How Tai Chi & Qigong Help with COPD

When you think about Tai Chi, you might think about a low-impact form of exercise that helps older adults improve balance and muscle strength—and you would be correct. However, Tai Chi has also been proven to be beneficial for a wide variety of other health-related concerns, including lung disease. Here are some of the benefits of practicing Tai Chi if you or a loved one has a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Tai Chi and COPD

Some areas in which Tai Chi for COPD can help patients improve their health and quality of life include the following:

●      Better breathing. Patients with COPD have difficulty breathing, which leads to other health problems. Breathing difficulty can be alleviated with pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), but this requires a specialized facility. Tai Chi breathing techniques have proven to be an effective substitute for PR and can be done anywhere. Practicing Tai Chi helps to increase oxygen uptake, which reduces shortness of breath and improves overall brain and body function.

●      Greater capacity for movement and exercise. Many people with COPD avoid exercise, fearing that it will exacerbate their existing shortness of breath. Because Tai Chi involves simple, gentle movements that place emphasis on breathing, balance, and mind-body connections, it can be performed by COPD patients safely and without overexertion. There is even a seated Tai Chi adaptation for patients with major mobility challenges.

●      Greater strength and reduced risk of injury. Not getting enough physical activity ultimately reduces lung capacity, weakens muscles, and can lead to weight gain. These setbacks can in turn lead to a greater risk of falling or injury. Tai Chi offers a light form of exercise that is a safe starting point for COPD patients, but also allows them to work up to greater physical ability while also improving strength, endurance, and balance. 

●      Reducing anxiety. Nothing makes us panic faster than the inability to breathe. Tai Chi techniques help COPD patients to slow their breathing, thereby remaining calmer and more focused. In addition, Tai Chi isn’t called “meditation in motion” for nothing, and the meditative aspects of this practice as well as the light exercise also help to reduce anxiety.

Learn Tai Chi Breathing Exercises with Tai Chi and Qigong

The Tai Chi Foundation (TCF) is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes, funds, and teaches programs that enable people to learn Tai Chi Chuan and embody its principles. Check out our Yin Yang breath exercises and other free resources for Roots & Branches 5-Element Qigong here.  

The Tai Chi Foundation's mission is to improve health, well-being, and awareness through the study, practice, and teaching of Tai Chi and Qigong by an increasing number of people worldwide. Check out our course offerings for self-healing and balance. Sign up for our newsletter for updates on upcoming classes and events.

There are over 200 TCF-affiliated instructors teaching Tai Chi classes in 30 cities around the world.

Find a class in your area, become a member, and support TCF in making the world a healthier and more mindful place today. 

© Tai Chi Foundation 2022


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