search

T’ai Chi is good for those with chronic illness

Ancient practice helps modern hearts

T'ai Chi for WellnessFor a practice that’s more than 2,000 years old, T’ai Chi is surprisingly relevant to many of our more modern maladies.

“It’s often called ‘meditation in motion,’” said Bill Douglas, an instructor at Turning Point, The Center for Hope and Healing.

“But with so many benefits, it might be known as ‘medication in motion.’” Douglas, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi and QiGong,” cites study after study illustrating positive results. But his students provide the proof Douglas enjoys most.

After just six weeks of participating in “T’ai Chi for the Heart,” Nancy Schneider’s blood pressure dropped by 20 percent and she no longer needed a cardiac procedure. “Taking T’ai Chi is the only thing I’ve changed,” said Schneider. Al Hussar, has lost more than 20 lbs., lowered his blood pressure and reduced his medications. “It’s not a magic pill, but it’s the kind of medicine that’s fun to take,” he said.

With no fancy equipment, no gym membership and  -- thanks to Turning Point donors – no fee, T’ai Chi is about as safe and easy as exercise gets. It also burns about as many calories as surfing or moderate aerobic exercise. 

Wait a minute. Surfing and aerobics? Really? 

“T’ai chi teaches us to move effortlessly, so there’s very little impact – but there’s still movement,” said Douglas, who adapts his teaching to his students’ conditions and abilities. 

Douglas, who has taught for more than 25 years and has charged as much as $2,500 for an hour-long clinic, encourages people living with chronic illness to take advantage of what Turning Point offers for no charge. He also emphasizes that classes and programs are open to all patients and families, wherever they receive treatment. “Turning Point and KU have created something extraordinary,” he said. “I wish I had a giant megaphone to promote it.” 

Generous donors make Turning Point programs like this one possible. If you’d like to support the programs and patients of Turning Point, call 913-574-0900 or visit turningpointkc.org.