Impact of Tai Chi on Mind and Body

February 2, 2020 Joe Brady

A growing body of research shows that fall-related injuries and cognitive decline are highly interdependent. How sharp we are mentally, changes the way we walk, and our risk of falling. This may explain why exercises like tai chi, which strengthens both the mind and the body have such dramatic effects on improving balance and more importantly on reducing falls.

Watch the video of the lecture  “Minding” Our Bodies: Research on the Impact of Tai Chi on Cognitive-neuromuscular Interactions in Older Adults with Peter Wayne, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine   (see below)

Top ten reasons for getting to a Tai chi class today!

1. Improve balance and reduce falls – studies have shown people who practice Tai chi at least once a week have half the risk of falling and even if they do fall have half the risk of getting injured in a fall!

2. Improve strength, flexibility and aerobic power – According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity, when done properly Tai chi is a legitimate, moderate aerobic exercise.

3. Pain Relief – Tai chi has been shown to be effective in relieving back pain, neck pain, and arthritis pain.

4. Improve cognitive function – Tai chi has been shown in studies to improve memory, learning, and concentration in older adults and even shown to slow down the decline in dementia.

5. Improves cardiovascular function – Reduces high blood pressure and your chances of developing heart disease.

6. Improves mood and anxiety – 82% of studies show Tai chi improves mood and anxiety.

7. Improves depression – Tai chi has been shown to work better than anti-depressants.

8. Reduce the effects of stress – a powerful form of mindfulness meditation, Tai chi can carry you away from your troubles for 20 minutes at a time reducing the harmful effects of stress-related hormones.

9. Improve the quality of life – Tai chi has been shown to improve quality of life, mobility and pain in cancer patients, fibromyalgia patients and heart disease.

10. Last but not least: Mythology – Joseph Campbell once said you can tell a lot about a person by the mythology they live. The mythology of the tai chi master is a much better self-image than becoming a victim of old age.

Watch the video: Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series

The video below is a lecture by Peter Wayne from Harvard Medical School and will summarize the state of clinical research evidence for the use of tai chi for preserving and rehabilitating age- and chronic disease-related decline in postural control and cognitive function. Dr. Wayne will discuss experimental studies informing mechanisms of Tai chi’s impact, as well as pragmatic studies informing its cost-effectiveness. The presentation will conclude with suggestions for future research targeting current evidence gaps, including the potential use of technology for enhancing the monitoring and delivery of pragmatic community-based mind and body interventions.Watch the lecture at NIH VideoCast