Local VA Offers First Ever Tai Chi Program For Veterans

Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 16:56:30-05

Dr. Guo has recently visited the VA in Dallas and Salt Lake City to train instructors there in Tai Chi. He hopes to launch the programs soon.

Grobengieser said, “We don’t just have to be there for them when they’re having an acute problem. And we can really help them find ways to cope with some of the things they go through in a proactive way.”

He said if you are a veteran, the class is free at the Murfreesboro location.

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Murfreesboro offers the only adaptive Tai Chi class in the country for veterans. 

After recognizing success from the pilot program, the instructor is training people across the country how to incorporate Tai Chi into VA programs. 

In the community room, socialization helps some veterans find peace of mind. 

Guo said, "Research has demonstrated that Tai Chi is one of the most effective ways of maintaining mind and body health.”

Guo helped launch the program two years ago. He said it was made possible by a grant.

Mindfulness is something that's imperative for veterans like Bruce Stophlet.

Stophlet said, "Not the past, not tomorrow. Just now."

Stophlet said the class has helped him physically and mentally. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, and a neurological condition. 

Stophlet said, "I have an issue with tremors and they tend to exacerbate when I'm in a stressful situation or around people."

In Tai Chi class he said he is able to achieve peace of mind.

Stophlet said, "It's more than just the Tai Chi. It's just a comfort place. It's mindfulness. When we're working together."

Eventually the veterans in the class will be able to learn self defense through the martial arts practice.

Dr. Guo said, "A lot of people find the practice and the idea of those movements and improve self confidence."

So when these veterans go home, they have a new mission: To practice mindfulness, so they can heal. 

Guo said, "The mind is very powerful. It can make your body become anything you want to." 

Aaron Grobengieser helps to manage the program.

Grobengieser said, “We are a starting point. We are a flagship. We are an opportunity to see how it goes. We have a great opportunity here to really see what works."