Stretching Your Neck & Shoulders and Activating the Arm Meridians
Many people think that tai chi is just “that hand waving stuff that old people do in the park.” Yes, that is part of Tai Chi, but it is also a surprisingly rigorous stretching exercise, designed to challenge you both mentally and physically. It’s the only form of exercise that I have ever been able to pursue 3 times per week for several years without getting bored. With Tai Chi, I am always challenged, always learning, and always leave class with more energy than when I arrived.
The exercise helps you stretch your neck and shoulders, and expand your chest. It relieves tension, while also activating all of the meridians in your arms, releasing blockages and getting your energy moving again.
Release Tension in the Shoulders and Arms
1. Start with your feet parallel shoulder-width apart.
2. Lift your left hand above your head, with your palm facing upwards, and your fingers pointing to the right.
3. Push down with your right hand.
4. Hold for five seconds, then release.
5. Repeat for the other side.
I bet your practitioner has told you to ‘do your exercises’ – and experience tells me that you did them – for a little while. Then you felt better, and quit doing your exercise.
The following stories suggest why this might not be the best for you, and why taking better care of yourself is important.
Exercise pain away – the difference between 90% pain-free, and 100% pain-free
Sue lived with back pain for years. Most of the time is was low-grade – about 3 on a scale of 10, but occasionally it would flare up and she’d seek treatment.
Regular acupuncture and massage helped, and whenever the pain flared she’d do some stretches.
About 6 months ago Sue started doing Tai Chi weekly. When I saw her last month I asked about her pain and she thought for a moment and said, “After years of living with it, it’s gone completely. I haven’t noticed any pain for weeks!
The Real Cost of Crisis Management
Greg has knee pain at intervals – serious pain that stops him doing the things he loves. We see him at least weekly every time it flares up enough to keep him off the golf course.
When it gets ‘good enough’ he takes a break from treatment and exercise for a couple of months until he has another flare up.
We’ve been talking for a while about the importance of continuing treatment until he gets to 100% and how prevention is better than cure, so last time he kept up his treatments until the pain was completely gone.
We still see Greg every 4-8 weeks, and he hasn’t had a flare up for nearly a year.
Persevering until your pain is completely gone, and then doing maintenance does make a difference to your general well-being!