Tai Chi -- a Solution for Arthritis, Louise H. La Fosse, M.A.
If you have or know someone who has arthritis, you know it can be a nagging ongoing or intermittent joint pain that can put a damper on one’s quality of life. People who have arthritis have special needs for gentle, specific types of exercise that will ease the arthritis, reduce inflammation, improve flexibility and help build endurance.
What can Tai Chi do for people with Arthritis?
Tai Chi is one of the few forms of fitness that can help arthritis in a constructive managed way. An ancient form of gentle martial art, it is practiced primarily for health benefits, fortifying the organs (heart, lever, spleen, kidney, lungs) by stimulating the muscles around the organs. The movements, which are coordinated with breath work, are proven to help build balance, coordination, strength, grace, and most of all a deep sense of mental and physical wellbeing.
For arthritis, specifically, Tai Chi can help lubricate the joints and open up energy without a person getting tired. In fact, to the contrary, almost everyone who practices Tai Chi says they feel deeply relaxed and have increased energy after Tai Chi practice. One of the principles of Tai Chi is “Don’t lock joints.” If you lock joints, energy can’t come in and energy can’t go out. In Tai Chi, we keep the legs and arms slightly bent, slightly rounded, and this allows for the energy to flow.
What is Tai Chi movement like?
Like moving inside an aquarium filled with salt water, or honey, you see that it’s slow, smooth, and gentle. You may use muscles that you hadn’t used much before, especially leg muscles. The movement of the hands is particularly helpful to the joints as we work them in delicate, circular motions, keeping the joints open and keeping the energy flowing. Tai Chi provides the least possibility of injury of any exercise, including yoga and dancing. It can easily be modified to adjust to a person’s condition and we even do chair-Tai Chi for people who are chair bound.
What can someone expect in a Movement Fantasque tai chi class?
First, we have a beautiful, large studio with smooth hard floors and clean facilities. This is important, because by contrast, doing Tai Chi in the park where the terrain is uneven, and offers little protection from the elements, it’s not for everyone. In a clean, climate-controlled studio with facilities, we have beautiful music with a great speaker system. It is inspirational music and gets you moving. You can sit or stand to practice. There is plenty of easy parking right outside of the studio and it’s easy to locate.
Second, our classes have a range of exercises. We start with special warm-up and stretch, along with coordinated breathing. We then move into Qigong and Tai Chi very slowly and learn movements by number. It is very easy to learn by number, no matter what age. And we make adjustments for everyone’s individual needs. This is American Tai Chi, so all classes are taught in the English language.
Third, we have fun in class. There is so much to learn. It is more intellectually stimulating than other types of fitness classes that offer little or no choreography. The movements are very interesting, with colorful names and doing these movements together to the music and enjoying everyone’s energy provides a beautiful and enjoyable experience overall.
What have students said about Tai Chi at Movement Fantasque?
“I used to have such bad knee problems, I couldn’t do many types of exercise. Now my knees don’t hurt. I find this form of exercise very easy on my body.”
“I feel NEW! I feel renewed in by body.”
“My balance has improved rather quickly to my surprise after just a month.”
“I come to class stressed and full of tension from my job, and I leave feeling deeply relaxed and calm inside.”
“I sleep better at night after Tai Chi”
How can you try it?
Copyright 2013, Louise H. La Fosse – Movement Fantasque™ -- All Rights Reserved