Parawushu: The path of rehabilitation and the therapeutic approach of Chinese occupational therapy
The healing character of Parawushu is also a given
The health benefits for someone practicing Kung Fu are numerous. Kung Fu exercise is multifaceted and harmoniously trains the body, going beyond psychological completeness and uplift. Therefore, a body with impairments manages to exercise its strong limbs and gradually strengthens the less active ones. Inactive body parts exercise semi-actively because impairments and damages are not experienced as straight vertical or horizontal lines but as contorted. This leads to the muscles having both their inactive and active parts strengthened. The use of targeted breathing in Kung Fu techniques properly oxygenates the body, as it is known through extensive research that better oxygenation more effectively activates the body’s recovery process.
The energy within our bodies is linked to blood circulation, breath control, and coordinated movement, giving rise to what we metaphorically or literally refer to as a continuous flow of energy in Kung Fu. This flow of energy extends beyond mere respiration and blood circulation, finding its source and realization in our parasympathetic system, meridians, and their corresponding channels. Thus, in various Kung Fu styles, to varying degrees, you will find the elements of harmonious, multifaceted, and sensory-rich physical exercises combined with focused breathing and personal development. It’s worth noting that Taiji Quan, often regarded as the pinnacle of martial arts styles, embodies these principles to the highest degree.
In an effort to prepare the body for combat, we instill such qualities (motor control and adaptive skills in athletic proficiency) within it, allowing us to exercise absolute control over it. The objective is to engage in combat with an opponent by redirecting opposing forces. From this launching pad, health benefits emerge as we consistently and comprehensively condition our bodies here, following principles that are ultimately quite demanding. Disabilities, disorders, and injuries benefit greatly from this approach.
The literature and discussions on this topic are extensive. Furthermore, we work on our health even more precisely with Qi Gong. This involves energetic therapeutic exercises or entire systems of energy-based healing exercises. The range is quite vast, and here in Greece, we dedicate a considerable effort to this aspect for all Kung Fu practitioners, regardless of disabilities.
The role of Qi Gong is precisely this: to heal, strengthen, and fortify the body, especially for people with disabilities.
So, Parawushu, with all these characteristics and its wealth, is used by its instructors as a means of empowerment and disability rehabilitation. The same could be noted for the psychological benefits of its practice. The psychotherapeutic role of sports is well-known, particularly in Kung Fu, where the goal is a balanced personality with martial skills and strategic management and resolution of various situations.
Beyond the obvious health benefits for physical disabilities, there are also advantages for disabilities with specialized requirements, such as autism, intellectual disabilities, juvenile Parkinson’s, and various syndromes. Balance and harmonious exercise for both body and soul, rehabilitation, and targeted therapeutic practices for all.
Doctors, psychologists, physical education instructors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists collaborating with Parawushu equip themselves with medical knowledge to address all of the above.