Tai Chi, Qigong, and Women

     


                                         


In Honor of National Women's Health Week, WTCQD is offering the below free Tai Chi and Qigong Relaxation Video Lessons on our Women's Health page, and will publicize this health promotion offering between April 10 and June 10:

Why Tai Chi & Qigong for Women?

Heart Disease

Contrary to popular thought, each year Heart Disease kills more women than men, according to the CDC. And not just older women, for Heart Disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25 to 44 years.

Stress is one of the major factors in both the development of heart disease, and in rehabiltation
after it occurs. In fact, the British Heart Foundation now advocates Tai Chi as a treatment for Heart Failure.

Tai Chi and Qigong are one of the
most effective stress management tools known,
and the multi-dimensional benefits they offer,
can make them perfect for today's modern woman.

Why? Emerging research indicates that Tai Chi offers cardiovascular benefit, meditation's emotional and mental benefits (reducing anxiety/depression, etc.), an effective caloric burning effect, an increase in bone mass, and may help slow some aspects of the aging process by reducing the stress that can increase the number of and damage caused by free radicals.

This is like getting two time consuming programs, an aerobic workout, and a meditation time, and rolling them all into one easy low impact program that can save you time in your busy day.

There are many other reasons why Tai Chi is the ultimate exercise for women. Its ability to cultivate both elegance and power are two of these. In today's working environment where women are competing in the workforce with men and trying to break through the glass ceiling, Tai Chi's ability to cultivate an inner sense of confident power can be very helpful. However, there are many biological reasons Tai Chi can be helpful to women as well.


Halting Bone Loss

Bone loss is a big problem with many women. Studies indicate that stress may be a major factor contributing to the loss of bone mass in even relatively young women. The daily stress relief T'ai Chi promotes provides a powerful preventative therapy to help ensure a long active life for women.

For women, including those over 45, one study's results indicate that QiGong practice may raise estrogen levels. This is highly desirable because reduced estrogen levels after menopause cause a loss of calcium from the bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.


Type 2 Diabetes

According to the CDC, more than half of the 15.7 million Americans with diabetes are women. 8.1 million American women, to be exact, suffer diabetes.

90 to 95% of women with Diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes, according to the CDC. African-American, American-Indian, Asian Pacific Islander, and Hispanic women are hit hardest by Type 2 Diabetes, who experience it at two to four times the rate of caucasion women. A St. Louis University study pointed to stress as a major factor.

Type 2 Diabetes rates have increased at alarming rates for African-American women, a 2003 report revealed.

Emerging research suggests Tai Chi may offer hope.

Recently, the UK's Medical News Today reported, "Tai Chi Chuan, the traditional Chinese martial arts exercises, could help curb symptoms of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. The study suggested that Tai Chi might prompt a fall in blood glucose levels, or improve blood glucose metabolism, triggering a drop in the inflammatory response, reports the British Medical Journal."

For more medical research on Tai Chi or Qigong's benefits for dozens of common health challenges, visit WorldTaiChiDay.org 's

"Medical Research Library"










Click golden globe, below, for short
video explaining Traditional
Chinese Medicine's theory on how
Tai Chi and Qigong help heal
or prevent illness



                                                                             







Cervical Disease Infections & Cervical Cancer

A study from Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, headed by Carolyn Y. Fang, concluded, "Higher levels of perceived stress are associated with impaired HPV-specific immune response in women with cervical dysplasia, suggesting a potential mechanism by which stress may influence cervical disease progression."

At UCLA a Tai Chi study on the immune system's resistence to the Shingles virus (the herpes zoster virus that causes chicken pox) found that the Tai Chi group boosted their immune system resistence to viral infection by 50%. Researchers believed that result would carry over to other types of viral infection.

Such research results suggest that Tai Chi may offer much to women's immune function, which could improve life quality on many levels. The stress relieving qualities Tai Chi and Qigong offer may help regularly unload the stress that can inhibit the natural defense systems of the body, thereby improving immune function.


Treating Eating Disorders

Women suffer from eating disorders ten times as often as men. Although often thought of as an adult problem, anorexia and bulimia most often start in the teenage years while the sufferer is still at home. Although I am unaware of any studies on the effectiveness of Tai Chi as therapy for anorexia or bulimia, the underlying issues and symptomology seem to suggest that much of the treatment criteria are embodied in Tai Chi practice.

For example, it is recommended that anorexia or bulimia sufferers strengthen their inner core of self and self-worth. The self-esteem that T'ai Chi practice builds and encourages can be a highly effective way to discover the power within one's self. The need for a restoration of biochemical and hormonal balance may be facilitated with Tai Chi's ability to create a homeostatic effect throughout the body, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Tai Chi addresses the need to balance internal rhythms and needs with life's demands by those who practice it so they can become quietly mindful of subtle feelings and needs before they become a crisis born out in acute stress or panic.

Mood swings and depression are a part of bulimic bingeing, and feelings of lack of personal control are a part of many teenagers' anorexia or bulimia. Food, or denying ourselves food, provides us with a feeling of self-control over a world out of control. T'ai Chi's regular practice is designed to help us realize that we have a great deal of control over how we are impacted by the world. This centering enables us to feel more accepting of the fact that much of the world is beyond our control.


NOTE:

As always, do not attempt to self-treat any disorder, including eating disorder. Suggest T'ai Chi and QiGong to your physician or therapist as an adjunct therapy. It may be a powerful addition to your ongoing treatment, but discuss it with your doctor.



Learn more about National Women's Health Week at the US Department of Health & Human Services site:

http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/



* NOTE: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day advises consulting your physician before beginning any new exercise, herbal, diet, or health program. The research listed here is meant to stimulate a discussion between you and your physician, health insurance carrier, etc., not as medical advise. Research and comments provided here are hoped to stimulate a more robust discussion of powerful natural mind/body health tools. Our hope is to increase popular media, health media, and government's attention to stunning emerging research, including the UCLA study indicating Tai Chi participants enjoyed a 50% increase in immune system resistance to viral infection.



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The above are excerpts, provided courtesy of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & Qigong"

Any reprint without express written permission is prohibited. To obtain permission to print excerpts, email wtcqd2000@aol.com



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