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Extension service offers Tai Chi classes

Extension service offers Tai Chi classes

Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2010 8:01 pm

For centuries, Tai Chi has been practiced in China as an effective exercise for physical and mental well-being.
The Arthritis Foundation has launched a joint-safe Tai Chi program designed to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis, as more and more people turn to alternative approaches to address chronic conditions. Tai Chi from the Arthritis Foundation is designed for people of all ages seeking a joint-safe routine, but particularly those with mild to moderate arthritis. Tai Chi is especially suitable for people with arthritis because its movements are slow and gentle and the level of exertion can be adjusted to suit each person’s physical condition.
Benita Giffin, Obion County’s University of Tennessee Extension Family and Consumer Science agent, will offer Tai Chi for Arthritis classes in January at the Obion County Public Library conference room. She is recognized as a certified Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor by the Tennessee Arthritis Foundation and Dr. Paul Lam, an internationally renowned Tai Chi master who practices family medicine and teaches this method in Australia. Mrs. Giffin obtained certification through the instructor/leader course led by Shelia Rae. Ms. Rae, teacher at the University of Memphis is a gold and bronze medal award winner in the International Tai Chi competition in Dallas in 2003. She is also certified by Dr. Lam to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis for applying instructors and participating clients.
Tai Chi for Arthritis is known for its many health benefits. The slow, graceful, meditative movements pay dividends in increased strength, muscle tone, enhanced range of motion, flexibility, breathing skills and coordination. Tai Chi for Arthritis has been documented to relieve pain associated with arthritis. Along with these benefits, it can improve concentration, memory and improve your ability to cope with stress and depression. There are several styles of Tai Chi. Dr. Paul Lam has developed a special Sun style form for those with arthritis. The form is endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation for those who suffer from arthritis and has preventive health benefits for all. It is also helpful for improving a person’s balance and in preventing osteoporosis. Tai Chi exercises the mind as well as the body. The slow movements uplifts mood as well. Qigong exercises will also be implemented during Tai Chi for Arthritis sessions. Qigong is a sequence of slow, gentle exercises that focus on breathing. Qigong improves blood circulation. It also increases absorption and utilization of oxygen and fosters a calm, relaxed mental and emotional state.
Anyone may participate in Tai Chi for Arthritis, even if they do not have arthritis. Dress comfortably for moving with ease and arrive with an open mind. Shoes most suitable are low heeled, flexible tennis shoes. Classes will use the full hour of class time; however this hour will pass quickly, Mrs. Giffin said. All movements made are in the standing position. Many warm up movements, the beginner six Tai Chi for Arthritis movements and Qigong exercises will be executed for eight class sessions. After class completion, participants will be able to use these techniques every day, if they wish for the rest of their lives.
The fee will be $48 per person, non-refundable, for the eight sessions, which will be held Jan. 11, 14, 18, 20, 24, 26, 27 and 28 from 10-11 a.m. Checks should be made payable to UT.
To register for Tai Chi for Arthritis, call 885-3742 or e-mail To pay for the class, visit the UT office located on the corner of Church and Third streets in Union City. Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.

Published in The Messenger 12.23.10

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