Kill Cancer with Tai Chi


Tai Chi Cancer Liu2

“Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice… has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” ~Harvard Women’s Health Watch


Our bodies contain many cancerous cells. They usually don’t develop into a cancer as our bodies defenses keep them under control. Part of that defense are types of peripheral blood mononuclear cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells. These are fast acting white blood cells that can destroy virus containing or tumor cells. So, in fighting off the development of cancerous cells into a deadly cancer, the NK cells are an important early component.


Exercise is known to increase NK cells in cancer survivors. Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years with purported benefits for health and longevity. Tai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of Tai Chi practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues See links below). One of the ways that it acts to have these effects is by strengthening immune system function (see It has also been shown to improve recovery from cancer (see


Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S. Over 150,000 people a year in the U.S. die from lung cancer. If it is caught early about half of the patients will survive for at least 5 years. But, only about 15% of the cases are diagnosed early. So, overall only about 18% of the patients survive for at least 5 years. Needless to say treatments to improve survival with lung cancer are badly needed.


In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi on mononuclear cell functions in patients with non-small cell lung cancer”

Liu and colleagues examine the effects of 16 weeks of Tai Chi exercise on peripheral blood mononuclear cells in lung cancer patients who had survived at least 2 years compared to a comparable treatment as usual group. Tai Chi produced a significant increase in the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear kill cancer cells. They found that the Natural Killer cells were the type of peripheral blood mononuclear cell that increased in the Tai Chi group.


These are potentially important results. They suggest that Tai Chi may be helpful in survival from lung cancer by improving the immune system’s ability to kill cancerous cells, particularly by increasing the levels of Natural Killer cells. Further research is needed to determine if this improves long-term survival in these patients.


There are a number of ways that Tai Chi may be improving the immune response to cancer. The simplest explanation is as an exercise. The advantage of Tai Chi, however, over other exercises is that it is very safe and gentle and can be practiced by people of all ages. Another possible explanation is that Tai Chi is known to improve the psychological and physiological response to stress. So, Tai Chi may be effective by improving the patients’ response to the stress of the illness. Regardless, it is clear that Tai Chi improves ability to kill cancer cells.


So, kill cancer with tai chi.


“Of all the exercises, I should say that T’ai Chi is the best. It can ward off disease, banish worry and tension, bring improved physical health and prolong life. It is a good hobby for your whole life, the older you are, the better. It is suitable for everyone – the weak, the sick, the aged, children, the disabled and blind. It is also an economical exercise. As long as one has three square feet of space, one can take a trip to paradise and stay there to enjoy life for thirty minutes without spending a single cent.” ~T.T. Liang


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies



Tai Chi Qigong links

It has been shown to improve cardiac health (see, reduce the risk for strokes (see, reduce the physical and psychological responses to stress (see, improved sleep in people suffering from insomnia (see and, helped with recovery from cancer (see and reduced chronic inflammation (see

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