-an Osteopathic approach to Tai Chi-
Internalize more efficient patterns of movement
Improve the activation of postural muscles
Realign musculoskeletal structures
Enhance breathing functionality
Promote organ function
About Tai Chi
Tai Chi is "an internal Chinese martial art practiced for its defence training, its health benefits and meditation". From a biomechanics and neuromuscular perspective, it would be important to keep in mind that Tai Chi is a form of martial art and, as such, its practice may require substantial levels of mobility, stability and motor control. Fortunately, the Tai Chi practice can be modified to suit most individual requirements. Moves and exercises can be adapted to any fitness level, physical capability and health conditions (e.g. partially supported or seated practice).
Tai Chi for athletes
The connection between functional breathing, quiet mind and effortless movement
"Tiger Woods practised Meditation and Tai Chi as a young man and used it as part of his golf practice. His ability to bring his attention within himself and to anchor it in his body and his breathing enabled his shots to simply flow."
Tips for Home Tai Chi Practice
SURFACE: Practice on a flat, non-sticky surface (e.g. hardwood or laminate flooring). Try to avoid carpets, yoga mats and gym flooring, they are too unstable and/or sticky.
SHOES: Favour shoes having a flat AND not too grippy sole. When shoes stick too much to the floor, it becomes hard to rotate on the heel or ball of the foot. This causes unnecessary strain at the level of the knee.
SUPPORT: If you need support, a sturdy wooden chair will offer the stability needed during your supported practice while providing a flat, frictionless surface to glide your thighs/buttocks during your seated routine.
BODY AWARENESS: While practicing on your own, listen to your body and only move within a pain-free range of motion. The practice of Tai Chi should not cause pain or discomfort, except for the "after-gym sensation" that you may experience if your muscles are undergoing the process of getting stronger ;)
WHEN IN DOUBT: If you are unsure Tai Chi is the right practice for your specific condition, please talk to your physician and get his/her approval and/or recommendations prior to starting or continuing with your practice.
Research on Tai Chi
Improved immune response, cardio functioning, inflammation and balance; increased strength, mobility and flexibility; enhanced wellbeing and quality of sleep... We would like to share with you some scientific research on the effects of a regular Tai Chi practice. Enjoy!
Therapeutic Benefits of Tai Chi Exercise: Research Review. "The results show that Tai Chi may lead to improved balance, reduced fear of falling, increased strength, increased functional mobility, greater flexibility, and increased psychological well-being, sleep enhancement for sleep disturbed elderly individuals, and increased cardio functioning". Read
Augmenting immune responses to varicella zoster virus in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial of Tai Chi. Conclusion: Tai Chi augments resting levels of varicella zoster virus-specific cell-mediated immunity and boosts varicella zoster virus-specific cell-mediated immunity of the varicella vaccine. Read
Tai Chi Chih Compared With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT-I] for the Treatment of Insomnia in Survivors of Breast Cancer: A Randomized, Partially Blinded, Non-inferiority Trial. In this study, "Tai Chi Chih, a mindful movement meditation, was found to be statistically non-inferior [as beneficial] to CBT-I, the gold standard for behavioral treatment of insomnia". Read
Cognitive behavioral therapy vs. Tai Chi for late life insomnia and inflammatory risk: a randomized controlled comparative efficacy trial. "Tai Chi Chih was associated with improvements in sleep quality, fatigue, and depressive symptoms... but not insomnia remission". Read
Tai Chi versus routine exercise in patients with early- or mild-stage Parkinson's disease: a retrospective cohort analysis. "Tai Chi decreased chances of fall more than routine exercise... The efficacy of Tai Chi specifically in case of PD is explained by its role in normalizing the levels of neurotransmitters including dopamine and acetylcholine in various regions of the brain, i.e., cortex, basal ganglia, and motor cortex feedback loop. When Tai Chi is practiced daily, it promotes the development of various de novo neural pathways in a PD patient that results in fast response to posture challenges... The results of this study supported that Tai Chi was an effective meditation technique for people who have mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. Improvement of physical parameters indicated that Tai Chi had the potential to slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease..." Read