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A Form of Tai Chi for the Elderly with Limited Mobility

 

Narrator: This is Science Today. Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that's been around for some 2,000 years, yet it's only been fairly recently that it's been studied scientifically and found to have various health benefits, including stress-reduction and better agility. Now, researchers at UCLA have found that a Westernized version of tai chi, called tai chi chih, can improve sleep in the elderly. Dr. Michael Irwin says even patients with limited mobility can benefit from the exercises.

Irwin: Even though people cannot stand, we can still teach these movements because it is a movement and moving essentially your feet and your arms slowly and concentrating on a position of your foot and then moving that to the other foot and back and forth. And along with that extension of the leg extremity, there is a movement of the arm and then extension of the other extremity and movement of the arm. So, that kind of regularization of movement can even be practiced while people are sitting.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.