Severe ME Day of Understanding and Remembrance: Aug. 8, 2017
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Tai Chi

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by nial, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. nial

    nial

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    I would like to start a post on how Tai chi and very importantly qigong saved me many years ago from what I didnt even realise was CFS.

    Tai chi is one thing that has not being mentioned positively on this forum. I think this is incorrect.
    I have been follwoing Phoenixrising for a couple of years, and its amazing.

    I look back and Tai chi saved me almost immediately and the effects were quick. I have to say I had and have a mild version of cfs, as I have read other unfortunate peoples stories.
    There is a report that show it helps 84% of CFS sufferers. I
    I stopped the taichi foolishly under advice of a Buddhist teacher, and now I am starting it up again.

    it helps loads, and I am coming up with a version with other visualisations I learnt from gupta amygdala training and buteyko.

    Just thought I would mention this as you were so kind to answer me on an old post!

    Hugs here from Valencia Spain
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2015
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  2. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Hi there,

    Yes Tai chi has been mentioned on PR before. It maybe because I have POTS in addition to ME that the movements were incredibly hard and I got terrible faintness, dizziness during my attempts and then PEM for days after?

    Tai chi was just like any other exercise for me even when performed slowly and gently.

    Did you have PEM when you started it originally? (that is a post exertional worsening of symptoms after even small exercise)
     
  3. nial

    nial

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    Hi,

    Sorry to hear Tai Chi gave you PEM afterwards. I remember a friend now with CFS who said my Tai Chi teacher had pushed him too much many years ago.
    I started when I was 25 years old nearly 20 years ago, and to be honest I did not know I had CFS then.
    I had stopped doing any sport after being a top sports person. I know I tried to run again and couldnt, but I didnt have severe PEM.
    Tai chi's benefits were instantly noticed by me. It was almost like magic, as I could feel my body healing in a wholseome way.

    The problem with CFS is as you know, people dont know what it is like until you have it.
    It would be best to have a knowledgeable teacher show the most basic moves of qigong first which are basic stretches and standing breathing techniques. Then later, and only later, further excercises can be shown and tai chi.

    I have my level 1 teaching certificate and would be happy to show you the basics in a way that hopefully wouldnt wear you out.
    I am sure that if taught properly, Qigong and Taichi will help a huge amount of us.
    Maybe through my experience and suffering, although milder than many people here, we could come up with something of benefit.

    All the best
     
  4. Sushi

    Sushi Senior Member Albuquerque

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    @nial Tai Chi has to be done standing up I'd think? That would rule it out for many, who are unable to tolerate being upright.

    Sushi
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I tried two forms of Tai Chi and one form of quigong. Both wiped me out and I had to give up. How we respond varies from patient to patient. If it helps that is a good thing, but like most therapies they do not work one hundred percent on everyone.

    Your comments do suggest that Tai Chi etc. might be more beneficial in the early stages of mild ME or CFS or SEID. I think a similar thing might be said about yoga. All are primarily non aerobic exercise involving strength, breathing and flexibility. So in theory, for some of us, it might be useful.

    With orthostatic intolerance though I think yoga would be more indicated. Also its worth keeping in mind there are at least three types of tai chi, many kinds of yoga, and I don't have a clue as to how many types of quigong there are. More than one though.
     
  6. nial

    nial

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    Hi Sushi,

    Yes tai chi has to be done standing up, however, just thinking about this I dont see why it cant be done on a chair.
    It wont be as effective, but should still get energy circulating. i will ask my old teacher what he thinks.
    As I said, I think someone with sensitivity to CFS could develop a form of tai chi and qigong that would help.
    I really believe this.

    Qigong and or Buteyko and Gupta amygdala retraining can certainly be done on a chair, or even bed bound.

    I feel a bit bad for having assumed most members here could do Tai Chi standing up.
    My intentions are good however, and I would like to offer any help if wanted.

    I am new posting here, although I have spent many years following the posts. I just saw some advice that new members should maybe get to know people and then after time share stuff.
    So I will try to follow that advice having just read it.

    I wish everyone here peace and love and all the best
     
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  7. nial

    nial

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    Thanks for the input. Did you try just qigong on its own? Was just Qigong too much for you, or did you do it with tai chi?
     
  8. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Senior Member

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    I'm actually thinking of trying Qigong as it looks gentler on the body than Yoga which I had also been considering. As I'm getting older I'm finding that I'm not so flexible anymore and want to fix this before it is too late.
     
  9. Embrace Snail

    Embrace Snail

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    I recently tried a tai chi class and am still making up my mind about it.

    http://www.yogajournal.com/video/video/gentle-flow/

    The above link is for a gentle yoga video. I started using it when I found I did not have the energy for my beginner level studio yoga class.
     
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  10. Tammy

    Tammy Senior Member

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    I would be interested in chair tai chi.............if you could come up with something. I can stand to do a little upright but I think sitting would be best. Would you be able to come up with a video?
     
