The ancient practice of Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for self defense and longevity. One variety helps people with arthritis.
The ancient practice of T'ai Chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for self defense and longevity.
One variety helps people with arthritis.
"I got involved in T'ai Chi because I needed a stress management tool," Donna Dixon said.
That came after trying a lot of other options.
"I tried yoga but I didn't do well with yoga. I'm a little too stiff for yoga. I sprained something. I tried meditation and I did OK with meditation but I would fall asleep," she said.
T'ai Chi is moving meditation, so Donna Dixon can't fall asleep on her feet.
She is a registered nurse and Mary Pope is a retired doctor. They are both part of Smoky Mountain Wellness and they are both Arthritis Foundation Certified Tai Chi Instructors.
"It helps is with our balance. It helps us with strengthening our legs so we don't have as much risk of falling down. It helps us as we mentioned earlier with our mind and body connection," Dixon said.
Laura Harrill was diagnosed with arthritis in 2004 and started T'ai Chi classes with Donna and Mary in 2008.
"You're thinking about what you're doing and you're moving all parts of your body but you're not stationary in one place so you're not stressing any of your joints," she said.
Donna Dixon said, "It is actually developed specifically by Dr. Paul Lam who is an Australian physician to work with healing the joints, healing the muscles and the synovial fluids around the joints."
The particular class focuses on people with arthritis but Tai Chi can benefit a lot of people.
"T'ai Chi is promoted from people with PTSD now,with balance issues of any kind, fibromyalgia, those itises that get in our joints and keep us from being mobile," Dixon said.
Students follow the slow deliberate movements of the instructor. With a little practice they become aware of their breathing and their mind-body connection.
Laura Harrill said, "Once you learn some of the moves and then keep practicing them on your own then you see more benefit than just coming to class."
Tai Chi Classes for Better Living from the Arthritis Foundation are offered Monday and Wednesday mornings in Maryville and Monday and Wednesday evenings in Alcoa.
Students and instructors agree the benefits extend beyond the walls of this room.
"When you're in the chaos of life you can find that inner peace. You develop that inner peace and you can find that no matter where you are," Dixon said.
Dr. Paul Lam who developed Tai Chi for arthritis will be in Knoxville next month to conduct workshops.