Tai Chi

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an excellent way to improve balance. Tai Chi is especially of value in older patients and uses principles developed in ancient China, rooted in martial arts. By improving general balance, the risk of falling and subsequent injury and fractures is diminished.

Tai Chi for balance
Tai Chi may help for balance

Tai Chi uses a preset of slow gracefully flowing movements coupled with slow deep breathing to exercise the body and mind. It is relaxing yet improves core strength and balance with patients ultimately being more stable and even being able to walk faster. Tai chi helps to stretch and strengthen muscles, improve bone density and increase joint stability. The familiarity created by constantly shifting your weight back and forth improves general balance in a number of different positions.

As with yoga, Tai Chi is a form of meditation that can help to relax the body. Relaxation causes the body to secrete less stress hormones which may help in a physiological way to lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease.

It is interesting to note that the interaction and connection of the body and mind being in balance has been symbolized through the ages with the familiar yin-yang symbol, which has been traditionally associated with Tai Chi.

Tai Chi for balance and treatment

Medical literature as well as many personal observations by physicians and health care workers support the benefit of Tai Chi to patients with balance disorders. In a study of Tai Chi for Balance Disorders, Dr TC Hain and co-workers from Chicago found that performing daily Tai Chi exercises demonstrated a significant improvement in patients with mild and stable balance problems within 8 weeks. They used computerized dynamic posturography(CDP) to record and measure their results.

If you suffer from general poor balance and especially when you are inactive it may not be a bad idea to start Tai Chi for balance. Tai Chi classes are readily available and may be a good option for you.

Improving balance with Tai Chi

Tai Chi handout by Dr TC Hain