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7 Tai Chi Benefits And Reasons To Try The Martial Art



When it comes to mind-body exercises, you might think of yoga first. However, the following tai chi benefits will make you swap your down dogs for “cloud hands” or at least complement them (stay with us).

Although the practice has been around for centuries, tai chi has recently been gaining traction again. It makes sense that more and more people are looking for a gentle exercise option that not only brings you physical wellbeing, but can also help reduce stress and make you more centered and calmer.

Read on to learn about the various health benefits of tai chi and tips to get you started.

What is tai chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that is used as both self-defense training and movement meditation, says Nadia Murdock, a mindset and movement expert in New York City.

“The movements of Tai Chi are done slowly, accompanied by deep breathing,” she says. “Each movement continues into the next without a break, so the body is in constant gentle motion.” An example of a movement is cloud hands or yun shou, in which you move your hands as if they were moving clouds on a windy day .

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    A tai chi class usually starts with a two to five minute warm up to loosen up muscles and joints, Murdock says. Warming up often includes head rolls, shoulder rolls, and grasping for the toes, as well as opening exercises such as hip and ankle circles.

    The concept of yin and yang is also important in tai chi. Too much yang movement without stillness can cause stress and exhaustion in the body, explains Murdock. Yin, on the other hand, ensures silence, which helps nourish the body on the deepest levels. Including meditative movements in the midst of Yang activity helps bring the two together.

    Tai Chi styles

    • The: This is the most popular and most practiced style in the world today. In Yang, there are continuous slow, soft, and circular movements in flowing form, says Murdock.
    • Wu: This form of tai chi requires a square posture with both feet pointing forward.
    • Chen: This northern Chinese martial art form is characterized by silk rolls that help coordinate body parts with the goal of making all parts move when one part moves, Murdock says.

      7 benefits of tai chi

      1. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Although more research is needed, studies have shown that meditative exercises like tai chi can have positive effects on mental wellbeing.
      2. It can help you multitask. Tai Chi has been shown to strengthen the “executive cognitive function” which includes your ability to multitask, make decisions, and manage time.
      3. It improves flexibility, balance and agility. While tai chi has a reputation for being gentle and slow, it has been shown to aid flexibility and balance in older adults.
      4. It improves muscle strength and definition. According to a study in older adults, tai chi can also help with lower and upper body strength when practiced regularly.
      5. It promotes better sleep. Exercise and physical activity in general are known to improve the quality of sleep, and tai chi is no exception. One study showed that it can promote better sleep in both healthy adults and those with chronic conditions.
      6. It strengthens the immune system. A recent study showed that tai chi had a small effect on increasing immune cells.
      7. It relieves pain. Research has shown that twice-weekly tai chi can help manage pain in people with conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tension headaches.
        1. Getting started with tai chi

          While it can take a few years to master the martial arts aspect of the practice, tai chi is relatively easy to learn, says Murdock.

          You can find personal classes at your local YMCA or research specific tai chi studios. You can also find videos online, like this one for beginners or this one that is less than 10 minutes long, Murdock says.

          Virtual or IRL, don’t forget the right clothes. Shoes should be flat, comfortable, and have some flexibility, Murdock says. (Read: Your running or training shoes should work.) Your clothing should also be comfortable, not restrictive. Opt for cotton and other materials that let your skin breathe.

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    Women’s Health

    An Irish tale of warning on American abortion



    We’re on the edge of the US Supreme Court Hear a Mississippi case, the Roe v. Wade is sure to decimate while Texas Almost all abortions are banned plays russian roulette with women’s life.

    A tragic death in Ireland in 2012 lit a pyre of resistance crucial to legalized abortion. Also this month there is news of the heartbreaking one Death of a pregnant woman in Poland Activists flocked to the streets demanding legal abortions.

    What happens when abortion is made illegal or unavailable is clear and a cautionary story as the US enters a post-Roe era.

    Ireland provides a human rights avenue for abortion law in the US and even worldwide. After 35 years of a regime that banned all abortions, Ireland now offers safe, legal and funded services during the first trimester of pregnancy. American abortion activists who gather at Save Roe would do well to look across the pond for inspiration and examples of successful human rights-based strategies.

