From the category archives:

tai chi

Stress: Good for Cancer Cells, Bad for Us

by Ed

A recent study published here, suggests that the stress hormone, epinephrine, may cause changes in prostate and breast cancer cells that makes them more resistant to cell death.

Stress reduction will not only improve your chances of recovering from cancer it will probably decrease your chances of getting it in the first place. Exercise, relaxation, and behavioral changes are the most important ways to reduce your stress. I recommend a combination of aerobic and relaxing forms of exercise. By relaxing forms, I mean exercise like hatha yoga and tai chi. Both relaxation and behavioral changes can be achieved by self-hypnosis and certain kinds of meditation.

Tai Chi Master

by Ed

Here is a short clip of Chen Man Ching practicing Tai Chi. Chen Man Ching was one of the great masters of the twentieth century. Many of the great teachers in North America now, are students of his students. See these posts for more information on Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Boosts Immunity

by Ed

A recent study shows that tai chi boosts immunity to shingles. Shingles is a nasty condition that causes pain, usually in the rib cage area. It is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. Anyone who has had chicken pox has the dormant virus in their body, and it could flare up into shingles at any time.

In a randomized controlled trial, researchers found that after a 16 week program of tai chi practice, that participants had greatly increased their immunity to the virus. In fact their immunity was double that of the control group. In addition, they reported significant improvements in physical functioning, bodily pain, vitality and mental health.

See other posts on the benefits of tai chi here.

It is important when starting to learn tai chi that you find a good teacher. If they are not teaching according to the principles, you may not be getting all of the benefits. Watch a class and pay attention to what the teacher focuses on. They should talk a lot about relaxation and being centered and grounded. They should be adjusting the students postures to ensure their bodies are properly aligned. If the teacher is not focusing on the principles and correcting the students’ form, I would keep looking. Once you’ve studied with a good teacher for a year or so, you’ll have a foundation for good health for the rest of your life.

A quick note on Tai Chi

by Ed

I found this in Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, from February, 2001:

A recent study looked at 33 arthritic adults aged 49 to 81, who either did or did not take a three month tai chi program. Participants in the hour long, twice weekly class said they were better able to manage disease symptoms and enjoyed better health. By doing these slow, flowing motions, arthritic patients reported significant improvements in their flexibility, mobility, and ability to bend and do household tasks. (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, December, 2000)

Arthritis and Rheumatism

by Ed

Back to talking about the cold damp weather, many people find their aches and pains are worse in the Winter. One of the statements of fact in Chinese Medicine is, “When qi (energy) is flowing, there is no pain. Where there is pain, qi is not flowing.” Cold damp weather tends to make the qi sluggish. It also makes us sluggish, which makes the qi more sluggish. So one of the first steps when you have pain is to keep moving. It may be a good idea to consult with a qualified health professional, if you do not have an exercise program, before you start. Tai chi is one of the best forms of exercise, particularly for older people. It is gentle, yet powerful in its effects. Research has proven it to be an excellent way to prevent osteoporosis, and to slow its progress. From the Chinese point of view, not only does it relax the body and move all the joints, but the particular movements encourage the free flow of qi throughout the body.

Diet can also be helpful for arthritis and rheumatism. It’s best to eat warming foods rather than cooling foods. Ice cream should definitely be avoided. Dairy products aggravate damp conditions and ice cream is obviously cold. Other foods to be avoided include the nightshade family: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers. For many people they are not a big problem, so the best thing to do is to go off them entirely for about a month, then add them back in, one at a time, and notice if they aggravate your symptoms. Many people also find that sugar aggravates painful conditions. Lastly oily, fatty foods can aggravate damp related conditions. One exception being the omega 3 oils found in fish and flax seeds. Omega 3 oils actually have anti-inflammatory action. Taken in large quantities, ginger also can relieve pain. It can also thin the blood, though so consult your doctor if you are on blood thinners or have a blood disorder.

Have an active pain free Winter.