August 2012

Sun Style Tai Chi offered at Arthritis Health

by Krista Hom, Tai Chi Instructor

I began my journey into Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese mindful art, because it was something that I knew I could do. It looked so graceful and safe! When I told Dr. Howard that I was interested, he said, “Get your certification!”

I have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and have suffered from a brainstem stroke that left me paralyzed. After hard work and determination after the stroke, I learned to walk again. So I understand how it feels to be scared to fall, to move when it hurts and overcome challenges when life throws that curve ball.

Did you know that Tai Chi has five styles? I teach the Sun Style. It is a slow moving, upright and agile. No getting on the floor, high kicks or 180 turns! Many studies show that Tai Chi can strengthen your joints, relieve pressure, improves balance, posture and flexibility. Qigong, a deep breathing technique with gentle movements decreases inflammation. Also, it soothes your mind and body to work together. I’m a living example of these studies. I’ve increased bone density, decreased inflammation and strengthened my joints where I am pain free. As well as, improved balance and inner peace.

The beauty of Tai Chi and Qigong is you can practice while standing or sitting. Please practice Tai Chi with me on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30 in the Movement Studio.

The Power of Tai Chi Chuan

by Nisha Manek, MD, FRCP

If you were told that there is one health intervention that improves balance and agility, induces a sense of calm and self-confidence, and promotes better sleep, would you take it? What if this health intervention also reduced pain, helped you lose weight, and helped your joints function better, all without more medications? That is the promise of Tai Chi practice. Krista’s story is inspiring. She is pointing the way for you to get engaged in your health journey. Can so much be gained with a practice that many view as an “exercise”? Absolutely! I discovered the power and beauty of Tai Chi during my time in London. In a basement near Paddington station, I learned to fly like the crane, move fluidly like a Tiger, and gather my energy like a bear. Although there are five major lineages of Tai Chi, they all have a common thread – to be present, aware, and have flexibility of the mind. With little effort, your body will follow the gentle movements. You can practice Tai Chi at your comfort and your unique pace. Each session is different and does not require any special physical abilities. I encourage my patients to do Tai Chi even while seated and begin to follow the flow of the practice – this is chair Tai Chi. It is therefore extremely adaptable.

Getting started with Tai Chi
Wondering how to get started in Tai Chi? The popularity of Tai Chi is growing quickly and there are now many community centers that teach Tai Chi. It is best to consider seeking guidance from a qualified instructor to gain the full benefits and learn proper techniques. Arthritis Health offers Tai Chi classes led by Krista. She will teach you specific positions and how to regulate your breathing. Krista will also teach you how to adapt, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or balance or coordination problems. The clinic environment of Arthritis Health is all the more convenient as the medical staff is in clinic. To reap the greatest stress reduction and other health benefits from Tai Chi, practice it regularly. You may find it helpful to practice Tai Chi in the same place and at the same time every day to develop a routine. But if your schedule is erratic, do Tai Chi whenever you have a few minutes. You can even draw on the soothing mind-body concepts of Tai Chi without performing the actual movements. I often teach my patients simple core principles of Tai Chi in my office. While seated, in as little time as a few minutes, patients who are new to the concepts start to experience the calmness right away. Tai Chi is health – and life – oriented, unlike the Western medicine which tends to be disease oriented.

The Medical Evidence for Tai Chi
In the last 2 decades, a growing body of research aimed at investigating the health benefits of Tai Chi in various chronic health conditions has been recognized in the medical literature. Tai Chi has been shown to be an effective intervention in knee osteoarthritis, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology (2012) recommendations and guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis includes Tai Chi as a modality on par with the conventional treatments such as pain medications. For patients who have balance issues Tai chi training reduces balance impairments with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls. The existing research of Tai Chi in rheumatoid arthritis suggests that Tai Chi may be a safe adjunctive therapy for RA. Research also demonstrates the beneficial effects of Tai Chi on psychosocial health such as reduction in anxiety and depression. Improved sleep and consequent reduction in chronic fatigue have also been shown in participants who practice the art of Tai Chi.

Give yourself the gift of Tai Chi, and be sure to collect your ticket for a first FREE class. The classes are open to your friends and family. In future, knowledge and experience of Tai Chi and equivalent practices have the potential to make health problems a thing of the past, freeing people to develop their qualities of life.

Electronic Lab Requests

We have changed to an electronic ordering system to ensure a more efficient ordering and lab result retrieval system.

We ask you to make sure that you have a printed requisition form completed by our office to be presented at Sonora Quest. This will ensure that all prior standing orders will be replaced by our new orders.

If you are due to have labs and do not have a printed requisition form, please contact us or call our office at 480-609-4200 so we may provide you one.