    I lived in Ireland when there was a total ban on abortion in the Irish constitution. The law, which I later challenged in the European Court of Human Rights, was written decades earlier in response to Roe v. Wade was enacted. This Irish twin to America’s repeated Human Life Amendment gave a fertilized egg the same rights as a pregnant woman. Even life-saving abortions were not possible in Ireland.

    As a result, more than 5,000 women traveled abroad each year for access to secure legal services – known as the “Irish Solution to an Irish Problem”. If the US Supreme Court couldn’t stop Texas’ abortion ban last month, neighboring states were inundated with patients forced to travel far for abortion services. An Oklahoman solution to a Texas problem.

    Abortion trips are not easy and Texas is playing a lethal game of women’s health. In 2012, Ireland saw the heartbreaking death of a young woman. Savita Halappanavarwho had been refused treatment for a miscarriage of an intended pregnancy. Her doctors wouldn’t terminate her pregnancy while they could still detect a fetal heartbeat. They postponed this simple medical procedure and Halappanavar died of sepsis. When abortion is criminalized, it stigmatizes and denigrates all prenatal care. In the US, we already have unfair access to health care, and it is alarming high maternal mortality rates, especially for black and indigenous women. Another restriction on abortion puts more lives at risk.

    The Texas ban is an omen of how the Supreme Court is likely to decimate state protections of abortion rights and allow states to criminalize abortion. Let’s not wait. The US needs a new, affirmative model of human rights that goes beyond backing Roe and broadens access to a wide range of essential reproductive health care.

    In the United States, women of color who started the reproductive justice movement have followed such a human rights approach for decades. They know that the fundamental right to make childbirth decisions must include having the means to give birth safely and to raise a family. Access to abortion is only part of what is needed. Similarly, the recovery of abortion law in Ireland has sparked a wave of political support that only last month had government support for free access to contraceptives and is demanding paid leave for loss of pregnancy.

    The Irish abortion strategy combined human rights lawsuits, political activism and mass protests; a triad of strategies that deserve US attention.

    First, litigation remains an important tactic to protect reproductive freedom. Abortion law has been defined through decades of judicial proceedings in the years since the Supreme Court Planned parenting against Casey preserved Roes core, but allowed significant barriers to access to abortions.

    Winning battles in the Supreme Court is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of protecting our rights. Sometimes the loss of a case can cause Congress to take action – as we saw when the House of Representatives passed Women’s Health Protection Act in response to the Texas ban. In other cases, we can win in state lawsuits. After the Supreme Court and Congress ignored that a ban on abortion funding would disproportionately harm women of color, lawyers used the state Constitutional Protection Office to argue that state Medicaid programs must fund abortions. today more than a quarter of the states Provide part of the abortion funding based on a court order or legislative endorsement.

    Next, we need to recognize that support for the right to abortion can be a winning political issue if we make it one. The right has successfully used abortion as a wedge problem to strengthen its religious base. In return for turning a blind eye to Trump’s sins, Evangelicals were rewarded with three Supreme Court judges against abortion. This is about politics, not religion. Proponents of abortion must support politicians who are willing to make reproductive freedom a priority for all – in all elections at all levels.

    Reproductive freedom is about controlling if and when we have children. It is the ability to determine what is best for us and our families, and not just a privilege for the rich or the lucky. Tired debates about religious beliefs or philosophical arguments about “when life begins” are diversions that hold us on to the defense. Even in “Catholic Ireland” the mass movements remained focused on gender equality and the physical integrity of women. We must do the same here. We will gain ground by claiming our human rights through actions like calling for the Women’s Health Protection Act to be passed, pre-ordering abortion drugs, and insisting that companies join us to boycott Texas and other states that cruelly ban abortion.

    Ultimately, our constitution is in dire need of renovation. Our “founding fathers” did not design it with gender or race justice in mind. We should work towards a change in gender equality that protects basic human rights and moves us beyond Roe’s limited abortion as a right to privacy. What are we waiting for? Let’s start now.

    Julie F. Kay is a human rights attorney who spoke out against the Irish ban on abortion before the European Court of Human Rights and is the author of Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom.

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    Women’s Health

    Female prisoners in N.J. will get more health care services behind bars and after release



    New Jersey is introducing a new program to connect released women to health services.

    At no additional cost to the taxpayer, a medical team will soon be meeting with women at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Hunterdon County to develop individual care plans and connect them to clinics, therapists and other specialists upon discharge.

    The expansion is one of the first changes overseen by Acting Commissioner for Corrections Victoria Kuhn, who took office in June.

