An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville

Tai Chi for Arthritis

What Is It?

Developed by Dr. Paul Lam at the Tai Chi for Health Institute (TCHI), the program utilizes Tai Chi’s Sun style for its ability to improve relaxation, balance and its ease of use for older adults. The movements are taught to both left and right sides and with turns to move forward and backward to improve mobility and offer a variety of combinations.

Classes offer a minimum of 16 hours of tai chi lessons one hour per week for 16 weeks or two hours per week for eight weeks.

Participants are encouraged to practice the tai chi program at home for half an hour daily, at least four days per week. Naturally, practice longer within the participant’s comfort zone is even better.

Who should attend a Tai Chi for Arthritis class?

Adults with or without arthritis, rheumatic diseases or related musculoskeletal conditions. The program is appropriate for people with mild, moderate and severe joint involvement and back pain. It is also appropriate for adults without arthritis who have a higher risk of falling

What are the components of A Matter of Balance?

Tai Chi for Arthritis is led by a TCHI Board certified instructor, with each session including the following:

  • Warm-up and cool-down exercises
  • One or two movements per lesson, progressively leading to completing the six basic core movements and six advanced extension movements
  • Breathing techniques
  • Tai Chi principles including those relating to improving physical and mental balance

Movements are performed at a higher stance to make it easier for older participants and those with arthritis. Movements can be modified to accommodate mobility issues for any participant and can be done seated as a starting exercise.

Tai Chi for Arthritis has been shown to:

  • Improve balance
  • Increase muscular strength
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve psychological health
  • Decrease pain
  • Prevent falls
Register for this Workshop