One of the main benefits of tai chi and qigong is that it calms the mind through reduction of physical tension and stress. But then, you might argue that all exercise burn of stress hormones which can reduce stress and anxiety.
The reason for this is that anecdotal stories of this ancient Eastern healing art are now being corroborated by clinical evidence.
At the end of this article appear some studies that back up the claims of the effectiveness of tai chi and qigong. In particular, a study done In 2017 which was a 3 month randomized controlled study that took place in Australia with 50 healthy, but anxious and stressed, individuals. The Researchers found that Tai Chi may be superior to other forms of exercise when it comes to reducing stress-related anxiety.
Although conventional exercise and tai chi both reduced stress and anxiety, the researchers concluded that tai chi was more effective than traditional exercise because tai chi was a safer, more cost effective and less robust way to exercise. Furthermore, the study acknowledged the meditative aspects and focused breathing of tai chi as additional benefits which are absent in traditional exercise forms.
Also, not only does tai chi qigong release physical tension carried in small muscles and large body muscles, it also stretches the muscles and ligaments and protect the joints. Smaller muscles and ligaments are stretched and stimulated which protect joints. Whereas conventional exercises focus mainly on exercising - and sometimes exerting - the large muscle groups.
Tai Chi and Qigong seem to improve mood levels for anxious individuals by reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. Research suggests that the combination of meditative movements and mindful breathing positively alter the effect on mood-regulating hormones. Tai Chi and Qigong are therefore worthwhile practices to reduce anxiety and stress in a safe and cost effective way.
Research in this area is new, but at the time of writing there are around 1500 studies relating to tai chi and qigong. Not all the studies are conclusive, but the results of many are impressive. Some of the studies below show strong evidence of how tai chi and qigong improve anxiety and stress. For details about how tai chi and qigong benefit other areas of human health visit the Qigong Research page.
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