What is Taiji (Tai Chi) and How Can It Help the Elderly or Disabled?


download, tai chi class 3

“Today, Taijijuan stands as one of the great human achievements, an amalgamation of physical, mental and energetic skills.”

Taken from an article at http://www.marcsabin.com/whatistaiji.html

A person’s ability to continue practicing most fitness and sports programs diminishes with age; while one’s ability to perfect the breathing, forms and meditation of Taiji actually increase as one grows older, more experienced and wiser.  The fact that Taiji helps to realign the body and bring it back into balance, is of great importance as we age.  We experience joint stiffness, the pain of arthritis, and shortness of breath which in turn, causes us to slow down or stop exercising altogether.  That, of course, is the worst thing a person can do.

Exercise increases mobility and decreases stiffness and pain in the long run.  Taiji is a gentle exercise system that improves the natural flow of energy, relaxes the mind, reduces stress, and promotes deeper, more beneficial breathing.

Seated Taiji offers a fitness program for those who are unable to stand for the time necessary to practice even a short Taiji form, or who are confined to a wheelchair.  Even in a seated position, Taiji movements exercise muscles, joints and organs. Healthcare professionals/instructors can help their patients/students to improve their breathing and strengthen their lungs by guiding them to gently but fully expand and contract their lungs, synchronizing breath with each movement.  For ideas on safe and effective seated exercises, please visit our website for books on this subject: http://www.healingtaichi.com.

Taiji practice also helps us to focus our minds and increase mental clarity through the movements of our bodies and the activity of our minds as we concentrate on the flow of energy – particularly in relation to the energy present in our environment.  In the practice of Taiji, we must juggle several things at the same time.  We must concentrate on the area of the body we have targeted.  We must be concerned with the movement of energy, and knowledgeable about the existence and location of meridians and their juncture points.  At the same time, we need to be aware of the spatial relation between ourselves and our surroundings.

The practice of Taiji is also effective in balancing our emotions.  The five yin or solid organs produce a kind of essential energy which, in turn, generates five emotions: joy (agitation), anger, grief, worry and fear.  Anger is associated with the liver, grief with the lungs, worry with the spleen, fear with the kidneys, and joy or its negative expression as agitation, with the heart. Within normal limits, these emotions are necessary and healthy.  However, when any emotion becomes too powerful, uncontrollable or long term, our bodies’ organs weaken and become susceptible to disease.  Taiji, by energizing, stimulating and exercising each organ, eliminates excess emotional responses to events and calms the spirit.

Taiji stimulates and massages all our organs, balances all the normal functions of the body, and reduces stress that can cause out-of- control emotions.  The nature of Taiji is meditative – often identified as a “moving meditation” – allowing the mind to clear, the body to relax, and the emotions to return to a healthy balanced state.  All of this through the practice of one exercise program!

 

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Welcome Back!


images (2), welcome 4We’re back with a new format for the Chair Tai Chi blog.

      This blog is now a meeting place for anyone involved in caring for the elderly or disabled.  Healthcare professionals and caregivers are welcome to submit articles.  Write about an exercise program, an alternative health methodology, or anything else you think might be of interest and help to those who care for people of any age with limited mobility, mental health issues, or chronic illnesses.

Below are some topic suggestions:

  • Tapping
  • Meditation
  • Natural remedies
  • Cranial sacral therapy
  • Qigong
  • Taiji
  • Acupressure/acupuncture
  • Yoga

      Everyone is encouraged to contribute.   Whether you are a nurse, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, physician’s assistant, a martial arts or yoga instructor, a family member or friend of someone who is elderly or disabled…we want to hear from you.  If you have a question, a suggestion, a story about your experience with a patient/student or a family member, let us know about it.

      Please send a paragraph or two or a complete article to healingtaichi@yahoo.com with the subject line “article for chair blog”.  If your article seems a bit long for a blog, I will run it as a two or three part article over a period of weeks.  You’re welcome to also send photos or a video of a class you teach or group you work with.  Please remember, you must have permission to photograph or video tape anyone, even family members.

      We look forward to hearing from you soon.  Thank you for your interest in alternative therapies and the Chair Tai Chi blog.

Exercise #188 – Arthritis Exercises and Acupressure Points, Part 4


Welcome to Healing Tai Chi!

…the award-winning blog of seated Tai Chi and Qigong exercises to inspire health care professionals, caregivers and individuals seeking to balance mind, body and spirit (for themselves or others.)

9sponsored by the Exercise Equipment Super Store and the Healing Tai Chi Store)

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My new book is now available!

 Seated Taiji and Qigong

Guided Therapeutic Exercises to Manage Stress and Balance Mind, Body and Spirit

Cynthia W. Quarta
Foreword by Michelle Maloney Vallie

Published by Singing Dragon

Paperback: £15.99 / $24.95

February 2012, 246mm x 173mm / 10in x 7in, 208pp
ISBN: 978-1-84819-088-7, BIC 2: WSTM VFMG VFJD

 http://jkp.com/catalogue/book/9781848190887/review/

More about the author at this link: http://cynthiaquarta.wordpress.com

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“Plan difficult tasks through the simplest tasks
Achieve large tasks through the smallest tasks
The difficult tasks of the world
Must be handled through the simple tasks
The large tasks of the world
Must be handled through the small tasks
Therefore, sages never attempt great deeds all through life
Thus they can achieve greatness.”

