I recently had the privilege of attending the Tai Chi for Arthritis Trainers weekend workshop presented by Rani Hughes, a master trainer with Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health Institute.
Tai Chi for Arthritis was developed by Dr Paul Lam, along with a team of Tai chi and medical specialists.
As a physiotherapist who works closely with older adults, I think it is a really safe and enjoyable activity for people with arthritis and can help them to relieve pain, improve their quality of life and prevent falls at the same time.
After recently attending the Grassroots Falls Festival Take Two in Fremantle, I was interested in learning more about Tai Chi and how it can help those who suffer from arthritis .I was also curious about how I could apply these concepts to the different environments I work in.
From my experience of learning Tai Chi for Arthritis as a health practitioner, I can best describe it as a controlled whole body movement, combining weight transfer, proprioceptive challenges, postural stability, flexibility and strength, along with many facets of cognitive processing.
The result was a tranquil flowing movement that left me feeling as if I had used every muscle in my body (and a few I wasn’t aware of ) yet also left me feeling relaxed and invigorated.
As an older adult, it challenged my perspectives on what exercise means to me.
It also reinforced the importance of building physical reserves and challenging my balance safely, as I grow older.
As a health practitioner, it highlighted the importance of thinking outside the box when approaching exercise prescription for older adults in relation to falls prevention.
It also reminded me of the need to provide a variety of options for all older adults to maintain an appropriate level of activity while still having fun and enjoying the benefits of good company at the same time!
My experience highlighted to me that Tai Chi for Arthritis offers the opportunity for people of all levels of ability to engage in safe, effective and evidence based exercise, while enjoying the additional benefits of being part of a community and experiencing an enhanced sense of well being.
Sonya Clark Physiotherapist.
Tai Chi for Arthritis classes are available throughout Perth and can be found at http://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/instructors/