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  11. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Separately. I don't try to take on too many things at once. How can you know what is helping if you do that? You also risk doing too much.
     
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  12. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    Hi @nial

    I think it's great that you enjoy Tai Chi and that it has helped you.

    I very much enjoyed doing first Karate then yoga and Tai Chi, Qi gong and meditation at various times. I was living in Vancouver at the time and as they say in North America some cities have a Starbucks on every corner well Vancouver has yoga and Tai Chi and related things everywhere.
    I had some very good teachers but unfortunately for me it did not prevent me from becoming more ill over time and I expect that this was related to POTS although I did not know it at the time and struggled to keep doing these things because I enjoyed them.

    For those with mild symptoms or who have not been sick for long and don't have POTS these things certainly may be of benefit.

    Welcome to the forums.
     
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  13. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Chair based wouldn't help me very much as it is using my arms which cause problems as well. Even sitting folding washing (laundry) and talking on the phone with the receiver held to my ear causes problems with blood circulation. Then there is the usual PEM after,

    Moving my body in Tai chi doesn't cause the "energy to circulate" for me - exactly the opposite. That seems to be the problem. Body movement uses energy, which depletes and leaves me with post exertional symptoms. Tai chi depletes what little energy I have and leaves me worse off.

    If you do Tai Chi and feel better then you don't have a form of CFS or ME that has PEM. This is because exertion makes you feel better. With ME at least, we know exertion makes people feel worse as the doctors who described the disease found that.

    Hopefully there are some clues there that may help to determine what is not working in your body i.e. what is wrong with your energy systems that you need to move it in a certain way for the energy to be felt

    i.e. is it circulatory disorder that you need to move

    is to releasing cortisol or something that makes you feel better
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  14. Tammy

    Tammy Senior Member

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    For those who don't have a teacher would you be willing to provide a video for these basic stretches and breathing techniques? I already alluded to this about the tai chi but do you think qigong is easier for people with CFS/ME.........I don't know what it is.................I've seen tai chi but not qigong. Thanks.
     
  15. mango

    mango Senior Member

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    First, just to be clear: tai chi hasn't made me any less ill, but it has been very helpful in several other aspects.

    I did tai chi (yang style) and qi gong for a number of years at the beginning of my illness (before I realized it was ME), and I absolutely loved it! At that point I had been doing yoga and meditation for many years already, and they all meshed really well.

    However, as my health kept declining, severe orthostatic intolerance and PEM made it impossible for me to stand up or sit on a chair long enough, and I eventually had to skip the physical forms altogether.

    I agree that (tai chi and especially) qi gong can be hugely useful tools for some PWME, just like yoga, meditation and mindfulness; even for some of us who are very severely affected. However, it's IMMENSELY IMPORTANT to find a very very skilled, respectful, compassionate, gentle and experienced teacher who can customize and fine-tune it exactly to our ever-changing needs.

    As you all probably already know, there are many easy, gentle, useful exercises that can be done while lying down etc, so it doesn't have to be physically demanding at all.

    However, I'd say it's just as important - if not more - to consider the energetic quality and effects of the exercises as well.
    For example, most unaware people tend to wrongly assume that we PWME just need exercises that "get our energies moving" and "activates the flow" in our bodies. My personal experience tells me that's a really unhelpful thing to assume, since many of us actually need the opposite: something that soothes, calms and grounds our subtle energies. Everything really has to be on a totally individual basis, no broad strokes at all.

    I was immensely lucky to find a fantastic teacher at the right moment, and I'm infinitely grateful for everything tai chi has taught me. It can be an amazing way to connect to your body's innate intelligence, to learn how to "read" and understand your body on a deeper level (physical and subtle energies; super helpful re: PEM!), learn to respect and trust your body/yourself (again, or in a new way), learn how to transform resistance into strength, and how to naturally move/work with your body and its limitations instead of against them.

    ...and to find inner stillness and peace of mind, an invaluable source of infinite potential and wisdom to draw from in the eye of the storm, no matter what is going on in or around us... and I mean that in the most down-to-earth, practical way possible :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  16. nial

    nial

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    Wow, Goodness me, this forum is very high level.
    Thanks for these replies.
    I have not been writing much recently, so I will try to articulate the best possible.
    Mango , I see you have real high end experience with this and more than me, as I never had PEM severe enough to affect me benefiting from Tai chi. I apologise for my ignorance, and assuming a gun ho attitude to the energy movement.

    I would suggest two aproaches, and maybe Mango could help me with any advice please?

    For people with mild CFS and no severe PEM I would advise starting with a normal qigong and Taichi class. Shopp around and find a teacher you bond with, and has good references, and possibly one doing acupucnture or TCM.
    I am in favour of tai chi over yoga, as simplistically putting it, qigong was started for health and later Tai chi for martial arts. Unfortunately, the martial art part can be really egoistical, and one has to find a teacher who is interested in teaching it for health. Yoga can be way to harsh, and is more aimed at rising Kundalini energy as a method of enlightenment. This is more or less how I personally believe it is.

