Ai Chi is a total body relaxation and strengthening technique. It uses slow broad movements coordinated with deep breathing. Created by Jun Konno of Japan, this therapeutic technique is based on elements of Qi Gong and T’ai Chi and is practiced standing in shoulder-depth water, using water’s natural buoyancy and resistance. Continuous integrated movements that involve moving the body in multiple directions paired with careful attention to diaphragmatic breathing and a calm state of mind is what you can expect with this incredible movement discipline.
Ai Chi can assist with the following health conditions:
- Pain management for fibromyalgia, arthritis, mastectomy and multiple sclerosis.
- Respiratory disorders such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Cardiovascular problems including cardiac rehabilitation.
- Circulatory disorders such as hypertension and migraine headaches.
- Metabolic disorders including weight control, diabetes and obesity.
- Psychological problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety and depressive disorders.
- Musculoskeletal or orthopedic conditions including low back pain, scoliosis, carpal tunnel syndrome (or any repetitive stress syndrome), musculoskeletal injuries and surgeries, balance deficits, prenatal, sports injuries, and accident and fall prevention.
- Neurological disturbances including strokes and traumatic brain injury.
- Endrocinological disorders such as immunodeficiency disorders and fatigue.
Ruth Sova, author of “Ai Chi- Balance, Harmony and Healing” says:
“Clients with fibromyalgia syndrome are perfect candidates for the Ai Chi program. They need to rid themselves of anxiety and stress. Their sympathetic systems appear to be engaged all the time, and they need to balance it with the parasympathetic system. Heat isn’t a problem with these clients, but fatigue is, and heat could accelerate fatigue. Lessen the likelihood of fatigue by keeping the pace very slow and resting occasionally if the water, air temperature and humidity are high.”
Ruth shared that one of her clients favorite Ai Chi exercises is “Freeing”. She explained that, “the rotational movements are excellent for driving out toxins and moving nutrients into the body. Spinal rotation is cleansing to the body.”
Ai Chi “Freeing” Exercise
Alternating reaches behind the body just below the surface.
- Exhale easily through your mouth, turn your palms down, bring the right arm over to the left so the thumbs of both hands touch each other, while pivoting both feet 90 degrees left so you’re facing the left side. Your weight is evenly balanced between both legs.
- While still facing left, inhale through your nose, turn your palms up, and open the left arm behind your body. Your eyes and head should easily follow the moving arm.
- Exhale easily though your mouth, turn your palms down and return the left arm to the right until the thumbs of both hands touch each other.
- Inhale through your nose, turn your palms up, bring the right arm back to the right side, while pivoting both feet 90 degrees right so you’re facing front.
- Exhale easily through your mouth, turn your palms down, bring the left arm over to the right so the thumbs of both hands touch each other, while pivoting both feet 90 degrees right so you’re facing the right side. Your weight is evenly balanced between both legs.
- While still facing right, inhale through your nose, turn your palms up, and open the right arm behind your body. Your eyes and head should easily follow the moving arm.
- Exhale easily though your mouth, turn your palms down and return the right arm to the left until the thumbs of both hands touch each other.
- Inhale through your nose, turn your palms up, bring the left arm back to the left side, while pivoting both feet 90 degrees left so you’re facing front.
- Repeat steps one through eight 5-10 times.
Evidenced by Research
Ai Chi is a promising aquatic treatment for improving pain perception, balance and functional capacity in patients diagnosed with mild or moderate Parkinson’s disease. Tai Chi has demonstrated, in multiple studies, its usefulness on musculoskeletal system pathologies, due to its slow movements that involve the four limbs together with the regulation of breathing, postural control and balance.
Move and Feel Better
WECOACH believes in the benefits of Ai Chi and encourages you to try it. Find an Ai Chi practitioner in your region: http://www.ruthsova.com/ai-chi-list.html. Or learn more about WECOACH Workouts and our mission to improve your movement and life.