Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong is For Everyone!
People these days take Tai Chi for many reasons but most people take it because of the positive health benefits:
- Improves flexibility
- Increases blood circulation, muscle strength and physical stamina
- Promotes relaxation
- Has been known to lower blood pressure
- Decreases the risk of falling by achieving better balance
And much more!
People with MS and Parkinson's reap these benefits but it also has a more profound affect on them because of their disease.
With regular practice the meditative qualities of Tai Chi and Qigong can help reduce depression, as shown in the published study in August 2014 of BMC Neurology. The National MS Society recommends meditation for MS patients. Meditation helps relax the mind, creating a spiritual euphoria for some people. Relaxing the mind sends signals to the muscles to relax as well, which is so important for these individuals since they tend to have tight, spastic muscles.
Let's talk about how it can improve balance. The constant shifting of weight from one leg to the other or one side to another for those sitting, and keeping the head erect generally over time improves a person’s balance. That’s good for the general population. Because MS affects people in different ways--some are mobile but have weakness in one side of their body or in certain limbs; some can stand and walk without assistive devices; some use walkers and can manage standing for short periods of time; and there are those who have little control of their movements and are in wheelchairs. Holding the head erect and keeping a straight spine in Wu Chi position is a struggle. Tai Chi can still work for all of these situations – with adjustments to the movements. Over time Tai Chi and Qigong can have positive affects on balance whether sitting or standing, strengthen limbs and increase endurance of holding postures and, of course, mental stability, from meditation.
For me personally, for now I am completely mobile and only use a small device to assist in walking. I practice daily and have recently started standing meditation (Zhan Zhang). Believe it or not the standing meditation alone helps improve the balance but I’ll leave that for a future posting.
Continue to practice the forms you know and over time you will see a difference physically, mentally and emotionally.