Topics
    1. Tai Ji & Health
    2. Wheelchair Tai Ji at 2008 Paralympics
    3. Seated Tai Ji for Rehabilitation
    4. Seated Tai Ji in Your Office
    5. Seated Tai Ji for Back, Shoulder and Neck Pain

 

1. Tai Ji & Health

Tai Ji & Health

The word ¡°Tai¡± means ¡°Supreme¡±, ¡°Ji¡± (or Chi) means ¡°Boundary¡±, and the word ¡°Quan¡± simply means ¡°fist¡± or ¡°movement¡±. Together the term ¡°Tai Ji Quan¡± implies a method of movement to cultivate a form of power that has no boundary.

Over hundreds of years in development, Tai Ji Quan, has absorbed the essence of Chinese healing arts while being shaped by the principles of Chinese Martial Arts. The merger of these two powerful sources has synthesized into one of the most popular and effective mind and body exercises in the world.
Today, Tai Ji Quan has become increasingly popular throughout the world, as both a low impact exercise program and as a complement to other self-healing methods. Numerous studies have shown that frequent Tai Ji practice contributes significantly to the improvement of mental and physical well being for people of all age groups with varied physical conditions including individuals with severe physical impairments such as depression, fibromyalgia, lower-limb injuries, cardiopulmonary disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson¡¯s disease, severe rheumatoid arthritis, and stroke.

Because of the overwhelming health benefits that Tai Ji exercise offers, and in addition to the fact that the practice of Tai Ji Quan is also considered to be one of the most economical, low risk and convenient self-care methods available, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) has declared Tai Ji (Tai Chi) to be a form of Complementary Medicine and has been actively promoting its research as well as its practice.
For more information on NIH founded Tai Ji research and research reports, please visit: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/taichi/

 

 2. Wheelchair Tai Ji at 2008 Paralympics

Wheelchair Tai Ji at 2008 Paralympics

As a trained medical anthropologist who also has years of training and teaching experience with Tai Ji (or Tai Chi) ¨C a form of Chinese traditional healing arts ¨C Dr. Zibin Guo has been always interested in developing and promoting a modified form of Tai Ji practice that would be effectively utilized by people with various physical disabilities and those who have to rely on a wheelchair either temporarily or permanently to improve both of their mental and physical conditions. In 2005, Dr. Guo made a proposal of promoting wheelchair Tai Ji during the 2008 Beijing Paralympics to China Federation for People with Disabilities and Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee. The proposal was very well received and was seen as an innovative and potentially an effective way of promoting the general health condition for people with physical disabilities. In October 2006, the two organizations invited Dr. Guo 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.

This workshop was first of its kind in China and it intended to promote the wheelchair Tai Ji program Dr. Guo created nationwide. After received an overwhelmingly positive feedback and support from the country, in the spring of 2007, China Federation for People with Disabilities issued a policy statement to all provincial organizations responsible for providing services for people with disabilities to promote the wheelchair Tai Ji in their regions.

 

  3. Seated Tai Ji for Rehabilitation

Seated Tai Ji for Rehabilitation

Physical disabilities in general and severe physical disabilities in particular not only bring a tremendous amount of physiological and psychological suffering to the individuals, but they can also create enormous burdens to their families, relatives and friends. It is estimated that the United States alone spends approximately $300 billion annually including the cost of the medical resources used for care, treatment, and rehabilitation; reduced or lost productivity; and premature death.

Overwhelming studies have found that regular physical exercise is one of the major components in the health improvement as well as health maintenance for people with particularly severe physical disabilities. Studies also found that people with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity. The factors contributing to the physical inactivity among people with physical disabilities are many including but not limited to:

  1. the lack of suitable form of exercise;
  2. limited access and transportation to and from the exercise site;
  3. inaccessible facilities and equipment;
  4. affordability
  5. the lack of motivation due to illness and health problems.

The physical inactivity tends to make individuals with physical disabilities more reliant on medications to deal with their health issues rather than taking a proactive approach by engaging self-care, they are often choosing options that further deteriorate their general health condition and cause secondary health problems.

Tai Ji has become increasingly popular in the United States and around the world, both as a basic exercise program and as a complement to other care methods in the United States. Numerous studies have shown that frequent Tai Chi practice contributes significantly to the improvement of mental and physical well being for people of all age groups and physical condition including the individuals with severe physical impairments, such as depression; fibromyalgia symptoms; lower-limb disabilities; cardiopulmonary difficulties; multiple Sclerosis; Parkinson disease; severe rheumatoid arthritis; stroke, among others.

Despite of its tremendous health benefits (particularly to people with severe physical disabilities), the conventional method of practicing Tai Chi, for the majority of the people with severe physical disabilities, does not seem to be possible or accessible

In an effort to develop a simple form of Tai Ji that is suitable to the conditions of people with physical disabilities and to meet their health needs, Dr. Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist and a Tai Ji master, developed the four moves of the seated Tai Ji Quan form. He drew on the experience of many years of working with medical care professionals in the field of rehab medicine.

