The Whole Health clinic at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) is a holistic approach to health care that focuses on overall health and well-being through different modalities of care like yoga, mindfulness, chiropractic, complementary and integrative care and much more.
Veterans of all ages and capabilities can participate in Whole Health and reap the many benefits it has to offer. To get involved, patients can speak with their primary care provider to learn how.
One of the many offerings from Whole Health is Tai Chi. Veteran Gerald Meyer shared his enthusiasm and appreciation for the Tai Chi sessions offered at TVHS and recommends other Veterans get involved. Watch what Meyer has to say about the class.
Short for t'ai chi chüan, Tai Chi is rooted in Chinese medicine and is thousands of years old. Tai Chi focuses on slow movements that come from martial arts and meditation. The goal is to calm the mind and body by repeating rhythmic choreography and breath work for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Veterans can expect some of the following benefits when doing Tai Chi:
- Relieves stress and anxiety: the meditative aspect of Tai Chi combined with the physical movement can help calm your mind, improve focus, and can even help trigger the release of feel-good endorphins.
- Boosts cognitive abilities: In addition to improving your mental well-being, Tai Chi has also been found to boost cognitive abilities. A 2013 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science stated that physical exercise, in general, improves cognitive function and researchers specifically recommended Tai Chi for elderly people since it’s a gentler and more accessible form of physical exercise that also combines mental exercises via repeated “choreography.”
- Increases flexibility and agility: Similar to yoga, Tai Chi often involves extensions of the body that can generally improve upon your flexibility and agility.
- Improves balance and coordination skills: In addition to improving flexibility and agility, the intricate “yin and yang” of Tai Chi movements can help you with balance and coordination.
- Enhances strength and stamina: As with any form of physical exercise, Tai Chi can build upon your existing strength and stamina. With ongoing practice, you might find you’re leaner, that your muscles are more defined, and that you’re able to exercise for longer periods of time.