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Our health care system provides treatment for a wide variety of ailments. We have developed methods effective in treating acute and chronic health problems with sophistication and success. However, the methods of providing treatment have focused on interventions following the development of ailments. This approach dictates that the method of treatment be drastic or invasive.

Today there is a revived interest in self care and a growing sense of responsibility for one's health and sense of well being, This shift in responsibility from the health care system to the health care consumer has inspired a search for methods of self-care that can accommodate this growing emphasis on the prevention of health problems.

Tai Chi Ch'uan, a Chinese system of self health care developed through the last five hundred years, is being discovered by people
who are personally interested in their health. Based on the principle that stress is a major cause of illness, Tai Chi Ch'uan encourages relaxation through exercise to reduce stress and enhance health.

Stress is a recognized factor in many diseases. Data abounds connecting the etiology of heart disease, arthritis, peptic ulcer, hypertension. tension headaches. asthma and ulcerative colitis to the intensity and chronicity of stress. Hospitals and health clinics teach several methods of stress reduction to help clients eliminate or alleviate symptoms of these diseases. Attempts to reduce stress through the practice of meditation have been successful. Research focusing on the physiological effects of meditation has revealed the relaxing quality of alpha brain waves produced through meditation. One's ability to control
one's consciousness by producing the alpha state is useful in stress reduction and the prevention of illness. Therefore, meditation is frequently recommended by health care professionals in the treatment of stress-related diseases. Clients find that through meditation they are often able to reduce symptoms or prevent recurring episodes.

Tai Chi Ch'uan as meditation in action blends exercise and concentration in harmony to strengthen the body as one learns to relax. Tai Chi Ch'uan can be practiced a few minutes daily to maintain and foster health and prevent the development of illness.

As a health care provider and a practitioner of Tai Chi Ch'uan, I have experienced and observed the benefits of the daily practice of this art. Tai Chi Ch'uan has also been useful in my psycho-therapy practice as a means to help clients achieve a greater sense of self awareness. I recommend this art as a useful too! for the development of a strong and flexible body and mind.

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