Adaptive Tai Chi - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Adaptive Tai Chi

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In this article

Overview

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that is gentler than most forms of yoga. Deep breathing, relaxation, and slow, gentle movements are the primary elements of tai chi. It is usually performed as an ordered set of slow, elegant motions that promote balance through thoughtful consideration of movement and heightening of body awareness.

True to its Buddhist roots, tai chi seeks to:
  • relieve stress
  • improve focus
  • improve muscle tone
  • develop balance of the mind and the body

Measurable benefits

Recent clinical studies have confirmed that tai chi produces measurable benefits in improving balance, lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health. None of these studies involved people with MS, however. Make sure you talk to your health care provider before you begin tai chi or any exercise program.

Find the right class

Visit the American Tai Chi & Qigong Association or the IDEA Health & Fitness Association which list many centers and instructors nationwide.

Local community centers, recreation departments and many fitness clubs may also offer classes. The philosophy that guides tai chi leads instructors to be willing to adapt the discipline to individual needs. Be sure to talk with the instructor privately about your MS before starting any class.

Resources

  • Contact your health insurance to see what benefits you may have for tai chi. 
  • Plus One Foundation serves children and adults with a neurological injury, disorder or disease (including MS) who need financial assistance for activities and experiences that help on the path of rehabilitation, recovery or stabilization.

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