Easing ills through Tai Chi

Researchers study the benefits of this mind-body exercise.

Catherine Kerr Easing ills through Tai Chihas found an antidote for the hectic pace of laboratory life in the daily practice of tai chi. This centuries-old Chinese mind-body exercise, now gaining popularity in the United States, consists of slow-flowing, choreographed meditative movements with poetic names like “wave hands like clouds,” “dragons stirring up the wind,” and “swallow skimming the pond” that evoke the natural world. It also focuses on basic components of overall fitness: muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.

“Doing tai chi makes me feel lighter on my feet,” says Kerr, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) instructor who has practiced for 15 years. “I’m stronger in my legs, more alert, more focused, and more relaxed—it just puts me in a better mood all around.” Although she also practices sitting meditation and does a lot of walking, she says that the impact of tai chi on her mood were so noticeable—even after she was diagnosed with a chronic immune system cancer—that she has devoted her professional life to studying the effects of mind-body exercise on the brain at Harvard’s Osher Research Center. (more…)

Helping People Heal with Qi Gong Exercises

“It’s not about me.  It’s about giving back to the community,” says Healing Moves Foundation member Justin Nielsen.  “I want to help people be the best they can be.”

Justin has always been passionate about the power of exercise. After suffering from a sports injury which hurt his spine, he devoted much of his time learning about healing the body. He became a personal trainer, helping his clients achieve their fitness goals.

In 2002,  a car accident re-injured Justin’s spine causing him to seek pain relief from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and other health specialists.

Justin finally found relief and healing when he looked within his own body, mind and spirit.  He lived with a monk  and trained six times a week, 4 – 6 hours a day in the healing art of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Sword and Still Meditation. (more…)