While I personally practice the long Yang form of Tai Chi, both right and left sides (mirror image), and have a Tai Chi form for patients, once/week, I find that a simplifed version for patients is optimal. I have taken six basic movements from the Tai Chi form, and made them repetitive so that they are easy to learn. The series takes 20 minutes to do, can be learned by most patients in 2-3 one hour sessions, and has tremendous benefits.
I have used this simplified version with patients with anxiety, depression, stress, Type-A and adjustment disorder; MS, cancer, coronary disease, vestibular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, pain, and other disease. When taught with good movement principles, even patients with knee and back pain can notice immediate benefits.
The first movement is based on the closing move of the Tai Chi form, and emphasizes the movement pattern that infants use in developing strength and fluidity (saggital plane spinal movement and homologus peripheral movement). The second movement is based on wave hands like clouds, and emphasizes the movement pattern that infants use in developing balance and mobility (vertical plane spinal movement and homolateral peripheral movement). The third movement is based upon brush knee and push, and emphasizes the movement pattern that infants use to develop focus and reach (horizontal plane spinal movement and contralateral peripheral movement). The next three movements combine all three basic movements into diagnonal and spiral movements that comprise most of the other Tai Chi movements, allowing for optimal body functioning. It also allows for complete unity of mind, body, and breath.
I have made a video tape and manual for patients so they can practice these at home, and I would be happy to share it with interested therapists.
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