Can the ancient martial art of T’ai Chi help our brains grow larger? Maybe. That’s the initial findings of research being headed up by University of South Florida professor James Mortimer. Mortimer teaches epidemiology and biostatistics at the Tampa campus of USF and has studied Alzheimer’s disease for almost 40 years.
Charlotte Sutton, a staff writer with the Tampa Bay Times, wrote this about Mortimer’s research.
“Chinese seniors who practiced tai chi three times a week increased their brain volumes and scores on tests of memory and thinking, according to a study by scientists from the University of South Florida and Fudan University in Shanghai, published this week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. An eight-month, randomized controlled trial compared seniors without dementia who practiced tai chi to a similar group that participated in stimulating discussions, a group that walked together, and a group that received no intervention. All told, the study had 120 participants.” (Tampa Bay Times, June 21, 2012)
T’ai Chi has been practiced in China for many centuries. Chinese masters of T’ai Chi introduced the art and healthcare science to people in the United States and other western nations during the 20th century – many after World War II. One of those masters was John Chung Li. He studied martial arts as a child in Shanghai during the early part of the 20th century and later moved to Hong Kong where he taught for many years. Grand Master Li moved to the United States during the 1960s and taught T’ai Chi at Yale University, Boston College, and at his own studio in Boston’s Chinatown. Before his death Grand Master Li passed the lineage of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan to Master Robert Xavier, who lives and teaches in Bradenton, Florida.
Grand Master Xavier has been my teacher and friend for the past 15 years and it is a joy to share the art of Hwa Yu with people in the Tampa Bay area. Classes are held every Monday evening from 7:30-8:30pm at 801 E. Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.
You can read Charlotte Sutton’s article about T’ai Chi and brain growth in the June 21st edition of the Tampa Bay Times (Daily Briefing, Health & Science Edition) or online at http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/research/tai-chi-helps-brain-grow-says-study-involving-usf/1236395 .
If you are interested in learning T’ai Chi, please contact Senior Instructor Mark McGee for more information.