Tai Chi and other internal arts have been demonstrated in the laboratory, to produce endorphins. Endorphins, known as the brain opiate, have ounce for ounce, 10,000 times the painkilling power of morphine. The mind releases endorphins to dull pain, or induce feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Time and time again I have demonstrated to myself, and have heard stories from my students and others, about starting Tai Chi practice with the pain of a bad back or sore muscle, only to realize after a short time that the pain has vanished. I know this to be true, so by consistent practice, one can remain relatively pain free with joyous feelings inside.
Note:I wrote this almost 20 years ago. Right now in the U.S. we have, what is being called, an opiate crisis. I don’t think Tai Chi practice will solve it, but I do feel Tai Chi offers some part of an answer.