ASK THE EXPERT – As seen in the Surprise Independent, May 6, 2015

Carol Ann HenritzeTai chi is an ancient martial art that has survived for centuries because of its many health benefits. It focuses on slow movement and deep breathing, designed to integrate the mind and body into one. Tai chi teachers demonstrate a gentle series of flowing, circular movements, which class members imitate.

It’s non-competitive, easy to learn and can be adapted to each person’s abilities and needs.

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Many hospitals and clinics in China use tai chi in concert with conventional medicine to help patients recover. A growing body of evidence proves the merits of tai chi, from improved balance and flexibility, to increased circulation and breathing to improved mental focus and reduced stress. Research suggests it also may boost our immune system, energy level and improve the functioning of our internal organs, including our digestive tract. Tai chi also seems to help relieve chronic pain and improve sleep.

The American Medical Association recognizes tai chi as an effective low-impact exercise program.

Tai chi is excellent for all ages but the slow, low-impact, relaxing yet aerobic movements make it ideally suited for older adults who may have physical ailments. owever, if you have not exercised in a long time, talk to your doctor before taking tai chi. In today’s fast-paced life, tai chi can help us calm down, rejuvenate and become more
aware of the joys of living.

Carol-Ann Henritze has been practicing tai chi for 20 years and teaching it for eight. She teaches several “Easy Tai Chi/Qigong” classes at the Sun Health Center
for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, Arizona. For more information, or to register for a class, call 623-455-5633 or go to www.sunhealth.org/.

Information provided in the section is from a multidisciplinary team of Sun Health professionals at the Center for Health and Wellbeing, based in Surprise, Arizona. However, it should not be a substitute for medical advice from your physician. To submit a question for consideration, email besunhealthy@sunhealth.org.

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