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Benefits of Tai Chi
and 4 Minute Fitness

... In other words, why bother?

button Physical benefits

  • Increased flexibility - particularly in the often forgotten spine. Maintenance of flexibility in spinal joints is 'oh so important'.
  • Full range of motion in a lot of your joints - motion is lotion, as they say. Better yet - use it or lose it!
  • Increased strength, particularly of the leg muscles
  • Better balance, fewer falls
  • Improved posture
  • Improved immune functioning. (Why? Mental stillness and reduced stress help immune function, as does exercise.)
  • Improved, deeper breathing - leading to increased oxygenation and vitality of all tissues, improved immune functioning, deeper relaxation
  • Many people have reduced pain - particularly noticed in shoulders, back, legs and knees
  • Increased vitality, energy and life - and an increased awareness of the ever present 'chi'.
  • Enhanced coordination, and improved fine motor skills.
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased breathing and heart rates

button  Mental benefits

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased relaxation
  • Increased concentration and mental focus
  • Improved memory
  • Increased sense of happiness and contentedness (is that a word?) and inner peace
  • Greater ability to 'be in the moment', to pull out of the craziness of everyday living
  • An often profound sense of being here, now. (Wherever you go, there you are...) In other words, reducing the tendency to live in the past, or worry about the future.
  • A higher level of happiness

However -
There are two Keys to Success

1. Do not purchase a DVD where the instructor faces the camera. Think about it. If he goes to the left, you must go right. Forward is backward. It can drive you crazy.

2. Do not try to learn too many postures in a class OR by DVD. Most instructors focus on the number of postures, but the essence of tai chi can be found in just ONE. Better to practice a few GREAT postures than many weak ones.

Read this:
How to Choose a Tai Chi DVD

button Research

There is a whole range of possible benefits, many being documented by western medical studies.

  • Find your inner "ohm" using Easy Tai Chi and 4 Minute Fitness.

    In an interview on CBS This Morning (July, 2014), Dr. John Denninger stated that sciences confirms practices like tai chi "turn genes on and off in a way that is beneficial for health" and as a result - improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. The research states that getting into the "relaxation response" using a variety of different techniques yields a lot of physiological benefits.

    Is this important? You bet. Stress can make almost any disease worse! Stress reduction PREVENTS many disease from even taking hold.

    (Dr. Denninger is from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital where they teach patients ways to counteract stress and build resiliency by eliciting the Relaxation Response.)
  • "One study took adults in their 60s and 70s who practiced tai chi three times a week for 12 weeks (60-minute classes). These adults were given a battery of physical-fitness tests to measure balance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility before and after the 12 weeks. After just six weeks, statistically significant... improvements were observed in balance, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility measures. Improvements in each of these areas increased further after 12 weeks. The authors of the study concluded that tai chi is a potent intervention that improved balance, upper- and lower-body muscular strength and endurance, and upper- and lower-body flexibility in older adults." (From MedicineNet).

    Three hours of class time a week would involve lots of standing around, talking and teaching. Odds are that 10-20 minutes a day of Easy Tai Chi and 4 Minute Fitness practice would do the same or better. Why not find out???
  • Tai chi to the rescue! "Nearly two-thirds of seniors treated for depression fail to achieve remission with pharmaceutical treatment."

    Any guess as to what will significantly improve these results?? You got it! The addition of tai chi to the regime "showed a greater reduction in depressive symptoms, improved physical functioning, improved scores on cognitive tests and a decline in inflammatory markers." (From the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry).
  • Here is some exciting "anti-aging" news for Easy Tai Chi and 4 Minute Fitness practitioners!

    Regular tai chi practice increases stem cells (CD34+) that are involved in cell self renewal, differentiation and proliferation. The study was in young people (under 25) and compared people who did nothing, those who walked briskly and regular tai chi practitioners. Tai chi players had the greatest increase in these anti-aging cells.

