Here is my testimonial to how Peter Hill’s Tai Chi program was indispensable in my back injury recovery. After sustaining a back injury to the L5-S1 vertebra, I was examined by my doctor and a specialist. The specialist determined, that in his opinion, surgery was the only option available. I told him that I’d try a program of chiropractic and stretching for thirty days and re-visit him. If he did not see a sustained improvement and a trend toward recovery, I would elect surgery.
For the next thirty days I made visits to the chiropractor and started practicing the Eight Verses of Brocade. The chiropractic treatment kept my spine in alignment and reduced the pain, while the Eight Verses of Brocade allowed me to stay flexible without causing further injury. The first step in my recovery was to start slowly with the Eight Verses of Brocade. The advantage of this form of exercise is that you can gauge your progress daily by how much progress you make on each movement. The Eight Verses of Brocade include the following:
Support the Sky
Shoot the Bow
Chi Energy Massage
Rolling Tiger Sits on Rock
Hit the Trees / Split the Sky
Expand / Contract – Charge the Core
I started the stretching program by customizing the Eight Verses of Brocade to my specific needs. You can do these exercises in the order that suits your situation. I started with movements that allowed me to move up and down, while maintaining good posture. These moves are Support the Sky, Splitting Palms, and Chi Energy Massage. This was important, since any movement done incorrectly at this point in my recovery, could cause further injury. After gaining strength in those moves, I added the movements that would strengthen my upper back. These included Shoot the Bow and Hit the Trees / Split the Sky. These two sets of movements strengthened my legs and back and allowed me to add more strenuous moves such as Rolling Tiger Sits on Rock. This move enabled me to gain flexibility and strength in my legs. Lastly I included the movement which allowed me to bend over, Blowing Bellows. Expand / Contract – Charge the Core is a relaxation exercise I did at the end of each session. All through the exercise program I increased the number of repetitions and length of stretch to the extent I could. This, along with the controlled breathing associated with this type of exercise enabled me to very carefully recover from this injury without the risk of surgery.
Upon re-visiting the specialist, I was dismissed from his care. He remarked at the measurable improvement in strength and flexibility. Specifically, he thought I had very little chance of recovery without surgery. I explained my method of recovery to him. He said it was a sound method for me, and to continue the program to reduce the chance of re-injury.