FAQ

Here are the most frequently asked questions people raise regarding our Acupuncture treatment, Massage therapy, Hypnotherapy, and some general questions regarding our wellness programs. If you do not find your questions answered here, please feel free to contact us! We will answer your questions and update this website for our broader community.

Question regarding our Acupuncture Treatment Service

Why do people try acupuncture?

While acupuncture is widely known to relieve pain, it is also helpful for many conditions in which pain is not primary, including a wide variety of chronic conditions. It can be used for almost any physical or emotional problem, or simply the desire to stay well. People from all walks of life use acupuncture for many different reasons. People who might particularly benefit include those:

  • Involved in Car Accidents
  • With chronic pain or other symptoms not responding to traditional treatment
  • For whom there are limited medical interventions, as with acute viral infections, nutritional and metabolic disorders, chronic degenerative diseases, allergies and auto-immune diseases, arthritis, hypertension, psychosomatic diseases and certain mental conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Who feel as if something is “wrong” even though tests are inconclusive
  • Whose symptoms seem to be associated with or worsened by stress (asthma, migraines, etc.)
  • Who would like additional support for their prescribed treatment to help cope with side-effects or to improve vitality (to help with side effects of chemotherapy or surgery, for example)
  • Who are in basic good health and want to facilitate their well-being and prevent illness.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts developed in China and based upon a tradition of more than 5,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, Acupuncture, massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.

The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions like yin-yang and the five phases.

TCM's view of the body places little emphasis on anatomical structures, but is mainly concerned with the identification of functional entities which regulate digestion, breathing, aging, etc. Health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world while disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction.

TCM diagnosis involves tracing symptoms to patterns of an underlying disharmony—by measuring the pulse; by inspecting the tongue, skin, eyes; by looking at eating and sleeping habits; and, by many other things.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient, time-tested method for preventing and treating various diseases, illnesses, and conditions. It is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with very thin, sterile, disposable needles to gently and painlessly stimulate certain points on the body. In its classical form it is a characteristic component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It has been categorized as a complementary health approach. According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating specific Acupuncture points corrects imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians.

Acupuncture's use for certain conditions has been recognized by the United States National Institutes of Health, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

At Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we also utilize the following treatment techniques and practices to combine with Acupuncture to help with your health challenges:

  • Tai Chi Qi Gong
  • Auricular Acupuncture
  • Moxibustion
  • Cupping
  • Gua Sha
  • Tuina
  • Trigger Point Acupuncture
  • Daoist Medical Arts
Does Acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture should not hurt. Acupuncture needles are nearly as thin as a strand of hair and are solid, unlike hypodermic needles which are hollow. The reaction to Acupuncture may vary from person to person. Some people might feel like a mosquito bite, but then it subsides immediately. Some people may feel "Qi" sensations such as tingling, warmth, heaviness, or achiness at the point where the needle is, or in other areas of the body, and some people don't feel anything at all. Most often, people feel very relaxed during their treatments, and sometimes fall asleep.

At Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we can also use non-insertion needles in treating people who are really needle sensitive. We will talk with you to understand which style of Acupuncture treatment will be best suited to your health concerns.

Is Acupuncture safe?

In Tai Chi & Acupuncture Wellness Center, we practice Universal Precautions and adhere to OSHA Safety Standards. We only use pre-sterilized, pre-packaged, one-time-use needles, safely disposed of after use. Acupuncture is a safe, drug-free therapy that has no side effects. Sometimes bruising or a small amount of bleeding may occur where the needles are placed. This is normal and will go away in a few days.

Is Acupuncture safe for children?

Yes! Pediatric Acupuncture is very safe and is commonly used to treat infants and children. In Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we will use gentle, non-insertion Acupuncture for children. Parents will be asked to remain in the treatment room for the entirety of the child's treatment session.

Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Acupuncture is becoming very popular in the United States, as its benefits are being realized by more and more people. With this increase in demand, many insurance companies are offering to cover it under typical health plans. We accept many forms of insurance now, and even if we are not covered by your provider, you may be able to get reimbursed for our service. If you have any Health Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, or car Insurance which might cover acupuncture treatment, please let us know, and we can check for you to see what coverage you are eligible for. Certain discounts or coverage might be available once benefits are verified.

What kind of training should an acupuncturist have?

