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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

Popularity of Tai Chi Leaps in the U.S.

By Joanna Law (People's Daily Online)

16:26, February 27, 2012

Tai Chi has a long history of tradition in China for thousands of years. In the United States, the martial art’s popularity has been increasing significantly. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, around 2.5 million Americans practiced Tai Chi. Its surging recognition is partly due to the many research and studies that have been accumulated over the past years. Most of them proved the benefits of Tai Chi to patients with chronic diseases. Earlier in February, a new release shows that Tai Chi may help patients who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease. People’s Daily Online USA spoke to the Head of Research of this study.

"Nowadays, Tia Chi has been used more often in clinical settings, such as rehab settings and physical therapy settings. It is part of their rehabilitation techniques to treat patients with different disease problems. That’s a big step forward for Tai Chi,” said Professor Fuzhong Li at Oregon Research Institute in the United States.

The study, titled “Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson’s disease”, gives new hope to many people whose daily lives are hampered by balance impairments. People suffer from this disorder have high risk of falling and are unable to perform challenging tasks. The study shows that Tai Chi may help patients to regain physical balance and functionality performance, allowing them to accomplish certain basic tasks, such as grabbing a shopping bag from a table.

The study says that “Tai Chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.”

"What is good about Tai Chi is that it’s highly self-initiative,” Li said. “It is done in slow motion and movements, and it is done in a continuous and rhythmical pattern. More importantly, it’s controllable. It is controlled by the mind.”

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