Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tai Chi Scientifically Proven To Benefit Mind and Body in Older Adult

Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. The term taiji refers to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang, related to the moves. 

Though originally conceived as a martial art, it is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: competitive wrestling in the format of pushing hands (tui shou), demonstration competitions and achieving greater longevity. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims with differing emphasis. Some training forms of tàijíquán are especially known for being practiced with relatively slow movements.

A new Journal of Neuroimaging study provides insights into the biochemical mechanisms by which Tai Chi— a mind-body exercise—may provide both physical and psychological benefits.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a non-invasive method of measuring brain and muscle chemistry using MRI machines, tests conducted in 6 older adults enrolled in a 12-week Tai Chi program revealed significant increases in a marker of neuronal health in the brain and significantly improved recovery rates of a metabolite involved in energy production in leg muscles. 

Master Hao Zhi Hua
File:1 patti 060121 1Ds 8266.jpg
Credit: Keith Weng / Wikimedia Commons

“The benefits of Tai Chi have been well known anecdotally; however recent research such as our study can quantify these improvements using objective measures,” said senior author Dr. Alexander Lin, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Today, Tai Chi has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of tai chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun. All of the former, in turn, trace their historical origins to Chen Village.


Contacts and sources:
Wiley

Citation: Min Zhou, Huijun Liao, Lasya P. Sreepada, Joshua R. Ladner and Alexander P. Lin. Tai Chi Improves Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in Older Adults. Journal of Neuroimaging. DOI: 10.1111/jon.12515. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jon.12515

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