Middle Tennessee veterans using tai chi to help with pain, stress

Veterans say tai chi helps them with stress and pain. (WSMV)

An ancient form of exercise is helping to change veterans' lives in the Midstate.

At the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, veterans who use wheelchairs say they go to adaptive tai chi to help relieve chronic pain and take their minds off their injuries.

The veterans say the practice also helps calm their post-war anxiety and anger.

Instructor Dr. John Johnson says that over the past 17 years he has watched veterans in wheelchairs stand again and stroke survivors regain movement in their limbs.

"In our society, we tend to be in our heads a lot more than we realize," Johnson said. "If we can bring that focus back in and then learn to reconnect our bodies with that so that my mind is paying attention my body all the time."

Johnson says practicing tai chi also helps veterans restore relationships with people in their lives.

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