Tai Chi for PTSD
Originally posted on Dr. Aihan Kuhn's Website.
About 8 years ago, I had a patient named Jane, who suffered from PTSD which was diagnosed by her doctor. She was about 48 years old, married and had two children.
Her symptoms were more than just emotional. She had pain all over her body, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fear, low energy level, headache, weight gain, often had nightmares, and no interest in the things she used to like. Her symptoms were definitely affecting her relationships and work.
Working with her was a challenge in the beginning. Her symptoms improved slower than what I expected. Looking at her sad face, I felt I needed to help her, and I knew I could help her.
So I decided to change my strategy. I asked her to join my weekly Tai Chi class. In the beginning of her learning Tai Chi, she was self-conscious, and had a high level of tension in her body.
I reminded her possibly more than 100 times, “relax your back”, “relax your shoulders”, “let go of the tension”, “breathe”, “relax your arms and wrists”… I felt like this was good practice for me at being a patient teacher. I kept telling myself: "it is my job, and I will do the best I can to help her to improve her health."
Several months passed: I noticed her tension was reduced. She had become more relaxed and calmer. I also noticed that she had more smiles on her face, more joy in her spirit.
I continued working with her through consultation, hands on healing sessions, and teaching her in my Tai Chi class. During consultation I introduced her to Daoist philosophy, and I gave her some homework that she could do at home by herself.
Observing Jane for 6 to 8 months, I noticed that each month she was improving, going out more, doing the things she used to like and overall becoming more positive.
And the nightmares had stopped. Her headaches went away, and her energy was also improved. She felt her life had started over, like a new person. With the improvement of her health, her relationships improved.
How it Works
Tai Chi is an Internal Qi Practice
The internal Qi practice promotes smooth energy flow in the body, increases the Oxygen level in the body, and harmonizes organ energy. In this way it promotes healing.
Tai Chi involves learning, and learning enables the person to focus on a new subject through physical movement.
Brain Benefits The multi-dimensioned Tai Chi movements help to balance both sides of the brain and provide the brain with many benefits, including emotional health benefits.
Tai Chi is Moving Meditation
Meditation is a wonderful practice in modern life, and Tai Chi is a moving meditation, I call “two for price of one”. Tai Chi covers all aspects of the person: mind, body, emotion and spirit. It is an effective meditation practice.
Not everyone can do meditation, but everyone can do Tai Chi, especially when you have a good teacher. This is why I continue to train teachers, to make well trained Tai Chi teachers available.
Balances the Nervous System
Tai Chi balances the entire nervous system, especially the Autonomic Nervous System, which is key to healing. See more information in my book “True Brain Fitness”.
Martial Art Movement
Tai Chi originated from the martial arts. Many Tai Chi movements have martial arts applications. When you learn more and become advanced, you will learn push hands, in which you will find out that you can use Tai Chi skills for self-defense. You do have the feeling of internal power when you practice Tai Chi.
Tai Chi helps to balances brain’s and emotion center in the brain; you feel good, happy, relaxed, and peaceful. You feel all your issues are melting during practice;
When you either teach a group or practice with a group, you receive invisible group energy and that feels really good. As your practice continues, the good feeling lasts longer and longer. Eventually you will no longer have the symptoms of PTSD