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Tai Chi – just add water! How Water Tai Chi can help you reach your rehab goals

Updated: May 12, 2019

Tai Chi, from its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, has evolved into a popular form of exercise practiced globally among a range of ages and abilities.

Water Tai Chi at Newcastle Aquatic Physiotherapy
Water Tai Chi can reduce pain and stress as well as improve balance

How does Tai Chi work?

Tai chi revolves around the Chinese concept of Chi- an energy that flows within our body system and is an important marker of spiritual, mental and physical health. A balance of chi that flows smoothly is said to be essential to keeping healthy. If this Chi is disrupted or weak, health problems are more likely to arise. Tai Chi uses slow, flowing movements focused on mindfulness and relaxed breathing to restore Chi and balance to our bodies.

While practising tai chi you should be relaxed, but conscious of each movement and how each should be performed. Although the movements are slow, each part of the body is constantly moving. Our physiotherapist stands in front of the class to demonstrate each flow and is able to break down each body movement to help with achieving the right technique.

As Tai Chi has gained traction in Western countries, researchers have studied its benefits on people with a range of conditions. People of all ages and skill levels can practise tai chi, with our physiotherapists on hand to modify any movements to your needs.

What are the benefits of Tai Chi?

* Improved balance and reduced risk of falls

The slow, controlled movements central to Tai Chi have been shown to improve balance and posture. The improved balance from Tai Chi has been linked to a reduced risk of falls. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine also reported that that Tai Chi may improve balance and prevent falls among people with Parkinson’s disease.

* Pain management

Arthritis Australia supports Tai chi as a safe means of reducing pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. A 2018  US study showed promising results that tai chi was more effective than aerobic exercise in improving symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The meditative state of mind encouraged during Tai Chi helps to decrease stress and anxiety. Relieving psychological stress may also improve chronic pain conditions.

Why is water Tai Chi right for me?

Our physiotherapists Sarah and Jason have trained in tai chi instruction and have adapted their skills into the popular art of AI Chi – or aqua tai chi. Ai Chi was created in the mid 1980s. Water Tai Chi has gained popularity for combining the benefits and core concepts of movement flow, controlled breathing and posture with the benefits of #hydrotherapy. The decreased joint loading and heated properties of our pool allow for increased joint mobility, decreased swelling and relaxation. This class is lower impact than regular tai chi, and uses the resistance of the water for our clients to increase their strength while being in a safe environment. It is especially recommended for clients with decreased mobility, pain or stiffness that would benefit more than a land-based program. Our classes are run by two of our physiotherapists, Sarah and Jason, who are also certified Tai Chi for XArthritis instructors.

Have a look at our earlier post on hydrotherapy to learn more about the benefits of our hydrotherapy pool.

How do I get started?

If Water Tai Chi sounds like the exercise for you, check out our class timetables and pricing.

If you would like to join our #watertaichi classes, call us on (02) 49550143 or come into our Jesmond practice and fill out one of our hydrotherapy checklists to get started.


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