselves. Just do tai chi, I say.
In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, more millennials reported making personal improvement commitments than any generation before them.
“Maybe in the past, you thought someone was crazy or lazy, but now we’ve learned more,” Im said. “It’s a continuum. A lot of those things [like increased Internet access] allow you to become more sensitive to others.”
Beyond the immediate physical benefits that you can experience in just one or two one-hour practices, you can find all sorts of reasons for doing tai chi and qigong, probably one for every person who practices regularly. If you do both tai chi and qigong regularly you’ll find out, if you haven’t already, that they can enhance other things in life that you really enjoy doing, such as skiing, hiking, bicycling, hauling the kids to soccer practice, gardening, riding horses, swimming, meditating … . Why? You learn how to use your body and energy in ways that enhance most everything else you do in life.
I’ve practice regularly over time for health and well-being; to simply feel better and hopefully live a longer, more-fulfilling life. I also learn martial applications, which is a whole other level of immersion. Compared to other exercise regimes, tai chi and qigong can be moderate, but you can also get more of a workout than you might expect.
In fact, any of the Chinese internal martial arts can be quite invigorating, whether you do them moderately or intensively. For one thing, you can incorporate power stretching, fitting it into some part of a training day once you are warmed up. Power stretching from the Lan Shou Quan system (a southern Shaolin style) produces a lot of deep muscle toning. You can focus on bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, as well as cultivating a sharper awareness of your energetic elements. You learn how to relax in order to power stretch at different levels of your physical and energetic…all the while developing power and generating energy.
Both tai chi and qigong contain concepts not emphasized in other exercises, such as aerobics, weight lifting, running, playing competitive sports, and so on. For example, since tai chi and qigong are mind and body exercises, you use your natural perceptual abilities to either reteach your body to do things the regime asks of you, or you want to do. Or you can discover things you didn’t know you could do.
They are healing therapies, too. The moves are performed mindfully—which can be very different from pedaling an exercise bike at the gym, while listening to your iPod, or maybe reading a magazine, or watching news on television while you “workout.” However, if you like doing these things, tai chi could help get more out of them… whatever it is you’re seeking to achieve. Endurance, improved blood circulation, muscle toning, digestion, better posture and balance, injury healing, reduction in chronic symptoms of aging. The list is long.
Eventually, you cultivate mindful, meditative, thoughtful attention to subtle energies in your total being and get the fullest benefits of tai chi and qigong. I guess the only way to know what this means is to learn a little and practice. Take a class or a private lesson. Even though beginners feel a difference the very first time they do tai chi with a good teacher, it takes time to grasp some of the concepts and principles underlying the moves and postures. I developed the Fundamentals of Taijiquan course to systematically build and show others what I’ve learned from my experience with my teachers. It’s not a fast track but it’s organized so that one session’s learning builds on previous lessons and opens you up for future training.
Doing taijiquan and qigong is a process of discovery. Discovery is at the core of the moves and postures . . . self-discovery of one’s mind, body, and spirit. Tai chi and qigong are growing in popularity and you can find opportunities to learn almost anywhere. Many students challenge themselves by taking weekend workshops. You could call it a “workout workshop.” You learn endurance, patience, and more about yourself: your body and your ability to focus mentally and physically. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find a number of resources on the Web. In my experience it’s best to find a good teacher and learn through live action, face-to-face practice. Once you gain some familiarity and comfort, you can get more out of such tools as videos and books. You could be wasting money otherwise. I believe in-person training has more value in the beginning.
Look for an upcoming post soon in which I delineate some of the differences and similarities of tai chi and qigong. If you’re contemplating trying either, the more you know beforehand the better. It’s all about becoming familiar with some aspects of either in order to become comfortable with the exercises. Once familiar and comfortable, you can refine and improve. Each time you stand in position to begin a practice session is, even if only for a minute or two, a fresh opportunity to learn something new and build on what you have already experienced. This is one of the most exciting things about tai chi and qigong.
As I wrote before, there is probably a unique reason for doing tai chi and qigong for every one practicing now. Find out what yours is by giving it a try.
What is the difference between tai chi and qigong?
In many aspects they incorporate the same components, particularly how you use energy (Qi/Chi) to move and how you focus your mind on specific tasks or movements. They differ in their intentions. Tai chi is originally a martial art, or a fighting art, but it incorporates qigong. Qigong, of which there are hundreds if not thousands of different kinds, are medicinal in focus, not martial.
Their origins might even be somewhat linked. One legend says that a Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, an early disciple of Buddha himself, taught exercises to Chinese Buddhists, because their bodies were giving out before they reached enlightenment. That began what grew into Shaolin schools of “Kungfu.” The Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong set are postures originating from that time. I teach them to all beginners that come to me to learn. They’re easy to do, but can produce profound results over time. I know a Parkinson’s patient, John, who does two sets of Eight Pieces three times a day and walks 20 minutes. It has made a huge difference in reducing his balance issues, his speech and his attitude. He is more self-reliant despite his condition, which takes a load of worry and energy from his wife.
This article is in Forbes magazine, written by Alice Walton. Findings in a study reported on in the Lancet link the brain to stress and heart disease, with inflammation in the arteries as a major symptom. Duh…I suspect as much when I suffered from migraines as a teenager. It’s taken 50 years for science to catch up, but I’m glad it’s coming round to greater grasp by researchers.
The article concludes that “Exercise, meditation, talk therapy and other methods have been shown to be effective.” Well, I suggest doing tai chi. Why? For one reason, for the busy A personalities among us, is Tai Chi is a meditation and exercise wrapped up into a single activity. How’s that for multi-tasking?
Here the Forbes article: