Tai Chi (Adapted)

Tai Chi is an ancient defensive martial art based on balance and deflection of attack.  The full FORM is a complicated but highly rewarding sequence of moves, which can be learned over time, but there is also Chi Kung and Shibashi, where movements are repeated with a focus on relaxed movement and balance.  Seated movement is also part of the system allowing almost anyone with a postural disability (temporary or permanent) to take part.

Currently there is a lack of formal clinical evidence on the health benefits of Tai Chi, however this is changing as more organisations appreciate the long history of Tai Chi and all the individual and anecdotal evidence available.  Cardiac centres, COPD clinics, Falls Prevention clinics, cancer centres, MS and Parkinsons organisations are increasingly recognising the value of Tai Chi and creating formal research trials to assess its benefits.

For many participants it is a first step towards improving function after a health issue as it is easy to achieve benefits from what may be quite low levels of participation in the early stages, but it is also a practice which can challenge the most able- bodied.

My personal theory is that, whereas Pilates is about conscious correction of weakness or imbalance, Tai Chi allows the body to “rediscover its blueprint” and gradually adjusts it towards that ideal.  However Tai Chi works, it is both physically and mentally relaxing: something we can all benefit from.

Relevant Qualifications:  

Balanced Approach: The Use of Tai Chi & Chi Kung for Falls Prevention and Rehabilitation, 2014

Later Life Training: Exercise for the Prevention of Falls and Injuries in Frailer Older People, 2009