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Tai chi is an art form consisting of low-impact, slow-motion exercises that offer those practicing it inner peace and tranquillity as well as an effective way to improve their balance, flexibility, and mental agility. Learning Tai chi is also a great way to reduce falls in the older generation, which is the most significant preventable cause of injury and death in older adults. Experts say that one of the best ways to help the aging live long and happy lives is to help protect them from injuries.

Falls Prevention Management

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For those aged over 65, the leading cause of death falls, and for more than 30 years, experts at the Institute for Aging Research have been trying to determine what causes these falls and how best to prevent them from happening. Lew Lipitz began working for the institute in 1980 and is now the institute’s director and chief academic officer. The institute is part of Hebrew SeniorLife, which is senior health care and housing organization. It’s an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and is the only long-term ongoing care at teaching hospitals around the country.

Lipitz is the director of the Institute Center for Translational Research in Mobility and Falls. In his work, he’s led several groundbreaking studies that have demonstrated how to reduce the risk of falls among the older community effectively. The examinations held in conjunction with included examining the role high blood pressure plays in falls, stimulating the brain electrically to help with certain functions; as well as looking at the benefits of Tai Chi. Of all these interventions, Lipitz says tai chi is the one that excites him the most as it helps to improve both balance and mobility. It helps with coordination too.

Tai Chi Trials

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A group of seniors took part in a 12-week Tai chi trial in 2010. Results from the study demonstrated how “Tai chi not only improved walking gait, standing balance but improved their overall day to day functional ability,” confirmed Lipitz. The Arthritis Foundation is also a fan of the benefits of Tai Chi and actively recommends it for reducing stress and arthritis pain. Tai chi doesn’t just focus on the physical side of things; it also requires a great deal of attention, memory, and learning in which to master these movements. Cognitive and mental functions also become heightened, as does one’s mindfulness.

Brad Manor is the director of the institute’s mobility and brain function lab as well as an HMS assistant professor of medicine. Manor confirms how Tai chi is not just a physical task but is a mental task as well, and in his lab, he studies how balance and falls are linked with brain function. Part of his research consists of monitoring patient’s movements as they walk and carry out other mentally aware tests, such as counting backward by threes, at the same time.

Analyzing the Findings

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The reason for testing this way is that falls among seniors often occur when they’re walking and carrying out another task simultaneously. That is because they get distracted and go off balance as a result. By studying how dual-tasking interferes with losing balance in one of the studies, the researchers were able to demonstrate how those who did Tai chi had managed to improve their ability to dual-task by walking and performing an additional cognitive task successfully.

Other areas of research that are being looked into currently include a vibratory show insole that sends signals to the feet to help improve gait and balance and an electrical stimulation test to help boost balance, mobility, and dual tasking.

An introduction to Tai Chi

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The Chinese think that excess emotions generally cause illnesses. A depressive state can lead to indigestion and ulcers in the stomach. Besides, anger leads to liver disorder. Sadness compresses and retracts the lungs. Fear disturbs the kidneys and the bladder. That is why the Chinese advocate control of their emotions. They say that you have to regulate your mind to stay calm. Immobility allows you to eliminate thoughts that disturb the mind.

Meditation is the control of emotions. When the mind is freed from thoughts, the flow of energy regularly circulates forcefully throughout the body, and the obstacles in the meridians thus end, disappearing.

By observing nature and adapting the human body to its environment, Chinese doctors throughout the centuries have established a set of exercises that all have an exact and defined preventive or curative objective. However, in the case of a declared illness, we advise you to consult your doctor. 

We suggest that you practice with a qualified teacher who will guide you along this beautiful path of self-knowledge.

In the human body, the energy of the earth is located below the diaphragm, that is, the pelvis. The power of the earth gushes throughout the body through a point called guān chōng, located in the center of the sole.

Yin and Yang are the two aspects of the same thing. Day and night make up a full day. In the same way, the mind and body constitute a man. 

The twelve main meridians of the human body, capture one by one all the energy for two hours, and this constitutes the Chinese biological clock on which doctors rely and which is also used for the practice of chi kung.

* In the abdominal Cinnabar (DAN TIAN) field, chi is elaborated.

* In the central Cinnabar (DAN TIAN) field, there is the energy of the heart, that is, the emotions.

* In the front Cinnabar (DAN TIAN) field, consciousness is located.

The vital force or chi is the cause of all body movements. The meridians constitute the whole network through which the energy of the internal organs circulates.

Six meridians are attached to the fingers, and six are connected to the toes. At its other extremities, these twelve meridians are attached to an internal organ.

Chi Gong exercises enable the proper circulation of energy in the meridians. It is about establishing an energetic re-balance that allows the free flow of energy throughout the body.