Some veterans who use their wheelchairs to do adaptive tai chi are finding it actually helps relieve chronic pain and it takes their minds off their injuries, too. The ancient form of exercise is being taught at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System and the vets credit it for calming their post-war anxiety and anger.
Dr. John Johnson has been a tai chi instructor for 17 years and says he’s watched the practice help veterans stand again and stroke victims regain movement in their limbs.
"In our society, we tend to be in our heads a lot more than we realize," Johnson explains. "If we can bring that focus back in and then learn to reconnect our bodies with that so that my mind is paying attention my body all the time."