Tai Chi is an amazing Chinese exercise for improving and maintaining physical, internal, mental and emotional health. It is an ancient form of moving meditation and relaxation with a foundation based on traditional Chinese medicine, (TCM), Chinese philosophy and culture. Tai Chi's history dates back thousands of years where it was first mentioned in ancient Chinese literature. The movements of tai chi are done in a slow, soft, and fluid manner. They are combined with deep, relaxed breathing to calm the mind, relax the body, relieve stress and provide a healing and rejuvenating environment inside the mind and body.
The first system of tai chi was created around 1644 by a retired Chinese military officer named Chen Wangting. He took movements from the most popular Martial Arts systems of the day and combined them with breathing exercises and internal energy cultivation exercises to create Chen style tai chi. Chen style Tai Chi along with other systems of Tai Chi were created as martial arts systems for the villagers to defend themselves. They discovered that not only was Tai Chi a very powerful and effective martial arts system, it also brought great health and longevity to the practitioner.
There are many systems of Tai Chi in China. The five major systems of Tai Chi are Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao and Sun. Each Tai Chi system is named after the family that created it. Today Tai Chi is primarily used as a healing and rejuvenating exercise. Here in the United States Tai Chi's popularity as a healing art has risen to such a high level that it has become accepted by the western medical community as a legitimate complementary form of healing and health maintenance. A simple stroke of the computer key, after entering "Tai Chi Health studies" in the subject heading, will bring up numerous studies on the healing benefits of Tai Chi.