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Ai Chi: Find out More

Updated: Jan 16

Ai Chi is a type of relaxing aquatic exercise which utilizes modified Tai Chi movements.

Byline: Andrea Salzman, MS, PT

There is a great deal of medical information to support the health benefits of Tai Chi, which include fall prevention and the alleviation of pain.

Its aquatic cousin, Ai Chi, lowers physical stress while performing modified Tai Chi movements. Ai Chi is especially suited for individuals who are looking to reap the benefits of land-based Tai Chi with the added benefit of immersion. 

Through Ai Chi, a participant makes slow gradual movements in a relaxed manner, modifying each component of movement with greater stabilization. The participant is encouraged to balance his/her body weight while performing the Ai Chi movements in water.

In the words of Ruth Sova, “The client should concentrate on working with balance and precision, not tightness and stress.” Circular Ai Chi movements involve more muscle and joint mobility functions than the linear movements.

Ai Chi utilizes diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing stimulates the parasympathetic system, leading to reduced blood pressure and heart rate. Another health benefit of diaphragmatic breathing is improved lymphatic flow, which may in turn help prevent infections.

Diaphragmatic breathing draws air to the deepest parts of the lungs, wherein oxygen exchange can occur most efficiently. During Ai Chi exhalation is carried out through the mouth and inhalation through the nose.

Ai Chi uses trunk movements in the thoracic-lumbar area; and this might inhibit sympathetic activity, leading to a calming down effect. Ai Chi is a relaxing experience that help mobilize connective tissues around joints, muscles and the nervous system. The slow, repetitive movements along with muscle elongation ... Continue Reading Here.

Did this article spark your hunger for evidence-based aquatic therapy strategies? View our webinar, :"Evidence-Based Aquatic Therapy for the Total Knee Replacement."

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