An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville | Statement of Compassion & Inclusion

Tai Chi for Arthritis & Fall Prevention

""Developed by Dr. Paul Lam at the Tai Chi for Health Institute (TCHI), Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention is based on Sun style tai chi. Sun tai chi is proven to have many health benefits, including increasing strength, balance and awareness, which can help reduce the possibility of a fall.

What Is It?

Developed by Dr. Paul Lam at the Tai Chi for Health Institute (TCHI), the program utilizes Sun style tai chi. Sun tai chi utilizes mindful movements to improve relaxation, includes a common follow-step, which improves balance and strength, and has a higher stance, which allows the movements to be more comfortable and safer 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.  A minimum of 16 hours of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention is recommended to achieve the health benefits published in the research literature.  In NC, we require that this workshop be offered for 16 hours so that participants can attend 11 hours over 16 sessions to achieve the recommended benefit. Programs can meet one hour per week for 16 weeks or 2 hours per week for 8 weeks.

Participants are encouraged to practice the Tai Chi program at home for half an hour daily, at least four days per week.  Naturally, practicing Tai Chi longer within the participant’s comfort zone will improve the positive outcomes.

Who should attend a Tai Chi for Arthritis & Fall Prevention program?

  • Adults who want to maintain and improve their balance and strength or who have a concern about falls;
  • Adults with mild, moderate and severe joint involvement and back pain;
  • Adults with arthritis, rheumatic diseases or related musculoskeletal conditions;
  • Adults without arthritis who might be at a higher risk of falling;
  • Adults who want to reduce stress, improve awareness, and maintain independence.

What are the components of Tai Chi for Arthritis & Fall Prevention?

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention 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 & Fall Prevention has been shown to:

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


For more detailed information from the Tai Chi for Health Institute, please click HERE.

NCOA’s Fall Prevention Programs Video

The National Council on Aging created this video as an overview of several evidence based programs offered nation wide. The video team visited Hendersonville and Asheville to take footage of programs in action. Click to see North Carolina community members featured!