Tai Chi Might be Helpful for Stroke Survivors
Tai chi is an ancient form of exercise involving very gentle movement, mental concentration, combined with relaxation. In a new study, researchers discovered that stroke survivors who practice tai chi had fewer falls compared with others who participated in exercise programs for the elderly as part of the stroke recovery regimen.
Findings of the study were presented on February 6, 2013 at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Honolulu. Researchers conducted a three month experiment where they studied 89 stroke survivors. Those who practiced tai chi had the least number of falls.
A vast majority of stroke survivors end up having balance difficulties. This can be attributed to many different things – vision problems, inner ear problems or weakness on one side of the body. Regardless of the reason, stroke survivors seem to be fairly prone to falling. In fact, research shows they experience as many as seven times the number of falls as healthy adults. Tai chi, with its gentle and slow movements, helps stroke survivors feel steadier and stronger. It combines both body and mind strengthening – often described as “moving meditation” says Ruth Taylor-Piliae (assistant professor, University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson). Taylor-Piliae explains that in order to perform tai chi, “You have to be present, you have to be in the moment. Some of this may translate into real life with stroke survivors becoming more aware of what they are doing.” And this may result in better self-awareness and attentiveness which results in fewer falls.
As with any exercise program, a physician should be consulted before beginning the exercise routine.
Home Care Assistance of Scottsdale supports the Balanced Care Method of caring for their clients – promoting healthy mind, body and spirit. If you or a loved one requires Post-Stroke Care or if you would like a copy of our Patient Guide for Post-Stroke Care please contact us at 480 499-4944.