Researchers at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation have joined for a study focusing on the therapeutic effects of Wheelchair Tai Chi exercise on individuals with a significant physical disability.
To qualify for the study, participants, in one minute or less, must be unable to walk 50 feet or more independently, with an assistive device.
Participation will involve taking two free 45-minute Tai Chi classes each week, for eight weeks. The study will be conducted this July and August, during the late morning hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Classes will be held at the new Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital, located on the main campus in downtown Chattanooga.
Tai Chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise that has virtually no negative side affects. Tai Chi has traditionally been beneficial to cardio-respiratory function, immune capacity, mental control, flexibility, balance control, muscle strength, and reducing falls by the elderly. To date, there are no documented evaluations of the therapeutic effects of seated Tai Chi, which is a newly modified form of Tai Ji practice specifically designed for people with severe physical disabilities.
The purpose of the study is to identify a suitable, accessible, effective, and inexpensive exercise method for people with a physical disability. The study aims to prove if a seated Tai Chi exercise will contribute to the general physical well being, including resting heart rate, resting respiratory rate, and flexibility, of people who have a disability.
The study will also evaluate if the seated Tai Chi exercise program will promote improved static and dynamic sitting balance and improved respiratory mechanics. Researchers will be evaluating if the exercise helps the individual with a disability to improve their sense of mental health and well being, as well as determining the participants’ experience of using a wheelchair as their primary mode of locomotion.
Dr. Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist at UTC and a long time Tai Ji practitioner and teacher, has been working with the China Federation for People with Disabilities and Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee promoting a form of wheelchair Tai Chi he created. This effort has received some remarkable responses from the public, and currently, this form of seated Tai Chi has been promoted nationwide in China.
This proposed study is the first attempt to scientifically explore the potential health benefits seated Tai Chi offers to people with severe physical disabilities.
For more information on the benefits and qualifications for participants, please contact Guo by phone at 423/425-4442 or by email at email@example.com. Participants may also contact the Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital by phone at 423/634-1234 to sign up for the free classes.