Sometimes you can use tai chi to treat a particular health issue by doing almost the same thing that causes the problem. It’s akin to homeopathy, where you treat the germ with the germ itself, so to speak.
Take carpal tunnel, for example. You get it by doing the same motion repeatedly for long periods of time. Fatigue sets in and your forearms tighten up. You keep doing it because you have to work, make money, pay the bills.
But then muscles, tendons and ligaments start aching from overuse. Pain sets in and doesn’t go away. You hang on, hoping it will disappear on its own, or you’ll overcome it long enough to make it through the day.
Then you hurt even when you’re not at work. It becomes “chronic pain.” A doctor may say tests show nothing wrong. False hope. You’re in pain and you know it.
Maybe he’ll say it’s probably wise to stop doing whatever behavior is causing the problem. Wish you could, right?
Eventually, maybe, a doctor offers some hope, sort of. He suggests surgery. It’s your gamble, though. It’s a 60/40, maybe 90/10, chance that surgery will heal you.
No guarantees, of course, except maybe that they can operate on you and it will cost a lot of money. The irony is the carpal tunnel came from working for money.
The homeopathy idea about tai chi is that repetitive movement over a period of time, such as single, basic moves, can help alter the pattern of movement that causes problems. Something about the different manner and intent of the movement can alleviate pain, soreness, stiffness, and retrieve ease of movement and range of motion. Plus, it can release overall tension and help you feel a little better all around.
No guarantee there either, but no slice and splice, and no hospital bills.