Emory Report
Sept. 11, 2006
Volume 59, Number 3


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Sept. 11 , 2006
Xu creates tai chi video to help disaster victims heal

BY Kim Urquhart

For the survivors and families of loved ones lost in disasters such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, stress and depression can linger long after the rubble is cleared. According to Tingsen Xu, tai chi chuan grandmaster and adjunct associate professor in the Emory School of Medicine department of neurology, practicing tai chi may help. Xu is developing a DVD, “Tai Chi for Relieving Stress,” in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of his organization, the Tai Chi Health and Research Association.

“With the slow deliberate movement of tai chi, the mind becomes still and quiet, and anxieties of the outside world are minimized,” Xu said. “The balance achieved between mind and body provides an antidote to stress.”

“Tai Chi for Relieving Stress” includes Xu’s easy-to-learn approach, a two-minute tai chi routine. It features experts such as Kerry Kelly, chief medical officer of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY); former First Lady Rosalynn Carter; and Don Schroer, associate professor and chairman of Emory’s health, physical education and dance department.

Xu said the idea stemmed from a 2002 Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy hosted by The Carter Center, where he volunteers on a regular basis teaching tai chi to Carter and others. There he met Kelly, who spoke on the FDNY medical response to the 9/11 disaster, and Xu learned that the fire department uses the ancient art of tai chi as a therapeutic technique.

The free DVD will be released this fall, and Xu hopes to distribute it through the FDNY and to interested parties on campus.

Over the coming months Xu also will be directing studies on how tai chi can help relieve student stress at Emory. The results will be added to the accumulating literature on tai chi’s impact on the mind, body and emotions.