Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Blog Post - Allison Brooks


Tai Chi:
Kicks you into shape and cancer out of here
Tai Chi is an old martial art that is focused manipulating one’s chi through controlled movements or postures. Chi is an energy that is the core and basic foundation of all Chinese methods of healing. Not like its Bruce Lee’s predecessors, Tai Chi is more a peaceful movement art that is muscle toning, yet relaxing. Many have adopted this technique to relieve stress, build strength, or to assist with treatments for chronic illnesses or cancer.

Tai Chi is another therapy that many patients have adopted while undergoing conventional cancer treatments. Just like in Road House, Tai chi is used to stimulate muscle function and relax the mind. Though everyone might not do it as well as Patrick Swayze, everyone will achieve the desired energy balancing effect. There have been many patients that swear by the use of Tai Chi, and actually teach sessions at local hospitals.

It is understood that the chi and body have to work in harmony for a healthy sense of well-being to be achieved. For example, a person that is sick or in pain, means the chi is interrupted or unbalanced. To re-energize the chi and return it to its normal flow, a series of precise movements must be performed. The movements and postures of Tai Chi are similar to dance, in that each movement is followed by counter-movement that perfectly coincides. These slow, precise movements combined with controlled breathing from the diaphragm produce the desired effect.

With the time and mastery, Tai Chi provides an increase in muscle mass and tone, flexibility, improved posture, and increased stamina. Cardiovascular benefits are another result from the carefully articulated and focused breathing throughout each movement of the body. Tai Chi is a perfect exercise and relaxing agent for just about everyone, and is also becoming a complementary therapy for cancer treatments. MarthaMcInnis, a breast cancer survivor, learned about using Tai chi as an integrative medicine when she was undergoing radiation, and hails that Tai chi made her live better and gather the strength to fight her cancer with full force.

Though it is not a direct cure for certain ailments and cancer, it helps ease the pain of treatments, relieve stress, and promotes immune system function. Many doctors agree with Martha, and recommend patients with aggressive cancer treatment plans to adopt Tai Chi or any complementary therapy. Patients diagnosed with cancers, like non-hodgkin’s lymphoma or mesothelioma face difficult road ahead. Since intense amounts of chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation are the main treatment options, a complementary therapy is a great way to help settle the mind and body. The increased wholeness and wellness of the whole body is what doctors and patients claim to be the benefit of using Tai Chi with conventional cancer treatments. 

My name is Allison Brooks and I am a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. I earned my B.S. in Biomedical Anthropology and have continued my research to work towards a completed ethnography. I mainly focus on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but I do branch off into other fields of anthropology.