Some observations from some 20-odd years of Tai Chi experience:
I used to have low back pain on and off. Since I've been doing TaiChi, my back doesn't hurt. I attribute this to better posture and offloading stress from the spine to leg muscles.
When walking the dog, if he suddenly decides to chase a squirrel, it doesn't pull me over thanks to the stable martial-arts stance. Also my arm moves down and out along an arc instead of straight outwards to a sudden yank.
When walking in the dark, I can put one foot forwards and check for a sure footing before putting weight on it. This is slower but safer than the typical falling-forwards walk.
Jerry M. (October 2015)
For the last five years I've been a student/participant of Qi-Gong in Palo Alto, attending regular classes taught by Joe Deisher. My practice of Qi-Gong has absolutely changed my quality of life, restoring healthy/youthful physical and mental benefits. I am approaching my 65th birthday with renewed and positive energy.
I agreed to try Qi-Gong five years ago on the insistence of a colleague; I was coping with intense back and leg pain, scheduled for a lumbar surgery consultation . I had ruptured discs in my lower back with deteriorating muscle and bone challenges, impacting both my workday and sleep. I finally agreed to try Qi-Gong, having had supervised physical therapy, several months of intensive acupuncture and acupressure, two years of chiropractic care, and a medically advised homeopathic diet. My last recourse was back surgery and I was miserable.
When I began Qi-Gong I was not expecting positive results, certainly nothing quick nor enduring. This was to be a wonderful surprise and a welcome "I told you so" from the friend who referred me to Joe.
Qi-Gong exercises are unassuming; I did not anticipate my pain to subside from the small steady movements I followed, but I was wrong. I do Qi-Gong daily and attend Joe's regular weekly class to reinforce the exercises and to have Joe keep me in check. I am grateful for this ongoing healing in my life and can't praise Joe Deisher enough for his care and warm professionalism.
-- Kaylee F. (October 2015)
I’ve studied Tai Chi with Joe for over 20 years, and the practice has brought me many benefits.
After starting Tai Chi, I began skiing much better. In previous years, around 3 in the afternoon, I’d be skiing rigidly on tired legs, not bounding over moguls or sweeping through turns. But a few months into my practice, I noted with amazement late one afternoon that my legs had spring and carried me effortlessly down the slopes at the end of the day.
Tai Chi has given me very good balance. Falls frequently plague older people, sometimes putting them in bed for the rest of their lives. But I can put on socks without sitting, and push open a door with my foot if my arms are full of packages.
Finally, Tai Chi is fun, and helps me step out of the world for a while. I work in a fast-paced technology company where there’s always too much to do. But when I do Tai Chi, I can’t be thinking of anything else. I’m there in the moment, in flow, doing the dance. It’s like a meditation that leaves me feeling refreshed at the end. When I get too busy to do it, I know that’s when I need it the most.
--Phil R. (September 2015)
In 1995, on the recommendation of a friend, I came to Joe Deisher to study Qi Gong. At the time, I had had a raging case of rheumatoid arthritis for some years and it was getting worse. I had heard that Qi Gong might help. Over the course of the next few years, I attended Joe's classes weekly. The arthritis began to improve. At one point, looking at x-rays of my feet, my rheumatologist asked if I had had some of the joints surgically corrected. I hadn't. They healed properly on their own. He was very surprised indeed! After I had practiced Qi Gong for a few years, I was well enough to begin Tai Chi, also under Joe's tutelage. My arthritis has been in remission since 2005, and I now spend a full morning each week doing both singles and doubles Tai Chi forms with Joe and my classmates. Thanks to Joe, I am pain free and delighted that I'm able to move again -- and beautifully, too! I can't recommend Joe highly enough. He is patient, thorough, funny, and intuitive. And he really knows his stuff!
-- Nancy E. (September 2015)