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Using T’ai Chi To Manage Stress

January 04, 2018

T’ai chi, also called t’ai chi chu’an, has been in practice in China for thousands of years.

In China, both small and large groups gather daily to practice t’ai chi in parks. Everyone is welcome to join in.

Here in the US, t’ai chi is becoming more popular, too.

Some progressive companies encourage their employees to practice t’ai chi to relieve stress and improve productivity.

If you’ve never tried t’ai chi, you will want to learn after hearing everything it can do for you.

How Does T’ai Chi Work?

T’ai chi is a form of low impact aerobics based on martial arts. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, its slow, dance-like movements help clear the body’s meridians and promote the flow of Qi (life energy).

T’ai chi is performed silently, encouraging a calm focus. Along with graceful postures that flow into each other, t’ai chi uses controlled, deep breathing to help balance the mind and body.

As exercise, t’ai chi uses stretching along with classic movements and postures. It promotes flexibility, balance, and strength. Still, it’s gentle enough for the very young and elderly to practice.

T’ai chi is self-paced, non competitive, and extremely versatile. It requires no equipment, can be done anywhere, and can be practiced alone or in a group.

Adopting a t’ai chi practice is both revitalizing and meditative. For some people, performing t’ai chi is their daily meditation.

T’ai Chi Has a Spiritual Aspect

As a form of mind-body healing, there is a spiritual component to t’ai chi.

Healers use t’ai chi to connect with nature, and increase the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Very advanced practitioners are even able to affect Qi and healing from a distance.

You can often feel a strong current flowing when holding hands in a circle with an experienced leader. I have felt this myself and it was powerful!

Health Benefits of T’ai Chi

  • T’ai chi loosens tight muscles and improves flexibility. It’s a great choice to strengthen the body and prevent falls in older people.
  • T’ai chi can improve heart health, bone health, and relieve tension headaches.
  • T’ai chi soothes anxiety, mild depression, and decreases the effects of stress.
  • T’ai chi accelerates the elimination of toxins and wastes through natural detoxification systems.
  • T’ai chi increases circulation, relieving symptoms like cold hands and feet.
  • T’ai chi eases joint pain and can help to lower blood pressure.
  • T’ai chi increases motor skills, concentration, and can boost self-esteem.
  • T’ai chi strengthens the immune system and promotes a deeper sleep.

Get Into a Daily T’ai Chi Practice

If you’re interested in learning T’ai chi, look for classes in your community or explore online tutorials.

Try not to get discouraged if t’ai chi feels awkward at first. With practice, you will catch on.

Over time, your muscles will remember the movements. T’ai chi will feel more natural and energizing each day.



  • Abbott, R. & Lavretsky, H. (2013, March). Tai Chi and Qigong for the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 36(1),109-119. Retrieved from
  • Palermo, E. (2015, Feb.). What is T’ai Chi? Retrieved from  Live Science,
  • Page, L. & Abernathy, S. (2011). Healthy Healing 14th Edition. Healthy Healing.
  • Tai Chi: A gentle way to ease stress. (1998-2017). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic,