T’ai Chi Therapy

History of T’ai Chi

T’ai Chi, also known as T’ai Chi Chuan, is an ancient Chinese form of martial arts. It was developed as early as 225 A.D. Chang San-feng is said to be the originator of this sport, though some doubt his existence. T’ai Chi is known as a soft style martial art and is practiced with as complete a “softness” or muscular relaxation as possible. Those in eating disorder treatment centers and depression treatment facilities across the country are thought to benefit from this ancient practice.

Practice of T’ai Chi

Styles

There are a few different styles associated with T’ai Chi. Each style varies in its range of impact and intensity. Anyone interested in practicing T’ai Chi, especially those with special needs, should look into these various styles before beginning in order to find the best one for your specific needs and goals. These styles include:

  • Chen style
  • Hao (or Wu Shi) style
  • Hu Lei style
  • Sun style
  • Yang style
  • Zhao Bao style

Poses
T’ai Chi is made up of slow, graceful movements (poses) which when performed together constitute a “form.” A few poses you might use when taking T’ai Chi include:

  • Hands Strum the Lute
  • Needle at the Bottom of the Sea
  • Closing Form
  • White Crane Spreads Its Wings
  • Grasp Sparrow’s Tail

The practice of T’ai Chi is a powerful blend of self-discipline, self-defense and self-healing. Throughout the fluid sequence of movements, there is constant emphasize on balance, a straight spine, relaxed breathing, a quite mind, and a natural range of motion. Deep breathing from the diaphragm, as opposed to shallow chest breathing, is a key element of T’ai Chi as one learns to coordinate breathing with each movement. Constant focus is maintained on one’s dantian – an area in the lower abdomen just beneath the navel – which is the body’s center of gravity. All aspects of oneself must remain centered and balanced in the practice of T’ai Chi.

Benefits of T’ai Chi

In the practice of T’ai Chi and metaphorically in life, it is necessary to understand the consequences of changing appropriately, changing inappropriately and not changing at all in response to external stimuli. T’ai Chi promotes flexibility, balance, and harmony by improving the flow of internal energy (chi) throughout the body. The calming, meditative aspect of T’ai Chi promotes an inner relaxation and harmony seen as necessary to maintain optimum health.

T’ai Chi has shown innumerable benefits for pain relief treatment, anorexia treatment or for those in need of bulimia help . It teaches awareness of one’s own balance and what affects it both internally and externally. This sport not only also focuses on treating the body through its many forms, but also the spirit and the mind.

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