THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNAL ARTS PRACTICE
There are many health benefits attributed to the practices of tai chi and qigong, which are integrative and complementary practices for health. There are many resources available online with information on the respective disciplines, such as the Qigong Institute and the World Tai Chi and Qigong Day web sites.
Competitive athletes are implementing these internal arts systems to increase stamina, alertness, and quickness. Another benefit from the practice is the reduced healing time from sports injuries. Persons recovering from surgery or procedures often have significantly greater and quicker improvements when adding a healthful therapy, such as tai chi or qigong. These systems can be added to an existing Physical Therapy or exercise program.
Tai chi and qigong are more frequently the objects of study to verify benefits for patients with various health problems. Many study results show these disciplines to be the most effective therapies for many conditions. Some of these include arthritis and joint conditions, bone density, cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders, movement disorders and proprioception, nervous system disorders, immune system function, mood disorders, tension and diabetes.
Just doing tai chi or qigong can:
- Help relieve pain and stiffness
- Relieve stress and reduce anxiety
- Improve balance, posture and flexibility
- Reduce risk of falling
- Increase flexibility and agility
- Boost the immune system
- Enhance sleep quality and duration
- Improve heart and lung function
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Enhance capacity and quality of breath
- Improve concentration and mood
- Relieve depression
- Increase energy
- Assist Weight control
- Stimulate circulation
- Reduce the expected negative effects of aging
Health Benefits and Studies
The categories below mention lengthy bodies of research and clinical work. Many of the studies had overlapping areas of focus and criteria. Click on the title to read the credits and transcripts.
A randomized study using tai chi exercise was developed, and after a 12-week program, tai chi exercise was found to be effective in improving patients’ arthritic symptoms. It significantly reduced pain and stiffness, and improved balance and physical functioning.
In an extensive review, A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi, cites many areas of health improvement through tai chi and qigong practice. Some of these include a favorable effect on bone health, arthritic pain decreased significantly, fibromyalgia symptoms improved significantly, and there was a significant reduction in blood pressure reported in multiple studies.
According to Benefits of Qigong as an integrative and complementary practice for health: a systematic review, there are beneficial applications of qigong in the promotion, prevention, and rehabilitation of diseases and physiological disorders in adults, such as fibromyalgia, COPD, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few.
In a CDC report of adults ages 65 and older, twenty-eight percent will report falling each year. Of those adults who were injured from a fall and experienced the need for medical attention, 37% reported the injury restricted their activity for at least one day.
In the Largest Fall Prevention Study 2007, participants spent 16 weeks learning and practicing a tai chi program. The results showed that tai chi significantly reduced the number of falls by 30%. Tai chi also significantly reduced the risk of multiple falls by approximately 70%.
The trial, Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Movement Therapy on Functional Status and Exercise Capacity in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure, showed that long term tai chi exercise may benefit proprioception.
Tai chi helps increase proprioceptive awareness, thus decreasing the number of falls. It is accomplished through a focus on proper postural tone, body control, midline and head orientation.
IMMUNE SYSTEM AND INFLAMMATION
The Effect of Qigong Exercise on Immunity and Infections: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials reports that qigong exercise may improve response of the immune system.
Results shown in Assessment of Immunological Parameters Following a Qigong Training Program suggest that qigong may be effective for immune modulation, thus improving the body’s ability to heal and to ward off disease.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) affects more than 415 million people worldwide, and if not managed, complications like stroke, cardiovascular disease, neuropathy and kidney failure can occur. A regular exercise program can help stabilize your blood sugar, and reduce the need for insulin and medication.
Effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance, and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy (2012). The conclusion of this study found improved glucose control, balance, neuropathic symptoms, and some dimensions of quality of life in diabetic patients with neuropathy.
The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ has a large collection of abstracts compiled since 1984. For instance, the search for “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” yields over 800 matches.
A brief discussion of current concepts in health care approaches by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): “Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?”
Offering Tai Chi and Wellness programs in Spokane since 2005