Medicating with Tai Chi: January 6, 2011

As the sun streams through the windows of HealthPark, Tai Chi participants begin their week with medication in motion.

"It's a freedom. It acquaints you with your body in the fact that its slow motions. It gives your muscles control over the move," says class participant, Herman Beyers. The 82 year old and his wife attend this SHARE Club fitness class every week. "I had an operation on my back which I was leaning over. I called it the old man walk; and I needed help; very bad."

"We spend a lot of time with body mechanics and with balance and basically what we teach is proper body alignment and proper movement and shifting the body," says Class Instructor, Dr. Marc Rowe.

In fact, the movements and mental stamina that stem from Tai Chi have become a form of medication for some people. "Participants in our program have come back and told me that they've gone to their physician and physicians often say, 'We don't know what you're doing but keep doing it,'" adds Instructor, Lee Wedlake.

"Lee is just fantastic. He is very understanding and he has a way of teaching that just flows into you," says Herman. "Beginning of the year, when I started this, I could not stand on one foot. And due to him and his helper Mark, and the instructions I had after the operation, I stand at the sink. They showed me how to balance and with his help, he's taught me how to balance and especially Mark, too."

Tai Chi consists of slow and continuous movements that focus on connecting the body and the mind. Since it's self-paced, participants can move at their own speed. Instructors design moves to meet specific physical needs. To learn more about this program, you can call 239-772-6765.