It is possible, (and quite common) to learn tai chi for health without paying much if any attention to the martial aspect of the art. But it is impossible to study tai chi as a martial art without gaining the health benefits.
The many health benefits of tai chi chuan are a direct result of the search for an effective martial art. Tai chi chuan grew from an ancient bed of knowledge that included traditional medicine, qigong (Chinese yoga), northern Chinese martial arts, daoist philosophy, and the insights of several very dedicated and gifted people.
Whether you are looking for an effective way to feel better, relax, and improve your fitness, or you wish to learn a profound martial art, then tai chi chuan has a lot to offer you.
During recent decades, much research has been done into the broad range of health benefits provided by tai chi. In addition to improvements in general health, tai chi has been shown to improve balance, reduce the risk of falls in older adults, and to reduce injuries due to falls. It can lower blood pressure, reduce cohesion of blood platelets, reduce inflammation, improve rheumatoid diseases such as arthritis, reduce anxiety, and ease depression.