The benefits of Tai chi practice for health 

In one way or another, we have learnt that practicing physical skills enhances our state of mind. We can call this process a mind therapy, too. How does it work? What are the mechanisms that connect the two and thus create all the reactions?

Body’s physical practice unlocks the mind

Our body remembers both good and bad events that have been happening in our life. The body embraces the good things and at the same time rejects our negative experiences. It does this either by throwing them out of mind or it buries them deep inside the mind.

When we exercise or when we employ some physical activity we actually put our body outside its comfort zone. Using physical skills we offer our mind a therapy. The body has no other way out but to adjust to this new situation. By doing so we unlock and open up the blockages that are within us. We work them out and the result is a better, more pleasant state of mind. Does it make sense to you? Is it complex or intuitive? This is just one of the theories about the psycho-somatic nature of our various body-mind response to the variety of life challenges we face throughout our lifespan.

Physical skills improve body’s and mind’s strength, stability and wellbeing

Practicing different physical exercises and skills, we develop more strength, stability and good feeling.

I have recently composed a short essay about the impact of one rather popular physical skill, Tai chi, to our health. It specifically looks at the connection between regular practicing of Tai chi and the benefits this exercise has on heart problems, locomotor system functionality and mental health. Practicing Tai chi as a physical skill we also get a mind therapy.

Tai chi sunset

Tai chi is one of the physical skills with great body and mind benefits  

Various researches and studies completed worldwide have been made on thousands and thousands of practitioners and patients. The main findings were very positive for bodily and mind benefits. However, there are reservation regarding mental diseases. Apparently, mental diseases are still a very sensitive area. It needs longer and wider research before any specific training is recommended.

When practicing Tai chi as an additional set of movements complementary to other physical therapy, the therapist has to be aware of the ability level or any disability, the age and current fitness of each individual person.

Probably the best results when introducing Tai chi at an easy or a moderate level have been achieved in the rehabilitation of heart disease. The softness and slow pace of the movements connected with breathing and serene images create peace of mind and bring a smile to one’s face. Some of the movements’ names are, for example “catching the sun’s rays”, “the eagle opening the wings” or “rolling a ball in front of you”.

The right physical skill improves body and mind challenges

Very good findings are those in muscles, joints and bones problems, too. Regular practice of Tai chi helps to develop muscle strength and flexibility. It is especially favourable for one’s balance and fall prevention.

Tai chi is a martial art that comes from a very old Chinese tradition. Today the wide practice of Tai chi consists of a sequence of movements which are all connected. It is called “a form”. In the past these movements were real fight stances and applications. Remembering these movements in the right order requires some intense memorising. This means that the mind needs to focus on several things simultaneously which helps to improve memory and refresh the mind.

Physical activity is a relaxing mind therapy 

One of the common findings in all studies I looked in is that by practicing Tai chi the mind starts creating positive sentiments. One feels relaxed and in a good mood. Why is that so? Well, I think we are back to the starting question: how does our physical practice unlock our mind and release it from some old stress. We do not need to know all the answers but we need to move. When exercising we find which physical skills provide the best mind therapy for us. Then we know which is the one that creates for us the most sense of joy and wellbeing.

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