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A short story on Tai Chi and a new MS inflicted senior student

September 5, 2012

Yesterday brought a new person to class in Chester at the Senior Resource Center.

A woman in her mid 60’s who wanted to try my class because her balance and leg strength has been impaired by MS. In the last few years she has seen a decline in her ability to do certain of her hobbies and is nervous that the decline will increase her likelihood of falls.

Before class started I went over with her the basics of slow controlled movement and that she should work to her own capabilities and not worry about how others were doing.  All class long I kept reinforcing the idea of letting her body tell her what she could and could not do.

She participated in the warmups and leg strengthening exercises. Using a chair touch technique she had only minor difficulties.

The strength building routine included:

  • Front to back toe taps
  • Side to side taps
  • Lift and hold
  • Lift and kick
  • Back kicks
  • Heel raises
  • Single Leg dips
  • Side steps

She then took part in all the rolling step and chi walking. She picked up on the explanation of the “center line balance” method I teach and appeared to get smoother with it as class went on. As we added in the arm movements she focused on just doing the chi step walking and benefited by the slow pace of the class managed to keep up with the more experienced students.

After class I asked what she thought as a first time student and if she could see the class being good for her.  She smiled and said that she could definitely feel her muscles that were used and said she would be back next week.

I am hopeful that in a few months I will be able to do a follow-up to this article and talk about how her affliction responds to the work we will be doing.  I give her kudos for taking the first step on rebuilding her capabilities.

Who do you know that has an affliction and does nothing other then whine about how it detrimentally effects their life? Perhaps they could use this woman’s story to help get them moving in a positive direction.

  1. Good Article. Great to hear someone like this can get some help from Tai Chi.


  2. Thanks Doug.. the number of people who can benefit from this type of exercise is enormous. It is the getting them to take action that is hard. So many have no motivation to make the effort to help themselves.


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