In a previous blog I described ways to direct focus away from the frustrating and painful symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye. This time I’m writing about my experience over the past two years practicing Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise created as a fighting art that dates back over 700 years. Although still considered a martial art, today it is no longer practiced for self-defense.
Tai Chi for Dry Eye
There are many styles of Tai Chi; the most notable are Yang, Chen, Wu and Sun. These different styles all consist of a series of exercises that focus on slow movements. The movements are accompanied by deep breathing and the gathering of Qi (pronounced chee) considered the universal life force that present in all living things. Tai Chi can improve strength, flexibility, mood and overall health and reduce inflammation, chronic pain and stress levels. Considered mediation in motion, Tai Chi can also improve concentration, memory and the ability to focus, relaxing both the mind and body.
As a student of Tai Chi, and now an instructor, I have found that focusing on the slow movements of this exercise have reduced my Dry Eye induced anxiety and pain levels. Combined with daily eye care management and an excellent eye doctor, my Dry Eye symptoms, and all the anger and anxiety that goes along with this disease, have significantly decreased. I’m now living an almost normal life again.
Tai Chi might not be for everyone. (You should always check with your doctor first before starting any new exercise program.) Still, I would highly recommend it to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, depression, or anxiety. (If you’re staying at home during Covid-19, there are plenty of Tai Chi videos online.) Even if you don’t have these concerns and just want to feel better overall, you might try this ancient exercise. It helped me tremendously.
Susan Howell, Dry Eye Patient
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