The slow relaxed movements of tai chi have long been known to improve health and decrease stress. The new book, Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of Tai Chi by Peter Anthony Gryffin, PhD examines the body of scientific data on tai chi to explain how the slow deep breathing with gentle movement significantly increases oxygen saturation and distribution rates to improve health.
Coining the term “metarobics” for mind/body exercises like tai chi, qi gong, and yoga, Dr. Gryffin presents research that shows that this increased oxygen saturation improves the body’s ability to function, especially during the healing process. Dr. Gryffin explains that as we release tension during our tai chi practice and focus on the deep diaphragmatic breathing, we actually increase the saturation of oxygen in our blood while more vigorous exercise like running decreases oxygen levels during exertion. He suggests that metarobic exercise is even more valuable than aerobic exercise in promoting health. I highly recommend this book as it gives a good deal of evidence, especially for the scientific minded practitioner as well as strategies on how to incorporate these theories into your daily practice.