Sunday, October 17, 2010

Listening to the Body

My brisk late afternoon T'ai Chi Chih practice was surprisingly cold. Next time I'll wear gloves!

I chose a spot just outside the patio door to avoid subjecting myself to the breeze that flowed through the forest. As I stood quietly in preparation for my practice I noticed an owl hooting in the distance. While I moved birds constantly rustled and shuffled over the leafy ground and flew through the air. One bluejay soared back and forth, a bright blue and white image against the dark grey tree trunks and branches.

The day's earlier sunniness has now converted to dark, steel gray skies and a lingering feeling of approaching rain. I spent my early morning writing on my other blog site, I discussed the movie Frances and I saw last night, The Parking Lot Movie, and No Impact Man, another BAFS (Bay Area Film Society) movie that we saw several weeks ago. Members of the BAFS board have a knack for picking thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining movies.

I contacted my sister in West Virginia today to find out whether she lives close enough to Charlottesville, VA that we could visit the featured parking lot during Frances' and my visit to Charles Town over Thanksgiving. Does it seem ridiculous to visit a parking lot and its attendants after you watched it/them in a movie? Maybe. Maybe not.

I found an article on the internet today that touts Yoga and T'ai Chi as being better for treatment of fibromyalgia than standard care. It sites two recent studies, one published in the November issue of PAIN that indicated patients in a yoga of awareness program experienced greater improvement in their symptoms than those patients on a standard care program.

T'ai Chi, the article went on to say, is also good for fibromyalgia. A study published in this month's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds that TC may also be a useful treatment for fibromyalgia. The study, conducted at Tufts University School of Medicine, found that those patients assigned to a 60 minute session of Yang-style t'ai chi two times per week for 12 weeks improved more than those relegated to standard care.

I'm not surprised. All I need do is recall my student, Norma, who came to weekly morning T'ai Chi Chih classes many years ago. When she arrived, she looked as though she could barely move. After our practice session she smiled and moved freely without pain.

It didn't take a study to prove to either Norma or me that she experienced a dramatic difference in her fibromyalgia as a result of her TCC practice. But that, I guess, is the role of modern medicine and science, proving things to professionals that we (those of us who listen to our bodies) already know....

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