Tai Chi For Better Posture And Back Pain
Tai chi is a wonderful form of exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years in China and has been enthusiastically welcomed by the millions of people who practice it in the United States. Western medicine also recognizes Tai Chi as an effective way of improving posture and back pain, as well as other types of pain whether related to a specific condition or random.
Tai chi originated as a form of martial arts that trained warriors to be more aware in combat but it has changed over time to be an excellent form of healing art. Tai chi can be practiced alone or in large groups, as it is often practiced that way in the parks of China.
It involves blending the breath with slow and deliberate movements that stretch and strengthen all the muscles of the body, including the back and neck. During the transitions between the movements of Tai chi, the breath acts in synchronicity, increasing feelings of wellbeing, and allowing for a meditative state that calms the mind and relaxed the muscles.
Tai chi is unlike yoga in that it involves a great deal more motion and it is unlike other aerobic exercises in that it its very low impact, and doesn’t involve a lot of pressure on the joints, tendons, and ligaments. It also incorporates mindfulness into the practice, which makes it exponentially more effective than traditional exercise.
The Three Parts Of Tai Chi
There are three major aspects of Tai chi that you should be aware of. They work together to make the process truly a healing art. They include:
• Focused breathing: The breathing matches the rhythmic movements so that you are more relaxed. Breathing narrows the mind and frees it from extraneous thoughts so that you can do the movements better. Deep breathing translates to better oxygenation of the blood that supplies the brain, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
• Graceful movements: Tai chi is comprised of specific forms or postures that are performed in a slow fluid motion with an upright body. Because it increases the flexibility of the spine and neck, it improves posture and relieves back pain. The movements resemble a slow ballet done by everyday people in comfortable clothing.
• Meditation: People who engage in Tai chi go into a meditative state of mind, which further reduces the stress on the body and mind. The perception of pain is lessened and the individual is calmer after doing the movements while in deep meditation.
Posture And Spine Health
Since Tai chi is done standing and is focused on balance and gracefulness, you can develop a better posture with a straighter and stronger spine. Anyone can benefit from better posture since many people simply ignore this important element of their health. The movements of Tai chi are focused around the spine, using the extremities for balance and precision of movement.
The back muscles are strengthened so that you don’t have so much pressure put on the bones of the spine; they are instead better supported by the back muscles. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the spine is key in healing, and when it is straight, it allows our life qi (energy) to flow freely making us well and dis-ease free.
Perception Of Pain
The perception of pain is lessened while practicing Tai chi and this includes the perception of back and neck pain. Tai chi acts on the pain centers of the brain through meditation so areas of the back or neck involved in arthritic changes, for example, are less painful because the brain learns not to perceive pain in the same way as before practicing Tai chi.
When you walk after practicing Tai chi for a period of time, you walk with a less “slouched” appearance; your spine is straighter and you put less pressure on the joints of the spine. These benefits last long after you have stopped doing Tai chi.
Get Started Today!
Because Tai chi is easy on the joints and muscles, it can be practiced by people of all ages. It can not only prevent back pain from occurring in people who start doing it at a young age but it can relieve the pain of existing back problems in people who don’t start Tai chi until they are older.
It is cheap to do and requires no special exercise equipment. Try taking a class in Tai chi to see how it feels or purchase a Tai chi DVD so you can do it in the comfort of your own home.