To test the effectiveness of this form in a clinical setting, a collaborative study was entered into with Dr. Nancy Fell (professor of Physical Therapy-UTC), Dr. Janet Secrest (professor of Nursing-UTC), Dr. Glenn Haban, a neuropsychologist at Siskin Hospital, and Dr. William Johnson, a chiropractor in North Georgia. In 2008, Dr. Guo directed the research, exploring the effect of practicing the four simple moves of Tai Ji Quan as perceived by individuals with sever physical and ambulatory disabilities the past summer. Funded by two University of Chattanooga Foundation Summer Research Fellowships, this study was conducted during an eight weeks period at Siskin hospital of Chattanooga.

The preliminary data from this study has already revealed some significant results and suggests a promising future for the role that this form of Tai Ji exercise could play in improving physical functions/mobility, psychological well being, and in pain reduction for people with severe physical disabilities.

 

4. Seated Tai Ji in Your Office

Seated Tai Ji in Your Office 

Those who work within the confines of an office environment are painfully aware of the difficulties associated with maintaining mental and physical well-being while seated behind a desk or glued to a computer screen.The inherent stress of any job combined with the frustrations associated in conflict resolution can slowly take their toll with little opportunity for relief or remedy.

Seated Tai Ji in Your Office provides an effective and accessible method of relieving stress while regaining your focus and concentration. This method of seated Tai Ji Qi Gong exercise was developed by Dr. Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist and Tai Ji master, who coordinated each of these four simple moves to provide a masterfully designed and symmetrically patterned form best suited to addressing the pressures associated with working at the office.

Take a moment from your hectic day and relax while at your desk. Clear your mind, release all tension and flow with the gentle movements designed to rejuvenate your energy and release stress while improving your health and well-being.

 

 5. Seated Tai Ji for Back, Shoulder and Neck Pain

Seated Tai Ji for Back Pain

The Benefits of Practicing Seated Tai Ji for Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain


Recovering from the Pain   
Back, neck and shoulder pain are among the most common health problems in modern life. Regardless of their origins or causes, they create enormous physical and mental suffering to the patient and prevent the patient from engaging in a normal, active and productive life style.
Although treatments such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, manual therapies, and medication can be extremely helpful in reducing the pain level in the initial stages of therapy, if these passive modalities are carried out for too long a time then patients tend to run the risk of becoming dependent upon them. Consequently, the emphasis in modern rehabilitation has shifted to a model that encourages active modalities such as therapeutic exercises and kinetic activity as soon as the patient can tolerate them.  While some patients are eager to resume active lifestyles and exercise, many are incapacitated by the vivid recollection of the intensity of the pain which they have suffered.  Any attempt at exercise which causes even slight discomfort may be enough cause for the patient to abandon all such endeavors. This can lead to further de-conditioning which may contribute to a chronic recurrence of the pain. 


Tai Ji Practice for Pain Reduction
Tai Ji is one of the most popular mind and body healing arts in the world. A large number of clinical studies have found that regular Tai Ji exercise not only improves the physical and mental well-being of people of all ages, but it also plays an effective role in the rehabilitation of various health problems including the reduction of pain and the promotion of a variety of healing effects for people who suffer from back, shoulder and neck pain. 
The powerful healing effect of Tai Ji exercise to the wellbeing of mind and body is attributed to the characteristics of its movement. Since all movements of Tai Ji are performed very slowly with circular motions and minimum muscular tension, they allow the active muscles to perform their concentric contraction without pain while the opposing muscles can perform their relaxation/eccentric contraction without spasm.  The joints are moved through their pain-free range of motion in a circular fashion. This range of motion generally increases as the Tai Ji pattern in repeated.  Patients, almost sub-consciously, learn better posture, improved balance, and body mechanics.  
However, conventional forms of Tai Ji practice may also pose some challenges for people who experience severe pain.  A standing form of Tai Ji practice is not always easy and comfortable, especially for those who also endure knee or hip problems. 

