- Key Points About Tai Chi as CAM
- A Description of Tai Chi
- Other Key Beliefs of Tai Chi
- Specific Health Purposes and Tai Chi
- Side Effects and Risks of Tai Chi
- Licensing, Training, and Credentialing of Tai Chi Teachers
- Tai Chi as a Part of CAM
- Some Points of Controversy About Tai Chi
- US Government Funded Research on Tai Chi
- Tai Chi Health Research References
Certain concepts from Chinese philosophy were important in tai chi’s development (although not every person who practices tai chi for health purposes, especially in the West, learns or uses them). A few are as follows:
- A vital energy called qi underlies all living things.
- Qi flows in people through specific channels called meridians.
- Qi is important in health and disease.
- Tai chi is a practice that supports, unblocks, and redirects the flow of qi.
Another concept in tai chi is that the forces of yin and yang should be in balance. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are two principles or elements that make up the universe and everything in it and that also oppose each other. Yin is believed to have the qualities of water–such as coolness, darkness, stillness, and inward and downward directions–and to be feminine in character. Yang is believed to have the qualities of fire–such as heat, light, action, and upward and outward movement–and to be masculine. In this belief system, people’s yin and yang need to be in balance in order for them to be healthy, and tai chi is a practice that supports this balance.