Healing Arts

Tai Chi And Chi Kung For The Disabled

Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung are the opposite of Aerobics. They require us to slow down and not move fast. The slow graceful movements are a potent healing practice for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

The practice of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung is ideal workout for martial artists, athletes, sportsmen, pregnant women, those who have a disability whether temporary or permanent, as well as couch potatoes. The benefits of Tai Chi and Chi Kung come from the continuous flow of slow circular movements and deep breathing that massage internal organs and improve blood circulation. Dedication and perseverance in this art form is the key to success.

Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art practiced for self defence as well as rehabilitation, relaxation, stress relief, flexibility, and strength has been practiced for thousands of years.

It is an art of movement that has been handed down from generation to generation, from father to sons and family members, and over time from master to students all around the world. There are many Tai Chi styles or forms from short contemporary to long traditional styles that take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Its many styles and benefits were kept a secret until recently.

Many scientific studies have been carried out by universities, hospitals, clinics and doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as western doctors. Medical Tai Chi and Chi Kung is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine. Chi can be translated as Life Force Energy and Chi Kung (Chi Kung) is the cultivation of life force energy or just working with human energy in the body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine good health is measured in the smooth Chi (energy) flow or circulation, and the accumulation or deficiency of this energy in any part of the body. It is said that disease is the result of poor Chi circulation in the body’s organs. When the chi flow is balanced the body starts healing itself.

Tai Chi is a more complicated form of Chi Kung. Chi Kung is translated as energy work. There are over 3000 different kinds of Chi Kung routines designed to cater for many diseases and ailments. Your teacher should be able to advise you which are best for your specific condition.

Tai Chi and Chi Kung are non-impact exercises that are good for people of all ages and those with disabilities. They are easy on the joints and can be done standing, sitting or lying down. With a slight modification, the practice of Tai Chi and Chi Kung is the ideal routine for those in wheelchairs. Its deep coordinated breath and slow circular movements will benefit many who have not exercised for years, irrespective of the reason.

The slow, non-strenuous Tai Chi and Chi Kung movements can improve one’s general health and feeling of well being. They will help with lower back pain, chronic knee and joint injury, and lower blood pressure. Other benefits include improved balance, concentration, flexibility, and mind control using both hemispheres of the brain, as well as improvement of heart, lung and digestive function.

Tai Chi and Chi Kung are generally safe for all levels of fitness. A person with a physical disability contends with many limitations that may include pain or numbness. Your condition must be discussed with a trained Tai Chi and Chi Kung instructor. Always discuss your intention to embark on an exercise program with your doctor or health professional. All Tai Chi and Chi Kung movements should be done mindfully with breath awareness.

Does fitness mean you are fit if you are able to do things quicker and faster? Many super-fit athletes and sportsmen die of heart failure and other diseases. What does good health mean to you? Does it include emotional, physical and spiritual health?

Tai Chi and Chi Kung provides more benefits than any other exercise routine. It helps us to take control of our lives and have a more positive attitude towards ourselves and others, as well as help others achieve the same. It gives us the ability to realise our potential and have compassion for others.

Some of the other benefits of Tai Chi and Chi Kung (Chinese yoga) include: Reduction of pain, stress, anxiety and depression; improvement of mood; burning of calories; increased coordination; enhancement of body awareness; boosting of the immune system; slowing the ageing process and bone loss; helping ADD and ADHD; awakening energy; reduction of joint pain caused by arthritis, rheumatism and fibromyalgia; helps with weight loss; improved the symptoms of MS; reduces stress hormones; speeds up heart attack recovery; sharpens mental focus and many more…

Ask people who practice Tai Chi and Chi Kung why they do it and they will tell you it’s because it makes them feel good.

Student Testimonials

My name is Rika du Plessis. I am 33. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis when I was 18, after suffering for 2 years. Although the disease affects the spine my symptoms is mainly in my feet, wrists and ankles due to the early age in which it became active.

I have been doing Tai Chi for the past 9 years but only really started feeling the benefits when I started with Sifu Mannie 6 years ago. Together with the soft movements and Mannie’s soft nature my quality of life has improved dramatically.

Movement is one of the most important aspects in managing your pain when caused by inflammation. The idea that you can’t exercise because of a disease (like Ankylosing Spondylitis) and associated pain is unfortunately a mind set that will keep patients “disabled” due to stiffness (mainly caused by inflammation). I am living proof that Tai Chi helps quality life while living with disease that other people associate with mild disability. Thank you Sifu Mannie.
Mannie Barstz © 2008-2013
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Healing Arts - Tai Chi Chuan