Tai Chi is a martial arts based exercise method based on slow, graceful movements.  The Yang style became prominent in the first half of the 19th century in China, and was part of the training program for the Palace Battalion of Imperial Guards who protected the Chinese royalty.  Today, its popularity has spread worldwide as a form of therapy and exercise that provides many health benefits.

Recent research on balance and falling in older adults has led to the development of a specific Tai Chi protocol called, “Moving for Better Balance”.  The one hour sessions consists of a warm-up, modified eight-form routine, therapeutic mini-exercises and cool down. All of the components can be performed in sitting, supported standing, or standing.  The program was researched and developed by Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. at the Oregon Research Institute. Dr. Li’s work has been published in the Journal of Gerontology and has been endorsed by the CDC in the Compendium for Fall Prevention.  In addition, Tai Chi is recommended by the American and British Geriatric Societies.

This low-cost, scalable, therapeutic balance training program is now being offered at Seacoast Body Balance, a physical therapy practice in Greenland specializing in balance and equilibrium disorders.  Melissa Gahr, MSPT is a member of the NH Falls Risk Reduction task force and recently completed the instructor training program with Dr. Li.  For those requiring a more tailored therapeutic program, Melissa treats a wide variety of balance disorders stemming from stroke, inner ear disorders, and traumatic brain injury.  For more information on “Moving for Better Balance” including class schedule and cost, please contact Seacoast Body Balance, LLC at 603-400-0711.


Melissa, PT


Reference:  Li F, Harmer P, Fisher KJ, McAuley E, Chaumeton N, Eckstrom E, Wilson NL. Tai Chi and fall reductions in older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Gerontology. 2005 Feb;60A(2):187-94.