Dizziness is a common condition that affects a person’s quality of life. Otolaryngologists often see this condition commonly experienced with vestibular disorders. The vestibular system is part of the hearing system, and it is designed to keep you balanced and orientated. Balance issues stemming from vestibular disorders can be a serious problem that typically causes stress, anxiety, and fatigue in an individual. When a person has a problem with balance, the risk of falling can dramatically increase. Issues with balance is a serious condition since falling can lead to serious injury or even death. Having a greater risk of falling can inhibit a person’s ability to walk and lead a healthy life. Balance issues can make a person less active, which makes them more susceptible to obesity, loss of body mass, and heart disease. Also, not being able to do the things a person once enjoyed and losing the ability to live a “normal” life often has an adverse effect on a person’s emotional state.
Luckily, certain types of vestibular disorders respond to vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT). Designed to re-calibrate the sensory and motor functions required for balance, VRT can be effective in improving the symptoms caused by vestibular disorders. During VRT, exercises at home are a vital aspect of treatment, as activities such as Tai Chi can help improve a person’s balance. Tai Chi is a slow, soft form martial art that is supported as a complementary therapy for vestibular rehabilitation. One of the best known martial arts of the internal systems from ancient China, Tai Chi, can improve balance, flexibility, and body awareness. Practicing Tai Chi is recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the Center for Disease Control, the Arthritis Foundation, and the National Council on Aging since it has been shown to improve balance and reduce falls.
Tai Chi makes one firmer on their feet and can help alleviate the fear of falling. It improves balance by targeting and improving reflexes, flexibility, leg strength, and range of motion. Tai Chi is adaptable to every skill level and age, and classes are now available in many communities and online. However, before you enroll or participate in a Tai Chi program to help you with your vestibular disorder, it is important to consult with your physician.