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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi Soft Ball

Sep 01, 2015 10:31AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Alfred Cormier

The benefits of tai chi soft ball training regarding balance and physical functional health aren’t well known beyond the Department of Physical Education at Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, or the Journal of Human Sport & Exercise. However, Alfred Cormier, doctor of Oriental medicine and owner of the Cormier Health Center, in Naples, is looking to change this. The licensed primary care physician who became a certified international coach for tai chi rouli trained in Beijing with Master Tong Bao Min to learn how a ball, racquet and the human body can work together to produce flow, focus and concentration. “The game, which is also referred to as Chinese tennis, is about how and why we move. It’s also less about what we look like on the outside and more about how we focus on the inside,” says Cormier.  

The graceful pastime, which is an emerging national sport in China, was pioneered in 1991 by Professor Bai Rong at the Jun Zhong College of Shan Xi Medical University, in China. Tai chi soft ball, which combines the benefits of racquet sports like tennis and badminton with aspects of tai chi, uses a special lightweight racquet covered with a rubber surface. The most common type of ball used is plastic with a sand-filled center. In play, the ball cannot be returned by direct force, but rather caught and returned in a gentle movement that uses the whole body.

Tai chi rouli can also be played solo with skillful, uninterrupted holistic body movements, internal focus and several flexible hand techniques. Played with smooth, flowing movements that are reported to improve circulation, flexibility, joint function, agility and hand-eye coordination, the game has been proven to improve, maintain and decelerate the deterioration of physical health in older adults. Individuals restricted to a wheelchair can also play it.  

For more information about private one-hour lessons (by appointment) offered by Cormier, call 239-530-3997 or visit

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