My mother has a massive collection of old VHS tapes, some going back to the early 1980s. In the mix of these, I happened upon a major gem; T’ai Chi for Health: Yang Short Form with Terry Dunn (DVD available on Amazon). One of the most important factors, I think, in improving self-management of fibromyalgia is always keeping your mind open and exploring as many means as possible to take care of your body, means that go beyond stuffing one’s body with medications.
Trust me, it’s easy to get into the habit of having to take several medications just to function. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I believe that there must be other ways to live, i.e. rather than having to take medications to get up, to sleep, to manage pain, to focus, etc.
When I first became ill in 2005/6, for the first two years, I was living that life: consuming upwards of 10 pills just to cope. Perhaps it was necessary then. However, I decided to decrease the number of medications I had to take just to live. Now, I only take 2, one specifically for my FMS and the other for my blood pressure.
Also, one of my internal struggles was dealing with what I considered a massive betrayal of my body. Prior to graduate studies, I worked at a fitness center, teaching classes and doing personal training. My body was strong, and I prided myself on its strength. Suddenly…that was gone. I couldn’t do any of the things that I once could. Moreover, I felt an overwhelming sense of self-resentment because of this change. As a result, I stopped trying to lift weights, do yoga, dancing, etc. I gave up on living an active life.
I had to break my “ego” down to accept and enjoy what I could still do: walk. That was in 2009.
Fast forward to today and I’m still walking. I’ve made a commitment to walking each day…even if it is a few steps. I still get out of my bed and walk. Normally, I do not give myself a time limit. I listen to my body and I listen to music. I give myself a song limit on my better days–no more than 11 songs. That’s my aim: keep moving one foot in front of the other for 11 songs.
Still, I am always on the lookout for new ways to improve. This is where the aforementioned tai chi video comes in. Just recently, I decided to try my hand at this video, and I really enjoyed it.
More importantly, after doing a little digging, I learned that research has been done on the benefits of tai chi for people with fibromyalgia: read about a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia” and check out Flipboard’s posts on tai chi, including this one “Fibromyalgia Tai-Chi Treatment: Is It Effective Or Not?” by FibromyalgiaTreating.com.
I’ve only started, but can state that I found it interesting. I think, however, that I would prefer doing tai chi in the company of others than just with this video. Still, I’ll take what I can get! Perhaps when I get back to Rome, I will find a place where others are practicing. For now, I’ll be practicing in my home, and I’ll let you know how it all goes!
Until Next Time,