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Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, Part 11, Benefits to the Heart and Immune System

By Frank Simons

In this lecture, you are going to examine the claims of the health benefits of tai chi practices and find out if there is any truth in them. Almost universally, studies show two things. First, even simple, basic practices of the movements of tai chi and qigong have positive therapeutic or curative effects on most diseases and health conditions. Second, this practice has no known side effects or contraindications. It is safe for all. Studies for specific diseases show tai chi as superior to all other forms of non-pharmaceutical treatment. Because tai chi has no side effects, it may be appropriate as an important complement or replacement for drug therapy.

Video Presentation
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, Part 11, Benefits to the Heart and Immune System
Thu, Aug 11, 5:30pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted

The three most common causes of early mortality in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Currently, heart disease is the number one killer in all US, especially if you are over 65. A 53-person study at Taiwan University showed a year of tai chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure, and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C-reactive protein in people at high risk for heart disease. It found no improvement in a control group that did not practice tai chi. In a 30-person pilot study at Harvard Medical School, 12 weeks of tai chi improved participants’ ability to walk and quality of life. It also reduced blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart disease. Dr. Peter Wayne, professor of medicine at Harvard and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, said, “What’s been interesting to us, however, is how tai chi, this slow-moving meditative exercise, improves aerobic capacity and multiple cardiovascular risk factors. We and others have observed patients with both heart and lung disease walk faster for longer periods after tai chi training. Those in a tai chi group had greater improvement in walking distance compared to those in the aerobics class.”


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in US. To be clear, there is no research to date that shows tai chi has any effect on cancer. However, tai chi practice might help recovery from treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, which have severe side effects, especially on the immune system. One of the most well documented effects of tai chi is its positive impact on the immune system. A stronger immune system through tai chi practice can help insure cancer patients of a smoother recovery and mitigate the immune-related side effects of treatments.

Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in US. After a six-week program of tai chi, asthma patients showed significant improvements in peak-flow variability, asthma control, and quality of life measures. Chinese studies showed lung function parameters and diaphragm strength parameters to be significantly increased in participants who successfully completed a six-month tai chi course compared to their own baseline and to participants in a control group.

David-Dorian Ross, the founder and CEO of Taijifit, leads the course.


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