Kilgore K, Leinfelder J, Campbell J, Wayne PM, Hallowell RW, Barakat A.
Global Advances in Integrative Medicine and Health. 2023;12. doi:10.1177/27536130231206122
Participants dealing with serious lung diseases in a twelve-week class of the Eight Ways of Tai Chi had this to say:
“I find that the sessions of Tai Chi are gentle … They don’t exhaust me. I can get up, I can use my muscles, and I’m not a wet rag at the end of the session. And the way that the sessions are conducted with meditation and resting interspersed with doing the physical motions works out perfectly for me.”
“I’m interested not only for the physical conditioning, but also for the spiritual aspect, too, the grounding in the present, the meditative aspects.”
“Balance is about that center point [the tan t’ien]…. I never thought of the center of your body as being so low in your body. I don’t know why I didn’t know where my center was. I think the focus on that point brought things all together.“
This is just a small sampling of experiences described by class members in the Eight Ways classes taught by Jesse Leinfelder and Joan Campbell -Gainesville Tai Chi. This class was part of a research study focusing on the benefits of Tai Chi for medically fragile students, published in an academic journal!
The long title of our research article is A Tai Chi Class Collaboratively Developed for Persons with Interstitial and Other Lung Diseases: An Ethnographic Investigation. We were supported by the beautiful leader of the Interstitial Lung Disease Collaborative, who worked with the Osher Center at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Osher Center is famous for researching and establishing the benefits of Tai Chi for a variety of medical conditions.
This is a qualitative study; key themes were defined, reflected upon, and verified by class members. Perhaps most importantly we captured many quotes of the ways students experienced the work, continually adjusting our teaching styles to best meet their needs. The research covers one class series, approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), though we had the opportunity to teach several additional rounds for more people with lung diseases.