What is Tai Chi?

People practicing tai chi in the park

We understand that cancer can be overwhelming, so we offer free group classes such as yoga, meditation, qigong and tai chi to help through treatment. These types of therapies or exercises are known to help patients cope with cancer, side effects, pain, depression and anxiety.

Eva Boatwright, a caregiver at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, has been practicing tai chi since she retired in 2002. She learned about the different classes being offered at MD Anderson after picking up a copy of the Integrative Medicine Center newsletter.

“I was excited to see that there were tai chi, qigong, and yoga classes offered. So, I immediately enrolled my husband and I in tai chi,” Eva explained.

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that uses gentle physical exercise and stretching. During tai chi, patients will focus on breathing and posture to help relax the mind and strengthen the body. As a result, it can be an effective form of therapy to help reduce stress and anxiety.

“Practicing tai chi is an all around exercise. You concentrate on the slow and deliberate movements. It makes you more aware of your breathing,” Eva said.

Through continuous flowing movements that link mind to body, it can help you find balance and strength.

“I truly believe it has made us remain injury free. It surely improves your balance and the reason why you prevent falls,” Eva shared.

Where can you find classes?

The classes are free and open to patients, caregivers and their family members. You can find the class schedule at mdanderson.org/classes.

“The teachers are wonderful and the instructions are easy to follow. I encourage everyone to do it.”

Before you start, we encourage you to consult with your doctor before trying any complementary therapies such as tai chi. Also, remember to inform your doctor of any therapies you currently use that may affect your cancer treatment.