T'ai Chi For Dummies
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The mind has been shown to have a powerful effect on the body, whether spiritually or just hopefully. Meditative and mindful movement takes this power and actively applies it. So whether you believe in the mindful benefit, the spiritual benefit, the healing energy pulsing through the body, or, well, you just believe, you may indeed find what you want or need.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the placebo effect, in which a harmless, unmedicated substance is used as a control in testing the effects of another substance or situation. For example, the effect comes into play when researchers give patients a sugar pill and tell them it will make them sleep better. If the mind overpowers the body, the people indeed sleep better. The same idea applies with mindful movement.

Thus, the $60 million question: Is the possibility that the placebo effect occurred a bad thing? Well, if you practice all wellness habits and become fitter, healthier, or pain- or disease-free, you didn’t do yourself any harm.

Maybe you can’t really bet on the benefits of the power of mindful benefit, because some of them aren’t completely proven by fully recognized scientific studies. Of the studies that have been done, some haven’t excluded bias by subjects or researchers, and some studies haven’t been replicated, which means that the results haven’t been repeated.

Replication is key for scientists, because they can determine that the results didn’t occur by chance. In other words, they can verify a conclusion because the same thing happens again.

Nonetheless, the variety benefits may include the following:

  • Better cholesterol levels

  • Decreased depression

  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Increased immunity (less sickness)

  • Increased muscle strength and flexibility

  • Less lower back pain

  • Less asthma

Now, that’s quite a laundry list of possible health benefits! Don’t forget that many of these perks — or to what extent you reap them — depend on the type or intensity of movement you choose.

About This Article

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Geraldine Woods is the author of more than 40 books, including the popular English Grammar For Dummies. She has taught high school and middle school English for over 25 years.

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