Tai Chi that is practiced in water is named as Ai Chi. Tai Chi is a form of martial art involving slow, systematic, low-impact fluid movements that helps in the easy flowing of the good energy in the body. In contrary to the usual thought and belief of martial art involving only kicks, jumps, punching, etc, Tai chi movements aids in healing many disorders and prevents many others.
It is also known as "meditation in motion". The reason for it being called as a meditation and not any other exercise forms is that even while doing the movements the main focus remains on the breathing and also on the bodily sensations and reactions to the movements. It differs from other forms of exercises in that it incorporates circular movements with muscles being in its relaxed state, the movements being free-flowing and not forced, the connective tissues aren't stretched and the joints are kept neither completely straight nor in bent positions. The resulting movements are very comfortable, easily carried out with causing discomfort in any parts of the body.
Tai Chi has developed from Qigong, a form of martial art which focuses on the body, mind, breath and the movement while creating a naturally balancing energy, peace of mind and thus is used to attain better health, recreation and also for self-defense.
With the variation in the form, Tai chi is also done in water, commonly known as Ai Chi.
Ai Chi: Description Of The Form And Its Various Uses
Ai Chi or commonly known as Water Tai Chi is a form of Tai Chi practiced under water where the whole body till the shoulder is immersed in water. It is a therapeutic use of movements for the relaxation and total strengthening of the body and focuses on balancing of mental, physical and spiritual energy. It involves Qigong, Tai chi and Watsu (Shiatsu in water) concepts and techniques. Ai Chi is practiced in warm water which further promotes relaxation of the mind and body.
Advantages Of Ai Chi
With the increasing pace of today's life, people engage themselves more in work and other spheres and pay lesser attention to their health. They stay more engaged in earning more wealth but neglect health which results in the increase in various health related problems. It eventually leads to spending more money in order to settle the health issues. A little attention towards keeping the mind and body healthy could give a longer, healthier life which you can enjoy with your family.
The advantages of Ai Chi are as follows:
- Provides relaxation of mind and body
- Relieves Aches and pain
- Increases balance and flexibility
- Increases the strength of the core muscles
- Promotes circulation of blood, oxygen and energy in the body
- Helps in reducing joint and muscle stiffness and muscle weakness throughout the body.
- Improves mobility and range of motions
- Minimizes fatigue, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Who Can Perform Ai Chi?
Ai Chi can be performed by anybody and people of all ages. It has been found very useful in normal people for relaxation, people suffering from aches and pains, disabled and physically challenged people and the list continues. Ai Chi has great effects on women who are pregnant.
Ai Chi In Pregnancy
Pregnant women suffer from various problems during the 9 months of gestational period. They suffer from aches and pains throughout the body especially back. Other pregnancy symptoms include tiredness, heaviness, tight muscles, swelling, sciatica pain, nausea, increased blood pressure, stress etc. Ai Chi is helpful is relieving all these symptoms and bring the would-be-mother in a greater state of wellbeing. Practicing Ai Chi at least once a week could increase the supply of oxygen to the body and brain and also to the baby and brings in a wonderful sense of togetherness with the baby. It incorporates slow movements accompanied by deep breathing, therapeutic touch and also verbal as well as non-verbal communication.
A study conducted on 41 healthy pregnant women concluded that thrice a week Ai Chi sessions promoted better health with maximum oxygen consumption, increased cardiac output and stroke volume, and better stress test performance in the third trimester. Another study on 92 prenatally depressed pregnant women concluded that group sessions of 20 minutes per week reduced depression, somatic symptoms negative effect, and anxiety in these women. It also helped reducing sleep disturbances and enhanced better health.
Benefits Of Ai Chi In Pregnancy
The usefulness and benefits of of Ai Chi in pregnancy is varied and as follows:
- Ai Chi promotes better posture in Pregnancy
- Helps in maintaining balance
- Promotes better circulation of life energy or chi
- The warm water and the circular movements of Ai Chi alleviates pains and aches associated with pregancy
- Ai Chi helps reduce high blood pressure and hypertension (many women develop it during pregnancy)
- The meditative forms promote mental and physical well-being during Pregnancy.
- Ai Chi helps in relaxation of the mind and body of a pregnant woman.
- The hormone relaxin plays a role in loosening of muscles around the pelvic region to ease labor. Ai Chi helps in toning these muscles and thus reduces back pain in pregnancy.
- Helps in strengthening arms and legs so that carrying your baby is easier
- Strengthens core muscles
- Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety among pregnant woman.
- Ai Chi Promotes better sleep in Pregnant women
- Reduces joint stiffness
- The deep breathings and the systematic movements of Ai Chi help ease labor pain and also sustain the labor contractions
- Develops deeper mother-baby relationship.
Moreover, when Ai Chi is performed in a group, it helps the woman socialize and communicate with other women who are going through the same phase. Even couples could together join Ai Chi sessions. This helps in strengthening the bond between the couple, builds a stronger bond between the father-to-be and the baby and also enables them in welcoming this new phase of their life better.
Thus, give a thought to this form of exercise, consider and give it a try. It will bestow you with a holistic relief from the odds of pregnancy while strengthening your bond with your baby. It will help you travel through this journey with ease and happiness and comfort.
Therefore, Ai Chi is an easier form of exercise which provides a holistic health benefits. In ancient times, exercises were performed in calm and peaceful environment and in a ritualistic manner. However, in the modern times exercises are performed in a way which upholds the health and also incorporates a lot of fun, excitement and enjoyment. Many exercise forms are done in groups and you could also do it with family. So, just try a different style for a change and feel the difference.