What is the Tai Chi for Arthritis program?
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In 1997, Dr. Paul Lam, a family physician and tai chi expert, worked with a team of tai chi and medical specialists to create the Tai Chi for Arthritis program. The special features of this unique program are that it is easy to learn, enjoyable, and provides many health benefits in a relatively short period of time.
Medical studies have shown that practicing this program reduces pain significantly, prevents falls for the elderly, and improves many aspects of health. For these reasons, Arthritis Foundations around the world have supported the program; in particular the Arthritis Foundation of America who, after collaborating with Dr. Lam to produce a 12 lesson Tai Chi for Arthritis instructional DVD, promotes the program throughout the USA as the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program.
Tai Chi for Arthritis is based on Sun style tai chi. This style was chosen because of its healing component, its unique Qigong (an exercise which improves relaxation and vital energy), and its ability to improve mobility and balance. The program contains a carefully constructed set of warming-up and cooling-down exercises, Qigong breathing exercises, a Basic Core six movements, an Advanced Extension six movements, and adaptations of the movements for older adults. Also incorporated into the program is a safe and effective teaching system.
Most people can learn the basic Tai Chi for Arthritis movements in 8 to 12 one hour lessons, with regular practice in between the lessons. The entire program has much depth, allowing one to continue to improve, reach a higher level of tai chi, and enjoy greater health benefits for many years. Additionally, the Tai Chi for Arthritis form has a unique ability to pique learners’ interests, thereby increasing adherence to the program.
Update notes: In April 2013, the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) recommends Tai Chi for Arthritis on their official guide for falls prevention, and the AoA (Administration on Aging) found the Program to meet the highest-level criteria for AoA evidence based disease prevention and health promotion programs.