Tao Te Ching #63:2 translated at http://www.taoism.net

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The exercise for this week involves only the shoulders.  Shrugs and shoulder circles loosen the muscles in the neck and the shoulders.  As always, if you have had an injury or surgery on your neck or shoulders, be careful with the movements and consult your doctor before you begin this exercise.

Shoulder Shrugs and Circles:

  1. Begin sitting as usual with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.   Breathe slowly and thoughfully in and out through your nose for about 6 breaths.
  2. Bring your shoulders up toward yoru ears as you breathe in through your nose.  Drop yoru shoulders quickly as you breathe out through your nose.  Complete your breath out before you lift your shoulders again.
  3. Repeat the shoulder shrugs for a total of 6 to 12 times.
  4. Now, circle your shoulders to the back as you breathe in and out naturally through your nose.  Don’t try to time your breaths to the movement of your shoulders.  Continue to circle back for a total of 6 to 12 times.
  5. Reverse the direction of your shoulder circles for a total of 6 to 12 times.  If you circled your shoulders 6 times in #4, then circle in the reverse direction (to the front) for the same number of times.  Remember…don’t try to time your breaths with the shoulder circles, just breathe in and out naturally.

Three Mile Point (ST 36):

  • Locate the acupressure point labeled St 36 on the illustration above from Michael Reed Gach’s book, Acupressure’s Potent Points.
  • This point is one finger-width to the outside of the knee cap and four finger-widths below the knee.
  • Press firmly on this point for no less than a full minute as you breathe in and out through your nose slowly and thoughfully.
  • You can use this acupressure point often to relieve the pain of arthritis and strenghten the body in general.

Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty.  A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.

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Sign up for instant delivery of each new blog post to your email inbox by typing in your email address in the upper corner of the right hand column.

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This week’s featured item from the Healing Tai Chi Store:

http://www.healingtaichi.com/3-404276-B000MGAUKW-Tai_Chi_for_Osteoporosis_DVD.html

Tai Chi for Osteoporosis DVD

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Introduce the little dancers in your family to Millicent’s blog:  http://millicentmouse.wordpress.com

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This week’s health article:   http://www.prevention.com/health/diabetes/10-diabetes-friendly-meals-beat-belly-fat

This week’s natural remedy:   http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/diabetes-herbs.html

This week’s exercise video:  

The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only.  Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.

2011 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Exercise #178 – Breathing Exercises to Relieve Allergies and Sinus Problems, Part 10


Welcome to Healing Tai Chi!

…the award-winning blog of seated Tai Chi and Qigong exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.

(sponsored by the Exercise Equipment Super Store and the Healing Tai Chi Store)

“The Tao of heaven
Benefits and does not harm
The Tao of sages
Assists and does not contend.”

Tao Te Ching #81:3 translated at http://www.taoism.net

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The acupressure point we will be using in this exercise is a familiar one to all of us.   We have used this effective point several times in past posts.  I use this point in my classes throughout the year for the relief of headaches and to stimulate the immune system.

Joining the Valley (LI 4):

  1. Begin as usual sitting comfortably with your back supported by the back of the chair, feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  2. Breath slowly and thoughtfully6 times in and out through your nose.
  3. Locate the acupressure point on your own hand as shown on the illustration below from Michael Reed Gach’s book, Acupressure’s Potent Points.
  4. Squeeze the webbing directly behind your thumb firmly between the thumb and index finger of your other hand.
  5. Continue the pressure this point for 30 to 60 seconds and then change hands and repeat in the webbing of your other hand.
  6. You may use this effective point any time during the day to relieve sinus pain and hay fever.

Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty.  A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.

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Sign up for instant delivery of each new blog post to your email inbox by typing in your email address in the upper corner of the right hand column.

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This week’s featured item from the Healing Tai Chi Store:

http://www.healingtaichi.com/aa-3375301-B005LKZ5CC-Mosabee_Yoga_Mat_and_Yogitoes_Mat_Towel_bPlayful_Tai_chi_and_Skidless_Purple.html

Mosabee Yoga Mat and Yogitoes Mat Towel - bPlayful Tai-chi and Skidless Purple

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Videos to watch, pictures to color and lessons in ballet movements are available for children at Millicent’s blog: http://millicentmouse.wordpress.com

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Outsmart Your Allergies:  http://www.prevention.com/summerallergens/list/6.shtml  

Home Remedies for Allergies: http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/home-remedies-for-allergies.html  

Exercise Video:  

Learn ancient health secrets to reduce stress.  Download your copy of T’ai Chi in a Chair ebook now available for your Kindle, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0051U9N4S, your Nook, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tai-chi-in-a-chair-cynthia-quarta/1031408662?ean=2940012924278&itm=1&usri=tai%2bchi%2bin%2ba%2bchair, or your PC, http://www.scribd.com/doc/55904253/Tai-Chi-in-a-Chair

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The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only.  Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.

