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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Tai Chi Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Jul 30, 2020 09:08PM ● By by Jean Pate

Sheila Mohammed

When her patients need an easy-to-learn exercise to improve strength and balance, Sheila Mohammed, M.D., usually recommends tai chi. This slow-moving martial art takes only half an hour a day and can even be done sitting down, yet it helps prevent falls and builds bone density to prevent fractures, she says.

“Tai chi helps people remain independent longer, allowing them to drive, shop and take care of their personal needs,” she says. “It relaxes the muscles and the mind, allowing happy thoughts to fill the day.”  

Mohammed is an orthopedic medical specialist who teaches tai chi at Deepwater Martial Arts School, in Pensacola. She says a big part of it is deep breathing, which oxygenates the body and helps it eliminate waste.

“You’ll feel better and have more energy. According to Lao Tsu, energy flows in a figure-eight pattern when it’s balanced. Tai chi facilitates this process,” she says.

While many people practice tai chi because its stretching exercises ease arthritic joint pain and back pain, the exercise can also help reduce blood pressure without the use of medication.

“Blood pressure goes down naturally with tai chi,” she says. “It’s also great for weight loss, which is good for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol.” Tai chi has cognitive and mental-health benefits too, Mohammed says. 

“This slow movement sends more blood flow to the brain, improving thinking and concentration, and slowing down Alzheimer’s and memory loss. Tai chi also helps with sleep problems and anxiety. Overall, there will be a healthier you—looking better, feeling better and enjoying life with the utmost independence.”

People of any age can learn tai chi, and in her classes, Mohammed adapts the movements to accommodate students’ needs. Still, she says no one should underestimate the power of this 4,000-year-old martial art—the world’s oldest. 

“Tai chi is called the grand ultimate fist,” she says. “Those rusty ninjas out there will be able kick ass if they find themselves in troubling situations.” 

For more information, call Dr. Sheila Mohammed at 850-281-8186.

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