Acupuncturists are licensed by the state they practice in, and in Massachusetts, they are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine. In order to be licensed in Massachusetts, Acupuncturists are required to complete training at an accredited institution, which requires a minimum of 1,350 hours of clinical and classroom instruction. They must also successfully complete national board exams, which are administered through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, (NCCAOM).

What happens during the first visit?

In your first visit, which will last approximately 90 minutes, we will discuss in detail your main health concerns as well as your health history. (Follow up treatments will be 60 minutes long.) Please remember to bring your completed health history questionnaire to your first visit, so you do not waste your treatment time. This detailed discussion will allow us to make a complete evaluation of your health condition and to develop with you the best treatment plan to meet your needs.

How many treatments will it take to get better?

This will mainly depend on your case, whether or not it is chronic or acute, and your overall health condition. It is difficult to give a specific number of treatments required; however, in general most people experience positive results after a series of 3 – 6 weekly treatments. Some patients may see results within the first few treatments, while others may require a longer series of treatments. Usually, after the first three treatments, we will re-evaluate your condition and try to give you an estimate of how many more treatments you might need. Alternatively, we might possibly make a referral to other professions for a better result.

What is Auricular Acupuncture?

Auriculotherapy, or Auricular therapy, or Ear Acupuncture, is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem which reflects the entire brain as represented on the auricle (the outer portion of the ear). Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.

What is Trigger Point Acupuncture?

Trigger points, also known as trigger sites or muscle knots, are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers. Some of these points are exactly the same as Acupuncture points.

The trigger point model states that unexplained pain frequently radiates from these points of local tenderness to broader areas, sometimes distant from the trigger point itself. Practitioners claim to have identified reliable “referred pain patterns” which associate pain in one location with trigger points elsewhere. There is some variation in the methodology for diagnosis of trigger points and a dearth of theory to explain how they arise and why they produce specific patterns of referred pain.

Compression of a trigger point may elicit local tenderness, referred pain, or the “local twitch response”. The local twitch response is not the same as a muscle spasm. This is because a muscle spasm refers to the entire muscle contracting whereas the local twitch response only involves a small twitch to the entire muscle but not contraction of the entire muscle.

Among MDs, many specialists are well versed in trigger point diagnosis and therapy. These include physiatrists (physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation), family medicine, and orthopedics. Osteopathic as well as chiropractic schools also include trigger points in their training. Other health professionals, such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and structural integrators are also aware of these ideas and many of them make use of trigger points in their clinical work as well.

What is Cupping?

Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine in which a local suction cup is placed on the skin. It is used to mobilize and stimulate the flow of both blood and energy in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps). In Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, only mechanical devices are used to create suction.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is rubbed in order to pool blood and energy at specific spots on the body. It is believed that gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and increases blood and energy flow, thus stimulating and quickening the body’s natural healing process.

What is Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa (downy material) made from dried mugwort. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China (including Tibet), Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff. Practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a cigar-shaped stick (a “moxa pole”). They can use it indirectly, with Acupuncture needles, or burn it on the patient's skin.

Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and Acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and inducing a smoother flow of qi and blood. Moxibustion is effective in treating cold and dampness in the body, and can also serve to turn breech babies. It is also very good for treating chronic problems, particularly in “deficiency conditions” or a condition of weakness.

Question regarding our Massage therapy Service

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage (or bodywork) is a manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques to: enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and create a pleasurable recreational activity.

Massage involves acting upon the body either manually or with mechanical aids to create: pressure (structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving); tension; motion; or, vibration. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints and other connective tissue, lymphatic vessels or organs of the gastrointestinal system. It is usually passive and relaxes the client. All you have to do is lie on a professional massage table or sometimes sit in a massage chair. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet. You might be draped by towels or a sheet. Usually oil or lotion is used to lubricate the skin.

At Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we offer several types of massage services (please see the list below) in order to address both your therapeutic needs as well as the relaxation of your mind & body. Before the massage therapy begins, our licensed massage therapist will conduct an interview with you in order to understand your health condition and personal preferences. They can discuss with you which type of massage service would be the most appropriate one for your needs. Sometimes a massage therapy regimen using more than one massage service can be custom-designed to meet your goals for the session.

How can massage therapy help me?

Massage therapy is widely used to obtain relief from many specific problems, including the list below. An interview with a licensed massage therapist is used to decide the type of massage service from which you might get the most benefit:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis
  • Stress relief and associated conditions
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle aches and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains
  • Back pain
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Circulatory and respiratory problems
  • Pregnancy and labor discomfort
  • Post-injury and post-surgical rehabilitation
Can anyone receive massage therapy?