    Tai Chi “has also been confirmed to benefit” patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia, increases blood flow in the body, prevents falls, increases aerobic capacity, decreases blood pressure and reduces stress. Not bad.
  • Tai Chi better than stretching in Fibromyalgia study
    The slow, flowing movements of tai chi are better for relieving pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia than conventional stretching exercises, doctors reported on Wednesday. "Week by week they changed. The pain and depression improved. They feel better, People said it changed their lives" according to study leader Dr. Wang. They also reported better sleep quality
    and improved physical conditions.
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    New England Journal of Medicine, Aug. 19, 2010
  • Better balance
    Patients who had vestibular disease (resulting in poor balance) noted subjective improvements in dizziness and balance disorders after practicing tai chi.
    In a paper presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in San Diego
  • Tai Chi eases osteoarthritis
    Tai chi is effective in the treatment of pain and physical impairment in those with severe knee osteoarthritis, according to research
    presented at the American College of Rheumatology (Oct-08). The study involved 40 moderately overweight seniors who had knee osteoarthritis. They were divided into a group engaged in tai chi and another which did stretching exercises. After three months, the tai chi group had significant reduction in pain.
  • Practicing tai chi exercises regularly can improve sleep as well as daytime functioning in elderly people with moderate sleep disorders.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2004;52:892–900).
  • Tai Chi may help elderly have fewer restless nights.
    112 people who averaged about 70 years old and had complained of having trouble sleeping met for 40 minutes three times a week for about 4 months OR attend classes on sleep issues, exercise and relaxation that met for about the same time.

    63% of those who practice tai chi, compared to 32% of the others, were no longer considered sleep impaired based on standardized rating scales: they fell asleep more quickly, slept longer, awoke fewer times in the night and had less daytime drowsiness.
    From Sleep , July 1, 2008. From the Mayo Clinic

  • Tai chi boosts shingles immunity in elderly people, new research shows. It adds to their general health, too -- especially when those in poor health practice the gentle meditation.  The practice fosters a calm and tranquil mind.

    In what is believed to be the first study of its kind conducted in the United States, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have shown that behavioral interventions and integrative exercise programs such as tai chi can have a direct, positive effect on the immune system in older adults.
    Psychosomatic Medicine
    , September, 2003

  • According to a review done my the Harvard Health Letter - July, 1997, tai chi... reduces some stress hormones, reduces risk of falling (the leading cause of death by injury in older folks), and improves balance.
  • The Mayo Health Letter - February, 1998 - "In recent years, a gentle form of ancient Chinese martial arts, called tai chi, has gained attention as a method for improving balance... reduced their risk (of falling) by about 40%."
  • The BC Medical journal reports - (May, 1997) - All manner of illnesses have been researched, mostly in China, but also in North America and Europe. Benefits have been claimed for joint disorder, heart disease, hypertension, substance abuse disorders, and stress related illnesses, to name just a few."
  • Other studies conclude that tai chi may delay the decline of cardiorespiratory function in older individuals (Lai et al. in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society - 1995), and appeared to be a part of rehabilitation and a safe alternative exercise for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (Kirstens et al. in American Journal of Physical Medical Rehabilitation, 1991)
  • a 1992 Australian study of 96 practitioners found that tai chi had the same effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones as brisk walking.
  • An Atlanta study of 200 people in their 70's found that 15 weeks of tai chi training cut their risk of falling nearly in half, and reduced their blood pressure as well.
  • According to Robert Whipple, an expert on balance and gait at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, "The human frame is phenomenally unstable. We stand on a narrow foundation... Tai chi has come up with the best possible biomechanical scenarios for keeping a person stable - to maximize your base by widening your stance, and to keep your head and torso as vertical as possible."
  • According to "Health After 50" (John Hopkins Medical Letter, July,1999), on "Nipping Anger in the Bud..."
    Practice a relaxation technique. The most popular are deep breathing, yoga and tai chi (a Chinese martial art involving a series of slow, graceful movements). These techniques decrease blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate and muscle tension."
  • Another John Hopkins publication (1999). "Deep breathing may improve fitness levels in people with chronic heart failure. Yoga-derived breathing training (as practiced in tai chi) may increase oxygen levels and ease breathing difficulties."
  • Consumer Report, Feb. 2000. "A routine that combines moderate exercise with meditation techniques, such as a concentration on breathing, may give a two for one reward for stress relief. Tai Chi and yoga are gentle, slow exercises that promote balance, flexibility, stretching and mental calm."
  • Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003. "Tai chi exercises may help prevent shingles."

Easy Tai Chi DVDs potentially offer
all these benefits, BUT it is much
easier to learn and practice than traditional tai chi!

Note: always check with your health care professional before undertaking tai chi practice.

Dr. Keith Jeffery
"A revolutionary


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