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Participants reap healthy benefits of Tai Chi at Johnson County Senior Center

The Mountain City Senior Center is excited to be offering Tai Chi classes. Kathy Motsinger, director of the center, became interested in providing Tai Chi after visiting many surrounding senior centers. Tai Chi is being offered at most of these facilities.  Kathy became aware of how popular Tai Chi is with seniors. Kathy wants to make sure Johnson County residents have access to the same programs being offered in larger cities and counties.
Chris Laing, owner of and instructor at Blue Ridge Kung Fu Arnis Academy of Mountain City, is teaching the class. Chris has been training and teaching Tai Chi for over twenty-five years. He has witnessed first hand the benefits that Tai Chi provides. Classes meet Tuesday at 12 noon at the Senior Center.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that has its origins as far back as the 900’s AD. Tai Chi Chuan is different than many martial arts because it is an internal system. Tai Chi not only focuses on external strength but on internal strength and health. In fact, today, Tai Chi is most known as an exercise. The principles of Tai Chi’s health benefits are based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Tai Chi is praised worldwide as a great low impact exercise, especially for seniors. In Tai Chi, the student will slowly perform certain movements while breathing deeply. These movements are designed to increase the body’s Chi (energy). The stronger the energy, the healthier a person will be.
Western medicine has begun to study the benefits of Tai Chi practice on health. An article on the Harvard Health Publications website lists several studies conducted all across the world. Practicing Tai Chi was shown to increase muscle strength. Combining Tai Chi practice with standard Western treatment methods was shown to help improve: Arthritis, Low Bone Density, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke, and Sleep Problems. In one study, Tai Chi was shown to help the quality of life and daily activities of those with breast cancer. These are just a few studies listed on one site.
Doctors are recommending Tai Chi to help with pain management. Tai Chi can benefit health in many more ways. Teaching better balance is helpful for those who are getting older or who are dealing with diseases or injury. Tai Chi can be practiced by students well into their eighties. Some practitioners have been recorded practicing even longer. The Western community is starting to learn what many in China have known for over a millennium. Tai Chi can improve your health and overall life.