Saturday, April 14, 2018

9 Reasons Tai Chi Reduces Pain and Promotes Health

Resource Shutterstock

The ancient Chinese dance-like practice of tai chi is a meditative movement form that provides many health benefits, and there is evidence that it helps people living with chronic pain conditions.

“Tai chi should be called "medication in motion.”


Bill Douglas, author of the best-selling tai chi book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tai Chi and Qigong”, developer of the Kansas University “Stress Reduction Program,” and founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is considered a Tai Chi and Qigong expert. In an interview, Bill tells Dr. Andrew Weil—on benefits— “students often comment about feeling a great sense of well-being, a sense of 'being here and now' rather than scattered and anxious. I’ve heard students say after a class that they feel like they just had a day at the spa.” He also tells Dr. Weil, "Many students also talk about relief from chronic pain."
Tai Chi:

1.     relieves stress
2.     promotes muscle health
3.     promotes flexibility
4.     gently stretches tender, contracted muscles
5.     promotes strength and improves joint function
6.     circulates lymph fluid important to boosting immune function
7.     improves balance
8.     provides positive feedback to our brain
9.     moves our focus away from pain

A 2016 meta analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials found tai chi is a viable complementary and alternative medicine for chronic pain conditions. And, a recent study (March 21, 2018) suggests tai chi is at least as beneficial for fibromyalgia as aerobic exercise, possibly more. 


The several styles of tai chi are named after the surname of their founder. The oldest style is Chen. Tai Chi Chen consists of low stances and powerful movements. The Yang family first became involved in the study of Tai Chi Chuan, which is the most common form of tai chi practiced in the west. Other forms include Wu, Hoa, and Sun style, though the Hoa style is seldom practiced today. You may also find combination styles of tai chi, which incorporate movements from more than one approach.  

chi= qi = ki = prana: Traditional Chinese medicine refers to our vital energy force as chi or qi. Japanese call it ki, and it is known as prana in the ayurvedic medical tradition of India.

Each tai chi style has something different to offer based on the teacher’s approach. 


It's important that we know what type of tai chi is right for us. Our choice should align with our physical abilities and goals and never feel stressful, quite the opposite. 

Each tai chi movement has purpose and a symbolic meaning. For instance, as we sink into our body we are opening our joints and relieving stress while building strength. The slow purposeful and graceful movements of tai chi give us the opportunity to make a mental and spiritual connection with our body and let the healing energy of chi heal our body, mind, and spirit. 

Easy Tai Chi Lesson from Bill Douglas

It’s important to experience movement and meditation for our health and practicing Tai Chi is a great way to do both. It is less likely to trigger a flare and it helps those of us with physical limitations stay as active and healthy as possible. Tai chi is one of my personal tools to combat physical and mental stress.

See what I have to say about tai chi in an interview I did for US News and World Report in "9 Strategies for Coping with Fibromyalgia."


Bill Douglas, wrote the foreword to our book (co-author Jeff Miller, PhD) Broken Body Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain, Winter Devotions and he had this to say  inside the cover of our book Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection:

“This integrative holistic approach to these conditions is what is needed throughout medicine today. Empowering us to become part of our own health and healing process is such a powerful approach to these conditions or any others. I applaud the authors, and hope they inspire others to follow their lead.

Additional Reading

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Balancing Pain and Illness through Poetry

All Eyes to the Sun © Celeste’s Photography

"Poetry is writing about yourself waiting to see what will show up, the words are the finger points of your soul.”

~Sandford Lyne, author of Writing Poetry from the Inside Out

Maintaining forward momentum in the face of pain, fatigue, and unpredictable symptoms can be challenging. In our book Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain, SPRING DEVOTIONS, we talk about inner expression through poetry and how it can help us cope with pain and fatigue. All our books have tips for writing for self-exploration. Poetry is one of those.




Poetry is often thought of as the conduit to our soul. For me, writing poetry heightens my senses and provides an alternative path that promotes mindfulness. The words I chose give my thoughts texture, making them palpable, at least to me. Writing poetry provides a beautiful detour, because unlike physical pain and illness, there are no boundaries, no limitations. We have unabashed freedom to explore and express ourselves using colors, shapes, and concepts we might not otherwise. 

I am in awe of the power of randomly chosen words and their ability to bring me peace. Whether I am working through a difficult situation or embracing the wonders of the world, I know when I'm done, I am connected to an inner being I only know through poetry.

I wrote a blog on how to write “I am” poem, which you can use as a template to write your own.



I love it when the words fly, coming together effortlessly, but that isn't always the case — at times — I have to put my words aside or work from a different angle. But that's why I love to do it.

I wrote this poem staring with four random words: truth, bird, broken, observe. It went through several transformations before I felt a deep meaning for myself. Some of my poems don't make a word of sense to others, but they don't need to. They are mine, just as your will be yours.

This Is My Truth © by Celeste Cooper

Like a bird with a broken wing,
I can stray off course, my flight pattern disrupted.
Wounded from the fall, I will not judge, because
As a wise owl, I observe, I accept, I understand—
Before I take flight, I need time to mend, plan a new course.
This is my truth.

Imperfection as clear as a broken mirror,
Though broken, goals are transformed.
Seedlings forced into maturity will not thrive.
Accepting that mistakes are the seed, I cultivate.
The broken mirror affords a self-reflection of reality.
This is my truth.

I falter, sometimes wretchedly, but enlightened.
Sweet is the nectar of success—not synonymous to perfection.
Erupting from deep inside a reminder from Edison,
"I did not fail; I found 10,000 ways that won't work."
I accept my imperfections—only then—can I take flight.
This is my truth.

I hope you will pick up a pencil and a piece of paper. Write down some of your favorite words, you can find them in crossword puzzles, a good book, the dictionary, or make them up; that's the beauty of it. Let your mind float and your hands glide across the paper as the words guide you to a new place, a place hopefully free of pain and illness, but if you need to work that out, you can go there too by observing until it dissipates in the background. Just do it.

In healing,
Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

“Listen closely; I hear the sweet sound of existence.”

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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