Benefits of Practising

Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung (Qi Gong)

by John Chow

 

Chi Kung (Qi Gong) is the practise of developing and manipulating the body’s energy systems,  usually via physical (yoga-like) exercises, breathing (pranayama),  and meditation.  Tai Chi Chuan is a soft and gentle form of (very effective and powerful!) martial art.  Tai Chi Chuan is essentially Chi Kung that is developed as a martial art.  To put in other words,  Tai Chi Chuan is based on Chi Kung, and therefore,  there is no Tai Chi Chuan without Chi Kung.  Thus,  the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung can not be separated. 

 

The following are widely recognised as benefits of regular and correct practice of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung.

 

General Benefits

assists in healing many illness and health conditions (refer list below)

assists in recuperation and rejuvenation (chronic illness, surgery)

improved health and wellbeing

increased vitality and energy level

improved immunity against infection

relaxation – tension and stress relief

pain relief – muscles, joints, backache

strengthens the muscles

strengthens the bones -  bone density and osteoporosis

lubricates joints -  arthritis, rheumatism, stiff joints, back pain,

promotes deeper breathing – asthma

improves the digestive system – irritable bowel syndrome

exercises and expands the lungs – aerobic capacity, breathing difficulties

increases intake of oxygen

improves blood & lymph circulation – poor circulation, cardiovascular

enhances the immune system – colds, flu, infection

balances endocrine system – all sorts of ailments

regulates the central nervous system – psychological problems

improves balance – reduce falls

relieves hypertension, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal

fatigue relief

insomnia relief

flexibility – stiffness in joints and movement

self-healing – helps most  physiological health conditions

inner peace, calmness and tranquility

induces personal confidence

induces feeling of well being

improved lifestyle

fitness and vitality

post operative recovery

assist in healing traumatic injuries, bruises

balance body’s energy and systems

longevity

healing of others

improved intuition, psychic abilities (refer list below on meditation)

 

In addition,  Tai Chi and Qi Gong has been widely practised for anti-aging, rejuvenation, weight reduction and natural beauty.  

 

Tai Chi and Qi Gong is very helpful for chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions,  hypertension, digestive problems, joint & muscle pain, insomnia  etc.

 

 

 

Health Conditions that Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung will help

·         cardiovascular disorders

·         digestive disorders

·         respiratory disorders

·         hypertension

·         diabetes

·         headaches

·         backaches

·         shoulder aches

·         joint pain

·         muscle pain

·         stress

·         insomnia

·         anxiety

·         chronic fatigue syndrome

·         traumatic injuries, bruises

·         chronic illnesses

·         post-surgery

·         general weakness

 

 

Physiological Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung as health-enhancing, deep-breathing exercises

The following analyses the benefits of practicing Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung from the point of view of human physiology  -  with examples of relevant health conditions. 

·        strengthens the muscles  -  fitness, vitality, weak, elderly

·        strengthens the bones  -  light density and osteoporosis, elderly

·        improves balance  -  reduce falls

·        lubricates joints -  arthritis, rheumatism, stiff joints, back pain,

·        improves skeletal and postural  alignment  -  backache, joint ache

·        exercises and expands the lungs  -  asthma, weak lungs, all forms of cancer

·        promotes deeper breathing  -  asthma, weak lungs, all forms of cancer

·        increases intake of oxygen  -  asthma, weak lungs, all forms of cancer

·        improves the blood and lymph circulation   -  cardiovascular, hypertension,

·        improves the blood  -  poor circulation, chronic pain, arthritis, injuries, bruises,

·        enhances the immune system  -  easy to catch infections, colds, flu,

·        balances endocrine system  -  many chronic illnesses, diabetes, hypertension,

·        induces calmness  -  insomnia, anxiety, worries, agitation,

·        regulates the central nervous system  -  muscle co-ordination,

·        improves the digestive system  -  irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems,

·        reduces stress  -  relieves ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems,

·        rejuvenate cells -   maintain youth, anti-aging

·        other  -  post operative recovery, health maintenance & enhancement, weight control,

 

Note:-  It appears that very deep breathing assists in combating many forms of cancer.

 

 

Physical Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung

·        strengthens  muscles -  fitness and vitality

·        strengthens the ligaments  -  joint strength, enhanced power and speed

·        strengthens bones  - protect against injury and falls

·        lubricate joints -  flexibility

·        exercise and expands the lungs – increase aerobic lung capacity

·        improves balance  -  protect against falls

 

 

 

Psychological Benefits of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung as meditation exercises

·         improved relaxation and  reduced tension

·         improved calmness and tranquillity

·         enhanced mental focus / concentration ability

·         enhanced sense of peace, contentment, happiness

·         induces self-confidence

·         induces feeling of well being

·         diminished mental chatter, agitation or distraction

·         increased  creativity

·         improved sense of well being, vitality, aliveness

·         improvement in personality and social behaviour

·         decrease in neurotic tendencies

·         improvement in study efficiency and exam performance

·         increase in efficiency of problem solving

·         improvement in creativity in the visual arts

·         decrease in drug and alcohol abuse

·         unify body, mind, and spirit

·          

 

As a meditation,  the spiritual and psychic benefits include:-

·         more calmness, tranquillity

·         enhanced sense of peace, contentment, happiness

·         improvement in spiritual qualities,  eg., kindness, openness, etc

·         increased intuition, insight

·         improvement in concentration

·         dreams become more vivid, even lucid

·         better dream recall

·         greater self awareness and powers of mind

·         increase in psychic sensitivity

·         increased ability to remain focussed on object of meditation for longer duration

 

Studies in prisons have shown that meditation leads to a:-

·         drop in psychological distress

·         more disciplined and co-operative inmates

·         less prone to depression and hostility

 

 

In "The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditation Experience",  Daniel Goleman, psychologist and frequent writer for The New York Times,  summarised a number of remarkable physical and physiological effects of meditation (and relaxation):

·         Probably the single most reported physiological benefit of meditation — indeed, of systematic relaxation techniques generally — is the drop in blood pressure. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have recommended meditation (along with salt and dietary restrictions) above prescription drugs as the first treatment for mild hypertension.

·         Relaxation through meditation relieves suffering from angina and arrhythmia, lowers blood cholesterol levels, and can enhance blood flow to the heart.

·         Although changes taking place through the endocrine system are still not well understood, some research results are startling. For example, the deep relaxation of meditation may enhance the immune function of the body, with research showing increased defense against tumors, viruses, colds, flu, and other infectious diseases.

·         From meditative relaxation, diabetics can experience a lessening of the emotional reactions that often precede attacks. Asthmatics can experience improved flow in constricted air passages.

·         Chronic pain patients can reduce their reliance on pain-killers and lessen the level of pain. Backaches, migraine headaches, and tension headaches may all be relieved with long-term carryover through proper training.

 

 

A good article to read is “Tai Chi for Specific Conditions”  which I have downloaded from the internet.

 

 

Written by  John Chow,  a registered practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur, healer and teacher of Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, martial arts and spiritual paths.

 

@2000 Copyright:-  No part of this article can be used, quoted, copied in any form without the permission from the author.  For further information on this article, please contact John Chow  at  vajra_master@yahoo.com.