Yes, massage therapy is an appropriate treatment method for individuals of all ages, including infants, children, and the elderly. However, there are some conditions for which massage therapy is not appropriate. All licensed massage therapists in Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center are trained to recognize these cases.

Do I have to remove all of my clothing for massage therapy?

No. Your comfort as a client is of utmost concern to Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center. All of the licensed massage therapists in our Center can provide important and useful treatment whether you elect to remove any, some, or all of your clothing. Our licensed massage therapists are trained in proper draping procedures to ensure that your privacy is completely respected at all times during treatment. Your comfort and ability to relax is paramount to effective treatment. If undress is recommended and agreed to by the client, our therapists will leave the room while the client undresses “to their level of comfort” and gets situated on the massage table, covered by the sheet.

The licensed massage therapist will also describe the treatments to be provided to ensure that you are comfortable with them. Your consent is sought before treatment is provided. If you are uncomfortable, please let your massage therapist or front desk know immediately, whether that discomfort involves the treatment, draping for privacy, or any pain you may experience.

Does massage therapy hurt?

As with many treatments affecting the soft tissue, there are times when massage therapy can cause some slight discomfort but it is not harmful. Discomfort usually diminishes and no technique of this nature is used without the therapist first discussing it with the client and obtaining your permission. A comfort scale will be established so that the massage therapist will work to the client's tolerance level. The client can stop or change the treatment at any time and our massage therapists will modify their techniques to meet your needs. Again, your comfort as a client is the top priority of Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center.

How often should I have massage therapy?

Most people do well on a weekly or monthly schedule for their therapeutic massage. However, how often you should do it still depends very much on your individual situation and needs. Massage therapy is most beneficial in acute conditions when used over a series of treatments followed up with maintenance or preventive treatments. Through ongoing discussion and collaboration, our licensed massage therapists can help you establish a program which will fit your physical needs and lifestyle. Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center is most interested in your recovery, in the maintenance of your health, and the highest excellence of your care.

Can I choose my own massage therapist?

Yes, you can specify your personal preference for a therapist but you may have to wait for an appointment depending on that therapist's schedule, availability and popularity. Your comfort and satisfaction as a client is always of the first priority to Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center.

As a new wellness center, we are always looking for additional qualified massage therapists who share our philosophy on patient care to join our team. This will provide a more complete set of staff resources to meet your needs and schedule.

What happens on the first visit with a massage therapist?

On the first visit you will complete an intake form and confidential health history as part of your assessment. It is important for the licensed massage therapist to know if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. The therapist will listen to your concerns, assess your individual needs, and evaluate other factors that may be contributing to your concern or condition (lifestyle, nutritional status, etc.) After the interview with you, the therapist (and/or other staff health professionals) will then develop a customized treatment plan with you to ensure that you return, as much as possible, to your normal activities.

The therapist will also describe the treatments to be provided to ensure that you are comfortable with them. Your consent is sought before treatment is provided. If you are uncomfortable, please let our massage therapist or front desk know immediately, whether that discomfort involves the treatment itself, draping for privacy, or any pain you may experience.

If undress is recommended and agreed to by the client, the therapist will leave the room while the client undresses “to their level of comfort” and gets situated on the massage table, covered by the sheet.

What massage Treatment Style would be best for me?

At Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we offer several different kinds of massage “Treatment Styles” (please see the list below) in order to address both your therapeutic needs as well as the relaxation of your mind & body. Before the massage therapy begins, our licensed massage therapist will conduct an interview with you in order to understand your health condition and personal preferences. They can discuss with you which type of massage Treatment Style would be the most appropriate one for your needs. Sometimes a massage therapy regimen using more than one Treatment Style can be custom-designed to meet your goals for the session.

Brief introductions to our various massage Treatment Styles are offered in our center now. If there is any type of massage Treatment Style you prefer and it is not listed below, please feel free to either mention it to our front desk personnel or talk to our massage therapists directly:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Acupressure
  • Shiatsu
  • Tuina

If you would like to learn more about the differences among each type of massage Treatment Style listed above, check out the following FAQ’s.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep Tissue Massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep Tissue Massage is often recommended for clients who experience consistent pain, who are involved in heavy physical activity (such as athletes), or who have sustained physical injury. Deep Tissue Massage is often used to treat particular muscular-skeletal disorders or complaints and employs a dedicated set of techniques and strokes to achieve a measure of relief. Deep tissue Massage is applied to both the superficial and deep layers of muscles, fascia, and other structures. The sessions are often quite intense as a result of the deliberate, focused work. It is not uncommon for receivers of deep tissue massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two. Generally this massage is done with oil.

