Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tai Chi May Ease Arthritis Pain, Disability

Practicing the controlled movements and deep breathing of Tai Chi may reduce arthritis pain and related disabilities, according to findings from a multi-study review. Tai Chi, an exercise form that originated in China, involves gentle, gliding motions that can be performed regardless of physical ability. After reviewing studies of Tai Chi involving a total of about 300 subjects with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, Amanda Hall, at the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues found that the practice reduced pain levels. Tai Chi likewise reduced pain-related disability associated with daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of chairs, and completing household, shopping, and leisure activities. These findings suggest Tai Chi ‘is as effective in reducing arthritic pain and disability as other clinical exercise programs,’ Hall told Reuters Health. Previous research showed Tai Chi to be beneficial in reducing pain and improving physical function, and the current analysis helps quantify the effect, Hall and colleagues explain in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

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