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Body Movement

What is body movement?

Nonaerobic movement with controlled breathing may be done to help reduce stress and anxiety often linked to disease and illness. The Eastern medicine body movement techniques most well-known include Tai chi and yoga.

Tai chi

Tai chi is an ancient form of martial art. It is based on a Chinese belief system of the health and spiritual benefits from practicing slow, graceful yet precise movements coupled with rhythmic breathing. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as moving meditation. Practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply.  It is well-suited for the elderly or those with balance difficulties.

Tai chi may help:

  • Decrease blood pressure

  • Increase stamina, muscle tone, and flexibility

  • Improve posture, balance, muscle mass, and strength, particularly in the elderly

Yoga

Yoga is an ancient posturing and breathing technique originating from India. It uses slow movement, meditation and breathing exercises to reach a state of relaxation. Hatha yoga is common in the United States and Europe. It uses postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the other major styles of hatha yoga include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vini, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga.

Yoga may help:

  • Reduce stress

  • Reduce pain associated with some chronic illnesses

  • Reduce insomnia

  • Improve stamina

  • Enhance quality of life 

Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Garilli, Bianca, ND
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2017
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