What is Thai Massage?

Thai Massage is a system of massage and manipulation in which the practitioner leans on the client's body using hands for gentle rocking, employing deep stretching, and elaborate point work. The practitioner applies firm rhythmic pressure to create a singular healing experience. Generally no oil is used.

What is Reflexology Massage?

Reflexology, or zone therapy, focuses on points on the feet, hands and sometimes the ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques designed to improve health. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas which are thought to reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands. The premise is that such work effects a physical change to the body. Generally no oil is used.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to Acupuncture. It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body to affect health. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to both Acupuncture points and “trigger points” with the aim of clearing blockages as well as balancing energy in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices. It can be done with or without oil or lotion. Some medical studies have suggested that acupressure may be effective at helping manage nausea and vomiting, and for helping lower back pain.

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage. In Japanese it means "finger pressure". It is a type of alternative medicine consisting of finger and palm pressure, stretches, and other massage techniques. Usually Shiatsu is very good in helping people relax and cope with issues such as stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. Generally it can be done without any oil.

What is Tuina?

Tuina is an acient Chinese style of bodywork that goes back thousands of years. This form of massage is governed by Oriental medicine and follows many of the same guidelines as Acupuncture. Tuina can be used to treat a variety of musculo-skeletal issues. It's a powerful (and relaxing) form of healing. Tuina usually uses more finger pressure and stretching techniques and is done with oil.

Question regarding our Hypnotherapy Service

What is the Subconscious?

Imagine that you have a very powerful ally, one that has infinite potential, creativity, wisdom, knowledge, compassion and strength. This ally remembers everything that you have done, protects you every moment of every day, has 100% trust and belief in you, and is there to help you achieve virtually anything you desire …a perfect companion. This ally is your subconscious mind. It controls the systems in your body: like the beating of your heart, digestion, releasing of the hormones, metabolism and the like. Its contribution to your body is something you don't think about, it is just there and it happens. In addition, the subconscious mind is the part of you that emotions and feelings come from, the part of you that plays an important part in your decisions, sometimes without your full awareness . It stores all information from your past and contributes to your feelings, emotions, thoughts and decisions based on past experiences and information. Most importantly, your subconscious mind is there to help you.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a natural and pleasant state of the human mind. It involves focused attention: concentration on an object, an idea or an activity with full involvement, while attention to anything else is temporarily suspended. We can experience this “trance-like” state in everyday living, for example: becoming totally involved watching a movie or a sports game, driving on a familiar route where you do not quite remember part of the journey, waking minutes before an alarm clock on a significant day, daydreaming, reading an absorbing book, noticing a smell or hearing a song which takes you back in time reminding you of an event which has been stored in your memory. Hypnosis is a relaxed state of mind where one can indeed focus on an idea, an aspect of one's life, a dilemma or a challenge. It is used by sports people and corporate management for motivation, in advertising to attract you to certain ideas, by public speakers and politicians to captivate their audiences and by many therapists to effectively change or improve many aspects of people's lives.

How can I tell when I'm hypnotized?

This varies from person to person. Some people are more aware of changes felt in their bodies than others. It also depends on how deep into the hypnotic state the person has allowed himself to drift. You may experience sensations of feeling very light or floating, very heavy, tingling sensations, dry mouth or just pleasantly relaxed.

What does it feel like to be hypnotized? - Does it feel good?

It feels great! Most people will experience different bodily sensations ranging from a dry mouth, limbs feeling very heavy or light, or tingling sensations. Most people feel wonderfully relaxed and enjoy the hypnotic state very much.

Can anyone be hypnotized?

Yes. Any person of at least average intelligence and ability to focus and concentrate can go into hypnosis. The better one is able to concentrate and focus and the more intelligent a person is, the easier it is for him to go into the hypnotic trance. Above all, the person must be willing. No one can hypnotize you if you don't want to be hypnotized. Your natural defenses in your mind will prevent this from happening.

Will I be asleep or will I know what is going on around me?

No, you are definitely not asleep, though to an observer, your body appears to be sleeping because you are in a state of deep physical relaxation. You are completely awake and aware of your surroundings. You hear everything. Since all your senses are magifird, you are actually more alert and aware while you are in hypnosis than you are in your normal waking state.

