Some years ago, I recall walking through Madison Square Park in Manhattan and seeing a group of people gathered in the grass. Each was performing identical actions and moving at a slow, rhythmic self-pace. In the midst of the usual New York City hustle and bustle, they seemed peaceful and unaffected by their surroundings. I stayed and watched for a while and spoke to one of the group members when they were done. I learned that they were practicing Tai Chi.
I have found that the specific history of Tai Chi varies depending on where you do your research and who you talk to, but many will agree that the art is centuries-old, has origins in traditional Chinese medicine and deep roots in martial arts. While Tai Chi may have begun, in part, as a method of self-defense from external attacks, many people practice it today strictly for its health benefits—perhaps a method of internal defense? While more research is needed, and, I believe, warranted, there is evidence that suggests a variety of health benefits from practicing Tai Chi, many of which may be of some importance to people living with HIV/AIDS.