Growing Awareness of Tai Chi for Arthritis

If you, like me, suffer from any of the 100 different types of Arthritis you should have by now heard of the great lengths that Arthritis Ireland have gone towards making various types of exercise more easier for us all. As a Tai Chi instructorand sufferer of osteoarthritis, I am on a personal crusade to raise public awareness on how to lessen the effects of this ailment.

025As part of Arthritis Ireland’s National‘Exercise Made Easy’programme, held at the Rochestown Park Hotel, in Cork recently, it was gratifying to see Tai Chi classes listed among walking clubs and Zumba classes, grabbing some attention.

Opening the show, psychologist and Irish TV Celebrity from Operation Transformation, Eddie Murphy, gave an inspiring motivational talk and he poised questions on how participants thought about approaching exercise. It was food for thought and he concluded his speech with invitations to the various taster classes on offer. Grabbing my trusty stereo, and quickly setting up shop there and then, I was ready.

While Tai Chi may not be hair-raising stuff for your average fitness enthusiast to be frantically reporting their daily sweaty progress on Facebook, I was pleasantly surprised when over twenty people jammed into one of the rooms that was set aside for a Tai Chi “taster” class.

My new-found class-mates were all ages, so negative stereotypes were pushed to one side, and buoyed by their contagious enthusiasm we all “made exercise easy”.

We invested the thirty minutes on exercising body and mind, on reducing stress, on developing inner peace and tranquility and most importantly, of all inner balance.

When you have a room of people fully integrated, understanding the concept of “Energy Flow” and when you become so absorbed in the activity you simply lose track of time. Painters, musicians and martial artists refer to this feeling as “being in the zone”.

Banishing any stereotypes in relation to Tai Chi and Chi Gung calls for a wider awareness, but interest is growing. When I started Tai Chi to cope with my own arthritis, I never envisaged that today I would be helping others. Even if you were never one for exercise, just a few light arm swings, hip circles and a good few deep breaths every morning will stimulate you to add more. It will prove beneficial to your long time health and save money on your health care bills as well.

Awareness in the real greatness of Tai Chi, however faint now, I can carefully predict will continue to attract a more cross section of the community. I would love to offer Tai Chi classes for senior groups in Cork or the Munster Area so if you are interested call me on 087 2704478.

Stay safe and enjoy your daily exercise.

Frank Murphy

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