Tai Chi for Arthritis
Tai chi is often described as "meditation in motion," but it might well be called "medication in motion" ~Harvard Women's Health Watch, May 2009.
Based on the Sun Style of Tai Chi, this scientifically researched program was developed specifically for people with arthritis. This simplified form of Tai Ch is also suitable for anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, fibromyalgia, balance issues and osteoporosis, or for those who simply want to improve their overall health, fitness and sense of well-being.
The Tai Chi for Arthritis form was developed by an Australian Medical Doctor, Dr.Paul Lam . Dr. Lam had junior arthritis when he was boy. He eventually took up Tai Chi, going as far a winning a gold medal at an international Tai Chi competition. In 1997 he realized that he wanted to share the benefits of Tai Chi with other people. Working with a group of medical experts, he developed the Tai Chi for Arthritis program.
Dr. Lam chose some of the easier yet potent moves from the Sun Style Tai Chi Long Form. The Sun Style (one of the five major traditional styles of Tai Chi ) is particularly appropriate because of its higher stances, less extended postures and a simpler style of stepping make it easier to learn than other Tai Chi forms. In addition, it has a simple but effective Qigong exercise which is repeated throughout the form.
Each hour-long class starts with a 10 to 15 minute warmup consisting of exercises that mobilize all the major joints of the body as well as introduce basic Tai Chi principles. The form is taught and practiced for about 40 to 45 minutes with one or two new moves taught during most classes. There is a short set of cool down exercises at the end of the class.
A space of 6 by 4 feet (1.8 by 1.2 meters) loose clothing and a pair of flat shoes (low heeled) is all that is required to practice the Tai Chi for Arthritis form.
Scientific Studies and Endorsements
Medical studies Medical Studies have shown that practicing this program reduces pain significantly, prevents falls for the elderly, and improves many aspects of health. Arthritis Foundations around the world (Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, USA) support the program; in particular the Arthritis Foundation of America promotes the program throughout the USA as the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program. In April 2013, the United States CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) recommended Tai Chi for Arthritis in their official guide for falls prevention, and the AoA (Administration on Aging) found the Program to meet the highest-level criteria for evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion programs. For 7 years the class was offered for free of charge by the Ministry of Health of New Zealand for people over 60 years of age at risk of falls.