    For severe PEM CFS then what is called the small heavenly circle can be looked at. I am slighlty tentative about putting this info out, and after the holidays here will get back to you on this as I will need to double check with my old teacher. Qigong requires gentle excercises to open up the meridiens and later do the standing posture to build up qi. This will be too much, so we have to start with the small heavenly circle or microcosmic orbit. Sounds spacey, but this stuff really is effective. its gentle too, but has to be done slowly and under the right circumstances.
    Also, a visualisation of ashok Guptas called soften and flow, which is a gentle visualisation to unblock stress and blocked energies and release it will be fine.
    Also, very light Buteyko breathing will be gentle enough either separately done, or together with the small heavenly circle. Buteyko reduced breathing in itself has worked wonders for many.
    One hs to measure ones pulse before and after to make sure the practice is not being pushed to much-an elevation in pulse at the end indicating too much. A very gentle reduction in the air intake coming in through the nose-nose breathing is the desired form of breathing for Buteyko, but if this is impossible, then reduced mouth breathing will have to suffice. Relaxation of the body and respiratory organs, and a whole body relaxation is really what is being done here. Oxygen via higher CO2 circulation increases after 12 minutes of doing this.

    As with everything, trust your bodies reactions, and dont push it if it feels wrong.


    Please give me some time to work out how to post a video here.

    All the best
    nial
     
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  17. blue-sky

    blue-sky

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    Hello,

    I have just read the above with interest and want to share the following:

    Since I got ill, I have tried many different treatments, therapies and programs .what I found useful was the meditation cd from the amygdala training,Kabat Zinns audiobooks ,acupuncture and QIGONG has done the most for me.

    Yoga left me in bed for two days even if it was" gentle".
    I tried different styles of Qigong before I found Zhineng Qigong and that made all the difference:

    first of all,I have more energy,my mood is more stable,digestive problems have improved,less muscle pain and even that constant slimy throat sensation has disappeared.
    I have not had a major crash leaving me in bed for 3+weeks in 2 years and seem to recover from colds quicker than before.

    I still have good days and not so good days and need to pace,but feel much better than before and have found something I can do and enjoy doing.
    Through my practice I have learned to teach this form, but I am only quoting descriptions of it here for others' benefit, not giving any links to my own teaching sites.

    It is a modern style that was classed the most effective of 11 medical Qigongs in China. here is the most simple,but extremely effective exercise called la qi(don't be put of by the long text,it is very easy)

    Pulling Qi (La Qi) And Qi Therapy

     
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  18. MikeM

    MikeM

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    Hi Nial and group - I just wanted to mention that I too gained amazing results with qigong and tai chi. In fact, the form I learned was a combination of the two. I'd go as far as to say that it has been central to the improvements I've had. Like Nial, I made use of these practices very early in my diagnosis, so perhaps that is a factor. However, when you see these practices from an energetic perspective (which not everyone is comfortable with), and not just an exercise perspective, it may be even more crucial for those with severe symptoms. I know - easier said than done - but could be worth a shot, if at all possible.

    There are some excellent visualizations involving qigong that can be done laying down. I learnt these from a great teacher and can share if anyone is interested. This may be the best place to start if people are interested but don't feel they are ready for standing exercises.

    One last thing! I'm new to this forum, and was super excited to see this thread :)
     
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  19. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

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    @MikeB Welcome to the PR forums.

    It's always a positive feeling to share with others something that may help.
    As you are new here you may not be completely aware of the level and type of disability that is severe ME.
    Nor aware of how many people have tried these treatments. Some people have had a good response-- as you have when only mildly affected. (And understand that mildly affected when it's you being affected seems a lot less minor).
    Severely affected is something that is hard to even fathom.

    Having said all that, I think people here are a lot more comfortable with the idea of trying these therapies than you think.
    Even those who would otherwise be less inclined--simply because we come to a point where we are willing to try anything.

    For myself, I did first Karate when I was mildly affected. I could not keep up with the drills. So I did yoga for many years.
    My husband was a Tai Chi instructor so I did Tai Chi plus I also learned the yang style at a community centre.

    We also did Qigong (several types). This was all in Vancouver. For over a decade. Vancouver is a place that has a great deal of these practices with teachers of good lineage and long time commitment. Some of them--like Alanis Morisette's brother Wade are quite famous.

    Unfortunately, it hasn't helped. ME is/can be a severe and debilitating (and cruel) disease. I learned the hard way that while I'd much rather be cured/fixed/made better by the above therapies what ultimately is going to (hopefully) bring me health in the end is strong pharmaceuticals. It's not what I want--I can't stress that enough--but it is what it is.
     
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  20. PeterPositive

    PeterPositive Senior Member

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    I liked your post and I was wondering why do you think strong pharmaceuticals are the solution.
     

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