This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Tai chi should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What does tai chi therapy involve?
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art based on the philosophy of Taoism. Similar to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, Taoism believes in the existence of the vital life force, or Qi, and the opposing world forces, Yin and Yang. Tai chi exercises are designed to balance Yin and Yang and promote the unobstructed flow of Qi. (For more information see traditional Chinese medicine). Its movements are gentle and well-suited for those who are not physically strong, healthy or flexible. Deliberate movements are combined with meditation and controlled breathing.
How is tai chi thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health?
Tai chi exercises relax both the body and mind. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that tai chi exercises balance Qi, which is essential to wellness and good health. Mainstream physicians believe tai chi promotes wellness through the benefits of exercise, bringing about relaxation and reducing stress. Tai chi is thought to offer a variety of other "quality of life" benefits such as improved concentration, an increased sense of well-being, greater energy, improved posture and better circulation. The health benefits of tai chi will not persist if the exercises are stopped. Tai chi should best be regarded as a lifelong preventative strategy to improve and maintain health.
What has been proven about the benefit of tai chi?
Several studies have shown the positive effects of tai chi, which include improved posture, balance, muscle mass and strength, decreased blood pressure and increased stamina, muscle mass and flexibility.
Additionally, people who practice tai chi say they feel younger, are more agile, have better balance and enjoy a more tranquil attitude. The American Cancer Society reports the tai chi promotes longevity and good health and may be used in relieving tension, stress, muscle wasting and fatigue associated with cancer.
What is the potential risk or harm of tai chi?
There are no known side effects of tai chi. These exercises are safe and effective for most everyone.
How much does tai chi cost?
To learn the different exercises, patients should attend a class with a tai chi instructor. Costs will vary depending on area and class size. No special equipment is necessary.
For additional information:
American Association of Oriental Medicine
433 Front Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032
Telephone: (610) 266-1433
Web site: www.aaaomonline.org
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.