View Full Version : promoting Tai Chi for backpain

11-14-2004, 06:06 PM
To all old and prospective members of the Forum!

I try to promote Tai Chi for backpain against the powerful giants pilates and yoga, quite a hard task. Marc has posted an interesting LBP story on the previous thread, would you mind copying this into this thread? Also I remember Elan posting an article in Paul's newsletter. Would you mind posting some success story on this thread, so I could circulate it to potential candidates?

Yoga has a promotor like Madonna and I am looking for a live-size quality poster of David Carradine or Dr. Paul Lam, or any ***y person doing Tai Chi. Does anybody know of any poster of David C in Tai Chi posture?

Do you have any live-size poster of you practicing Tai Chi which i can order? I would like to hang it in the entrance of the school to catch the attention. Do you know a web link where i can view the abstracts from the conference?

There are quite a few advantages of Tai Chi against pilates. TCA e.g. is as simple, has muscle toning and strengthening effect, can be practiced vertical as well as horizontal(lying for the disabled). The slightly bent hip and leg positions will result in the right resistance training for the quads and abdominals.Some pilates postures affects the iliopsoas(muscle connecting back and abdominal) which may strain the spinal cord. Apart from this, it is static and less effective on the cardiorespiratory system.

Any suggestion or healing story of back pain? There were quite a few stories which has been erased by the big bang.

11-14-2004, 06:11 PM

I have to clear up some muddy water against claims that Tai Chi does not have any muscle strengthening effect and serves merely as relaxing slow exercise for older adults. Any suggestions?

11-14-2004, 06:17 PM
Just to add that although scarce and somewhat biased, Tai Chi does have a few scientific studies. There is nothing I could find about pilates.

Marc Heyvaert
11-14-2004, 11:30 PM
Originally posted by soraya
. Marc has posted an interesting LBP story on the previous thread, would you mind copying this into this thread?

Here it comes :


I have very good experience with lower back pain and TJQ myself.

When I was in my 20's I suffered from back pain regularly. The lack of physical exercise (office job) and being overweight was certainly no help. I had a good bed and matress, that helped but not always. Then in 1986 I started with TJQ, later I was heavily into external wushu styles, but I had to stop this because heavy training with jumps and leg-swings (changquan) is definitely not good. But TCC has always helped me

Now I have rarely pain, sometimes a bit of stiffness in the morning that vanishes after half an hour or so. Also I find that gentle training, even with some backpain always helps and I have often started a training with some pain to end it pain free. (Incidentally this has been my experience for som other problems as well, like headche ).

I see two reasons for the positive effect of TJQ on back problems (there are probably more). (1) The exercise, with the gentle turning motions on the back reinforces and rebalances the fascia structure, thereby stregthening the overall back-structure, so that part of the body weight and other forces that are generally acting on the vertebra (and the nerves) is being absorbed via other ways. (2) You work a lot on overall body structure in TCC thereby acquiring 'peng' and at the same time you become very aware about the position of your body in 3D space. Everything you do is done with a certain awareness that a non practicioner doesn't have. So when you work you are very aware of your body structure and you know exactly what you are doing, so the danger signals are not ignored. If after doing a certain work-routine for a while (e.g. loading some bricks into a truck) you feel that your back has enough, you willstand up strecht a bit, rest, perhaps postpone what you are doing till the next day, or continue after lunch or something else. Sometimes you don't have a choice...I have had moments were I felt that I had to finish the job that I started (clipping a hedge at my mother's is a notorious example), but then doing some gentle taijiquan afterwards has always helped me.




I would like to add this : Currently I don't feel there are things that I can't do anymore. So apart from some stiffness from time to time I don't consider myself as someone with LBP. The only restriction I impose myself is about digging in the garden, I can do that for half an hour at most (but it's all heavy clay soil over here, so probably half an hour is max for most people).

I agree that TJQ has great potential in helping people with back pain, but in order for it to be effective, teaching it would be very time consuming and it should be intesive, ideally in a one on one setting, like kinesitherapy.

11-15-2004, 08:41 AM

Tai chi per se, will not but the postural integrity within the various essential criteria in Chengfu 10 points, or zhanzhuang by itself MAY be more effective than the form.

Weak stomach muscles can increase back pain as abdominal integrity (lack of exercise, adbominal adiposity, etc) is lacking so the back compensates, and moreso if proper postural criteria is non-existant.

11-15-2004, 06:11 PM
Unfortunately the normal consumer is not into hard work with Tai Chi. Paul Lam has found the right niche to promote TCA to the general fitness public. They expect minimum work, low cost and quick result which can be felt physically like pilates. Pilates is floor-based only, not something I would like to do. But people use rings and resistance devices which makes them feel their muscles straight away.

What I do to promote:

1. Tai Chi is standing but can be performed floor-based for the disabled or injured. People who don't like horizontal positions are far better off. TC is NOT just a "relaxing thing"

2. Just a super simple form like TCB, Open/close kua or Sil LUm Tao(Wing Chun). Teach just one of them at first, later can be varied

3. Make them feel their muscles by reinforcing them to slightly bend their hips(kua) and knees. Arthritic and other conditions excluded.