Body Movement

Body Movement

What is body movement?

Nonaerobic movement with controlled breathing may be done to help reduce stress and anxiety often linked to disease and illness. The Eastern medicine body movement methods that are most well-known include Tai chi and yoga.

Tai chi

Tai chi is an ancient form of martial art. It is based on a Chinese belief system of the health and spiritual benefits of practicing slow, graceful but precise movements coupled with rhythmic breathing. Tai chi is sometimes called moving meditation. People move their bodies slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply.  It is well-suited for older adults or those with balance problems.

Tai chi may help:

  • Reduce blood pressure

  • Increase stamina, muscle tone, and flexibility

  • Improve posture, balance, muscle mass, and strength, particularly in older adults

  • Improves thinking ability in older adults


Yoga is an ancient posturing and breathing method from India. It uses slow movement, meditation, and breathing exercises to reach a state of relaxation. Hatha yoga is common in the U.S. and Europe. It uses postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the other major styles of hatha yoga include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vini, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga.

Yoga may help:

  • Reduce stress

  • Reduce pain linked to some long-term (chronic) illnesses

  • Reduce insomnia

  • Improve stamina

  • Enhance quality of life 

    If you have a major health issue, check with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program. Tell all of your healthcare providers (conventional or complementary) know about the health approaches you use. This will give them a full picture of your health. And it will help ensure safe, coordinated care.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC

Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019

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