Most successful programs that promote wellness, such as addiction or anorexia recovery, utilize therapies that treat the spirit and the mind as well as the body.
T'ai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that is actually a powerful blend of self-discipline, self-defense and self-healing. It involves slow, graceful movements which performed together constitute a "form." T'ai Chi is known as a soft style martial art and is practice with as complete a "softness" or muscular relaxation as possible.
Throughout the fluid sequence of movements, there is constant emphasize on balance, a straight spine, relaxed breathing, a quite mind, and a natural range of motion. Deep breathing from the diaphragm, as opposed to shallow chest breathing, is a key element of T'ai Chi as one learns to coordinate breathing with each movement. Constant focus is maintained on one's dantian - an area in the lower abdomen just beneath the navel - which is the body's center of gravity. All aspects of oneself must remain centered and balanced.
T'ai Chi has shown innumerable benefits for such treatment programs as addiction relief or anorexia recovery. It teaches awareness of one's own balance and what affects it both internally and externally. It cultivates an awareness of change; both in personal transformation as well as maintaining integrity and balance amidst external changes.
In the practice of T'ai Chi and metaphorically in life, it is necessary to understand the consequences of changing appropriately, changing inappropriately and not changing at all in response to external stimuli. T'ai Chi promotes flexibility, balance, and harmony by improving the flow of internal energy (or qi) throughout the body. The calming, meditative aspect of T'ai Chi promotes an inner relaxation and harmony seen as necessary to maintain optimum health.