The Four Moves of Seated Tai Ji for Back Pain & The Four Moves of Tai Ji for Neck and Shoulder Pain

Seated Tai Ji offers some unique advantages over standing Tai Ji for people who experience severe pain.  Practicing Tai Ji in the seated form requires minimum body resistance (stamina) so active therapy can begin sooner.  There is no fear of falling or losing one’s balance so the patient is usually much more at ease.  This contributes to better patterns of respiration and heart rate, while encouraging a relaxed and peaceful state of mind.  While seated, the practitioner is better able to rotate the spine without overloading the sacroiliac joints.  Of course, all stress on the hips, knees, and ankles is eliminated.  In addition, seated Tai Ji practice requires no special practicing space, it can be performed in the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere else you can find a chair.
However, not all movements of Tai Ji are suitable or able to offer the same benefit to people who suffer from back, neck and shoulder pain. The design of a suitable and effective seated Tai Ji program therefore, must be based on the understanding of the pain mechanism, the muscle groups that each of the selected moves involve and the limitation of the patients’ physical condition.  
Based on  years of Tai Ji teaching, practicing and clinical experience in working with individuals who suffered from back, neck and shoulder pain, Dr. Zibin Guo (a medical anthropologist) and Dr. John Johnson (a chiropractor) developed the Four Moves of Seated Tai Ji for Back Pain and the Four Moves of Seated Tai Ji for Neck & Shoulder Pain. These two forms are masterfully designed and symmetrically patterned with each of the moves carefully chosen according to the specific movement mechanism in relation to the primary muscle groups involved in back, neck and shoulder pain.  

Seated Tai Ji for Shoulder Pain

 

 

Primary Muscles Involved in Back Pain

Trunk  Flexors  Rectus Abdominus / T7-12
Trunk Rotators External Abdominal Obliques / T8-L 1;
  Internal Abdominal Obliques / T8-L1
Trunk Extensors Erector Spinae (Sacrospinalis) / Adjacent spinal nerves
  Iliocostalis Thoracis
  Longissimus Thoracis
  Spinalis Thoracis
  Iliocostalis lumborum
  Quadratus Lumborum / T12 – L 1

 

Primary Muscles Targeted in Seated Tai Ji for Back Pain Move by Move

1.  BRUSH KNEE AND PUSH HAND
            Trunk rotators, extensors, and flexors
2.  WAVE HANDS LIKE CLOUDS
            Trunk rotators
3.  JADE GIRL WORKS WITH SHUTTLES
            Trunk rotators and extensors
4.  WHITE CRANE SPREADS WINGS
            Trunk rotators, extensors, and flexors.
Secondary benefit will be provided to the rotator cuff and scapular muscles.

 

Primary Muscles Involved in Neck and Shoulder Pain

Neck flexors & Rotators Sternocleidomastoid / CN 11
  Various small intrinsics
Neck extensors Upper Trapezius / CN 11
  Splenius / C4-8?Semispinalis /C4-8
  Capitis / C4-8
Shoulder flexors Anterior Deltoid / C5
  Coracobrachialis / C5-6
Shoulder flexors Latissimus Dorsi / C6-8
  Teres Major / C5-6
  Posterior Deltoid / C5-6
Adductors Middle Deltoid / C5-6
  Supraspinatus / C5-6
Adductors Pectoralis Major / C5-T1
  Latissimus Dorsi / C6-8
External Rotators Infraspinatus / C5-6
  Teres Minor / C5
Internal rotators Subscapularis / C5-6
  Pectoralis Major / C5-T1
  Latissimus Dorsi / C6-8
  Teres Major / C5-6
Scapular elevators Trapezius / CN 11
  Levator Scapulae / C3-5
Scapular retractors Rhomboid Major / C5
  Rhomboid Minor / C5

 

Primary Muscles Targeted in Seated Tai Ji for Neck and Shoulder Pain Move by Move

1.  PARTING THE WILD HORSES MANE
            Neck flexors, rotators, and extensors
            Scapular elevators and retractors
            Shoulder adductors, abductors, flexors, extensors, internal and external rotators
2.  NEEDLE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN
            Neck flexors, rotators, and extensors
            Scapular elevators and retractors
            Shoulder adductors, abductors, internal rotators and external rotators
3.  WAVE HANDS LIKE CLOUDS
            Neck flexors, rotators, and extensors
            Scapular elevators and retractors
            Shoulder adductors, abductors, flexors, extensors, internal and external rotators
4.  HEAVEN AND EARTH
            Neck flexors, rotators, and extensors
            Scapular elevators and retractors
            Shoulder adductors, abductors, flexors, extensors, internal and external rotators
Secondary benefit is provided to the trunk rotators, flexors, and extensors

Since each of the two forms contains only four simple moves (eight moves symmetrically), it makes learning and practicing this form of Tai Ji easier.  These forms were also designed in a way so that patients can practice these forms repeatedly according to their needs and conditions.  Another unique and important feature of these two programs is that they can also be practiced in the conventional walking form.  As the pain decreases, you may move from the sitting form to the standing form, which incorporates the muscles of the legs.  A demonstration of the walking form is being illustrated at the end of each of the programs.   
Clinical experience has shown that these “four move seated Tai Ji” patterns are relatively easy to learn, pose essentially no threat of causing harm, and offer a very effective method for helping the pain patient recover from a host of ailments.  If performed regularly, this form of Tai Ji can produce a very effective recovery while improving balance, decreasing respiration and heart rate, and encourage mental focus and concentration. 

 
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