Tai Chi benefits cancer patients, survivors

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Tai chi and qi gong (pronounced "chee goong") are traditional Chinese movement exercises. Tai chi is a series of movements done either very slowly or quickly to help move the body's chi.

Qi gong involves different movements that may be done in different orders. People use tai chi and qi gong as a way to combine meditation and movement to improve and maintain health.

Tai chi and qi gong can be of great benefit to cancer patients and survivors, both during and after treatment.

These forms of movement exercises can do the following:

- Improve balance/prevent falls – cancer patients going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy can develop neuropathy (nerve damage, thus effecting their balance.
- Help with range of motion – often, if cancer patients have their lymph nodes removed, it can limit their upper body range of motion.
- Teach breathing exercises – this increases oxygen levels delivered to the blood, and can help increase lung capacity.
- Help with coordination – these exercises work both sides of the body at the same time, as well as upper and lower body simultaneous movements.
- Provide a meditative and relaxing atmosphere – many cancer patients are under a tremendous amount of stress.

Cone Health Cancer Center understands that is important to treat the mind, body and spirit when a patient is going through cancer treatment.

This is why they offer support programs, such as weekly tai chi classes, to their patients and their caregivers, as well as survivors.

Tai chi classes are offered every Wednesday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on the second floor of the Cone Health Cancer Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital).

For more information, call 832-0364.

Spokesperson Background:

Cheryl Rowland is a tai chi instructor at Cone Health Cancer Center and a five year breast cancer survivor.

Rowland was certified in tai chi for health and received an advanced tai chi teaching certification through Dr. Paul Lam.

She has been practicing martial arts for 16 years, and is a fifth degree black belt in taekwondo.

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