Over 14% of the adult population in the United States suffers from allergies. These allergies can be a mild discomfort such as sneezing or even life threatening. The practice of tai chi (in China it is called qi gong) has long been used as not only martial arts practice but also to promote and protect one’s health. In China tai chi is used to relieve allergies.
Today tai chi is becoming more and more popular in the United States as not only exercise but as a relaxation technique with health benefits. The practice of tai chi combines energy and breath training with martial arts practices and discipline.
This Chinese martial art believes energy (called qi) can be pulled or used from the environment. This additional energy can then be directed towards body parts needing help or assistance. Though western health practitioners do not believe in redirected qi being a healing process, the beneficial effects of the tai chi exercises have been demonstrated in a variety of medically approved studies.
Medical studies have shown the exercises of tai chi are useful in the treatment of asthma. The controlled body exercise and breathing helps the breathing of asthmatic patients who practice tai chi.
What Causes An Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction happens when the body’s immune system reacts to a particle it decides is foreign. The immune system decides to fight and get rid of the foreign particle. The immune system reaction is what we recognize as the allergic reaction. The allergic reaction may be sneezing, itchy nose, skin redness or breathing problems.
How Does Tai Chi Help Breathing?
Tai chi helps by improving breathing ability. By practicing the exercises of tai chi the body’s ability to breathe is greatly improved. Tai chi encourages deep rhythmic breathing, bringing air to all parts of the lungs. This keeps airways exercised and prevents mucous from settling in the lungs and irritating lung tissue.
Since breathing is the focus, people who practice tai chi will strengthen and improve those muscles helping breathing. As the practice of tai chi is also stress relief, the breathing will become less labored. With an improved ability to breathe those suffering from allergies will have decreased respiratory problems. This means fewer problems with shortness of breath, and decreased irritation in lungs and sinuses.
Other studies show tai chi increasing the effectiveness of the immune system, which allows the body to more clearly recognize true problems.
If you or a family member suffers from allergies, the practice of tai chi may be a way of improving breathing and improving the strength of your breathing muscles. Check with practitioners of Chinese medicine, or acupuncturists to find a qualified tai chi teacher. With a little bit of practice you may find yourself breathing easier next allergy season.