Adopting a regular practice of the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi
may benefit those who suffer from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
It may also help with weight loss and stress reduction.
In a preliminary study from University of Queensland researcher Liu Xin,
nearly 50 participants participated in 90 minutes of tai chi classes three
times a week. The program was tailored to benefit people with, or at risk
for, type 2 diabetes. The movements were specifically designed to exercise
the pancreas, which is involved in the regulation of blood sugar. Dr. Liu
says, “Like in designing or producing medication, we need to targe the
disease specifically. Different movements target different internal organs.”
Those that participated in the study reported a “significant decline” in
their blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Although the program did not
involve a change in diet, many participants also lost weight. One study
volunteer lost 22 pounds over the course of the three-month study.
Tai chi originated in China more than 2000 years ago as a “soft style”
martial art. Today it is used as a mind-body practice in complementary and
alternative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as “moving
meditation.” In 2007, the National Center for Health Statistics and the
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found
that 1% of more than 23,300 adults surveyed had used tai chi in the past 12
The practice involves slow, smooth body movements which emphasize a straight
spine, abdominal breathing, a natural range of motion, and pushing hands to
achieve relaxation of both the body and mind. There are many different
styles that have evolved over the years but the five major types of tai chi
are the Chen style, the Yang style, the Wu style, the Wu/Hao style, and the
Sun style, named after the Chinese family from which it originated.
Additional health benefits for tai chi include an improvement to physical
condition, muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility; improvement in
balance, particularly in elderly practitioners; relief of pain and stiffness
from conditions such as osteoarthritis; and to relieve insomnia. NCCAM has
also supported studies that reviewed the effects of tai chi on bone loss in
postmenopausal women, cancer survivors, depression in the elderly,
fibromyalgia symptoms, chronic heart failure patients and those who suffer
from rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Liu hopes to expand his research into a larger trial of 200 people with
diabetes, obesity and depression to replicate his results from this smaller
Source : eMaxhealth.com