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Tai Chi & Fall Prevention

Tai Chi is now being offered at The Therapy Center.  Tai Chi is described as “meditation in motion” and could very well also be called, “medication in motion”. There is medical evidence that practicing Tai Chi, which originated in China, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.  You can get started now even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health. 

Tai Chi is a low impact, slow motion, graceful exercise, involving a series of movements called forms. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, which focuses your attention on your body sensations. Tai Chi differs from other forms of exercise in several respects. Movements are slow, circular and never forced. The muscles are relaxed rather than tensed with minimal stress on muscles, joints, and connective tissue. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for ANYONE, regardless of your body or mind situation, and is perfect for many older adults. No equipment is required and can be practiced inside or out.  

Treatment for injuries due to falls is one of the most expensive health conditions today. If you have fallen or have a loved one who has, you know how devastating they can be. Medical evidence shows that Tai Chi can be an effective exercise for FALL PREVENTION.  The CDC and Arthritis Foundation recommend Tai Chi for people suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes with emphasis on fall prevention and balance improvement.   

How does Tai Chi prevent falls and improve your health:

  • Improves balance
  • Increases leg strength
  • Reduces fear of falling
  • Improves mobility
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves psychological health

Patricia Vickland, D.P.T., in partnership with Blue Heron Tai Chi is offering Tai Chi classes at the Therapy Center, 1330 Sunset Street. The lead instructor is Steve Elliott who has been practicing Tai Chi since 1985 and teaching Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Tai Chi Ruler and other internal arts since 2004. Steve Studies Tai Chi with Master Jesse Tsao of San Diego and Grandmaster Sam Tam of Vancouver, BC, Canada.  

Join us anytime for a free class. Classes are held every Tuesday at 12:00pm and Friday at 12:00pm


"A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for Tai Chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age," says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School's Osher Research Center. An adjunct therapy is one that's used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient's functioning and quality of life.


Fall Prevention Programs at The Therapy Center

Falls are one of the most common geriatric syndromes threatening the independence of older persons. Between 30 and 40 percent of community-dwelling adults older than 65 years fall each year, and the rates are higher for nursing home residents. Falls are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and nursing home placement.

Most falls have multiple causes. Risk factors for falls include muscle weakness, a history of falls, use of four or more prescription medications, use of an assistive device, arthritis, depression, age older than 80 years, and impairments in gait, balance, cognition, vision, and activities of daily living. Physicians and Physiotherapists caring for older patients should ask about any falls that have occurred in the past year. Assessment should include evaluating the circumstances of the fall and a complete history and physical examination, looking for potential risk factors.

The most effective fall prevention strategies are multifactorial interventions targeting identified risk factors, exercises for muscle strengthening combined with balance training, and withdrawal of psychotropic medication. Home hazard assessment and modification by a health professional also is helpful.  Between 20 and 30 percent of older adults who fall suffer serious injuries such as hip fractures and head trauma.

Recovery from falls often is complicated by poor quality of life caused by restricted mobility, functional decline, and increased risk for nursing home placement. Self-imposed functional limitations due to the fear of falling can cause post-fall anxiety syndrome. This can lead to depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.

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