What is Tai Chi? This question has come up many times in recent years, since it was discovered that the slow, methodical movements associated with the martial art are good for chronic pain sufferers. Though it was originally developed in ancient China as a method of self-protection, it has long since been recognized for its health benefits. In fact, some believe that it was less of a self-defense practice in its earliest days and more of a treatment for monks who suffered physical ailments.
The purpose of this exercise program is not to raise one’s heart rate quickly or to break a deep sweat. Instead, the focus is on rhythmic breathing and focused movements for improved overall health and well being. Tai Chi is an excellent way to reduce stress, improve flexibility, and as many patients have discovered, can greatly reduce the impact of arthritis.
Because the exercise focuses so intently on controlled, slow movement, it is a safe method of exercise for nearly all ages and all physical abilities. It can be adapted to meet the needs of those with chronic pain conditions, including back pain, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia. It can also prove very beneficial for arthritis patients.
Is it the right choice for arthritis? Particularly for older adults, suffering with the symptoms of the joint diseases, there have been profound impacts on pain levels after just a few sessions of tai chi. Just fifteen or twenty minutes per day was enough to drastically improve the condition of the patients. Because arthritis tends to impact one’s flexibility and can make the sufferer feel very stiff in day-to-day life, tai chi is the perfect choice in exercise. The low impact movements are designed to improve the way the joints move and to relieve tightness of the muscles, and the patient doesn’t even often comprehend that the movements are making such improvements because they do not stress the body like other forms of exercise would.
What if I don’t exercise? The thought of being a beginner in an exercise-focused class can be intimidating for those who haven’t hit the gym in months or years, but Tai Chi classes are welcoming. Unlike aerobics, spinning, and Zumba classes, Tai Chi is not going to push an individual beyond his or her comfort zone at the beginning. The stretches are easily adapted to meet the needs of the participants, so all leave the class feeling better than when they entered.
Austin, TX pain management specialists like Tai Chi because it encourages movement that works muscles not used to walk across a room or climb a flight of stairs; Interventional Pain Associates recognize the importance of reducing stiffness to counteract the pain commonly seen in arthritis patients. It can be used for those suffering with general chronic pain illnesses, RA, osteoarthritis, or many of the other common rheumatologic disorders with wonderful success. And, as a larger portion of the country begins to see the amazing impact Tai Chi can have, the classes are becoming more and more widely accessible.
Interventional Pain Associates
4613 Bee Caves Road, Suite 105
Austin, TX 78746
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