Yellow River Center

Yellow River Center

1466 Lanier Place, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

offering a choice for managing personal health and well being

Tai Chi for Parkinson's Disease  The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still not known. Degeneration of the basal ganglia in the central nervous system results in a depletion of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The way each individual responds physiologically and psychologically to the disease is somewhat unpredictable. The symptoms range from almost undetectable to severely impaired.


Research has confirmed what people with PD already know that physical and mental exercise helps. Stretching, weight training, walking and aerobic exercise can all help physically. Meditation, support groups, puzzle-solving and spiritual practice can all help mentally. Medicine offers increasingly effective drug therapy, and physical therapy, massage therapy and occupational therapy provide helpful interventions.


If you have PD, or are friend, family or caregiver, you know how remarkably resilient the human spirit can become when faced with the changes that are forced by the disease. People are willing to try life-style practices from other cultures like yoga, tai chi and tango. Scientific studies continue to search for what might work best.


As you might guess, we are promoting Tai Chi. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February, 1012, reports that the special kind of mind-body movement that characterizes authentic Tai Chi Chuan can have a healing, preventive impact upon the connections that PD attacks. The biggest benefit that has been documented is better balance and fewer falls. Other functional improvements have also been measured, and evidence is accumulating that practicing Tai Chi can slow the progression of symptoms.  Chinese Traditional Medicine offers its own explanation based on yin-yang theory. When yin and yang are in balance, a person is healthy. Vital energy (Chi) can circulate freely throughout the body through channels (meridians) that pass through functional organs. Stress, injury, abnormal growths, malnutrition, disease, all are explained as poor chi flow. Medical treatment and preventive health are understood as restoring and maintaining the flow of Chi. To find out more, go to What is Chi?



In April, 2012, students in Brenau University's Occupational Therapy program organized a community health outreach program with Parkinson's support groups sponsored by the American Parkinson Disease Association that gave Yellow River Center an opportunity to share the benefits possible with Tai Chi.  From that outreach, YRC has evolved two Tai Chi for PD workshops.


These workshops aim to make Tai Chi an integral part of a person's life style.  We are continually working to improve ways of matching our teaching to the individual needs of participants.  We are currently exploring ways to integrate the wisdom and experience of other Tai Chi and Qigong instructors to design a curriculum that produces measurable results through all stages of Parkinson's disease.


We are convinced that existing community resources can be leveraged to close the gap between research and practice and enable a significant number of people diagnosed with PD to slow the progression of the disease.



An economic model that uses U.S. census data to help project the prevalence and costs associated with health issues shows that slowing the progression of 5% of the 13,000 people in Metro Atlanta who have PD would save around $84,000.000 in health care costs.