Diseases & Conditions : Complementary and Alternative Medicine
What is body movement?
Nonaerobic movement with controlled breathing can be practiced to reduce stress and anxiety, often associated with disease and illness. Two ancient oriental body movement techniques are:
Tai chi, an ancient form of martial art, is well-suited for the elderly or frail. Based on Taoism, a Chinese belief system, the practice of tai chi includes slow, graceful movements and rhythmic breathing. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as "moving meditation"—practitioners move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply.
Tai chi helps to:
Decrease blood pressure
Increase stamina, muscle tone, and flexibility
Improve posture, balance, muscle mass, and strength in older people
Yoga, which means "union," is an ancient posturing and breathing technique from India. Yoga also uses slow movement, in addition to meditation and breathing exercises, to reach a state of relaxation. The various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Hatha yoga is the type most 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 helps to:
Reduce pain associated with some chronic illnesses
Eliminate headaches and insomnia
Improve stamina for some athletes
Enhance quality of life for some cancer patients