Tai Chi & Qigong as Modern Healthcare

step-by-step instruction into how to expand Tai Chi & Qigong into Mainstream Healthcare


PBS affiliate KCPT TV on Tai Chi medical research and on how Tai Chi is a powerful part of modern healthcare at the University of Kansas Hospital. This below video can be a tool to help other teachers:

 

Harvard Medical School Researchers

Hold Series of Tai Chi as Medicine Lectures in celebration of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (Scroll down for Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi book link)

University of Kansas

University of Kansas Hospital's Media Department on Tai Chi as Adjunct Health Therapy

What follows is a step-by-step explanation of how we did it locally, making Tai Chi and Qigong as valued treatment options for departments of the largest healthnetworks in our area. We'll start with the below overview and then break down each step below.

  • Get a Tai Chi and/or Qigong class started through local hospitals' fitness center or the wellness program of your local hospitals.
  • Get video testimonials. Once you get a program going, and your students start to see health results, lower high blood pressure, loss of chronic pain, normalized blood sugar levels, less anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, etc. -- Shoot video testimonials of your students to create a youtube video proving the efficacy of your classes at the hospital.
  • Also, you can have students fill out a form when they begin your classes, describing challenges they face. Then have them fill out reports every 8 weeks or so, to monitor their progress and improvements. This will help you decide who to video as well, who will provide the most dramatic video testimonial.
  • Educate your local health professionals, hospital departments about the emerging medical research on Tai Chi, Qigong, and Meditation.

Get Started

Get a Tai Chi and/or Qigong class started through local hospitals' fitness center or the wellness program of your local hospitals. At this point it should be clarified that hospitals are not looking for martial arts classes. Most people hearing about Tai Chi and Qigong these days are hearing about it in health and fitness magazines, and many coming to hospital classes are doing so because they face a health challenge, or are simply overwhelmed by modern stress. You will have to be cognizant of your student's capabilities.
When I was young, I used to do extreme positions to try to impress my students with my Tai Chi skill. Today I don't want to impress, I want to help them find healing from a Tai Chi and Qigong lifestyle.

How do you know who to contact at the hospital?

You don't at first. You have to explore. Many hospitals offer wellness and fitness classes, so ask the receptionist who (or what department) runs those classes at their hospital or health network, and contact them about making Tai Chi or Qigong part of their offerings.
Don't assume they will know what Tai Chi or Qigong are, many will think you want to start a karate class, and as I mentioned most people and most health networks are not interested in combat classes. They seek healing benefits.
So you may need to have some quick facts about Tai Chi and Qigong Medical Research, so you can help the "fitness/health class coordinator or director" see why Tai Chi or QG would be PERFECT for their institution.
The many already have a class in this area. If you feel your approach offers something unique, let them know. My Tai Chi and Qigong classes focus heavily on meditation, so I have gotten classes going in health networks and institutions that already had a Tai Chi class, but one that was more physically focused.

Where do I get Tai Chi and Qigong Medical Research to use for this?

If you subscribe to our free Ezine email newsletters at WorldTaiChiDay.org you will have a lot of research already. If you didn't read those issues, you can go back to our Ezine Tai Chi and Qigong magazine archives to read past issues in several languages.

Also, you can utilize our WorldTaiChiDay.org Medical Research on Tai Chi and QG library, where we have nearly 100 common health challenges listed along with medical research showing how Tai Chi and/or QG can benefit those health issues, with links to the original articles.
Once you get into a hospital or health network to teach Tai Chi and/or QG, then focus on having fun and helping your students understand the medical research and the joy of these mind-body arts. We advise against macho approaches that test and strain students, and rather focus on loosening, breathing, and enjoying the sensation of motion and life energy. Help your students learn how to enjoy the sensations of Tai Chi and QG. Do not hurt them. Play with them. Teach them how to "play" Tai Chi and/or QG.
As your students begin to see health benefits they can measure or describe, you are ready for the next step.

 

