What motivates practitioners to study tai chi? According to a survey conducted by Michael Rabinowitz, PhD, and reported in a letter to the American Journal of Public Health (2008; 98 ; 2118), the three top reasons are
- to improve overall fitness;
- to relieve stress; and
- to improve coordination and balance in order to help avoid falls.
Other leading reasons cited were an interest in Chinese culture; use of tai chi to aid meditation; and the desire to learn an exercise that did not require equipment. The least important reasons given were to comply with a doctor’s suggestion or to accompany a friend or relative.
Rabinowitz, a longtime advocate of the benefits of tai chi, surveyed 103 students at eight schools of tai chi in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin. He recommended that schools and instructors use this information to adjust the content or emphasis of classes.