The health and wellbeing benefits of tai chi have been acknowledged over the centuries. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi is where I refer people to, who appear to have a need to understand the benefits of tai chi and qigong from a scientific perspective. For myself, I try to listen to my body and feel the benefits. But each to their own. In a nutshell, the physical benefits are summarised here. But that’s only part of the story – the emotional and psychological effects vary from person to person. Feedback from weekly classes, and from our WoW retreats in Mallorca often include the following: “I feel more relaxed – less stressed – more alert – more aware of my body and how I move/hold myself – less anxious – sleeping better – less depressed – feel “grounded” – physically tired, in a good way – better able to concentrate – feel accomplished – enjoy life more – have fun!”
No pain, big gains
Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here’s some of the evidence:
Muscle strength. Tai chi can improve both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. When practiced regularly, tai chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking.
“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.”
Flexibility. Tai chi can boost upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.
Balance. Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.
Aerobic conditioning. Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can offer, you may need something more aerobic as well.
Come and join us on our 12th Annual WoW Week of Wellness on October 27th and see what tai chi does for you! And if you already play with tai chi, let us know how it makes you feel, and leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
(source original pic: David Wolfe/Facebook)
David Wolfe neatly summed the best six doctors for a happy and healthy human being. We’ve got them all nailed (and some) at our forthcoming WoW Mallorca retreat, where we still have a few spaces. A good friend thought David had missed one out though – “Connecting with great people. Connectivity is so important for mental and physical wellbeing.” We’d agree with that and clients each year testify that connecting with great people is a given at the wonderful surroundings at Son Ametler.
Are there other doctors you think contribute to your sense of wellbeing? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re anything like me, your mind during the second half of January will have been full of invoices, receipts, diaries, creditors, travel claims and so forth, ie. completing and submitting your tax return. Only now might you be able to see the possibilities beyond the 31st January and start to give the better things in life some attention, like chilling in the pool with the sun on your skin!
And so with this in mind, we’re extending our earlybird discount for our WoW Week of Wellness through to the end of February, giving you a whole month to get your holiday plans in order, and book to join us for a treat of week of tai chi, holistic therapies, walks, chillout time, being mindful, good food and wine, laughter, lazing by the pool, exploring the local area and generally feeling fabulous by the end of it!
We’ve only 3 ensuite rooms left at the wonderful Son Ametler. Bring a friend and share the fun, save on the price. And with the earlybird discount extended til the end of February, each person saves £50 off the fee.
Check it out today and contact us with any questions.
In 2014 we were blessed with amazing weather, fabulous food and a great group of people. As 2015 will be our 10th year in Mallorca it’s something to celebrate and so we shall. Details to follow. What you can be sure of is that Paola and James will once again look after us so well at Son Ametler, and that Jane and Helen will be ensuring that you enjoy a wonderful week and return home chilled, nourished, relaxed and recharged.
We’re offering earlybird discounts for those booking before the end of December 2014. Get in touch for details.
A potential guest to our Week of Wellness recently asked for a “sample menu”. The good folk at Son Ametler were happy to provide one and my mouth watered just reading it, remembering the delicious meals we shared under the sun and stars last Autumn. I look forward to doing the same again in October (4-11th).
I truly believe an important part of any holiday or retreat is the ritual of sitting down and eating together, sharing stories, reflections, laughter and a glass of wine or two. At Son Ametler, we relished the culinary delights produced by Paola and Leigh, using fresh and local produce wherever possible, some of it freshly picked from the gardens, or bought that day at nearby markets, such as these peppers.
Our Week of Wellness, combining tai chi, reflexology and walks in rural Mallorca, will feed the soul. And I can guarantee that the lovely team at Son Ametler will certainly be feeding the stomach too! Fortunately, we’ve plenty of tai chi and walks to keep it all in balance!