UTC, Siskin Hospital Adaptive Tai Ji Study


Tai Chi & Chronic Heart Failure

Johns Hopkins Medicine released an article on Tai Chi for Chronic Heart Failure. Read more here.



Tai Chi Increase Brain Size

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease released this article.



Disabled and Tai Chi?

Asian Scientist



Taking Wheelchair Tai Chi to China

NPR published an article on Dr. Zibin Guo and the Wheelchair Tai Ji (Chi) Program that he created. To read the full article, please visit NPR Health Blog.




Medical anthropologist introduces wheelchair Tai Ji in China

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Wheelchair Tai Ji participants prepare for the demonstration at the Opening Ceremony of 2007 Beijing Olympics Cutlrual Festivial (China National Training Center, Beijing 2007)

Tai Ji or Tai Chi, one of China’s traditional healing arts, has spread worldwide since its beautiful, focused movements were first practiced hundreds of years ago. Now a trained medical anthropologist at UTC is bringing a modified form of Tai Ji to people with physical disabilities and those who have to rely on a wheelchair either temporarily or permanently.
By focusing on improving both their mental and physical conditions, Dr. Zibin Guo, UC Foundation Professor and head of the UTC Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography, may be taking this new innovation all the way to the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

The Paralympic Games, for people with physical disabilities, follow the Olympic games as the second largest sporting event in the world. The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 with 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically.

In 2005, Guo proposed the promotion of wheelchair Tai Ji during the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Guo’s proposal was very well received by the China Federation for People with Disabilities and Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee. The two groups agreed Guo’s proposal provided a potentially effective way of promoting good health for people with physical disabilities.

“In October 2006, the two organizations invited me to Beijing to conduct a wheelchair Tai Ji workshop for some three dozen Tai Ji instructors and professionals from all over China who work in the organizations providing services for people with disabilities,” Guo said.

Guo’s workshop in 2006 was the first of its kind in China. In the spring of 2007, China Federation for People with Disabilities issued a policy statement to promote wheelchair Tai Ji in all provincial organizations responsible for providing services for people with disabilities.

“In the summer of 2007, organized by China Federation for People with Disabilities and Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee, and funded by China Olympics Committee, eighty individuals with physical disabilities from all China were invited to Beijing to perform the wheelchair Tai Ji at the 2007 Beijing Olympics Cultural Festival,” Guo said.

“As a founder of this program, I was also invited to Beijing and was put in charge of working with these eighty individuals in preparation for the demonstration.”

Wheelchair Tai Ji Demonstration at 2008 paralympics Festival

The Paralympic Games include six major classifications of athletes, including amputee athletes, persons with visual impairments, physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and Les Autres - athletes with a physical disability not included in the categories mentioned, for instance, those with Muscular Dystrophy. The number of athletes participating in Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3806 athletes from 136 countries in Athens in 2004.

The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year. Since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, they have also taken place at the same venues. On June 19, 2001, an agreement was signed between the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to ensure the host city for the Olympic Games is also obliged to host the Paralympics. Beijing is the host city for 2008 Olympic Games from August 8-24 and the city will also host the Paralympics from September 6-17.

“Not only has the wheelchair Tai Ji program been promoted nationwide in China, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Committee and the Paralympics Committee are also considering to include a wheelchair Tai Ji demonstration by some 500 people who are with disabilities in the opening ceremony of 2008 Paralympic Games,” Guo said. “I proposed that such an event would provide a powerful inspiration for people with disabilities from all over the world.”



Wheelchair Tai Ji Workshop in China


The Frist National Wheelchair Tai Ji Quan Instructors' Workshop, Beijing 2006

Original Story from Chattanooga TaiJi Community. See the original post at: 2007 Wheelchair Tai Ji.

Dr. Guo conducted Wheelchair Tai Ji Workshop for China. At end of the past October, invited by Beijing 2008 Paralympics Center and the All China Federation of People with Disability, Dr. Zibin Guo conducted a Wheelchair Tai Ji workshop for some three dozens of Tai Ji instructors and professionals who work with people with disabilities from all over China.
This workshop, organized by Beijing 2008 Paralympics Center and All Chin a Federation of People with Disability, was first of its kind in China and it intended to promote the wheelchair Tai Ji nationwide to benefit people with disabilities. Another important purpose for conducting this workshop is to lay the foundation for the wheelchair Tai Ji to be included as a demonstration event in the opening or closing ceremony of 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
During this four-day workshop, participants leaned the “Thirteen Moves of Wheelchair Tai Ji” form designed by Dr. Guo. At end of the workshop participants received a teaching certificate issued by both the Beijing 2008 Paralympics Center and the All China Federation of People with Disability.
The decision for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics Center and the All China Federation of People with Disability to promote wheelchair Tai Ji was based on Dr. Guo’s recommendation.

Dr.Guo instructs participants at the First National Wheelchair Tai Ji Quan instructors' Workshop in Beijing 2006



Wheelchair Tai Chi classes offered free in joint

University Research Effort

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Researchers at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation have joined for a study focusing on the therapeutic effects of Wheelchair Tai Chi exercise on individuals with a significant physical disability.

To qualify for the study, participants, in one minute or less, must be unable to walk 50 feet or more independently, with an assistive device.

Participation will involve taking two free 45-minute Tai Chi classes each week, for eight weeks. The study will be conducted this July and August, during the late morning hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Classes will be held at the new Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital, located on the main campus in downtown Chattanooga.

Tai Chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise that has virtually no negative side affects. Tai Chi has traditionally been beneficial to cardio-respiratory function, immune capacity, mental control, flexibility, balance control, muscle strength, and reducing falls by the elderly. To date, there are no documented evaluations of the therapeutic effects of seated Tai Chi, which is a newly modified form of Tai Ji practice specifically designed for people with severe physical disabilities.

The purpose of the study is to identify a suitable, accessible, effective, and inexpensive exercise method for people with a physical disability. The study aims to prove if a seated Tai Chi exercise will contribute to the general physical well being, including resting heart rate, resting respiratory rate, and flexibility, of people who have a disability.

The study will also evaluate if the seated Tai Chi exercise program will promote improved static and dynamic sitting balance and improved respiratory mechanics. Researchers will be evaluating if the exercise helps the individual with a disability to improve their sense of mental health and well being, as well as determining the participants’ experience of using a wheelchair as their primary mode of locomotion.

Dr. Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist at UTC and a long time Tai Ji practitioner and teacher, has been working with the China Federation for People with Disabilities and Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee promoting a form of wheelchair Tai Chi he created. This effort has received some remarkable responses from the public, and currently, this form of seated Tai Chi has been promoted nationwide in China.

This proposed study is the first attempt to scientifically explore the potential health benefits seated Tai Chi offers to people with severe physical disabilities.

For more information on the benefits and qualifications for participants, please contact Guo by phone at (423)425-4442 or by email at Dr. Guo. Participants may also contact the Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital by phone at (423)634-1234 to sign up for the free classes.



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