    “State care women face a variety of health problems,” Kuhn said in a statement. “Navigating these services can be daunting and we want to make sure they don’t feel alone and have the department’s full support with their reintegration process.”

    Kuhn signed a memorandum of understanding last month with the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, a nonprofit based in Kearny that is now preparing a team of nearly a dozen to help women navigate the healthcare system.

    The agreement runs until June 30th.

    Research has shown that incarcerated women are often at more health problems than the general population, as well as at higher risk of trauma, substance abuse and domestic violence.

    “If you just did a basic screening, you might not get the full profile you would want,” said Gloria Bachmann, assistant dean of women’s health at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the company’s medical director.

    “Health is also less of a concern, ‘When can I buy my next breakfast, lunch or dinner?’” She said in an interview.

    Anyone within six months of release is eligible, including those remaining on parole under the agreement. According to a recent report by the ministry, around 70 women are expected to be released in the coming months.

    Obioma Onwusi, the nonprofit’s health navigator, will oversee the program to connect dismissed women with experts in behavioral health, sexual assault, addiction, mental health, and gynecology, among others.

    Support will continue after the women finish their sentences, officials said.

    The state has been pressured by lawmakers and advocates to improve conditions, and women previously incarcerated in Edna Mahan have long said that health care behind bars is poor.

    In August, a federal judge took over the women’s prison after years of well-documented sexual abuse and criminal charges against several employees.

    All officers at Edna Mahan now have body cameras and the surveillance system update is around 95% complete, spokeswoman Liz Velez wrote in an email. The facility has also increased the number of patrol officers, guards and investigators, she said.

    In addition, staff will be required to complete a new training course, Inclusion and Understanding: Promoting Safety in Our Facilities, which will focus on the needs of transgender prisoners.

    Several transgender women have raised concerns about their treatment in recent years.

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    Blake Nelson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BCunninghamN.

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    Women’s Health

    Dr. Gary Goodnight says hello to Abilene-Taylor health district role



    Abilene’s longtime doctor, Dr. Gary Goodnight, who assumed the position of medical director / health officer for the Abilene Taylor County Public Health District, said he was slipping into a role he has long cherished.

    Goodnight, whose appointment was approved by Abilene City Council and Taylor County officers in October, said he admired the position of the city / county and those who previously held it.

    The group of well-known Abilene doctors includes Dr. Zane Travis, who held this position for 11 years after retiring from internal medicine in 1999, and Dr. Peter Norton, a retired obstetrician / genecologist.

    “I just respected the people who volunteer to serve the community,” said Goodnight, who specializes in ENT (head and neck surgery) and ENT allergy.

    The previous medical director of the district, Dr. Annie Drachenberg left after the end of her contract in October to focus on her family doctor practice, he said.

    Coincidentally, Goodnight was recently “on the other end” of his medical career, he said, which fitted the job well.

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    Stand up for health

    His new role, Goodnight said, represents an opportunity to serve an entire community with their health care, not just one patient at a time.

    And ideally, the position can serve as a “public health advocate” in many ways, he said, including for needy residents, immunization, or programs like the health district’s Women Infants and Children (WIC) program.

    All are examples of initiatives that can help “some of the less fortunate or just getting started”, he said, including “new refugees in the area”.

    The Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District MERCY Clinic in the former Fannin Elementary School in northern Abilene.

    The position also has an important educational role that he has accepted.

    In fact, Goodnight is willing to go back to school himself to serve his best and is considering earning a public health certificate from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, he said.

    “I’m interested in working on it,” he said, adding that the school’s presence here is a blessing for the community.

    “We’re working with them on a community health assessment,” said Goodnight.

    The district maintains a range of programs, from vaccinations to women’s health programs at MERCY Health Care Center, public health emergency preparedness, environmental health, rabies control and prevention, laboratory services, and more.

    Takeover of the mission

    Annette Lerma

    Annette Lerma, director of the health district, said Goodnight’s desire to “learn more about what we do and why we do it” is a good indicator of his drive.

    The position he occupies is a requirement of the state’s Health and Safety Code, Chapter 121, Lerma said.

    But “he quickly accepted our mission as his own,” said Lerma.

    The district’s mission, as stated on its website, is to “provide preventive services to promote community health” and to provide services to residents of the city, county, and 18 other surrounding counties.

