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Tai Chi

Person kneeling with hands in prayer pose

This is a mind-body practice that originated in ancient China and has gained popularity worldwide for its numerous health benefits. It involves slow, flowing movements combined with deep breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques. While Tai chi is not a specific treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), it can be a beneficial complementary approach for individuals living with MS.

More About Tai Chi in relation to MS:

Balance and Coordination: Tai chi movements emphasise balance, weight shifting and coordination. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with MS who may experience difficulties with balance and coordination. Regular practice of Tai chi can help improve stability, reduce the risk of falls and enhance overall motor control.

Flexibility and Range of Motion: Tai chi’s gentle, flowing movements promote flexibility and increase range of motion in joints. This can help counteract muscle stiffness and enhance overall mobility, which can be valuable for individuals with MS.

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Tai chi incorporates mindfulness techniques, deep breathing, and meditation, which can help individuals with MS manage stress, improve mood and cultivate a sense of inner calm. The focus on present-moment awareness and mind-body connection can help individuals cope with the emotional challenges associated with MS.

Energy Cultivation: Tai chi is often described as a practice that cultivates and balances the body’s energy, known as “qi” or “chi.” While the concept of energy may be subjective, Tai chi’s slow, deliberate movements and emphasis on relaxation can promote a sense of vitality and overall well-being.

Adaptability and Modification: Tai chi can be adapted to accommodate different levels of strength, flexibility and mobility. Movements can be modified or performed using supportive aids, such as chairs or walls, to suit individual needs. Tai chi classes specifically designed for individuals with MS or led by instructors experienced in working with MS can provide appropriate modifications and guidance.

Community and Social Support: Participating in Tai chi classes or joining Tai chi communities can provide individuals with MS a sense of community, support and connection with others. It can be an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, share experiences and foster social connections.

Individuals with MS should consult with their healthcare professionals, including neurologists or rehabilitation specialists, before starting Tai chi practice. They can provide personalised guidance, taking into account individual abilities, limitations and overall health status.

While Tai chi is generally considered safe, it is important to practice with awareness and listen to your body. Adapting or avoiding certain movements that may exacerbate symptoms or pose a risk is crucial. With proper guidance and regular practice, Tai chi can be a valuable tool to support overall wellbeing and complement the comprehensive management of MS.

Contact from individuals or healthcare professionals welcomed.