Tai Chi is a physical mind-body exercise that benefits the brain through deep concentration and meditation. Tai Chi encourages the brain and body to work together as participants focus on breathing and the fluid, gentle exercises at the same time. Besides its benefits on the body as a whole, Tai Chi improves mental activity and clarity and seems to have the potential to maximise and benefit memory function.
Studies indicate that Tai Chi may be effective in promoting neuroplasticity and may have a protective effect on the neurons. Tai Chi is well known to reduce stress, support heart health, and reduce depression and anxiety as well as improving brain function and cognition. Tai Chi practitioners have been shown to increase grey matter in the brain by as much as 40%.
A study on individuals with TBI by Massey University found, “Tai Chi was associated with significant improvement on all VAMS scores (except fatigue) with decreases in sadness, confusion, anger, tension, fear and increases in energy and happiness.”
Sage Journals – Exercise intervention in brain injury: a pilot randomized study of Tai Chi Qigong
NCBI – A study investigating the effects of Tai Chi Chuan: Individuals with traumatic brain injury compared to controls
Fancy having go at Tai Chi and don’t know where to start?
This series, NeuroFlow for Stroke Survivors was developed by Dr Giles Yates for Different Strokes UK. It is great for anyone living with any kind of brain injury and a fabulous free resource.
In the words of Dr Yates, ” I’m a clinical neuropsychologist, couples therapist and tai chi/kung fu instructor. My clinical career is dedicated to the development of psychological therapies, relationship support, vocational rehabilitation and community services for survivors of acquired brain injury and their loved ones.
I research and innovate new interventions in these areas and publish regularly on these topics – I am regularly invited as a key note speaker to give presentations, workshops and professional training around the world.
I combine my background in clinical neuropsychology and martial arts to develop tai chi-based mind-body community interventions for people with neurological conditions. I offer professional training and experiential residential retreats for professionals interested in these approaches.”
GBIA have been fortunate enough to attend two conferences where Dr Giles has presented. His experience and knowledge is mind-blowing, and his passion for helping people and making a difference is truly amazing. We hope you enjoy following the course!