Tai Chi May Help People with Osteoarthritis

A Tai Chi exercise program may result in less pain and fewer difficulties with daily activities. This is according to recent research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting.

A randomized study examined the changes in pain, balance, muscle strength, and physical functioning in older osteoarthritis patients. At the completion of a 12-week Tai Chi program, the exercise group showed significant improvement in physical functioning while the control group reported no change or even worse physical functioning. There were significant improvements in abdominal muscle strength and balance for the Tai Chi group, though no significant differences were found in flexibility, upper muscle, or knee muscle strength.

“This is one of few studies that explore the potential effects of relatively new intervention ‘Tai Chi exercise’ to manage arthritis symptoms and to improve physical fitness and functioning in older osteoarthritis,” said Rhayun Song, RN, PhD, Department of Nursing, Soonchunhyang University and an investigator in the study, “It shows that Tai Chi exercise is a safe and effective intervention for older osteoarthritis patients.”

Osteoarthritis is the deterioration of cartilage that cushions bones in the joints and is usually associated with middle-aged and the elderly.

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