Tai Chi Chuan or Taiji or Tai Chi, literally the supreme art of combat, is a Chinese martial art of self-defence, which over time has become a method of training that aims at psycho-physical well-being and helps to keep the body healthy. In addition to facilitating muscle elasticity and promoting a correct posture, it contributes to the strengthening of the character.
The fundamental principle behind Tai Chi Chuan is that the movement of the body must never hinder the state of inner calm. What happens around and in the mind of the practitioner must not in any way affect his state of mind: the level of balance between lucidity and deep relaxation that can be achieved through the practice of Tai Chi Chuan therefore involves both the psychic and physical spheres. The movements, that is the dynamic forms, as for many martial arts, are slow and tend to follow the respiratory rhythm, as it happens in the practice of vinyasa yoga, that is the dynamic yoga.
Let’s discover together in detail what Tai Chi Chuan is, and what benefits it can bring to the health of those who practice it regularly.
WHAT TAI CHI CHUAN IS AND HOW IT IS PRACTICED
Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art suitable for all, old and young, is characterized by the interaction between strength and flexibility and is able to invigorate the body, strengthening the immune system, so as to be practiced in China as an activity that promotes longevity.
It is an ancient discipline, which has its roots in the Taoist tradition and culture of Chinese martial arts; its history is linked to many schools, which have been able to spread it throughout the world.
Its practice consists in the repetition in sequence of slow and harmonic movements, in order to totally free the mind during the practice.
To date, there are five main styles that, although they have different characteristics, follow similar principles.
- Wu or Hao
Although the different schools in Tai Chi Chuan differ in their techniques, they all provide equal benefits: from gentle cardiovascular stimulation to strengthening the immune system and stress and breathing control.
Let’s see what they are.
THE BENEFITS OF TAI CHI CHUAN: WELL-BEING, STRENGTH AND INNER CALM
Thanks to the forms, i.e. the sequences of movements that are put into practice during the practice, Tai Chi Chuan allows to develop and control the vital energy. With regular practice, what you acquire is the ability to not force any movement, and to perfect flexibility, softness in movements and great muscle strength.
Well-being, resistance and inner calm are, therefore, the most obvious advantages of the supreme art of fighting, but not the only ones.
Among the greatest psycho-physical benefits brought by the practice of Tai Chi Chuan we find:
- harmony between inside and outside, between mind and body;
- acquisition of the adaptation opposed to the clash;
- Awareness of time: those who practice Tai Chi Chuan soon realize that everything has time and the time available is sufficient to achieve in the best way what needs to be achieved;
- total perception of one’s body, thanks to the practice of dynamic forms;
- high level of relaxation, which is reflected in everyday life;
- training without cardiovascular fatigue;
- development of strength in the limbs and physiotherapeutic properties;
- development of balance and motor coordination;
- muscle and joint relaxation;
- strengthening of internal organs and intestinal improvement;
- mental balance and abandonment of stress;
- improvement of pathological states related to fibromyalgia.
TAI CHI CHUAN, THERAPY AGAINST FIBROMYALGIA
A study by the Brown University School of Public Health, Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and the Center for Mind-Body Therapies in Boston found a positive correlation between fibromyalgia and a mind-body treatment of Tai Chi.
The research involved 226 fibromyalgia patients in various American therapeutic centers: half of them underwent a program of aerobic exercises for 24 weeks, while the remaining half followed therapeutic activities based on Tai Chi Chuan, which proved more effective than traditional gymnastics, greatly improving the psychological and physical condition of patients.
The result of the study also reveals that the duration also affects the effects of the treatment: among those involved in the practice of Tai Chi, some have followed a course of 12 weeks, others instead of 24 weeks: well, the latter have found greater benefits.
Thai Chi could therefore prove to be an ally in the fight against this musculoskeletal syndrome whose causes are still unknown, although, it must be said, the outcome of the study shows that