Advances in medical technology have led to a longer living population, which additionally results in an increased number of elderly people. Elderly people are faced with many health problems contributed from physical decline. Falls are recognized as the most common and major health problem among the elderly, and falls are the leading cause of major injuries such as fractures and head traumas. Falls are the cause of around 70% of accidental death in people aged 75 and older, and falls result with psychological traumas such as a loss of self confidence and fears of more falls. Put all of these factors together leads to a functional decline in daily activities and a low quality of life for the elderly.
A number of studies have been performed to determine causes, risk factors, and intervention to prevent falls among the elderly. Exercises and other forms of physical activity; such as swimming, yoga, walking, jogging, aerobic and Tai Chi Chaun, are recommended to prevent falls.
Tai Chi Chaun or Tai Chi (TCC, TC) was originally developed in China and is a slow and graceful Chinese exercise that includes a form of mindfulness meditation. TCC consists of series of individual movements linked together in a continuous manner that flow smoothly from one movement to another. TCC is now used worldwide for health benefits.
Now in western cultures, TCC has been modified in different forms. Long forms of TCC, which often use at least108 movements, is a lot more difficult for elderly people to learn than short forms which consist of 8–13 movements. Short forms of TCC are much easier to learn than the original form and are becoming better known and more popular in urban and city areas.
Thailand has developed its own form of TCC exercise, known amongst Thais as Dao De Xin Xi.
Dao De Xin Xi was created in Bangkok in 1998. Dao De Xin Xi is a modified short form of TCC which uses 9 selected movements believed to have health benefits for 9 physiological systems in the body such as the cardiovascular system, digestive system, respiratory system etc. Dao De Xin Xi is a lot easier to perform than the original TCC; it is also softer and gentler and flows more slowly in a repetitive left to right circular manner. Deep breathing and mental concentration are also required when participating in this exercise form. In addition, each of the movement of Dao De Xin Xi is performed simultaneously with Thai versions of 9 easy-listening Chinese songs which feature of a Dao Xin melody arranged in. The meaning and theme of all 9 songs are about mercy of mankind according to philosophical aspects, mentioned to improve mental functions by meditative effects.
Today, Dao De Xin Xi exercise is now well-known in almost all provinces in Thailand, nowhere more so than here in Phuket, which has now formed the Phuket Dao De Xin Xi Association and counts more than 500 members on the island alone.
Many of the members of the Phuket Dao De Xin Xi Association told us of how they are benefitting from this exercise with improved health and well being.
“I would encourage everyone to practice Dao De Xin Xi. It’s a wonderful form of exercise that is not only good for you physically; it also sharpens your mind, gives you grace and a sense of purpose. To be honest, since I have been participating it has kept me sane. One of the things I really like about Dao De Xin Xi is that it teaches you to have a good heart and not to be narrow-minded. If you are narrow minded this usually means that you are only concerned about yourself and your family. Now we must change to help the society” Sopin Koaysomboon
“I have previously enjoyed doing exercise such as swimming, jogging and yoga. However, recently I have found this to be too excessive for me. I was recommended Dao De Xin Xi by a friend, and I have to say it has changed my life dramatically.” Vichitra Vinyupradit
“Dao De Xin Xi is marvelous and has so many health benefits. I really like meditation but when practicing Dao De Xin Xi,
we get meditation and so much more. It has been proved that if we are in a good and relaxed state of mind, you will automatically feel a sense a natural power. When I am doing Dao De Xin Xi I can really feel the blood circulating around my body. If teenagers can be educated in Dao De Xin Xi and its benefits it would be great.” Dr. Wethanee Karnkorkul
“Dao De Xin Xi is a great thing for the public to practice, and once they have learnt the movements and have practiced for a while they can apply it to their everyday life and can practice anywhere. It’s something which to all of us. Those who practice Dao De Xin Xi can see the advantages of it after a very short period of time.” Nantinee Kerdwongbundit
In 2011, the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok performed a 12 week study to evaluate the effects of 12-weeks of Dao De Xin Xi exercise on balance and the quality of life of some of Thailand’s elderly. A number of healthy Thai elderly women over the age of 60, either patients or workers in the hospital were recruited to participate in 60-minute Dao De Xin Xi exercise classes, 3 times per week for 12 weeks..
Most participants had dyslipidemia and hypertension which could be improved or maintained by medications. However, no walking aid was required by any of the participants. 14.3% of the participants had suffered a fall in the 6 months prior to the study. 50% of the participants wore glasses and 35.7% of the participants performed other forms of exercise such as tennis, jogging, aerobic, and swimming.
At the start of the study and at the end of the 12 weeks, participants were tested for their static balance (Single-Leg Stance Timed Test with eyes open and close) and dynamic balance (Expanded Timed Up and Go Test). Their quality of life was also measured using the abbreviated Thai version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire.
In January 2012 the results of the study were released and the findings were as follows:
Static and dynamic balance improved significantly after a 12-week of Dao De Xin Xi exercises.
An increase in the SLST-test with eyes close after the exercise, with significant difference found only for the left leg SLST-test
Dao De Xin Xi exercise significantly improved dynamic balance
Significant improvements were also found in 4 domains of quality of life, including physical health, psychological, social relationship and environment
Their conclusion was: 60-minutes of Dao De Xin Xi exercise, 3 times per week for 12 weeks may help Thai elderly female participants improve both static, dynamic balance, and quality of life.
The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Phramongkutklao Hospital has adopted Dao De Xin Xi exercise for patients since 2006.
Here are just a few of the places you will find growing numbers ofPhuket’s elderly practicing this amazing exercise
Suan Luang Rama 9 (Monday – Friday 6.30 am – 8.30 am)
Address: Chaofah Road, Tambol Taladnua, Amphur Muang, Phuket
Contact Person: Wethanee Karnkorkul
Tel: +66 (0) 81 979 0451
Queen Sirikit Park Phuket (Monday – Friday 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm)
Address: Near TAT Phuket office, Thalang Road, Tambol Taladyai, Amphur Muang, Phuket
Contact Person: Sopin Koaysomboon
Tel: +66 (0) 81 691 9327
Taosin Thalang Club (Monday – Friday 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm)
Address 2nd floor, Tessabaan Thalang Market, Tambol Thepkasattri, Amphur Thalang, Phuket
Contact Person: Junya Jinasena
Tel: +66 (0) 89 652 0041