Although we have the luck of living in a time of great progresses in the medicine, it is as if we depend on it, as if the life, the normal, physiological life, doesn't exist any more; it seems that everything is tied up to the illness, that the health and the well-being don’t exist any more: only the illness or the simple absence of illness exist instead.
Even the most physiological and natural event in the world, such as the childbirth, has become a medical one. Giving birth under epidural anaesthesia has become common by now, and this would be good if it were done only to relieve the pain, but this practice is not destitute of risk and the additional risk is not acceptable when we deal with physiological, not pathological condition. Of course, the risk of paraplegia with the epidural is low, but even the minimal risk is not acceptable when you deal with a physiological event. Besides the childbirths are planned and performed more and more with the Caesarean cut, so that a physiological event is transformed into a surgical operation, with all the risks that any operation involves, and all this only to accommodate the sanitary structures and the physicians in their plans; the woman in fact will have a much slower recovery from the surgery, with disadvantages for her, for the child and for the whole family.
And how does this have to do with the taijiquan?
The taijiquan is an excellent means also to reduce some useless and harmful practices.
It is very useful in the preparation of the future mothers to the delivery; in fact it helps them in a global way, accompanying them with its slow and harmonic movements in a moment of great changes in their life, and encourages a real, “inner” acceptance, of the pregnancy and delivery, thus allowing to limit the use of the epidural and of the Caesarean cut to the few cases when such practices are really needed.
There is an excess of “medicalization” also toward the elderly, that are not considered as persons with a lot of springs any more, but as sick person to be filled with drugs. The practice of the taijiquan relieves, till they disappear, the arthrosis pains due to a life of bad postures, to the sedentariness, and to a bad diet, thus allowing the opportunity of reducing and even eliminating the use of the aspirin and similar pain-killers, which so often produce gastric bleeding, especially in the old age.
Besides the movement and a correct diet represent the more effective prevention for many other illnesses that have become epidemic in the modern world, both in the so called developed world and in the underdeveloped countries: we are talking about prevention for heart attacks, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity. Clinical evidences show that the physical exercise practised regularly reduces drastically the onset of such illnesses.
Let us focus on the osteoporosis now: a condition characterized by the decrease of the bony mass, that leads to an increase of the bony brittleness with consequent increase of risk of fractures.
Some time ago the assumption of estrogens, that seemed to solve the problems of hormonal unbalance, osteoporosis and to prevent cardiac illnesses was proposed to every women that went into her fifties.
Various studies on great numbers developed in Europe and in the US, have proved that the estrogens not only don’t prevent the cardiac illnesses, but they even increase the risk of acquiring them and that the momentary braking of the osteoporosis stops when one ceases the assumption of the medicines, that is when it should be controlled more effectively, in the old age.
The physical exercise has proved to be the most effective means among the various forms of prevention and treatment of the osteoporosis, also exempt from side effects.
The better movement for the osteoporosis is the one that, through the weight of the body, stresses the bony structure, like walking, dancing, practising taijiquan. Although swimming is an excellent exercise for back pains, is not useful for preventing and treating the osteoporosis, since it is practised in a weightless condition. Dancing is an excellent exercise of course, but it might be difficult to be prescribed, since it is more related to the simple pleasure than to the movement: if someone doesn't like dance or love the music, for example, or even if she was accustomed to dancing with her partner and she lost him, she will forget about dancing during the mourning.
The taijiquan, besides working with the body weight, also increases the stability and the balance, and therefore, besides preventing and treating the osteoporosis it decreases the chance of falls, a major cause of the bony fractures, especially of the thighbone, so common in the elderly persons. Even in case of traumatic fracture due to an accident, treating good bones, exempt from osteoporosis, will be easier.
Thus the movement under charge is the treatment for the osteoporosis. This shows how all the Diagnostics for osteoporosis, so misused nowadays, is useless. Every woman around her fifties is advised to do a Bone Densitometry, and if it results as positive for the osteoporosis it becomes even harmful: the person will stop moving out of her fear of breaking, and the osteoporosis will increase. Not to speak about the prescribed drugs against osteoporosis: they have many contraindications besides being extremely expensive.
And what do they mean by saying that a relevant supply of calcium and D vitamin is necessary to counteract the osteoporosis?
A good exposure to the sun is quite enough to get the D vitamin; living in the open air we allow the skin to synthesize it: we don’t need to get burns, and the sun works even if the sky is clouded.
And what about the calcium? It sets itself down in the bones only if they are stressed, otherwise it only increases the risks of Kidney stones. Doing taijiquan, walking, having dairy products in one’s usual diet, drinking some milk is enough; it is not necessary, and can be even harmful taking in calcium in the form of medicine.
Obviously there are pathological situations when a greater supply than the physiological one is necessary, but in these cases only the physician can recommend the integration.
The diet, as dr. Nguyen Vanghi, my acupuncture master, said, should be as much varied as possible, in order to be correct. “Eat little, but everything”.
Therefore you should walk one hour a day and practise taijiquan in order to counteract the osteoporosis and be healthy in all the various seasons of your life.