Article Forward: How practicing tai chi can help the heart

This article’s news is good reading, but I’m a little disheartened as tai chi teacher. But that’s okay. I still am forwarding it because it’s yet another documentation of people utilizing tai chi with measurable success to address challenges they have with their health.

Composed by Alice Park for Time Health, it describes a tai chi program for heart-attack victims that demonstrated positive behavioral changes after practicing twice or three times a week for 12 and 24 weeks.

Many of the practitioners were obese and had not exercised much in their lives. They were actually afraid to exercise after having cardiac arrest. So they tried tai chi and got good outcomes.

I live in a health-oriented town. Outdoor recreation activities rule. The median age is 31.7 years ( Not the best market for a tai chi teacher if you compare all the studies finding tai chi helping people with age-related issues or life-threatening illnesses. None are about young people.

Young people don’t do tai chi as a preventative practice, not even as a health and well-being maintenance practice, not even as a practice for attention deficit disorder. The up-trend in articles suggest populations get sick before starting tai chi. But articles like this one should create more buzz around tai chi. The next thing I would like to see are studies demonstrating the preventative and daily lifestyle management qualities of tai chi and qigong.

Anyway, enjoy reading the article.

ARTICLE: The Link Between Stress And Heart Disease May Lie In The Brain

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:

High blood pressure and Tai Chi

HBP signals that the heart is having to work harder to get nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells. Our cells are where life itself is generated. Too often life cut short by things that we can actually do something about. We all have a lot of life left in us to live longer and more fully.

Plaque build up, cholesterol, clogged arteries, and all that may accurately describe what goes on in the blood vessels as a result of eating certain foods over time and doing too little about it. Often, it’s too late when we find out there is a problem. Yet for most of us, the human body is fully equipped at birth to heal itself. If it has the nutrients and right amount and kind of physical activity, we should function more optimally, feel better, live longer.

What is within your power to change? I know one thing you can do. In taiji, it’s quite simple. Just move the body in such a way that the heart opens fully and  blood flows more easily to the body’s cells. It’s easy to do with minimal training. You can feel the benefits in a single practice session. Stand in wuchi, take a deep breath, stretch your body, do a qigong move that you remember from class with attention and affection. Open the body so the blood will flow. Oxygen and nutrients will feed the cells. Be clear on the understanding that you are stimulating the life force within and signaling the body that you desire to be healthy and vibrant and you want to live as fully in each moment as possible.