Many people arrive at the doors of tai chi having had an illness, injury, or diagnosis. And as often, they are considering tai chi because the Western medical community has not given them any other options. Tai chi and healing have always walked hand-in-hand and now modern research is finally catching up to show proof of tai chi healing benefits.
Research based on the relationship between tai chi and healing hypothesize that the slow gentile movements of tai chi elongate the breath and and calm the autonomic nervous system. This enables the flow and increase of energy between the organs. In Chinese medical theory, illness results from the lack of or blockage of energy.
I want to use this space here to explain the difference between eastern and western medical thinking so that we can understand tai chi’s positive effects on things like auto-immune disease, heart disease, and diabetes. We’ll talk about what is going on when we are using tai chi for self healing. My goal here is to give you the buy-in that you need to take control of your own health.
How Tai Chi Heals vs the Status Quo
Every time that I begin to talk about tai chi and healing I feel like I should be on a TV sales program because I really believe tai chi does everything! “It slices, it dices… and for just 3 installments of $49.99…”
But there is some truth to this. Doing tai chi (one thing) has a positive effect on many things. It can take longer and be more subtle but healing begins to take place as soon as you start doing the form. There are several reasons why this is difficult to understand and difficult to accept.
Problem #1: Sensationalism
Most media and stories revolve around people who have a severe diagnosis and begin tai chi because Western medicine has failed them. Such as a story that I read about a women who broke her foot and used tai chi to heal.
I think that it is great that tai chi is finally getting attention but if it is presented like a magical cure or isolated situation, people are not going to give it a shot. I would love to see as much light shining on how great the rest of us feel and how it keeps many of us from even getting sick or injured in the first place. How about just feeling outstanding all the time? Anyone up for powerful sleep, stress-less navigation of work problems, and great digestion? These are the unsung heroes of health.
Problem #2: Symptom-Oriented Medicine
Western medicine primarily focuses on a symptom. If we can get rid of the symptom, the patient is cured (right?). For example, if you hurt your ankle, take Aspirin. If we have diarrhea, take Imodium. However, these just cover up the issue and potentially cause further problems. Drugs like antibiotics kill the bad bugs but wipe out your healthy gut flora along the way. Masking pain in an injured ankle could cause you to use it and hurt it worse. Reducing inflammation destabilases the joint that the inflammation was intended to support. Are you getting the picture?
Western medicine is great when it is called for. However, what if you could get to a state where the bad stuff doesn’t happen or is minimized? Well dear viewer, I am here to tell you just how it happens!
The Process of Healing and Tai Chi
#1 The body heals itself, not you, sorry
The body makes a continual assessment of your health and creates or removes chemicals to keep you in a healthy state. If you injure yourself it sends messengers to the cut and begins the healing process. If you are sick it turns up your body temperature to burn off what it does not want and does not allow you to eat and screw up the chemistry it is mixing up in your belly. Health is achieved by creating the best state for your body to operate from.
Tai chi is 180 degrees out from Western medicine because it works to build up the body’s energy and let the body decide where it needs to be sent. If you practice consistently, you build up extra healing energy and can use it in the times when you really need it. Think about the days before medical images. No one knew (and many walking around don’t know) that they had a tumor inside of them or that something was being clotted. But, your body knows, immediately.
Side note for marital arts fanatics: Does this sound a bit like the fighting aspect of tai chi? You bet your sweet bippy. We cannot control what is coming at us. We can however create a body that can swiftly react to and recover from whatever we encounter.
#2 Heath can be attributed to the body functioning normally.
Healthiness is all we are asking for. This depends on elimination of toxins, hydration, sleep, and controlled stress. Silk reeling, tai chi, and qi gong, wring the toxins out of the muscles and tissue and apply pressure to the organs to encourage proper function. These exercises also expand our breath and supply clean oxygen to tissues. Tai chi reduces the oscillation of our brain waves moving us in the calm direction of sleep. This simultaneously reduces our stress and lets us sleep better because we are closer to the delta state where sleep takes place. Read this for more on the frequencies in the brain.
The elementary school campus is a perfect example. Have any of you been to one lately? It is an absolute petri dish of American virology. Yet, some professionals skate in and out of these settings, booger clad, but not suffering the side effects. I am one such professional. Maybe I am a 40-year-old with amazing genes and immunity. Or…..maybe… I do tai chi. Tai Chi and healing go hand in hand. I do not catch colds, the flu, coughs, or the like. I do take vitamins and an occasional Emergen-C packet usually coinciding with a work out. Tai chi was a huge part of an experiment I ran to see if I could get to a place where I never get sick.
What is the opposite of Antidote?
I am not trying to be clever here. If you know please write to me and tell me. I was looking for a word to describe the eastern process of healing and couldn’t find the opposite of antidote in our language. Only synonyms; remedy, countermeasure, solution to a problem, cure…
We lack the vocabulary and theoretical understanding of preventative medicine. Tai chi and qi gong allow the body to determine what is needed to heal and send those chemicals to the right place. However, we need to be in a receptive state with a fully charged battery to allow this process to take place.
“How do I do that?” you ask! Well, let me tell you:
Eighteen moves, 4 minutes, frequently. (no money down! As seen on TV! Now in your grocer’s freezer!)
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