How Tai Chi Can Help Plantar Fasciitis
Posted on Oct 16, 2020

This year has brought its fair share of tension. In the midst of a crazy world, taking care of yourself can easily be shoved to the back of your mind, even though this should be treated as an essential part of your day. From nourishing your body to participating in daily physical activity, to simply taking time to do something you love or find reinvigorating – these are all necessary to your health, both mental and physical.

On the topic of physical exercise, finding the right workout for you that not only helps to boost your energy and burn calories but also relieves pain and emotional tension can be difficult. Yoga is a fantastic option that can be performed alone, in groups and in the comfort of your own home, but what are other options that can be explored?

Today, we’re talking about the benefits of Tai Chi for the mind, body, and specifically for the treatment of plantar fasciitis pain.


WHAT IS TAI CHI?


Tai chi is a form of exercise with roots in ancient China. This exercise works to engage your whole being – your physical body, your emotional mind, and your spirit. This practice balances physical activity with meditation to bring you calm in every sense of the word, as well as healing, wellness, and power.

Tai chi has roots in Qigong. This, too, is an ancient Chinese practice. Qigong and Tai chi are technically martial arts. Qigong has its own roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Therefore, Tai chi has a good foundation as a healing discipline.

There are various styles of tai chi and the history is long and the benefits proven. While some feel that this exercise originates from a realm of spirituality, this can be used less as a religious form of spirituality and more as a sacred time with yourself in which you care for the body and connect with the world around you.

Tai chi is marked by very meticulous and specific, but flowing movements that help to improve your strength, flexibility, and even immunity, all while eliminating muscle pain. The original beliefs behind tai chi are that the fluid movements help to unlock and unblock varying energies within the body to promote emotional and spiritual balance while also physically strengthening the body. These exercises, though they vary in form and skill level, are possible to learn and put into daily practice, even for Americans.


HOW CAN IT HELP PLANTAR FASCIITIS PAIN?


Tai chi is based in Taoism. This philosophy stresses balance and wellness and a connection to the surrounding world and nature. You may have heard of ‘yin and yang.’ These opposites summarize the taoism belief system.

Tai chi works throughout the entire body to build strength, balance, and aerobic conditioning while also relieving stress and anxiety. If you are experiencing foot pain from plantar fasciitis, this exercise can be beneficial for you as well.

As you stand and flow through the gentle movements of tai chi, you will notice that you regularly shift weight from one foot and leg to the other. This stretches the tight muscles of the feet that often contribute to plantar fasciitis pain, both increasing flexibility, alleviating tension, and strengthening your muscles. Tai chi forces one to engage the many tiny intrinsic muscles of the foot in a coordinated fashion with the larger and more forceful leg muscles.  

One basic move simply puts your body weight from heel to toe with a rocking motion. This promotes balance along with foot strength. This will also actually massage the foot by applying different pressure in a graduated fashion along the foot. There is no special hand movement needed for this. You simply stand on the heels and then rock forward to the toes. This will allow for strengthening of the calf muscles and also the muscles that lift the toes up and allow you to clear the floor during walking (without stubbing the toe).  

Another move allows for a rocking motion from the outside of the foot to the inside of the foot. This will strengthen the lateral muscles (peroneals) and medial muscles (posterior tibial and flexor hallucis). Your weight will shift from the arch to the outside of the foot.

It is important to focus such that the movements here are through the ankles and not through hips and knees. This will improve range of motion of the ankle and also strength.  

If you are interested in beginning tai chi but also have preexisting musculoskeletal issues, consult first with your personal physician. Getting a second opinion from your doctor is always the best practice to ensure your health and wellbeing.

Tai chi will harness the power and balance of a healthy body and will improve your wellness. It does so by soft and slow movements that are complimentary and contrasting at the same time. You will be able to produce powerful movements from a low and balanced stance. Tai chi, also called ‘shadow boxing,’ uses the antagonists-agonist system of the body and allows for the ‘opposite in everything’ to be utilized for your health.


RELIEF WITH THE HEALING SOLE


At The Healing Sole, we believe in empowering you with the tools you need for relief. Whether you are engaging your body in a physical workout, supplying it with the nutrients it needs from fresh fruits and veggies or calming the mind with refreshing practices like reading, meditating, or simply relaxing a calm environment away from daily stresses, we believe that self-care is a necessary part of the day.

Continue to care for the body with our surgeon-designed and formulated products. Our pain-relieving footwear and our wellness-boosting Well Theory products can be easily incorporated into your day to supplement a life lived well. Slip into our footwear to start and end your day or after a workout to relieve your feet and legs of stress and tension. Make our daily supplements and creams a part of your day-to-day to create the defense you need against illness and muscle pain.

Take a step towards relief and refreshment today with The Healing Sole.