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Attending students have completed a questionnaire regarding their thoughts and feelings about the course. These are useful if you are considering attending a course for the first time.

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September 28, 2021
Tai chi’s health benefits for body and mind


Why I do Tai Chi.

"Briefly stated; I do Tai Chi because it is beneficial to my physical and mental health and it helps me maintain a calm frame of mind. Also I really enjoy it!

I am an experienced doctor, a conventionally trained GP and have been in my busy general practice for many years. A few years ago I was laid low by a debilitating physical illness (recurrent attacks of Herpes simplex in my facial nerve.) My own doctor was unable to provide a cure for this and the only helpful things she could do for me were to sign me off from work so that I could rest and advise me to avoid going out in sunlight as this was a trigger for further attacks.

I found I gained considerable help in terms of recovering energy and some sense of well being from shiatsu treatments. After a few weeks of these treatments the shiatsu therapist recommended I try doing Tai Chi because it works on the same fundamental principles as shiatsu. At that time I had no idea what Tai Chi was. Nonetheless, impressed by the effects of her “alternative” ministrations on my health, I took her advice and went to a class. It wasn’t exactly clear to me at that time what it was we were trying to achieve in that session. We did some sorts of exercise movements which were different from anything I had previously encountered in any PE classes ( I now know these were Chi Gung exercises ) , then we had a break, then we did some other, different, movements ( which I now know were first steps in learning “The Form”.) What was clear to me at the end of that first class was that whatever it was we had been doing I felt very much better for it, so the next week I was back again for more. Soon I adopted the habit of daily practice, which I have maintained to this day.

It was interesting to note that after about a year of this my reception staff remarked that I had changed since starting to do Tai Chi. “In what way?” I asked. “Why,” I was told “you are so much calmer!” This observation I believe to be accurate and you may readily understand that a calm frame of mind makes it possible for me to do my job a lot more effectively without becoming stressed.

In physical terms it seems clear that Tai Chi promotes stamina, strength, poise and balance as well as having wider benefits in all aspects of physical health. There are numerous well documented studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Tai Chi in terms of blood pressure, cardiopulmonary fitness, bone health, falls prevention, strengthening immune defences as well as helping in diverse conditions such as fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s disease, to name but two. One of the things I really like about all this is the way it gives those who practice Tai Chi a sense that they are taking some ownership over their own health issues as opposed to being passive recipients. (Recipients of both illnesses and care!)"

Dr Christopher North MB ChB