LONDON, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A brave new world of immune system therapies, harnessing the body's own defenses, could help treat all kinds of illnesses, a leading British expert in immunology said Tuesday.
Professor Daniel Davis from the University of Manchester cites Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese practice involving slow and gentle movements, as one of the potential weapons to fight disease.
In his new book The Beautiful Cure: Harnessing your body's natural defenses, Davis says harnessing the body's own defenses raises vital new issues for society, not least being how society copes with the expense of new medicines.
In the book published by Random House, Davis describes the scientific quest to understand how the immune system works, and how it is unlocking a revolutionary approach to our fight with disease.
"All kinds of different diseases could feasibly be tackled with immune system therapies: cancers, viral infections, arthritis, and a range of other conditions," says Davis.
He added: "We also know that stress has a vital influence on the immune system. This raises crucial questions about whether practices that reduce stress, like Tai Chi and mindfulness, can help our fight with disease.
"A new detailed knowledge of how our immune system works has unlocked a revolutionary new approach to medicine and well-being."
Davis, in his book, says there is evidence that Tai Chi can have a positive effect on some aspects of the immune system, but there is not enough information to determine whether or not immunity is improved against a real infection.
"All we know, for sure, is that it may help. What sets Tai Chi apart from many other activities, however, is that it provides not just a method of exercise but a narrative for health. There is a story to the movements of Tai Chi; practitioners talk about moving energy around the body to balance one's chi," he said.
"The power of story is often part of a cure. It's why naming a condition is important, and why a physician's bedside manner, their description of an illness and how they intend to deal with it, can have such a major impact on how patients respond. This power of Tai Chi -- the power of its narrative -- is hard to quantify."
There was a famous Chinese movie in 1993 named The Tai Chi Master, in which Chinese action movie star Jet Li played a historical figure Zhang Sanfeng, whom is widely believed as the founder of Tai Chi but without hard proofs.
Tai Chi is also seen as a kind of Chinese Kung Fu. Although the exact origin of Tai Chi was not clear yet, but what for sure is that it has spread worldwide and not only Chinese, but also many foreigners are practicing it.