Healthy Heart and Cardiac Rehabilitation with Taoist Tai Chi® arts
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or have had recent cardiac surgery, you may be feeling weak, anxious, perhaps even depressed. Certainly cardiac challenges can deeply affect your enjoyment of life.
Fortunately, research and anecdotal evidence show that tai chi helps people improve their heart health, better manage heart disease, recover from cardiac surgery and live fuller lives. With Taoist Tai Chi® practice many people have found they increase energy, reduce stress and anxiety and dramatically improve their mood. As well, the physical movements improve cardiovascular and muscular strength and circulation, reducing the risk of developing heart problems and minimizing problems that may occur. Training in these arts gives people a way to maintain healthy heart function.
People practising Taoist Tai Chi® arts also find they have better balance and flexibility, and a feeling of lightness and well-being.
One Person’s Story of Recovering from Cardiac Surgery
My name is Sylvia Berg. I wasn’t feeling very well and it turned out that the reason was my aortic artery was 97% blocked. I was offered cardiac surgery and I found I had to really think about it before making the decision. Taoist Tai Chi® arts gave me the courage to go through with it. I am grateful because I would be dead now without it. I wanted a good outcome so with what little energy I had I did my Taoist Tai Chi® practice. The surgery went exceptionally well and I was up on my feet walking further and out of the hospital quicker than other people. It is the focus and being centred in what we do that has really helped me. Now I am a healthy, happy person!
Another Story: Healing after Bypass Surgery with Taoist Tai Chi® practice
“My name is Cathy and I have had a dual pacemaker since 2005. In July of 2016 when I was walking 18 holes of golf I needed to stop and massage my breast bone because it ached so I decided to have my pacemaker checked. Everything checked out fine, but when I went out to my car I had strong pain so I walked back into the hospital and had a heart attack in the ER. I had 4 blockages and needed a quadruple bypass.
The day after my surgery I used a Taoist Tai Chi® arts don-yu to get out of the ICU bed and walked to the wheelchair. Thank goodness I had 17 years of don-yus in the bank! The physio called me her star pupil and told me I could do any tai chi I wanted. I started with gentle arm movements immediately.
In October I attended a Taoist Tai Chi® arts week and have not looked back since.”
– Cathy, Niagara, Canada
In this video Cathy discusses how she used Taoist Tai Chi® arts to help her recover from surgery. Taoist Tai Chi® practice gives her energy and the gentle movement significantly helped in healing scar tissue after the splitting of her breastbone.
- Systematic Reviews of tai chi indicate “good evidence for the benefits of tai chi for cardiac rehabilitation.” and “excellent evidence for the benefits of tai chi for aerobic capacity and balance.”
Huston P. and McFarlane, B. (2016). Health benefits of tai chi: What is the evidence? Canadian Family Physician, 62(11), 881-890
- Tai Chi groups showed a large and significant improvement in aerobic endurance compared with both active and non-active control interventions.
- Tai Chi groups also showed a significantly lower level of anxiety and depression, and significantly better quality of life compared with non-active control groups.
- Significant effects of Tai Chi have been found in improving aerobic endurance and psychosocial well-being among coronary heart disease patients.
- Tai Chi could be a cost-effective and safe exercise option in cardiac rehabilitation.
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Effects of Tai Chi-based cardiac rehabilitation on aerobic endurance, psychosocial well-being, and cardiovascular risk reduction among patients with coronary heart disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis 2018 Apr;17(4):368-383
What are practitioners recovering from cardiac challenges saying about Taoist Tai Chi® arts?
As a heart transplant recipient, I am keenly aware of how important it is to manage stress, both physical and emotional. When I experience stress, I literally feel the muscles in my neck and shoulders tense up, and I feel that my heart beats faster and my blood pressure seems to creep up. Taoist Tai Chi® practice has helped me very much in managing my stress. After a long week at work, I attend my Taoist Tai Chi® arts classes. The gentle movements and the focus needed to practise are meditative. I feel my muscles relax and my heart rate calm down. I feel at peace after each class.
– Carrie, Vancouver, Canada
Western medicine helped a lot after my heart attack 10 years ago, but Taoist Tai Chi® practice made, and continues to make, a huge contribution. One of the cardiologists at St. Paul’s Hospital was pleased that I was doing Tai Chi and ordered me to “do Tai Chi every day”. One of his colleagues observed that I’d regained my strength faster than anyone else who had come through the hospital’s Health Heart Program. I’m in my 70s now and I’m noticing that I’m increasingly more flexible than many people my age. I have better balance and stronger legs than most, and I’m a stronger walker, thanks to Taoist Tai Chi® arts.
– Bill, Vancouver, Canada
How does Taoist Tai Chi® practice help?
Taoist Tai Chi® arts involve a full range of motion with deep stretching and continuous turning of the spine. They exercise the whole physiology including muscular, skeletal, and circulatory systems, as well as tendons, joints, connective tissue and organs.
This whole body approach has a profound effect on our health, increasing strength, flexibility and resilience, whatever our condition.
Taoist Tai Chi® arts are also a form of moving meditation that has a deep effect on the brain, calming and clearing the mind.
Move Confidently – Be Active – Be Social