Friday, 5 May 2017

Tai Chi, The Gentle Exercise For Neuropathy Sufferers (Vid)

Today's post from and (see links below) revisits a therapy for people living with neuropathy that is gaining in popularity, mainly because it's so easy to perform. In contrast with yoga and other forms of exercise (which we all know we have to try to do), Tai Chi is far less painful and stressful and yet the results have been shown to be extremely helpful for nerve damage patients. The article (plus videos) pretty much covers all you need to know and even if you dismiss the idea, is worth a read. Gentle therapies are exactly what older people with neuropathy are asking for and Tai Chi fits the bill perfectly. Definitely worth a read.

Tai Chi for Peripheral Neuropathy
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.

 Click on the following links below to view Tai Chi instructional videos:

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.

Want to live longer? Try tai chi 

By Reuters PUBLISHED: July 23, 2013 at 12:13 am | UPDATED: April 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm


People practice tai chi, a Chinese martial art, during morning exercises at Longtan Park in Beijing September 13, 2010. REUTERS/Grace Liang

Chinese men who practiced tai chi were less likely to die over a five-year period than men who didn’t exercise at all, in a new study.

The findings support past studies that found health benefits related to the traditional Chinese exercise.

“It combines slow motion exercise and mind concentration to focus on movement. That itself can reduce your stress and, of course, it will increase your flexibility and endurance,” said Dr. Xianglan Zhang, one of the study’s authors from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

Zhang said her study could not prove, however, that tai chi was responsible for some men’s longer lifespan.

Earlier research has shown tai chi can be beneficial for people with chronic conditions, for example by improving balance among those with Parkinson’s disease.

To see whether tai chi and other forms of exercise might influence lifespan, Zhang and her colleagues looked to a large study of middle aged and elderly men in Shanghai.

More than 61,000 men participated in the study. Researchers tracked their health and lifestyle for more than five years.

Close to 22,000 participants reported that they exercised at least once a week, and the rest were considered non-exercisers.

Over the course of the study, 2,421 men died, including 3.3 percent of the non-exercisers and 5.1 percent of the men who exercised.

Exercisers tended to be older and more of them had heart disease and diabetes.

After Zhang’s group took into account men’s age, health conditions and whether they smoked, exercise was tied to a 20 percent lower likelihood of dying.

Similarly, 6.2 percent of the close to 10,000 men who practiced tai chi died during the study, but after accounting for other risk factors, the researchers found they were 20 percent less likely to die than men who didn’t exercise.

Men who walked regularly were 23 percent less likely to die during the study, and men who jogged were 27 percent less likely to die, Zhang’s team reports in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Dr. Chenchen Wang, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said that because Zhang’s study was observational, and did not randomly assign people to practice tai chi or not, it’s impossible to say whether the exercise itself is responsible for the findings.

There’s always the possibility, for instance, that people who choose tai chi tend to have healthier lifestyles.

But Wang, who wasn’t involved in the new study, told Reuters Health the results are interesting, and “they provide a very important foundation for future research.”

Zhang said the findings support tai chi as a healthy activity.

“I think for the elderly people, especially to maintain flexibility and balance, this is a good option for people to consider,” Zhang told Reuters Health.

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