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Tai chi: Discover the many possible health benefits

Posted by Nazan Saatci Thursday, September 20, 2012 0 comments

Tai chi: Discover the many possible health benefits

by Nazan Saatci ve Dostlari on Friday, september 20, 2012 at 1:33pm ·
Tai chi: Discover the many possible health benefits

The ancient art of tai chi uses gentle flowing movements to reduce the stress of today's busy lifestyles and improve health. Find out how to get started.
By Mayo Clinic staff
If you're looking for another way to reduce stress, consider tai chi (TIE-chee). Tai chi is sometimes described as "meditation in motion" because it promotes serenity through gentle movements — connecting the mind and body. Originally developed in ancient China for self-defense, tai chi evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now used for stress reduction and to help with a variety of other health conditions.
Understanding tai chi
Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Tai chi has many different styles, such as yang and wu. Each style may have its own subtle emphasis on various tai chi principles and methods. There are also variations within each style. Some may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi.
The result of all this variation is that there are more than 100 possible movements and positions with tai chi, many of which are named for animals or nature. Regardless of the variation, all forms of tai chi include rhythmic patterns of movement that are coordinated with breathing to help you achieve a sense of inner calm. The concentration required for tai chi forces you to live in the present moment, putting aside distressing thoughts.
Who can do tai chi
The intensity of tai chi varies depending on the form or style practiced. Some forms of tai chi are more fast-paced and exerting than are others, for instance. However, most forms are gentle and suitable for everyone. So you can practice tai chi regardless of your age or physical ability — tai chi emphasizes technique over strength. In fact, because tai chi is low impact, it may be especially suitable if you're an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.
You may also find tai chi appealing because it's inexpensive, requires no special equipment and can be done indoors or out, either alone or in a group.
Although tai chi is generally safe, consider talking with your doctor before starting a new program. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart, if you are pregnant, if you have any fractures, or if you have severe osteoporosis.
Why give tai chi a try
Like other complementary and alternative practices that bring mind and body together, tai chi can help reduce stress. During tai chi, you focus on movement and breathing. This combination creates a state of relaxation and calm. Stress, anxiety and tension should melt away as you focus on the present, and the effects may last well after you stop your tai chi session. Tai chi also might help your overall health, although it's not a substitute for traditional medical care.
Despite its long history, tai chi has been studied scientifically only in recent years. And although more research is needed, preliminary evidence suggests that tai chi may offer numerous benefits beyond stress reduction, including:
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving balance, flexibility and muscle strength
  • Reducing falls in older adults
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness in older adult
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Increasing energy, endurance and agility
  • Improving overall feelings of well-being
  • By Mayo Clinic staff

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Oxygen Therapy Slows Type 1 Diabetes in Mice, Study Says

by Nazan Saatci ve Dostlari on 9/20, 2012 at 4:54pm ·
Oxygen Therapy Slows Type 1 Diabetes in Mice, Study Says
By By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter | HealthDay

Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped prevent or slow the progression of type 1 diabetes in mice, according to new research.
It is too early to say if the results might apply to humans, however.
In mice, the treatment caused changes in the immune system's response to newly developing diabetes, and reduced the risk of diabetes between 20 and 40 percent. In the mice that still developed diabetes, the hyperbaric therapy delayed disease progression, the investigators found.
"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a relatively non-harmful way of enhancing oxygen delivery to the tissues," said the study's senior author, Dr. Antonello Pileggi, director of the preclinical cell processing and translational models program at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"We were able to suppress the transfer of the disease (in mice) before the onset of the disease. After diabetes had occurred, the efficacy [of hyperbaric therapy] was much less," said Pileggi. He said that combining hyperbaric therapy with medications might enhance the effectiveness of both treatments.
Results of this study, released online May 7, will be published in the July print issue of Diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the pancreas called beta cells. Beta cells produce the hormone insulin that allows your body to metabolize carbohydrates from food, providing fuel for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must replace the lost insulin through multiple daily injections or a pump.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy -- commonly used to treat scuba divers who develop "the bends" from rising to the surface too quickly -- is delivered in a special pressurized chamber. The pressure inside the chamber is about two and half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This puts more oxygen in your blood.Hyperbaric therapy can also be used to treat bone infections, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and wounds that aren't healing well, such as ulcers in people with diabetes. Currently, not very many hospitals offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
For the current research, Pileggi and his colleagues used two types of mice. One type develops diabetes spontaneously. It's not exactly the same as type 1 diabetes in humans, but it is very similar, and Pileggi said "it's a good surrogate of type 1." And, the second type doesn't develop diabetes on its own, but the researchers induced diabetes.
In the mice that spontaneously develop diabetes that received hyperbaric therapy, the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 20 percent. In the mice with induced diabetes, the treatment reduced the risk of diabetes by 40 percent, according to the study. In the mice that still developed diabetes in both groups, treatment with hyperbaric therapy helped delay the onset or progression of the disease.
Pileggi said that the researchers aren't yet clear exactly how hyperbaric therapy prevents or slows the disease, but it's clear the therapy has positive effects on the immune system.
The researchers were also pleasantly surprised to see that the therapy caused a significant increase in creation of new beta cells. "If you can reeducate immune cells and enhance the beta cell mass, that's an ideal situation. But, it's not a silver bullet for diabetes. It could be an adjuvant to other therapies," said Pileggi.
Pileggi said the researchers will test combination treatments but added that it's too soon to guess when such a treatment might be tried in humans.
Another expert said any application to humans is years away.
"This is a novel idea from a good research group. But, while the mouse model is good to study, it doesn't mean that what is affected in mice will be affected in men," said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Also, it would be difficult to choose who would receive such a therapy, he said, because there isn't a reliable test to determine who will develop type 1 diabetes. There are tests for the antibodies present in type 1, but some people who never develop diabetes have those same antibodies.
"To translate this research to humans would require many more steps," said Zonszei

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