Podcast Episode 93: Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi Chuan Exercises

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Many people find that Eastern mind-body practices complement Western medicine well and produce additional benefits. One Eastern system of mind-body integration is tai chi and its martial art practice of tai chi chuan. Using continuous, flowing movements, this moving meditation addresses flexibility through stretching and involves aerobic activity and relaxation as well. Through the practice of tai chi, people can develop better awareness of movement and actions, develop better body alignment, posture, core strength, and breath support and control. Studies have shown physical benefits on balance and slowing the decline in motor control as well as mental health benefits in terms of stress management, possibly cognition, and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and their care partners. In this episode, Dr. Pei-Fang Tang, professor of physical therapy in the School of Physical Therapy at National Taiwan University, says tai chi is based on ancient Chinese philosophy, part of which is a dynamic balance between yin and yang, which are invoked by the movements in its practice and which bring balance to one’s life.

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About This Episode

Released: November 17, 2020

TangPei-Fang Tang, PhD, PT

Professor Tang earned her BS degree in physical therapy from National Taiwan University, MS degree in physical therapy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and PhD degree in Exercise and Movement Science from University of Oregon. Her research interests focus on the influences of aging processes and neurologic disorders, especially stroke and degenerative ones, on the cognitive control, neuromuscular control, and brain mechanisms of motor control and motor learning. She also is interested in studying the efficacy and neural mechanisms of different forms of exercise interventions in the promotion of cognitive and motor functions, as well as neuroplasticity, and in the prevention of dementia and disability in middle-aged and older adults and in people with neurologic disorders. The primary research tools her lab uses are movement analysis, biomechanics, and neuroimaging techniques.

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