Tai Chi is a martial art, developed in China over 400 years ago. However, don’t let the word “martial” deter you. Tai Chi combines and connects the mind and body as a form of exercise. As a discipline, there are 4 styles or training methods: Chen (original form, Wu, Yang, and Sun, each with different styles and patterns. The Sun method, (pronounced “soong”), is the style of Tai Chi taught by instructor Sule Welch (pictured right) at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center.
Sule, who has been a Tai Chi instructor in the Sun form for 5 years, states that people from age 5-100 can participate in Tai Chi. The movements of Tai Chi promote regular, controlled, slow and gentle movement of the limbs while at the same time being gentle on participants’ joints, ligaments and tendons. Patients suffering from arthritis or other joint disorders of the hips, knees, hands and spine attend Sule’s classes.
Sule states that his attendees have reported decreased pain and increased mobility as a result of practicing Tai Chi. Sule adds that movements in Tai Chi can serve the spine patient population particularly well as these movements rehabilitate the major mobility and nerve center of the body that controls every function of our daily movement patterns. As a low impact and controlled exercise, Tai Chi can be performed daily for any length of time and that to participate in Tai Chi, specially designed equipment or environments are not necessary; tai chi can even be performed in a pool or sitting in a chair. Tai Chi can be used to complement Physical therapy or other treatments utilized to treat conditions of the spine.
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