How does the hypnotist put someone into hypnosis?

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and the power comes from within the mind of the person being hypnotized. The hypnotist is merely the guide who directs and leads the person into the hypnotic state. The hypnotist induces the hypnotic trance by using certain words and phrases the subconscious mind understands, as well as using various techniques like deep breathing, imagery and tone of voice.

Is hypnosis dangerous?

No, hypnosis is not dangerous. It is just a natural state of the mind utilized by the hypnotist for purpose of help the individual change certain habits or patterns of behavior. The mind has natural defenses built in which will automatically reject any suggestions it deems harmful.

Is hypnosis "mind control"?

No, hypnosis is not mind control. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotist can not make you do or say anything you ordinarily would not do, unless you wanted to. You always remain in control and are awake and alert the whole time.

Will I lose control when I'm under hypnosis?

No, you will not lose control while you are in hypnosis. You are fully conscious and very aware of what is being suggested. You are always in control. The mind will reject any undesired suggestions automatically.

Aren't people who can easily be hypnotized just gullible, stupid or weak-minded?

Quite the opposite! A gullible, unintelligent or weak-minded person is incapable of maintaining the necessary focus and concentration necessary to go into the hypnotic state.

Won't being hypnotized make me become weak-minded or cause me to develop a "weak will"?

No, hypnosis is used often to boost a person's concentration and will power.

How much will I remember when I wake up? Will I forget everything that went on?

Most people remember everything that went on while they were in hypnosis, but sometimes, if they went into a particularly deep state, they may forget what happened. Sometimes the hypnotist will suggest that they will forget what happened, and they do. Other times people have the misconception that they are supposed to forget everything, so they do - because they gave themselves the suggestion to forget!

Can the hypnotist make me do things against my will - like in the movies?

No! A hypnotist cannot make you do anything against your will, morality or ethics. What you have seen in the movies is fantasy. A hypnotist can not call you up on the telephone and order you to rob a bank or murder someone. Your mind has natural defenses against harmful suggestions. It will always protect itself.

Will I wake up afterwards - What will happen if I don't?

Yes, the majority of people who are hypnotized will come out of the state when brought out by the hypnotist. On occasion, someone will choose to remain in the hypnotic state because they either entered a particularly deep state or it feels so good they want to remain in hypnosis. They will drift into a natural sleep state and wake themselves up naturally.

What can hypnosis be used for?

Hypnosis can be utilized in many ways, though the hypnotic state not always called "hypnosis." Hypnosis is used for entertainment purposes (stage shows) or in a clinical setting such as in hypnotherapy to make positive changes in a person's life. It is used often in the medical and dental fields as well. It is used by psychologists and psychiatrists as an adjunct to their treatments. Self-hypnosis is an integral component in yoga, bio-feedback and meditation. Top athletes are using self- hypnosis when they focus during competition to "get into the zone."

Can hypnosis help me?

Yes, definitely! Hypnosis can be used to make positive changes in your life. Some examples are: stop smoking, lose weight, improve self-esteem and confidence, improve sales ability and memory retention. Practically any bad or destructive habits or behaviors can be removed via hypnosis. It can help ease fears and phobias, improve relationships and communication - the list goes on and on.

Can I learn self-hypnosis?

Yes, anyone can learn to do self-hypnosis since you naturally do it anyway. Most of the time, however, we are giving ourselves negative suggestions (self talk) instead of positive, uplifting ones. You can learn self-hypnosis from a trained hypnotherapist.

Question regarding our Wellness Programs

What is Tai Chi Chuan?

Tai Chi Chuan is a traditional Chinese “internal martial art” that was developed in the 13th century for both its self-defense training and its health benefits. Today it is primarily practiced for health and fitness. It combines slow and gentle movements with mental focus. In addition, it combines physical exercise and relaxation techniques rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy. It has been practiced in China for hundreds of years and is now widely practiced throughout the world. It has been estimated that over 100 million people regularly practice Tai Chi Chuan in China alone. It has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise in the United States over the past 10 years.

Tai Chi Chuan improves health by promoting changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination and relaxation. The goal of Tai Chi Chuan is to “rebalance” the body’s own healing capacity. During exercise, individuals are taught to be mindful of what their bodies are doing and how they feel. Precise movements and body awareness characterize Tai Chi Chuan as a “meditation in motion,” evoking a mind-body connection. It helps people bring their mind into a zone of calm and clarity. It has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine for many years and has recently become the focus of scientific research regarding its health benefits.

