AMITA Health Offers Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (Next Session Starts in Elk Grove 11/5/2019)

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 25, 2019 | Go to article overview

AMITA Health Offers Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (Next Session Starts in Elk Grove 11/5/2019)


Byline: AMITA Health Rehabilitation Services - Diana Nielsen

The CDC estimates that more than 1 in 4 adults aged 65 years and older will fall each year. Out of these falls,1in 5 will result in serious injury, such as broken bones and head injuries. In addition, the Arthritis Foundation estimates that over 50 million adults suffer from one of the many forms of arthritis resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased ability to perform normal daily tasks.

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention is an evidence-based program recommended by both the Arthritis Foundation and the National Council on Aging to manage arthritis and reduce fall risk, increase balance and flexibility, and decrease stress. The Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention program was developed by Dr. Paul Lam, a family physician in Sydney, Australia who developed arthritis while still in his teens due to the malnutrition he experienced while growing up in China. Dr. Lam used tai chi to manage his own arthritis and eventually worked with tai chi, medical and education experts to create this program.

The Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention program uses the Sun style of tai chi which has been modified to make it gentle on the joints, easy to learn, and significantly safer for older adults than other forms of tai chi. Often described as "meditation in motion," it consists of slow, continuous movements with a focus on body awareness, posture, weight shifting, and calming the mind. While the movements appear gentle and graceful, they contain a surprising internal power. Dr. Lam describes it as being like a calm, flowing river that has the power and strength to reshape the earth under its surface.

The power of the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention program has been demonstrated in numerous medical studies by showing a significant decrease both in falls and in the pain and stiffness of arthritis. It is performed using a higher stance than most other forms of tai chi and martial arts moves with higher risk have been modified or replaced with safer alternatives. This makes it both easier and safer for arthritis sufferers and those at risk for falls. …

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