Tai Chi for Arthritis Class Now Offered at Peaceful Postures

By Lura Jackson

 

Our community is no stranger to the pains of arthritis, a condition exacerbated by the long, cold winters and damp springs. While many are inclined to seek medications for relief, there are complementary physical activities that can dramatically lessen the debilitating pains of arthritis and related ailments. One such activity is Tai Chi for Arthritis, a specially-developed program designed for individuals with chronic health problems. That program is now available for those in the Calais area through the efforts of instructor Christine Morris.

The class does not require a high level of mobility and can even be geared to those who feel more comfortable sitting than standing. “The integration of mind and body, fluid movements, controlled breathing, and mental concentration are the essential principles,” explains Morris. “The focus is to enable our qi (pronounced chee), or life force, to flow strong and smooth throughout the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is our qi that is essential for our health and vitality.”

Morris is a professionally trained clinical social worker specializing as a Behavioral Health Consultant and a mental health therapist. In her role as a member of a patient’s care team, she encounters many individuals who struggle with chronic conditions that negatively impact their quality of life. “Whether it is chronic pain, arthritis, diabetes, or weight management, these conditions can often make physical activity challenging.” Morris began researching ways that she could assist her patients and improve her own health, and in the course of that research she was introduced to Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health Institute. Not long after that, she was given the opportunity to become a certified instructor for the Tai Chi for Arthritis program through the Eastern Area Agency on Aging. It is in that capacity that Morris now offers a weekly class at Peaceful Postures on North Street.

The program is not just limited to arthritis sufferers, although it is specifically designed to ease the associated pain of the disease. “Tai Chi for Health programs are designed to enhance qi, therefore practice of the forms not only improves the specific condition each program addresses, but also benefits almost all aspects of health. Numerous studies have shown tai chi improves muscular strength, flexibility, fitness, improve immunity, relieve pain and improve quality of life.”

No experience is necessary to participate in the program. The class is offered Monday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 at 263 North Street in Calais. There is a fee, all of which goes to the continuation of programs by the Eastern Area Agency on Aging in Washington County. It is not necessary to register. To contact Peaceful Postures, call 454-1185.