The positive impact of T’ai Chi and Qigong (TCQ) on those suffering from neuro-degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is being increasingly studied in more formalized clinical trials.1 While these ancient practices are known to have very beneficial effects outside of North America, it is good to see that respected institutions such as the Harvard Medical School are incorporating these modalities into their research and health services. With respect to Parkinson’s Disease, exercise (especially T’ai Chi and Qigong) have been found to improve balance and motor function.²
Research Showing Benefits of T’ai Chi and Qigong in Management of Parkinson’s
At Varsity Natural Health Center we have been committed to utilizing the ancient wisdom’s embedded in practices such as T’ai Chi, Qigong, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, reflexology and energy work since 2000. We have taught our wellness classes over all this time to not only help our clients, but also to help ourselves. A daily practice of T’ai Chi, Qigong, meditation and yoga can have a profoundly positive impact on the quality of one’s life. They can provide both an alternative and a complement to standard medical treatments.
With this in mind, we have launched two six-week specialized TCQ classes for those afflicted by Parkinson’s Disease. Each of the six-week sessions includes twelve 1 hour classes incorporating both elements of T’ai Chi and Qigong along with a variety of take-home exercises. Two classes per week allow for improved learning, while also making it more accessible to those dealing with Parkinson’s Disease. The program follows the one outlined in the book The Harvard Medical School Guide to T’ai Chi by Peter Wayne, PhD. This book serves as an excellent reference manual for our registered class.
Bobbie Lu-Kopf: 40 Year Practitioner Offering T’ai Chi Classes for Parkinson’s
The instructor for both sessions is Bobbie Lu-Kopf, our resident TCQ master. Bobbie has been a Natural Health Practitioner for over 20 years and is educated in a wide variety of complementary healing modalities. She does private sessions in registered massage therapy, integrative healing work, and shiatsu. Bobbie started her practice at the age of five and has been actively teaching a variety of specialized classes to unique populations since 2000. For more information on her TCQ practice, see our other blog: Qigong with Bobbie Lu-Kopf.
The positive effects of TCQ for those dealing with Parkinson’s Disease are seen in the areas of balance, motor function and quality of life. In the area of cognitive function and depression, the research is less compelling in part because there are fewer studies, but some benefits have also been reported.³ Exercise is now also seen as an important component in the management of Parkinson’s Disease.
Small Class Size and Group Cohesion Promote Long Term, Sustainable T’ai Chi Practice
A small, more personalized class setting can help support a sustainable long term exercise program. At Varsity Natural Health Center you can enjoy the benefits of a small class size (up to 10), group cohesion, personal attention, specialized programs, with safe and experienced instruction. Our SkyBlue Studio is a relaxing and enjoyable space to start your regular practice of T’ai Chi or Qigong.
Bobbie has been a Natural Health Practitioner for 20 years and is educated in a wide variety of complementary healing modalities. She does private sessions in registered massage therapy, integrative healing work, and shiatsu. Bobbie also teaches classes in core strength, Qigong, T’ai Chi, and yin yoga to specialized populations and facilitates workshops in Qigong and T’ai Chi.
1 Song, R. et al. The impact of Tai Chi and Qigong mind-body exercises on motor and non-motor function and quality of life in Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, Volume 41 , 3 – 13.
² M.A. Hirsch, S.S. Iyer, M. Sanjak, Exercise-induced neuroplasticity in human Parkinson’s disease: what is the evidence telling us? Park. Relat. Disord. 22 (Suppl 1) (2016) S78eS81.
³ C. Duchesne, O. Lungu, A. Nadeau, M.E. Robillard, A. Bore, F. Bobeuf, et al., Enhancing both motor and cognitive functioning in Parkinson’s disease: aerobic exercise as a rehabilitative intervention, Brain cognition 99 (2015) 68e77.