Tai chi for health

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Simplified tai chi

Adapted from taijiquan, tai chi for health is a simplified, non-martial exercise suitable for most adults. It can be practiced by people of all ages and serves as a daily 'tonic'.
The training is intended to improve health and wellbeing through frequent, regular practice using low effort.

The origin of health practice

Tai chi for health was first popularised by Yang Cheng Fu in the early part of the 20th Century. This led to the widespread fame of tai chi for health throughout China.

1950's China

Faced with a major health crisis, the People's Republic of China turned to Yang style taijiquan for a solution. Just think about what that means...
Yang style taijiquan's reputation for health was so well founded that the government of China thought to employ the art officially as a means of improving wellbeing.
The art was introduced to schools nationwide.

Ideal exercise

The Okinawa Program was a 25 year study into longevity and healthy living. It led to other studies such as The Blue Zones, 50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People and How Not To Die.
The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people of all ages.


Tai chi for health involves simple movements, mild stretches and cooperative partner work. The onus is upon relaxation, balance, good poise and coordination.
Students learn how to move their body in a healthy, comfortable way without the risk of injury.

Tai chi frees the body and helps with relaxation and overall circulation.
It activates muscles, sinews and joints in the body. It strengthens physical power without stress.
It maintains youth and aliveness, and slows down the aging process through rejuvenation.
Tai chi calms and collects. It clears and sharpens the mind to help us in focusing and centering our daily activities.
When the body and mind move harmoniously together, the human spirit soars.

The ultimate benefit of tai chi is to experience living in a healthy, wide-awake state of being.

(Chungliang Al Huang)

Day-to-day health

Tai chi for health was designed to gently renew and refresh your body on a daily basis.
You unkink those unpleasant aches and pains, stiff muscles and sore joints. You gently, softly encourage your body to move freely and comfortably.
Instead of hammering and punishing your body, you treat it with respect and care. Your body must last you a lifetime. The secret is to practice little and often.


The benefits of tai chi are significant, medically proven and long-lasting:

  1. Stay calm

  2. Develop your memory skills

  3. Mindfulness

  4. Boost energy

  5. Increased brain activity

  6. Cultivate an unusual form of strength

  7. Improved joint function

  8. Feel balanced

  9. Increased stamina and endurance

  10. Release deeply-held muscular tension

  11. Meditation & awareness

  12. Increased flexibility

  13. Coordination

  14. Better focus/concentration

  15. Learn to relax naturally

  16. Improved poise and posture

Long held to be an excellent anti-aging regime, tai chi may indeed be the perfect exercise (Harvard Medical School).

12 weeks

Harvard Medical School reports that most tai chi health trials last at least 12 weeks. They involve instruction once or twice a week supplemented with daily home practice.
By the end of the trial, most participants experienced an improvement in health. This highlights a major consideration for new starters; it can take some weeks for the health benefits to occur.

Gentle exercise

Tai chi offers a balanced approach to the cultivation of health, vitality and wellbeing. There is no sweating, straining or panting for breath. There is gain without pain.
You can gently and gradually improve fitness without exertion; providing you practice between lessons.

Motor learning
Motor learning is about the process of using the body, rather than simply exercising the body.
Agility, mobility, relaxed spontaneous movement, balance, structure, alignment, biomechanics, efficiency, ambidextrous body use, joint health, coordination, skill, emotional wellbeing or psychological flexibility.
Tai chi combines exercise with motor learning.

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Page created 11 January 1993
Last updated 12 January 2020