Tai-chi and Qi-gong are closely associated with Taoism, Chinese philosophies and religions. The center doctrine of Taoism is focused on mind tranquility, and its goal is to achieve longevity by meditation and lifestyle modification. Although substantial variation within and between these practices exists, Tai-chi and Qi-gong are meditative exercises that coordinate gentle movements.
Tai-chi and Qi-gong is not only a physical exercise, but also involves training the mind, and this has prompted some to consider the practice moving meditation. The main difference between Qi-gong and Tai-chi is that Tai-chi is a martial art. Tai-chi movements can be sped up to provide a form of self-defense, whereas this is not the case with the forms of Qi-gong.
Tai-chi and Qi-gong may improve health-related fitness (including cardio-respiratory function, muscular strength, balance and flexibility), quality of life and psychological well-being.
Tai-chi and Qi-gong are effective for patients with cardiac, neurological and musculoskeletal disease. Tai-chi is beneficial for patients with coronary artery disease, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, arthritis, osteoporosis and chronic pain disorder (Tai-ch and Qi-gong 2009, Tai-ch and Qi-gong 2012).
Similar to Yoga, beneficial effects of Tai-chi and Qi-gong for well-being are mediated its stimulatory effect on parasympathetic nerves and inhibitory effect on stress responses (Lee at al. 2007).