In terms of Western medicine, the practice of the T’ai Chi form will strengthen your legs, lubricate your joints, increase your flexibility and the strength of your sinews, slow and deepen your breathing, improve circulation and stimulate the immune system. All of this might also be accomplished by any other slow, flowing series of postures. T’ai Chi, however, also has within the form postures and transitions which are specifically designed to stimulate your body’s acupuncture meridians and massage your internal organs. In China, many people practice T’ai Chi specifically for the health benefits. There are several famous masters who began practicing due to illness and continued once they were healed.
T’ai Chi is an excellent method for reducing stress, and since many diseases originally arise due to stress, T’ai Chi practice improves our health in this way as well. Through the practice of T’ai Chi, one develops sensitivity to one’s own innate limitations and preferences and how to make choices that keep one in harmony with oneself. In this way one chooses paths which lead to less stress and thus greater health.