Researchers have determined that an ancient Chinese health practice called Tai Chi (Taiji) may provide benefits to people who suffer from PN.
How Tai Chi Can Help
A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine from the Department of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, showed that Tai Chi (also known as Taiji) practice actually increases the nerves’ ability and speed of sending signals back to the brain and spinal cord. After only a few weeks of Tai Chi practice, patients with PN can improve physical function and it is a safe and effective intervention.
Tai Chi can significantly improve balance, reducing both the likelihood – and the fear -of falling. Since the mid-1990‘s the Surgeon General has recommended that people over the age of 65 practice Tai Chi to improve balance and stability. One reason Tai Chi is so effective is that it teaches you to re-integrate the muscle control of legs, hips and low back. As we get older, or succumb to the side effects of diseases like diabetes, we start to lose muscle strength and function in certain areas of our bodies. Often this is a function of lifestyle – you know the old saying, “Use it or lose it.”
People with Peripheral Neuropathy tend to be less active because of the pain and uncertainty that comes with movement. And the less active they are, the more that whole body synergy is lost. It’s a vicious cycle. But Tai Chi can re-awaken the connections between muscles in the body, and between the muscles and the mind. Studies on Taiji and PN show that the more someone with Peripheral Neuropathy learns to use their whole body for both exercise and simple daily tasks – even walking! – the less pain they experience, and the more comfort they have in their bodies overall.
As with any new exercise program, I recommend starting small and easy – but the good news is that Tai Chi is as easy as walking and maybe less demanding! I am looking forward to providing some simple steps to making Tai Chi a part of your daily life and reducing the pain levels for those suffering from this disease.
Ezy Tai Chi: A simpler practice for seniors
As a form of exercise, tai chi increasingly appeals to the growing proportion of older adults that looks for alternative and convenient ways to exercise for health. Originally developed for martial arts purposes in China more than 300 hundred years ago, this practice has been used as a traditional exercise to improve fitness, health and longevity for individuals of all ages. Tai chi’s low-to-moderate intensity and beneficial effects on strength, flexibility, breathing and balance make it especially attractive to mature adults. Click here to read the full article.
Want to Live Longer? Try Tai Chi
Dr. Xianglan Zhang, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, in a recent study found that Chinese men who practiced TaiChi were less like to die over a five-year period than men who didn’t exercise at all.
Click on the following links below to view Tai Chi instructional videos: