Tai Chi wellness even for wheelchair users

Tai Chi to help those who are confined to a wheelchair and have to deal with immobility.

In addition to the personal problem for which a person is confined to a wheelchair, there is also that of loss of autonomy, self-esteem and physical immobility that alone can give different physiological disorders.

To promote the psycho-physical well-being of wheelchair users, an expert in traditional martial arts from the University of Tennessee (USA) has developed a special program that includes 13 positions used in Tai Chi, designed specifically for those suffering from this problem.
The journal Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors reports that Dr. Zibin Guo has adapted 13 of the 24 typical positions of Tai Chi for all those who do not perform any physical activity – such as 73 percent of wheelchair-bound Americans. In this way, according to Guo, the wheelchair can be transformed from an assistive device to an instrument of artistic expression and emancipation.

“Too often, social and cultural barriers discourage people with physical disabilities from participating in fitness activities – explains Dr. Guo – Wheelchair Tai Chi can be practiced while seated for those who need simplicity, low impact, exercise for the upper body through the integration of wheelchair movement with sweets, dynamic and flowing movements of Tai Chi. It lifts the spirit and gives practitioners a sense of command of space.”

If we take into account that there are millions of people in the world who live in a wheelchair, we can calculate the impact that would have the possibility of offering all those who want it a means to feel better physically and psychologically. Also obtaining benefits on general health and, perhaps, preventing many of the diseases due to forced position and immobility.
“Studies conducted in China and elsewhere suggest that these individuals, especially those in wheelchairs, have significantly lower self-esteem and are more vulnerable to depression – adds Guo – The rationale behind the development of Wheelchair Tai Chi as an alternative fitness and recreational for people with walking disabilities was first and foremost based on the documented health benefits of Tai Chi. accessibility, low cost and acceptance in popular culture. Second, it is based on the health and fitness benefits that this modified Tai Chi could have for people with impaired walking function.”

The movements designed for the disabled by Dr. Guo allow wheelchair users to practice a whole range of movements in the lower back, hip, as well as upper body with shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head and so on. In addition, the expert points out, these movements contribute to improving internal blood and lymphatic circulation – which is no small thing.



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