Tai Chi strenghthens your foundation.

Hello and welcome to our newest IRQTC community members from Florida, where we had a sweltering time last month learning the Tai Chi for Balance and Falls Prevention program.  In perfect synchronicity, after writing a newsletter about Heron Walking, I was jogging along the Manatee River in Bradenton where I came within six feet of a Great Blue Heron fishing for dinner.  What an amazing experience to share that space with a true Tai Chi master filled with poise, stealth, and balance.

Tai Chi Improves Knee Function

Imagine picking up a smiling toddler as she runs to you with arms wide open or lifting a wiggly little puppy looking for a kiss.  The world below our waist is most accessible when our knees are functioning at their best, yet these abused joints see over a million surgical interventions per year with rehabilitation costs in the billions.  *Recent research has been investigating Tai Chi as a tool in Osteoarthritis care with several studies directed at the knee, revealing positive changes in strength, balance, and WOMAC pain and function scores.

In professional practice, I have enjoyed employing Rehabilitative Tai Chi with clients experiencing patella-femoral dysfunction, ligamentous instability, OA, and post-surgical interventions including TKR and ACL reconstruction.  The slow, mindful stepping and semi-squat position engenders functional strength and enhanced proprioception throughout the lower extremities.  Special attention is paid to foot pivot and weight shift to protect the knee joint and re-educate neuromuscular coordination as the knee should remain “behind the toes” in squatting and no rotational or medial/lateral torsion should be present.  Adding Rehabilitative Tai Chi into your knee practice may simply begin with Parting the Wild Horses Mane in standing to facilitate weight shift with progression to circling and Tai Chi walking to promote full body coordination.  Encouraging clients to “sink” into their feet allows improved centering over the feet and activation of lower extremity musculature.

*Tai Chi is Effective in Treating Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc, Christopher H. Schmid, PhD, […], and Timothy McAlindon, MD, MPH

*Comparative Study of the Effects of Tai Chi and
Strength Training on Osteoarthritis in Older Adults
Abhinandan Batra
Georgia State University

Consider sharing your stories of using Tai Chi both professionally and personally with the IRQTC community.  Your experiences inspire others to do what they think they can’t and to grow in ways they think they couldn’t.  We’re in this together!

Be well,