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Teaching Wheelchair users Tai Chi
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Teaching Wheelchair users Tai Chi

 The Salem VAMC is one of 36 centers that offer wheelchair tai chi. Here's how:


In 2016, Zibin Guo began teaching Tai Chi to Veterans. He began teaching an adaptive program of the martial art to those in wheelchairs. The VAMC plans to offer this program to those in living facilities as well. 

The Tai Chi Master, Zibin Guo, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and well as a Fellowship at Harvard Medical. He says he has developed the program to train health care workers to use the program for Veterans. Guo also says that it is perfect for those who have a limited physical function. Guo developed the program for mind and body healing and is a healthy alternative for fitness. Tai Chi provides pure movement and is used to empower people, especially those with physical and psychological disabilities, or PTSD. 

While working in Tennessee, Guo had a Veteran join one of his classes with the aid of a cane after attending a couple of years in a wheelchair. Guo said that Tai Chi helped her to deal with pain and helped her to destress. Be advised though, Tai Chi is not just sitting in a chair. It's integrating the chair motion to the Tai Chi motion. Guo says that it's transforming the image of the chair into something else. 

If you attend a class at the Salen VA Med Canter, there will be trained providers who work as a team to engage the Vets with the adaptive wheelchair Tai Chi. Seventeen caregivers have been trained for this. They range from Rec. Therapists, Certified Occupational therapy Assistants, Physical Therapists, and their assistants, and even Social Workers. You will be in good hands and shouldn't have any worries. 

"I’ve spoken with suicidal patients who have told me it liberated their sense of negativity," Guo said. "And I’ve found that people who engage with it are more likely to have a proactive lifestyle.”

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Leave a Comment

  1. AustinCidric
    This is cool..
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  2. amymust101
    staying acctive helpss with mental health thiss is a good idea
    Log in to reply.
  3. giuliajones32
    People are in wheelchairs for many different reasons. The diseases and conditions that cause someone to be in need of a wheelchair causes me to think of certain people more compassionately, but not with pity. There's a BIG difference. Also, you say "people indicate" with the things they say to you.
    Log in to reply.
  4. Alexis
    This is very great! Thanks for sharing.
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