|Tai chi is
a slow moving meditative exercise that not only
improves balance, flexibility, and strength but
also helps to reduce anxiety and promotes a sense
of well being. Qigong is a series of breathing
exercises that help a person to relax while building
productive focused energy.
Here are some places where tai chi and qigong
might be of use:
- In patients who are quite anxious during
intake and therapies, the therapist could
initiate qigong breathing (deep breathing)
to allow patients to center themselves so
that they can stay with the experience.
- In patients who pace a lot, teaching them
tai chi walking will enable them to slow down
during the pacing, become calmer, and perhaps
even stop pacing.
- For patients experiencing the retarded movements
seen with antipsychotic medications, the warm-ups
will help with flexibility and encourage flowing
- To combat a sense of isolation and being
in a private world, doing the warm-ups and
5 element qigong together will help them feel
more connected in a non-threatening way.
- For patients feeling intruded upon by other
patients, doing the four qigong movements
will help them to develop body awareness and
a sense of personal space.
- For patients with psychotic features, doing
tai chi helps bring them back into their bodies.
- For patients with depression, tai chi increases
a sense of well-being.
- For patients with physical problems such
as arthritis, diabetes, and balance problems,
tai chi helps to improve their health.
- After a disruptive event in the ward, some
qigong breathing and the five element qigong
will help the patients calm down and become
These are just a few ideas of ways that tai
chi and qigong might be helpful in mental health.
Please feel free to contact Dr. Pam Kircher
using the online
contact form for further questions and comments.
You can find specific information about the
tai chi and qigong forms mentioned in this article
at Dr. Paul Lam’s website, www.taichiproductions.com.
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