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Tai Chi And Qigong As A Part Of Mental Health Care

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 movement.

  • 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 more centered.

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,


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