The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong


Conventional medical science on the Chinese art of Tai Chi now shows what Tai Chi masters have known for centuries: regular practice leads to more vigor and flexibility, better balance and mobility, and a sense of well-being. Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School also supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi also has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. This research provides fascinating insight into the underlying physiological mechanisms that explain how Tai Chi actually works.

Dr. Peter M. Wayne, a longtime Tai Chi teacher and a researcher at Harvard Medical School, developed and tested protocols similar to the simplified program he includes in this book, which is suited to people of all ages, and can be done in just a few minutes a day. This book includes:

   • The basic program, illustrated by more than 50 photographs
   • Practical tips for integrating Tai Chi into everyday activities
   • An introduction to the traditional principles of Tai Chi
   • Up-to-date summaries of the research literature on the health benefits of Tai Chi
   • How Tai Chi can enhance work productivity, creativity, and sports performance
   • And much more



Tai chi can be described as “meditation in motion.” Blending low to moderate aerobic activity with meditation, tai chi offers health benefits with only a minimal risk of injury. Rewards of tai chi may include greater flexibility and range of motion, increased coordination, better breathing, and more efficient posture. It is a useful exercise in preventing falls. It also improves balance and movement in people with Parkinson’s disease. As scientific research on this training regimen moves forward, tai chi might prove valuable in other ways, such as managing chronic pain and enhancing mood. Authors Wayne (a Harvard Medical School researcher and tai chi practitioner-teacher) and Fuerst (a medical writer) distill the essence of tai chi into eight active ingredients: awareness, intention, structural integration, active relaxation, strengthening and flexibility, natural breathing, social support, and embodied spirituality. They also present a practical, simplified 12-week tai chi training program that requires 45–60 minutes per day. Photographs illustrating poses and exercises are included. Tai chi is an intriguing form of mind-body exercise that can readily be integrated into routine daily activities. –Tony Miksanek

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