An Introduction to Tai Chi for Arthritis

Youville House and Youville Place will each host a special presentation in February, introducing the Tai Chi for Arthritis program. Led by Phyllis Rittner, a certified Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor, these presentations will introduce the basic concepts of Tai Chi, Qigong, and the application of these ancient disciplines in treating the joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Developed in 1998 by Dr. Philip Lam and a team of medical experts, Tai Chi for Arthritis uses a 12-step “Sun Style” Tai Chi, along with modified Qigong based exercises. This method has been recommended by the Center for Disease Control as an alternative therapy for arthritis that may reduce chronic pain, improve balance and increase flexibility. According to Rittner, this program “caters to a wide range of physical abilities. No one is ever excluded due to physical limitations as everyone participates according to their own comfort level through individual modifications.”

A free, weekly Tai Chi for Arthritis course may be offered at Youville following this presentation, based on the level of interest expressed by residents. If you are interested in what Tai Chi can do to alleviate or reduce your arthritis, register for one of the talks below:

Youville Place: Wednesday, February 11th at 2:00 PM

Youville House: Friday, February 13th at 2:00 PM

About Arthritis

Arthritis affects joints throughout the body, in a variety of ways. Symptoms can range from slight joint pain and stiffness to severe physical disability. Approximately one in five U.S. adults live with some form of arthritis.

The most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage in a joint wears away causing the bones to deteriorate. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the lining surrounding the joint, known as the synovial membrane. The resulting inflammation of this lining causes pain, bone erosion and in some cases joint deformity.

Other than age, a variety of risk factors have been linked to arthritis, including family history, obesity, and repetitive physical strain on a joint. While there is no cure, there are many different ideas about how to alleviate the painful symptoms.