 

Exercise #177 – Breathing Exercises to Relieve Allergies and Sinus Problems, Part 9


Welcome to Healing T’ai Chi!

…the award-winning blog of seated Tai Chi and Qigong exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.

(sponsored by the Exercise Equipment Super Store and the Healing Tai Chi Store)

“Sages do not accumulate
The more they assist others, the more they possess
The more they give to others, the more they gain.”

Tao Te Ching #81:2, translated at http://www.taoism.net

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The breathing exercise this week is effective in relieving hay fever and sinus problems that afflict so many of us at this time of the year.  the acupressure points and illustration are taken from Michael reed Gach’s wonderful book, Acupressure’s Potent Points.   Remember it is best to use these points and breathing exercises in a quiet place seated in a comfortable chair for the best results.

GV 20 and GV 26:

  1. Begin sitting as usual with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor.  Sit comfortably in your chair so that your back is fully supported by the back of your chair, allowing for the natural curve in your spine.
  2. Breathe in slowly and thoughtfully through your nose without strain.  Breathe out through your nose until you must take another breath.  Continue to breathe in and out for a total of 6 times.
  3. Now, locate the acupressure points on the top of the head at GV20 and on a point midway between your upper lip and nose (GV26) as shown on the illustration below:


4. Press firmly on these 2 points at the same time for a full minute.

5. As you hold your fingers on these points, continue breathing in and out through your nose slowly.

6. You may use these points as often during the day as necessary.

Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty.  A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.

~~~~~~~~~

Sign up for instant delivery of each new blog post to your email inbox by typing in your email address in the upper corner of the right hand column.

~~~~~~~~~

This week’s featured item from the Healing Tai Chi store:  http://www.healingtaichi.com/52-3760931-B0052YK8RO-Spoonk_Acupressure_Massage_Mat_from_Cotton_Eco_foam_made_in_USA_for_Stress_and_Pain_Relief.html  

Spoonk Acupressure Massage Mat from Cotton/Eco-foam made in USA for Stress and Pain Relief

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Eat for pain relief:  http://www.prevention.com/tips/health/5-ways-control-fibromyalgia-diet

Shoes for back pain relief:  http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/shoes-for-back-pain.html

Exercise video:  

Learn ancient health secrets to reduce stress.  Download your copy of T’ai Chi in a Chair ebook now available for your Kindle, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0051U9N4S, your Nook, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tai-chi-in-a-chair-cynthia-quarta/1031408662?ean=2940012924278&itm=1&usri=tai%2bchi%2bin%2ba%2bchair, or your PC, http://www.scribd.com/doc/55904253/Tai-Chi-in-a-Chair

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The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only.  Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.

Exercise #175 – Breathing Exercises to Relieve Allergies and Sinus Problems, Part 7


Welcome to Healing Tai Chi!

…the award-winning blog of seated T’ai Chi and Qigong exercises to balance mind, body and spirit for people of all ages and levels of fitness.

(sponsored by the Exercise Equipment Super Store and the Healing Tai Chi Store)

“Bearing it, rearing it
Bearing without possession
Achieving without arrogance
Raising without domination
This is called the Mystic Virtue.”

Tao Te Ching #10:2, translated at http://www.taoism.net

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We are once again using an effective acupressure point taken from Michael Reed Gach’s wonderful book, Acupressure’s Potent Points.  This point can be used as often throughout the day as needed.  Breathing thoughtfully and slowly while keeping pressure on this point will enhance its effectiveness.

Acupressure points LI20 and St3:

  1. Sit comfortably as usual with your back supported by the back of your chair, feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  2. Before you begin to put pressure on the acupressure points, breathe in and out through your nose slowly at least six times concentrating on the movement of your breath.
  3. Look at the photo below from Mr. Gach’s book to help you locate the 2 points.
  4. Using your index fingers and middle fingers, press on these two acupressure points on both sides of your nose at the same time.
  5. Press upward on these points and breathe deeply while you hold your fingers in place for no less than a full minute.
  6. When you finish, remain seated and breathe in and out through your nose for another 6 times.

Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty.  A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician.

~~~~~~~~~

Sign up for instant delivery of each new blog post to your email inbox by typing in your email address in the upper corner of the right hand column.

~~~~~~~~~

This week’s featured item from the Healing Tai Chi Store:

http://www.healingtaichi.com/47-301668-B00004THCW-Seven_Metals_Singing_Bowls_of_Tibet.html

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Keep the little ones busy after school and on weekends at Millicent’s blog:  http://millicentmouse.wordpress.com

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Cure for dry winter skin:  http://www.prevention.com/defy-your-age/blog/superfruit-heals-dry-skin

More dry skin help:  http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/essential-oil-skin-care.html

Seated exercise video:  

 

The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only.  Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.