Tai Chi

strong body strong mind strength balance community logo"Tai Chi Chuan, the great ultimate, strengthens the weak, raises the sick, invigorates the debilitated, and encourages the timid"

-Cheng Man-ch'ing

Tai Chi is often described as "meditation in motion", but for many might considered "medication in motion". There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. Tai Chi is suitable for almost everyone, even if you have limited mobility or have health challenges.

Tai Chi is a low-impact, slow-motion exercise, constructed by a series of motions that flow together like a dance. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations. Tai Chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

Tai Chi has proven to provide numerous benefits for many health-related conditions such as Arthritis, Heart Disease and Diabetes. Most notably, Tai Chi has shown to be one of the most beneficial exercises for improving balance, strength, and flexibility for older adults who may be at risk for a fall.

tai chi for health dr paul lam logoFor these reasons, the High Country Area Agency on Aging has chosen to support the Tai Chi for Health Institute program: Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (TCA), developed by Dr. Paul Lam. TCA is considered one of the highest tiered evidence based programs by the National Council on Aging and is recognized through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a fall prevention intervention for older adults.

An additional growing body of evidence supports the benefits of Tai Chi practice to assist in maintaining cognitive health with older adults developing mild cognitive impairment. Tai Chi provides an opportunity to connect the mind and body in a way that provides peace and tranquility, but also supports one's memory processing skills. In partnership with Appalachian State University, we offer an additional hour of memory building exercises one a week in addition to the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention sessions. This extra program is currently offered during the spring and fall semesters in Watauga Co.

Our Tai Chi programs are offered throughout the High Country region and we strive to create a community that will support ongoing Tai Chi practice to sustain the numerous benefits that Tai Chi can offer. Below are a few videos provided as tools for home practice and are not meant to be a substitute for class participation. It takes time to develop your Tai Chi knowledge, so be patient with yourself, develop a regular practice routine, and have fun!

Additional Tai Chi resources and products can be found at the Tai Chi for Health Institute and Dr. Lam's Tai Chi Productions websites.

To find Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention classes in the High Country and throughout North Carolina, visit HealthyAgingNC.com.

For more information on our Tai Chi programs contact Nicole Hiegl at (828) 265-5434 ext. 122 or nhiegl@regiond.org.