TAI CHI FOR HEALTH PROGRAMS
The information in this section is from the Tai Chi for Health Institute
According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi is essential for health and vitality. Tai Chi for Health programs are designed to enhance qi. Thus, practice of the forms not only improve the specific condition each program addresses, but also benefits almost all aspects of health.
Dr Paul Lam, a family physician in Sydney and a tai chi teacher since 1976, is a world leader in the field of Tai Chi for health improvement. Dr Lam is dedicated to promote Tai Chi for health and wellness. He has participated and published in peer-reviewed journals research projects relating to Tai Chi for health improvement .
Dr Lam has composed several Tai Chi for Health programs that are supported by Foundations around the world including that of Arthritis foundations of Australia, America and UK. By 2010 over two million people around the world has learned and benefited from one of his programs. Dr Lam has written 4 books: Overcoming Arthritis, Tai Chi for Beginners, Tai Chi for Diabetes and Teaching Tai Chi Effectively.
TAI CHI FOR ARTHRITIS
In 1997, Dr. Paul Lam, a family physician and tai chi expert, worked with a team of tai chi and medical specialists to create the Tai Chi for Arthritis program. The special features of this unique program are that it is easy to learn, enjoyable, and provides many health benefits in a relatively short period of time.
Tai Chi for Arthritis is based on Sun style tai chi. This style was chosen because of its healing component, its unique Qigong (an exercise which improves relaxation and vital energy), and its ability to improve mobility and balance. The program contains a carefully constructed set of warming-up and cooling-down exercises, Qigong breathing exercises, a Basic Core six movements, an Advanced Extension six movements, and adaptations of the movements for older adults. Also incorporated into the program is a safe and effective teaching system.
Medical studies have shown that practicing this program reduces pain significantly, and prevents falls in the elderly.
How Can Tai Chi for Arthritis Benefit Your Health?
As an effective program for people with arthritis, Tai Chi for Arthritis incorporates exercises that improve muscular strength, flexibility and fitness.
- Muscle strength is important for supporting and protecting joints. It is essential for normal physical function.
- Flexibility exercises enable people to move more easily. Flexibility also facilitates the circulation of body fluid and blood, which enhances healing. Many arthritic conditions such as fibromyalgia, scleroderma and spondylitis are characterized by joint stiffness and impaired physical function. Tai chi gently frees up stiff joints and muscles.
- Fitness is important for overall health and proper functioning of the heart, lungs and muscles. Tai Chi for Arthritis can improve all of these components.
The Tai Chi for Arthritis program also focuses on weight transference, which improves balance and prevents falls.
Additionally, tai chi practice helps to relieve pain and reduce stress This is accomplished in various ways. First, Increasing muscular strength helps to protect the joints, thereby reducing pain. Second, improved flexibility allows for better blood and joint fluid circulation, which also leads to less pain. Third, tai chi is a mind body exercise, which improves the serenity and relaxation of the mind and thus reduces pain and stress. As a result, those who practice tai chi often experience less depression and enhanced immunity.
The Scientific Evidence
The largest study of Tai Chi for Arthritis, by Professor Leigh Callahan from the University of North Carolina, shows significant health benefits for people with all types of arthritis. This landmark study was presented at the annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology on 8th November 2010.
In the study, 354 participants were randomly assigned to two groups. The Tai Chi group received 8 weeks of lessons, while the other group was a control group waiting for Tai Chi classes. It was found that there was significant pain relief, less stiffness and better ability to manage daily living. The participants felt better about their overall wellness, as well as experiencing improved balance.
In September 2003, the Journal of Rheumatology published a study that compared older adults with arthritis. After 12 weeks, those that practiced the Tai Chi for Arthritis form had 35% less pain, 29% less stiffness, 29% more ability to perform daily tasks (like climbing stairs), as well as improved balance, compared to the control group.
The Journal of Advanced Nursing reports the results of a 2005 study on “The Effects of Sun-Style Tai Chi Exercise on Physical Fitness and Fall Prevention in Fall-Prone Adults”. Subjects were tested, before and after, practicing Tai Chi for Arthritis three times a week for 12 weeks for strength of the knee and ankle, flexibility and mobility, and the risk ratio of falls. It concluded that this tai chi program can safely improve physical strength and reduce fall risk in fall-prone older adults in residential care facilities.
Arthritis Care and Research published a study in April, 2007, which observed that older, sedentary people with chronic osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip, gained significant and sustained improvement in physical function as well pain relief with Tai Chi for Arthritis classes.
The largest tai chi for fall prevention study in a community setting was published by the American Journal of American Geriatric Society in August 2007. Subjects practiced a modified tai chi program, which incorporated 80% of the Tai Chi for Arthritis program. The results indicate that recurring falls were reduced by nearly 70%.
A two year tai chi study, published by Asian Nursing Research in December, 2008, discovered that practicing Tai Chi for Arthritis led to improving six out of eight quality of life measurements for older adults. And, after a half year, there were practically no drop outs.
To support your practice you can purchase training DVD’s from Tai Chi Productions. http://usa.taichiproductions.com/#locUnitedStates