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Tai Chi and Your Spine

Tai Chi is an ancient art form that has health benefits, as well as being a Martial Art.  Tai Chi has been studied as a form of therapeutic exercise and has been shown to improve balance and prevent falls in the elderly.  It provides cardiovascular, strength, stress and pain management and other health benefits, as well.  When done properly, with guidance, it can also be a safe and effective way to improve leg strength, hip range of motion, and posture, and is a gentle way to improve neck, shoulder and arm range of motion and movement patterns. The integration of breathing, movement, and energy awareness aspects of this exercise form equates to a “spine-healthy” activity.

Look for experienced instructors in your community, or to books or videos to get you started or to advance your practice of Tai Chi or related arts such as Qigong (Chi Kung). [1-6]

1. Cohen, K., The way of qigong = [Ch’i kung chi tao] : the art and science of Chinese energy healing. 1st ed1997, New York: Ballantine Books. xix, 427 p.

2. Liao, W., Chi : discovering your life energy. 1st Shambhala ed2009, Boston: Shambhala. ix, 156 p.

3. Liao, W., T*ai chi classics. Shambhala classics2000, Boston: Shambhala. x, 210 p.

4. Hong, Y., Tai chi chuan : state of the art in international research. Medicine and sport science,2008, Basel ; New York: Karger. x, 244 p.

5. Jou, T.H. and S. Shapiro, The tao of tai-chi chuan (or Tai ji quan in Pinyin) : way to rejuvenation = [T*ai chi ch*üan chih tao]. 3rd rev. ed. The Tao series1983, Rutland, Vt.

Piscataway, N.J.: C.E. Tuttle Co. ;

Tai Chi Foundation. xxiv, 262 p.

6. Liang, T.T., T*ai chi ch*üan for health and self-defense : philosophy and practice. Rev., expanded ed1977, New York: Vintage Books. xiv, 133 p.