WellBeing

Tai chi’s greatest treasure

Imagine that someone is giving you a sales pitch. They claim to have the most amazing product: scientifically proven to reduce stress, combat anxiety, improve balance, heighten bone density, improve lower body strength, lower heart rate, significantly reduce blood pressure and provide you with a sense of overall wellbeing. It’s also pleasant to use.

If you’re like me, this is a product you want. But, in this sceptical age, two responses might pop into your head: “How much does it cost?” and “Isn’t this too good to be true?” These are great questions but they’re easy to dispense with when it comes to the product in question: tai chi.

The answer to the first question — how much it costs — is simple: 10 or so minutes of every day for as long as you want to experience its benefits. The answer to the second — can it really confer these benefits? — is more complex but no less definite.

Hundreds of years of testimony from Chinese practitioners, many of them trained in traditional Chinese and Western medicine, attest to tai chi’s benefits. There is also anecdotal evidence: globalisation has allowed many of us (me included) to encounter sprightly Chinese octogenarians who place high value on their morning tai chi practice.

If this subjective evidence is not enough, thanks to modern science there’s a new type of proof. Many scientific studies in 2011, of 77 randomised controlled trials involving 6410 participants.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from WellBeing

WellBeing4 min read
Young At Heart Again
It’s late on Monday afternoon and I’m walking up Meditation Hill as the sun shines across the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley. I’ve just finished meditating so I’m in the perfect space to walk mindfully, noticing each step on the gravel as I tread
WellBeing4 min read
Hawthorn
Hawthorn, the common name of the genus Crataegus, is a thorny shrub with green leaves, white flowers and bright red berries each containing one-to-three or five seeds. Crataegus is from the family Rosaceae (rose family), which has over 280 species. T
WellBeing8 min read
Yoga To Change Your Thinking
Sometimes in life you can feel a little stuck. Things simply aren’t flowing: it feels like you’re not making progress with your career, your love life has been on standstill for a year (or 10) or the money tap feels like it’s eternally turned off no