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Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines slow rhythmical movements, a relaxed breathing pattern and a concentrated mind. It is a series of dance like movements, made in slow motion, whose main purpose is to focus and balance the healing energy in the body known as "chi". Tai Chi embodies the finest expression of China's philosophical, scientific and martial arts traditions. Today, most people practice Tai Chi as a vitalizing exercise rather than as a system of self defence.
Tai Chi is a system of thought, physical practices and meditation that seeks to bring a sense of balance and harmony to the person. It is well known for its healing powers. It strengthens muscles without strain and increases elasticity or flexibility. With increased muscle tone comes improved circulation, a straighter spine and stronger lower back and leg muscles. The soft turning and bending also massages and stimulates the internal organs into optimal functioning. It stimulates deep abdominal breathing that increases the efficiency and capacity of the cardio-vascular system.
The exercise also promotes the flow of "chi", a force that can best be thought of as "life force" or "life energy". This vitalizing force flows throughout the body along channels called meridians and like acupuncture, Tai chi seeks to regulate and harmonize the flow of this "life energy". The proper flow of energy to the body's various systems and internal organs can alleviate such health issues as ulcers, high blood pressure, heart and lung ailments, chronic headaches, fatigue or pain and improve the digestive system. It is believed that chi energy also enhances the effectiveness of the body's own immune system in its daily battles to resist illness by increasing the T cells to promote health. The body's natural wisdom and tendency towards harmony is asserted and refined through Tai Chi as it seeks to integrate the various aspects and forces of the body-mind-spirit continuum.
Tai Chi is both a set of exercises and a way of life that work towards bringing balance and harmony to the various aspects of our lives. It promotes strength and flexibility in our muscles, energy and balance in our thinking and harmonious relationship to ourselves, others and our surroundings.
Heather McKechnie    MSW, RSW
Registered Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Hypnotherapist
Member of the Ontario Association for Marriage & Family Therapy
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