News & Story Ideas
The ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but might also be called “medication in motion,” Harvard Medical School notes. Tai Chi Master Tommy Kirchhoff, creator of Healing Exercise, a therapeutic/medicinal movement program based Tai Chi, explains why slow simple movements that anyone can do provide documented benefits for more than 110 conditions, including arthritis, back and neck pain, digestive problems, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and COVID-19.
Unlike other forms of exercise, Tai Chi does not require strength or emphasize weight loss, maintaining a youthful appearance, or other factors associated with the idea of “fitness.” Instead, the emphasis of Tai Chi and Healing Exercise is helping people maintain joint health so they can stay mobile as they age. Tommy explains why “mobility is the first indicator of health” — and joint health is the key to mobility.
Every other kind of exercise — even yoga — is based on muscular tension. Tai Chi is uniquely based on relaxation instead of tension. Tommy explains why Tai Chi is the “enjoyable exercise” that anyone can practice to improve health, mobility, and quality of life.
Clinical research from the National Institute of Health has demonstrated that Tai Chi helps boost immunity against the shingles virus. One of the co-authors of the study has stated “it's a good bet” that Tai Chi would also boost immunity against COVID-19. Tommy explains how Tai Chi improves immune response, and has outstanding advantages for seniors recovering from COVID-19.
Tommy has worked for17 years refining Healing Exercise, a therapeutic/medicinal movement program based on Tai Chi. He discusses and demonstrates exercises that feel good, are easy to practice, and motivational — simple movements that allow anyone to improve their health.
As we get older, many of us unwittingly adopt problems with our gait — the way we step and walk — that can compound damage to our joints. Asymmetry in how we walk wears out the joints and can lead to seniors becoming immobile due to pain or falls. Tommy explains how to spot these problems and demonstrates simple movements from his Balance Boost & Better Stepping videos that can help restore symmetry, relieve pain, and improve joint health.
The Sitting Tai Chi exercises that Tommy teaches as part of Healing Exercise are easy to practice and provide health benefits for older adults with the risk of falling. Tommy demonstrates some of these exercises and explains how they provide health benefits for conditions including anxiety, allergies, aches and pain, cancer, digestion, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, and others.
Tommy became a certified Tai Chi Master and developed Healing Exercise under the tutelage of Victor ShengLong Fu, a world-famous grandmaster of the internal martial arts Tai Chi, BaGua, Hsing-I and others. He describes how Healing Exercise combines elements of these traditions, and how Grandmaster Fu continues to inspire his work
A wide variety of health issues are linked to digestive and gut health problems that are exacerbated by sitting for long periods without moving. Tommy explains how Tai Chi exercises, even those that can be practiced sitting, help stretch joints and mobilize internal organs, providing a wide variety of health benefits.
American culture is fixated on the idea bigger is better. But as we age, we inevitably face the fact that we can’t keep treating our bodies like we are 20-year-olds. Tommy discusses how Tai Chi can help us connect with our bodies and universal truths that come with age.