Is Tai Chi Good for Stress?

June 13, 2022
Is Tai Chi Good for Stress


Discover the Science and Benefits of Tai Chi for Stress

In this day and age, stress is unavoidable.

The demands of your job and your, “I needed it on my desk yesterday” boss.
A house full of toddlers—or teens.
The economy paired with the reality of the constant struggle just to keep your head above water.

While stress is a normal part of life, we can all agree that now—more than ever before—managing our stress is critical to our emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

But how can we do it?

If you are looking to relieve stress, we have a solution.

This guide will discuss the benefits of Tai Chi for stress and let you know how you can get started in this gentle, proven relaxation practice.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Connection Between Your Brain and Stress
Is Tai Chi Good for Stress?
What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi for Mental Health and Stress?
How Does Tai Chi Reduce Stress?
How to Get Started With Tai Chi for Stress Management
How to Maintain a Reduced Level of Stress After Your Tai Chi Practice
Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi for Stress and Other Health Benefits

Understanding the Connection Between Your Brain and Stress

The human brain produces 5 types of brain waves. This is the order from slowest to fastest:

Delta waves are the slowest types of brain waves and are produced while we sleep.
Theta waves are the most subtle type and facilitate the release of GABA, which assists with relaxation and the reduction of stress.
Alpha waves are the sign that your brain is in a calm, restful, meditative state. Alpha waves:
      ⚬ Give you greater resilience to stress
      ⚬ Boost your creativity
      ⚬ Improve your mood; and
      ⚬ Ease feelings of anxiousness
Beta waves are what we experience in our normal state, but high frequencies of beta waves can cause anxiety and agitation.
Gamma waves are the highest frequency and are the fastest brain waves and occur when you’re on high alert.

Stress isn't just caused by your job, family, or the things that are going on around you.

Research has shown that when a person’s alpha waves decrease, their brain goes into a state of stress.

Stress can be chemically driven—the result of a poorly regulated and imbalanced brain.

And of course, the opposite is also true—as your alpha brain waves increase, stress and anxiousness decline, and you experience a greater level of focus.

Is Tai Chi Good for Stress?

The short answer is yes, Tai Chi is an excellent way to relieve stress.

Tai Chi combines deep, mindful breathing with slow and steady movements to achieve a state of balance and harmony in your:

• Mind
• Body; and
• Spirit

In fact, Tai Chi has been clinically proven to be instrumental in stress reduction because of its ability to change the alpha waves in your brain, increasing your body’s state of relaxation and alertness.

What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi for Mental Health and Stress?

Tai Chi is known worldwide for its benefits to mind, body, and spirit, and the practice is especially helpful when it comes to dealing with stress and mental health.

Tai Chi has been shown to improve:

• Mental focus
• Relaxation
• Anxious feelings
• Feelings of sadness
• Endorphin levels
• Attentiveness
• Mood; and
• Breathing

Additional benefits of Tai Chi include…

• Reducing pain
• Strengthening cardiovascular health
Supporting immunity; and
• Encouraging restful sleep

…all of which also have a positive effect on reducing stress and augmenting mental health.

How Does Tai Chi Reduce Stress?

Tai Chi has the ability to reduce stress:

• Through its slow, gentle movements
• By slowing your breathing; and
• Through the gentle stretching and releasing of your body

Gentle and Slow Movements

Tai Chi movements involve sequences of slow-moving poses that are paired with:

• Breathing
• Mental focus
• Relaxation; and
• Coordination
• Meditation

The practice of Tai Chi movements can be thought of as meditation in motion.

As you do Tai Chi, your brain syncs with your body.

For example, if you are feeling highly agitated, your brain waves will be moving quickly, and your body movements will tend to mirror what is taking place within your brain.

But once you begin Tai Chi, the focused, unhurried movements can help your body release the stress within.

Slowing Down Your Breathing

Many Tai Chi practices have a strong focus on abdominal (or diaphragmatic) breathing, with the goal of using the entire capacity of your lungs.

When you do Tai Chi, your breaths are slower and deeper than your normal pattern of breathing, causing your bloodstream to become flooded with large amounts of oxygen.

As you begin to use your body to express the slow and fluid movements of Tai Chi, your breathing begins to slow down.

As your breathing starts to slow down, your brave waves start to slow down.

And as your brain waves slow down, you begin to feel the release of stress.

