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Vasodilation a SECRET Benefit of Tai Chi EXPLAINED

Vasodilation a SECRET Benefit of Tai Chi CHI EXPLAINED

Tai Chi/Taiji Quan is a martial art that has been unfortunately bastardised in the West. It has been reduced to simple movements for “health”, focusing only on the form. Many people think the slow form is all tai chi is about. They forget like all martial arts there are the various weapon forms and the different drills. Amongst the fundamental drills is tui shou (push hands) all for the readiness of combat.  

The slow rubbish taught is but a bastardisation that should be flushed and forgotten in the toilet. There is the philosophy of Taiji Quan and many more things. As for health, adhering to the principles of Tai Chi, you should experience vasodilation.

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Vasodilation a SECRET Benefit of Tai Chi CHI EXPLAINED

What is vasodilation?

It is the expansion of blood vessels which decreases blood pressure.

With a decrease in blood pressure, strokes and heart attack may be avoided. The expanded blood vessels from the vasodilation means there is an increase in blood flow. And with this increase in blood flow, is the supplement of nutrients and oxygen from the blood to rest of the body. So, vasodilation increases blood circulation. 

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Vasodilation a SECRET Benefit of Tai Chi CHI EXPLAINED

How does this occur doing Tai Chi? 

Vasodilation is experienced when one releases the tension held by the upper body. This done by adhering to principles of Taiji Quan. Such as, keeping the crown of the headed suspended from above, as if pulled by a string. The raising and slight rounding of the upper back, simultaneously with the dropping of the sternum a few millimetres down. The coccyx is tucked in, the knees relaxed and bent. As if you about to sit. All the joints, sinews and connective tissues relax. 

All the tension on the upper body can flow down to the feet and to the ground. With the mind connected to the lower dantian, a point a few centimetres below the navel. 

From here, your mind then connects to yong quan (the bubbling well) a point in both feet. The connection is when the weight distribution both in the heel and ball of the foot are equal. 

 

Vasodilation a SECRET Benefit of Tai Chi CHI EXPLAINED

The deep fascia in the muscles open, including tendons. And this is when people usually feel discomfort. When they refer to strong legs in traditional Chinese martial arts this what they refer to. Flexible fascia and tendons. 

So, the discomfort would be during the expansion (this the eating bitter part for beginners). Afterwards after a pump from the expansion, one may feel the legs are tired. 

So, when the slow form is done properly, vasodilation occurs. People would have big thighs for example however, as my teacher says after two years they go back to normal. As the sinews are opened. But the goal is not having big leg muscles, no. The goal is relaxation, allowing the mind to settle.  

This a light explanation, and introduction, as I am still learning with practice. However, it explains the biology of one of the reasons Taiji Quan and traditional Chinese martial arts have health benefits. And the slow “relaxed movements” that do not adhere to these principles is not tai chi. But an empty shell of movements.  

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“The lone wolf does not seek refuge, he is a refuge. He does not seek out the community. He is a community. Now melancholy might settle, and weakness may creep in….”Harmonious Fist

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Written by Narcisse Sadi who is a Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan.  He is a certified 1stDuan Health Qi Gong by the International Health Qigong Federation. And  a 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, certified by Dr Jeff Lan. 

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