    “I think he’ll be a great advocate,” said Lerma. “He is very well connected in the community and is very respected. And I think that will serve us well. “

    As the district’s medical director / health department, Goodnight will oversee nurses and medical assistants, assist in reporting infectious diseases to government agencies, assist with disease prevention, quarantine inspections and hygiene issues, and assist with enforcing rules and regulations necessary for public health, the city said in a statement on his appointment with.

    It contains “quarantine orders that give us the legal authority to quarantine under certain infectious disease situations, as we saw with COVID-19,” said Lerma.

    “Even things like (tuberculosis): if you have a patient who is not following the rules, they can write legal orders to be enforced by the prosecutor,” she said.

    But the district’s greatest hope for Goodnight, Lerma said, is the credibility and authority a doctor gives to the public during his tenure on the “messages we are trying to get out”.

    Be included

    After just a few weeks, Goodnight has already met with key stakeholders on issues that are important to public health, Lerma said.

    She was personally impressed with his willingness to ask questions and be interested in “every program we have,” she said.

    Goodnight said he was similarly impressed with the leadership in the city’s vaccination program, including efforts against COVID-19.

    The new health authority Dr.  Gary Goodnight said the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District's vaccines program is an example of a program that is of definite benefit to the community.

    And after speaking to Lois Woods, director of the district’s WIC program, he walked away very encouraged, he said.

    “Children who go through this program just end up being healthier,” he said. “Overall, there is less child obesity among those who participate because their parents, their mothers, learn about nutrition facts. That gives them a good start. “

    looking ahead

    There is always room for improvement, and Goodnight said he would like to see an attempt to restore dental programming to the city’s public health service.

    The district closed the program after Abilene City Council voted in December 2020, citing a number of economic concerns, to remove it and other city-funded programs and positions.

    City officials said the program cost $ 268,240 annually and was originally planned to be self-sufficient.

    But it required $ 407,804 in general fund subsidies to keep operating as of fiscal 2018, which led to its closure.

    But “from a doctor who has done emergency room visits throughout his career, tooth abscesses are one of the biggest problems I’ve seen,” Goodnight said.

    If left unchecked, an abscess can lead to an infection that can spread throughout a person’s body and cause serious and potentially life-threatening effects.

    The key, he said, would be finding the right mix of supervisors and volunteers who take turns working to meet urgent needs, especially with tooth extractions.

    “If we could stop patients from using this emergency service … it would be very helpful to the community,” he said.

    Brian Bethel covers the city, county and general news for Abilene Reporter News. If you value local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription from

    About Dr. Gary good night

    A graduate of the School of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Goodnight practiced in Shawnee, Oklahoma for five years and then attended medical school at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

    He was accepted for post-graduate specialist training in ENT and facial plastic surgery in Detroit, Michigan, where he served as the chief surgeon.

    Specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine (ENT surgery) and ENT allergy.

    He practiced in the Palm Beach, Florida area for six years before moving to Abilene. He and Dr. Jeffrey Braaten, whom he knew from medical school, formed Abilene’s ENT specialists.

    Among other things, Goodnight served as Hendrick Health’s chief of staff.

    He was recently appointed Medical Director / Health Department for the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District.

    The Couhey are married to Jean Goodnight and have two grown daughters.

    Via the Abilene-Taylor County Health District

    The health district’s goals are “to protect and promote the health of all in Abilene and Taylor Counties through research, advocacy and services that prevent disease and improve the well-being of the community and the environment in which they live,” he said Website.

    It serves Abilene, Taylor County, and an 18-county area that surrounds it.

    Services and areas of interest include:

    ► Vaccinations.

    ► Health programs for women in the MERCY Health Care Center.

    ►The women’s, infant and children’s program.

    ► Epidemiology.

    ►Tuberculosis education, monitoring, testing and treatment.

    ► Public health emergency preparedness.

    ►The Texas Healthy Communities program, which promotes health through physical activity, access to healthy food, healthy workplaces, environmental health, quality and access to health care, healthy aging, mental health, and emergency preparedness.

    ►Environmental health.

    ►Lab services.

    ►Rabies control and prevention.

    ► The Texas Physical Activity & Nutrition (TXPAN) program.

    ► A refugee program that provides services to protect and improve the health of newly arrived refugees.

    ►Important statistics.

    For more information, please call 325-692-5600.

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