The purpose of this short article is to describe the normal hip joint (socket), how gravity stress affects it, and how the correct and regular practice of tai chi heals and prevents arthritis of this joint.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint (see photo above). Within the joint capsule is a fluid (called synovial fluid) that maintains space between the bones and therefore prevents friction between them. As long as there is a healthy supply of synovial fluid within the joint capsule, the joint remains healthy.
Because the hip joint is a weight bearing joint, the so called “normal” process of aging can lead to a diminished amount of synovial fluid within the joint capsule (i.e.- squeezes the fluid out over a long period of time due to gravity stress). This reduces the amount of space between the femur head and acetabulum of the pelvis, and causes friction in the joint (i.e.- heat, inflammation, arthritis). The word arthritis means joint inflammation. Add to this lack of healthy joint movement (see below) and exercises like running, weight lifting, and many sports which further squeeze the synovial fluid out, and the result can be serious debilitating pain, and eventually maybe looking at hip replacement surgery.
The Hip Rotation Exercise included here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA5HflU2Ilc) acts as a pump to restore fresh synovial fluid into the joint capsule. Practiced regularly (say 10 reps each direction, 3 times a day – requires about one minute) to do… (unless of course you are too busy!) This will reverse the negative effects of gravity stress and restore the normal hip joint integrity.
The good news is, when you practice tai chi regularly and correctly, this hip socket rotation motion is happening continuously each time you shift weight and rotate the hip and SINK the chi (i.e.- move by relaxing).
Please try this exercise. And then cultivate awareness to include this motion within your tai chi practice.
Happy to hear feedback. Good luck with your training!