Tai chi for stress relief is also considered a stress-busting relaxation technique.
Various studies have shown that Tai chi can reduce stress, and anxiety feeling, through a combination of techniques.
Tai chi is Chinese martial art with meditation that involves slow movement and deep breathing.
Stress is a very common mental issue, that is a reaction to any change that requires a mental, physical and emotional response (1)
What Is Tai Chi?
It’s like meditation, here just the movement is added which involves stretching, and rotating, with slow movement and deep breaths.
As meditation, practitioners of tai chi focus on their breathing and keep regard on present movement.
Tai chi roots are connected to martial arts, which is its primary factor to calm down stress levels and give posture to the body.
It believes that tai chi can ease your pain, and manage the symptoms of chronic diseases such as COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
There are various different styles of tai chi, including (Yang, Wu, and Chen) each one has its unique movements and benefits (2)
Many people found relaxation, enjoyment, and tension free, and it is safe and suitable for people of all ages, and fitness.
Yoga and Tai chi
Tai chi and yoga are similar in many things which include moving, stretching, poses, deep breathing, as well as work on reducing stress, and anxiety.
Whereas, yoga is considered the best option to reduce stress, as it teaches you to control your breath and mind (2)
Yoga has several benefits such as improving flexibility, and balance, reducing the risk of disease, boosting stamina, etc.
If you don’t know what to do in yoga, then you should join yoga classes, where the instructor tells you how to stretch, move, and flex.
In addition, yoga asanas are also considered one of the best techniques to minimize your headache,
How Does Tai chi Differ From Yoga?
Tai chi roots are from china, and yoga roots are from India, where tai chi is based on slow movement, whereas yoga focuses on posture.
But both are forms of exercise that mainly focus on bringing overall good health benefits including:
- Relieve stress with deep breathing, and meditation
- improve mood
- promote sleep quality
It is important to find an instructor who is qualified and well-trained or experienced in tai chi and yoga.
Make sure, to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new physical activity, especially if you already have health issues.
How Does Tai chi Help In Reducing Stress?
Tai chi is a combination of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and different styles of tai chi, which help in reducing stress.
On Tai chi, these 3 main principles play a vital role in reducing stress, and anxiety which includes:
Mindfulness – Tai chi requires focus and concentration to perform it correctly, which helping in calm down mind woes.
Several studies suggest mindfulness meditation can help to regulate feelings (9).
Relaxation -Tai chi involves breathing techniques that help in reducing stress, and anxiety but how?
Taking deep breathing, we fill the lungs with enough oxygen, which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood.
This reduces the stress hormone called cortisol which further contributes to reducing the risk of feeling anxious (5)
Exercise – Unlike meditation, Tai chi also involves slow, balanced, clear movements which makes it an exercise, and that help in reducing reduce stress
Groups of the study suggest that tai chi could reduce mental and emotional stress by reducing cortisol levels, and improving mood.
However, the author of this statement says that this is because due to the high expectation level of people practicing Tai chi.
Is Tai chi Help In Improving Sleep, and Mood?
Yes, tai chi with its different style methods can improve sleep quality and mood-related issues.
A study results that tai chi brings a positive effect on sleep quality in both healthy adults and patients, in comparison to non-Tai chi participants.
Another study, the report showed that 50 minutes twice a week, Chen style Tai chi significantly improved sleep quality in college students (4)
Studies have shown that people have increasingly been using Qigong and Tai chi as supplements and therapy to manage stress and mood.
Tai-Chi interventions provide beneficial effects for various populations of depression, anxiety, stress and mood disturbance, self-esteem, and exercise efficacy
Stress is also allied with sleep, where stress makes it difficult to fall asleep, and this stress leads to a lack of sleep which worsened the situation.
Over time the lack of sleep even leads to insomnia, sleep apnea, and rapid eye movement (6).
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder where a person has difficulty falling asleep.
Music of Tai chi For Stress-Busting
What is the music of Tai chi? music enhances the power of Tai chi which even help in healing injuries, and reducing stress.
Music has the power of relaxation, and stress reduction during tai chi practice.
According to a report from GCBH (global council on brain health), shown that music brings a positive effect on emotional health, including:
- enhance mood
- help in managing stress, and anxiety
There are many types of music that are ideal matches during Tai chi performance to enhance its power including:
1. Classic Music – It involves old, piano, and tabla music, which brings a calm, and soothing sensation.
Also, improve Intelligence performance, this type of music makes your brain more advanced in math, chess, engineering, and science.
2. Meditation Music – It specifically designs for calming, and relaxation, it may include water, air, nature sound, etc.
3. Instrument Music – Here instrumental music is used such as nature, guitar, sitar, and flute sounds, which create a relaxed atmosphere.
4. Traditional Music – Also known as world music, such as traditional Indian, and Chinese music which is rich in providing a relaxed feeling.
In 2015, researchers at Shanghai university found that relaxing music helped reduce fatigue and maintain muscular endurance.
An analysis of more than 90 studies in 2016 reported that music helped affect acute and chronic pain better than medication alone.
A 2017 research review concluded that listening to music, particularly classical combined with jazz manages depression symptoms.
A large number of studies have provided based confirmation that music can reduce pain levels (8)
How To Perform Tai chi At Home?
You can also perform Tai chi at home which includes:
Find a suitable space – Choose a quiet, free space to freely move, and avoid practicing in small, and cluttered areas.
Wear comfortable clothes – Make sure, you wear loose and comfortable clothes, which allow you to freely move, and will not stop, even at hard motions.
Follow the guide or video – You need to learn the basic movements of Tai chi such as ward-off and push postures, with online videos to learn the basic movements
Learn from the video how the instructor does, with clear movement with proper concentration, and deep breathing.
Practice regularly – To learn new things, It is important to practice regularly to improve skills, which makes you perfect.
So make your aim to practice at least 30 minutes a day, and then gradually increase the time.
Tai chi side effects
Tai chi is quite safe to consider for all ages with few side effects, however, with any form of exercise, make sure to listen to your body.
Some people may experience soreness, and fatigue, after starting it but this is temporary, and this is the key to success.
If you experience any kind of discomfort, pain, etc, then immediately stop it, and consult the doctor, it may be a sign of another illness.
Pregnant ladies, and people who have health issues, first consult the doctor, however, yoga, and meditation have no drawbacks.
Some health conditions, such as arthritis may require a different Tai chi style or some modification.
Tai chi is an ancient technique, which involves meditation, yoga (stretching, flax, balance), and deep breathing.
All these yoga, meditation, and deep breathing ways are excellent ways to reduce your workplace tension, stress, and anxiety.
However, it is safe and suitable for all ages, but if you are pregnant, and have any health issues when first consult the doctor.