Gently Releasing and Stretching Your Body

The movements in Tai Chi help to gently stretch and release the many:

• Muscles
• Ligaments; and
• Tendons

…within your body.

As this process takes place, the tension in your body tends to disappear.

Unlike many forms of exercise that are popular today, the flowing movements of Tai Chi are designed to be:

• Effortless
• Low-impact
• Easy on your joints and muscles; and
• Safe for people of all ages and almost every fitness level

Even individuals with certain health conditions can practice Tai Chi by making modifications.

At Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi we offer classes that combine our unique blend of Yoga, Tai Chi, Breathwork, and meditation exercises.

Our trained instructors are well versed in the benefits of Tai Chi for stress and anxiety and give 1-on-1 guidance to help you find the exercise program that best meets your needs.

How to Get Started With Tai Chi for Stress Management

Set Goals for Stress Reduction

• Tai Chi may be helpful in reducing stress in a number of ways, such as:
• Improving your mood
• Helping you sleep better at night; and
• Reducing pain

Improve Your Mood

Do you suffer from anxiousness or sad emotions?

Research has shown that consistently engaging in Tai Chi may have a positive effect on your psychological well-being.

Many people find that as they practice the slow, purposeful movements of Tai Chi, their nervous system becomes more regulated—causing them to feel much more relaxed.

Get Better Sleep

All of us have difficulty sleeping at some time or another.

Regularly practicing Tai Chi may be just what you need to help you sleep better at night.

Tai Chi may unblock and strengthen the Qi (life energy) within your body. As your Qi becomes stronger, your body becomes more balanced, allowing you to relax and more easily settle into a restful sleep.

Reduce Pain

Many people practice Tai Chi to help manage or reduce pain. Since pain can be a cause of stress, implementing practices that will lessen the pain can lead to stress reduction.

One study tracked 40 elderly patients who were suffering from osteoarthritis in their knees. After practicing 60 minutes of Tai Chi twice a week, for 12 weeks, the patients reported a decrease in their pain and an increase in their mobility and overall quality of life.

Another study revealed that Tai Chi may be beneficial for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 15 individuals who practiced Tai Chi for 12 weeks. The patients reported that they experienced an improvement in their mobility and balance and a decrease in their levels of pain.

If you are suffering from arthritis or any other health condition, please speak to your doctor before beginning Tai Chi.

Find a Class

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi classes combine key elements from…

• Tai Chi
• Yoga
• Breathwork; and
• Meditation

…to enhance your overall health and help release stress.

Body & Brain’s form of Tai Chi is available in 80+ studio locations nationwide, and we even offer a private 50-minute introductory session. Here, one of our trained instructors will work with you 1-on-1 to check your current energy.

You’ll get personalized guidance as to how to best utilize our programs and exercises, and leave with a plan of how to relieve stress and achieve your goals with Body & Brain practice.

How to Maintain a Reduced Level of Stress After Your Tai Chi Practice

Practice Tai Chi Regularly

To best utilize Tai Chi for stress relief, you must engage in the practice on a regular basis.

If you are a beginner, you will want to attend Tai Chi classes 2 to 3 times each week, increasing if you would like as you gain experience.

Consistency is an important component of Tai Chi.

Regularly moving your body in the slow, fluid practice of Tai Chi will help your breath slow down…which helps your brain slow down…which helps you experience stress relief.

Don’t Get Discouraged if You Don’t See Immediate Results

As with many forms of exercise, you may not experience dramatic results right away.

Don't be discouraged!

If you feel overwhelmed as you learn Tai Chi movements, just do what you are able to do.

As you stick with it, the movements will become more familiar and will get easier to perform.

Remember, the goal is not perfection, but rather a focused mind paired with slow, intentional movements.

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi for Stress and Other Health Benefits

At Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi, we help you develop mindful breathing and relaxed concentration so that you can relieve stress and maximize the benefits of your physical exercise.

With our program, it is likely to help you:

• Experience a release of stress
• Enjoy enhanced focus and creativity
• Improve your physical strength and flexibility
• Strengthen your immune system
• Better align your body
• Improve your sleep
• Increase your confidence and drive; and
• Be part of a supportive and welcoming community

And we offer classes for people of all levels.

Take a holistic approach to stress relief. Join Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi today for a private introductory session and let one of our experienced team members help you create a plan to achieve your health goals.