Madeleine Hill, a longtime friend of the College and a member of its Board of Visitors, spoke about the benefits of tai chi, and introduced students to a few basic movements of sun, one of the five basic styles of the Chinese martial art.

Med students practice tai chi, learn health benefits

Medical students learned about the health benefits of tai chi along with a few basic movements on Jan. 13 at Dean’s Hour at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences.

Madeleine Hill, a longtime friend of the College and a member of its Board of Visitors, spoke about the benefits of tai chi, and introduced students to a few basic movements of sun, one of the five basic styles of the Chinese martial art.

The Dean’s Hour Lecture Series is a monthly forum for medical students created by the College to raise students’ awareness of community health issues.

Hill has taught tai chi for more than 10 years. Her late husband, Dr. William Winternitz, was a faculty member at CCHS for many years, and they both have supported the College’s Geriatrics Initiative.

Tai chi helps to reduce stress, promote relaxation and enhance peace of mind, Hill said. She has seen first hand through her teaching of tai chi how it has helped to reduce pain for some of her students. It also improves concentration and memory.

Another benefit of tai chi is that it helps to improve balance. According to the CDC, older Americans experienced 29 million falls in 2014, causing 7 million injuries and costing about $31 billion in annual Medicare costs. More than 27,000 older adults died from a fall in 2014.

“There’s a good reason to improve our balance,” Hill said.

One of the College’s functions is to serve as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the University of Alabama School of Medicine, providing clinical education for a cohort of third- and fourth-year students.

“How could this come into play in your own practices?” Hill asked students. “It starts with you. You’re the best example to your patients of how you maintain your own lives and take care of yourselves.”