Get video testimonials, and written testimonials of your student's health benefits.
Once you get a program going, and your students start to see health results, lower high blood pressure, loss of chronic pain, normalized blood sugar levels, less anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, etc. -- Shoot video testimonials of your students to create a youtube video proving the efficacy of your classes at the hospital.
If you or your students know video editing, you can create a short concise 4 or 5 minute video about your classes, titling it "Such-and-Such Hospital Patients See Big Health Gains from Such-and-Such Hospital's Tai Chi / QG Program."
Make the Tai Chi or QG program part of the hospital or health network, so that they see it as a source of pride, rather than competition to what they do. Everyone likes to be a drum-major, everyone likes to be cutting-edge and avant-garde. Tai Chi and QG are the new rising star in healthcare. Let your local hospitals find pride in being connected with the tools you offer patients to improve their lives.
If you do not know how to do video editing, check out Windows Movie Maker. It is a free program you can download off the internet, and it is easy to learn to use, and it can make pretty good videos.
Once you've created your video, you can use it as part of an advocacy project, trying to get a few minutes at various physicians' department meetings.
See a few examples of some videos we created using a combination of our University of Kansas Hospital's Tai Chi Meditation Program, and medical research summaries will expand on below. Note that each video was created for a different department setting.
The top one (to your right, entitled "University of Kansas Hospital Tai Chi Meditation Class for Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease") was created for a presentation we did for a Midwest Multiple Sclerosis annual symposium held on the Kansas University Medical School campus.
The video below that was created for a presentation we were commissioned to do for the Kansas University professionals and some families dealith with dementia. Our presentation was viewed at hospitals throughout the state of Kansas via a closed circuit TV system.
Below we will detail how to approach hospital and health network departments in the hope of doing more in depth presentations later.
Educate your local health professionals, hospital departments about the emerging medical research on Tai Chi, Qigong, and Meditation.
Why? You might ask. There are many reasons:
1) Having them refer patients to your classes held at their hospital,
2) Possibly stumbling across grant funding to fund the classes (pay your salary) so that the classes can be free and open to the public.
3) Maybe connecting with a like minded physician or department who would like to do research on people in your classes to measure benefits.
4) Pass out your business cards or brochures with your contact info and make sure everyone in the room knows you are available to do more in depth presentations on the medical research on Tai Chi and/or Qigong and also to expose health professionals in their departments to the actual Tai Chi and Qigong experience.
Most hospital departments have regular meetings, and if you try you may be able to get 5 or 10 minutes to make a quick pitch to the gathered physicians to convince them why they should send patients to your/their hospital's Tai Chi and/or QG classes.
You will not have much time. So be prepared. Physicians are over-worked, over-strained, and out of time. You have to have a very succinct handout with research citings about their health field and how Tai Chi / QG can benefit their patients. You can have more verbous back up pages to go behind the summary page on top, but make that summary page clear, short and easy to read quickly.
Explain to physicians that research show that Tai Chi is much more than a physical exercise, even though it provides the cardio vascular benefit of moderate impact aerobics and burns as many calories as surfing. It is the lowest impact exercise their is and it is accessbile to anyone. Even those in wheel-chairs can do modified forms of Tai Chi.
TELL THEM ABOUT THE "HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL GUIDE TO TAI CHI." In fact, lead with that. I think the biggest tool we ever had to pry open opportunities in hospitals and health networks is that Harvard Guide to Tai Chi. You, as a Tai Chi teacher can talk till your blue in the face and physicians may not react, but when Harvard Medical School talks, physicians often listen.
Tai Chi Guide

 

Read the Harvard guide, particularly the medical research. Know where to find different health issues, and how to point physicians and departments right to the pages they'd find of interest.

One thing we did was to pull together all the research we could find on Tai Chi for common health issues, and then get a listing of all the departments at the University of Kansas Hospital Departments, breaking research down by each department's field of interest.

If you find success in convincing physicians or departments to refer patients to your classes in their hospital or health network, reach out to the hospital magazine or media department to see if they'd like to do an article or video on the Tai Chi QG Program at their hospital. Use this outreach to say "every physician and patient at Such-and-Such Hospital must know about these classes, because emerging medical research shows that Tai Chi and/or Qigong can benefit virtually any health challenge people are facing."

Again, these hospital classes must have a gentle, accepting, low impact, healing approach. Students must be given a lot of leaway, a great deal of encouragement, and a good dose of fun. If people enjoy Tai Chi and Qigong, and do it to breathe, loosen, and play, they will keep coming back, and their lives will improve.

In these hospital settings many people's lives are serious enough, don't make Tai Chi and Qigong another grim serious thing. Let it be play and let class be playtime.

NOTE: I was a rigid "long form" advocate for many years of my teaching, insisting that the long tai chi form had to be learned if it was to beneficial.

A few years ago I was commissioned to create a Tai Chi and Qigong DVD for people dealing with Parkinson's Disease, and to tour the nation presenting for PD groups and associations. I learned that a Tai Chi long form was inaccesible for many, and I broke down and created a very short short form of about 6 movements, which we repeat over and over again, to make a long tai chi exercise with a very short form.

IT WORKED! The testimonial videos you see in the right column are nearly entirely benefits people have gotten from only the short form practice.

I encourage those launching Tai Chi and Qigong classes in hospital settings to create a very short 6 or 7 movement form. Mine is the first and last movements of our Guang Ping Tai Chi Long Form, which offers lateral (side to side) movement, front left, front right, left back, right back, movement, to give students a full motion experience.

We spend time in class on sitting qigong, breathing, visualization, relaxation meditation -- to bring our minds into our bodies, and our focus on our breathing and letting go of our grip on the day so the Qi or lightness can expand through us, lighten us and loosen us.

Testimonials on Tai Chi Meditation Classes at University of Kansas Hospital & KU Medical Center

University of Kansas

University of Kansas Hospital Tai Chi Meditation Class for Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease

Tai Chi, Qigong, Mind-Body Meditation Practices Myriad Benefits

Mind-body practices like Tai Chi, Qigong, and Meditation are proving to profoundly benefit people in every aspect of their lives: well-being; health; focus; and more.

Dealing with Various Health Issues

Interspersed with Medical Research Reflecting the Benefits Our Students are Seeing.

Tai Chi Medical Research Broken Down by Hospital Departments Interest