What are the proven benefits of Tai Chi Chuan?

Researchers have found that intensive Tai Chi Chuan practice favorably affects the promotion of physical function, including balance control, reduction in the fear of falling, and the number of fall occurrences. Tai Chi Chuan practice may also be a beneficial and safe adjunctive therapy for patients with cardiovascular disease by helping to reduce blood pressure; for postmenopausal women by maintaining bone mineral density; and, for patients with knee osteoarthritis by providing pain control. Also, some studies have indicated that Tai Chi Chuan is associated with improvements in psychological well-being—including reduced stress, anxiety, depression, and mood disturbance, as well as increased self-esteem.

What is Qi (Chi)?

Qi (pronounced chē) can be interpreted many different ways depending on the context in which it is being used. It is incorporated in many aspects of Chinese Culture. For example, Qi as it is referred to in Chinese calligraphy, could be said to refer to the calligrapher’s intention, feelings, or insight at that moment which “the Qi” flowed from the artist into the characters to make them become “living”. This transfer of Qi then gives the characters themselves the ability to express emotion and touch the people who look at them at a different time or space.

In Feng Shui, Qi could mean the “atmosphere” created by the surrounding environment. This often includes the walls, the building, natural settings like rivers or mountains, roads, certain directions etc. For example, some rooms or natural settings (a lake for example) can make people feel peaceful once you walk into or near them.

In interpersonal relations, “QI” could mean the “feeling” created between or among people. In other words, it is how a person comes across, or presents themselves to others. For example, sometimes it is easy to feel the characteristics of the people around you. Are they coming across as healthy or diseased, honest or dishonest, humble or proud, and so on? “People” in this example can be replaced with other objects as well. A thousand year old tree, for instance, can bring about a sense of calm to people due to its age, or “experience”.

In traditional Chinese medicine, “Qi” refers to a “vital material” which has a deep influence on an individual’s energy, will, immune system, and mind and body health. For example, you are more susceptible to disease when you are exhausted, and when you are exhausted your “Qi” is weaker than usual. You might also become anxious easier when you under stress; this is due to the fact that stress causes instability in “Qi”.

What is Qi Gong?

There are ways to cultivate and improve “Qi flow” in your life. In sticking with the examples above, here are some ways to improve Qi.

  • In calligraphy, you can cultivate your Qi through years of practice.
  • In Feng Shui, you can change the Qi by changing the layout of a room. Even simple changes, like new paint colors, replacing pictures or art, can have an effect on the Qi of a room.
  • In interpersonal relations, you can change your personal Qi through such activities as reading books, listening to music, taking a class, relaxing more often, and increasing life experiences, to name just a few.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, you can strength your Qi through regular exercise, life-style improvements, healthy eating, meditating, and practicing Qi Gong.

Every person is born to this earth possessing their own Qi. There are differences in Qi however, from person to person. Some peoples’ Qi might be stronger; others’ Qi might be weaker; some peoples’ Qi might be able to circulate smoother than others. The bottom line however, is that everyone has their own Qi found within.

So what makes Qi different from person to person? There are many factors that might explain this, but for sake of argument we will break these factors down between two major categories: “pre-heaven” and “post-heaven”. The term “pre-heaven” is used to describe the factors in play before you were born. For example, your Qi at birth will be affected by your parent’s age or their health status at conception, the environment or lifestyle your mother was living in, the food she was eating during pregnancy, as well as the gene pool from which you were born. “Post-heaven”, on the other hand, refers to factors after birth. For example, the food you eat, the environment or lifestyle you live in, accidents and injuries that have occurred, any trauma that has occurred, as well as any positive steps you have undertaken like meditation or the practice of Qi Gong.

The term “Qi Gong” usually refers to a systematic practice done to help one cultivate and strengthen their Qi. This “practice” helps to improve the circulation of Qi inside your body. There are different types of Qi Gong practice, or to be more accurate, one might say there are different levels of practice. Qi Gong practices for cultivating and moving Qi are done through breathing techniques, meditation practice, the use of imagination, or a guiding technique via body posture and movement. Usually these systems and practices are created from the experience and the understanding of the Qi. Some methods might have existed for thousands of years already, while some methods might have come about or have been slightly modified within just the past one hundred years.