Stroke Rehabilitation and Taoist Tai Chi® arts
If you have had a stroke, whether recently or many years ago, you understand that strokes can cause a myriad of problems depending on what part of the brain was affected. Trouble with balance, coordination, weakness, speech, vision, cognition, and mood can all be part of the many challenges of recovery. Most importantly, a stroke can seriously affect one’s enjoyment of life. Fortunately, research into tai chi and stroke rehabilitation shows that tai chi can help. Taoist Tai Chi® practice enhances neuroplasticity, as the relationship between body movement and the brain builds new neural pathways. With Taoist Tai Chi® practice many people have found they become stronger, more balanced and coordinated and that they move more flexibly and freely. They make gains in function that they never expected and find they have more energy and a feeling of lightness and well-being.
Recovery from 9 Strokes - One Person’s Story of Improved Quality of Life through Taoist Tai Chi® practice
My name is Sasha. During a holiday I had nine strokes. I couldn’t stand, walk, talk, see or eat. I had to start all over again. Taoist Tai Chi® arts has helped me so much – given me my life back!
How Does it Work?
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 can be adapted to allow everyone to experience profound change and development.
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
- Systematic Reviews of tai chi indicate “good evidence for the benefits of tai chi for people rehabilitating from strokes.”
Huston, P. and McFarlane, B. (2016). Health benefits of Tai Chi: What is the evidence? Canadian Family Physician, 62, 881-90.
- More than 6000 of 12,000 Taoist Tai Chi®, arts practitioners across Canada responded to a National Health Questionnaire.
- 96% reported improved balance
- 84% reported improved mobility
- “Our meta-analysis found that whether or not it was used in conjunction with conventional rehabilitation therapy, there was evidence that Tai Chi could improve activities of daily living, limb motor function, balance, and walking ability in stroke survivors.
- Furthermore, several studies reported improvements in different kinds of mental disorders with the use of Tai Chi.
- These results showed that stroke survivors receiving Tai Chi as rehabilitation in the experimental group recovered better compared with those receiving only conventional rehabilitation therapy in the control group.”
Lyu D, Lyu X, Zhang Y et al. Tai Chi for Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Front Physiol. 2018;9:983. Published 25 July 2018
What are people recovering from strokes saying about Taoist Tai Chi® arts?
“I started for back problems. I have been pain free for 11 years. I often forget I had a stroke last December. I have regained 100% of the mental and physical loss through the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® [arts]!”
– Dave, St. Catharines, Canada
“My stroke was caused by high blood pressure and stress. Taoist Tai Chi® practice helps lower my blood pressure and is very calming because it puts me in the moment.”
– Alice, Haida Gwaii, Canada
“My use of Taoist Tai Chi® practice to accelerate recovery from a stroke, started in the hospital concurrent with in-house therapies. My need for outpatient therapies was greatly reduced by increasing participation in Taoist Tai Chi® arts classes.”
– Steve, Sudbury, Canada
“Since having a stroke over a year ago, my balance and memory was not the same. I found the repetitive movements of Taoist Tai Chi® arts have increased my ability to remember more and retain new memories. The gentle, slow and controlled movements are effective in improving my balance. Taking the time to practice Taoist Tai Chi® arts regularly has been a great stress reliever, allowing me to experience more positive and happier moods. I am grateful for the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts in my healing journey after the stroke and feel that Taoist Tai Chi® practice [would be] beneficial to other stroke survivors.”
– Mary, Haida Gwaii, Canada
“Taoist Tai Chi® practice has been positive in my recovery and ongoing rehabilitation after suffering a major stroke in January of 2016. I joined about 6 months after the stroke at which time I was using a walker and within a few months I abandoned it. The help, instruction and motivation I have received at Taoist Tai Chi® arts classes has not only helped me in walking again but in thinking of myself as a survivor not a victim.”
– Brian, Surrey, Canada
“I am a person who was used to participating in many sports and exercise activities. I found being unable to continue these activities after having a stroke that left me with very poor balance quite hard. I found Taoist Tai Chi® arts an excellent discipline that suited my condition. I enjoy being part of a group participating together, some having similar physical problems, and being treated with enthusiasm, non-judgmentally. I enjoy learning a new discipline and getting into ‘the zone’, similar to long distance running or swimming.”
– Margaret, Parksville, Canada