A recent study from Harvard University shows the health benefits of tai chi, especially for those with heart conditions that prevent them from engaging in rigorous physical exercise. Tai chi is a Chinese form of martial arts that focuses on soft, slow movements and requires concentration on poses, physical posture and alignment.
Tai chi provides a range of health benefits, including improved posture and physical alignment, increased focus on steady breathing, engagement in slow/meditative poses, and a reduction in stress, which has shown to benefit circulation and cardiovascular health. Tai chi is sometimes considered “meditation in motion” since it creates calmness and relaxation. For more beneficial relaxation therapies, click here .
Scientists at Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center conducted a randomized study of 100 outpatients with compromised heart function. They were split into two groups: one group took part in a 12-week tai chi exercise program, while the other group received education on living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Participants in the tai chi group experienced reduced anxiety, less depression, increased energy, and an overall improved quality of life. The study was published in the April 25th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Studies such as this continue to show the benefits of alternative and complementary health practices. Mind-body exercise often results in lowered anxiety and better stress management, which in turn reduces problems associated with depression.
John R. Teerlink, MD, of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said, "Mind-body medicine holds tremendous potential to improve both functional capacity and health-related quality of life in patients ... [and] it is time to give these therapies the studies they deserve." The benefits of mind-body therapies can be boosted by integrating them with herbal, natural compounds known to support heart health. Using herbal medicine with all-natural botanicals and enzymes such as Hawthorne berry and Nattokinase promotes healthy circulation, arteries, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
By Dr. Isaac Eliaz M.D., L.Ac., M.S.
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