WEBSITE HEADERQ :I have Fybromyalgia. Can Tai Chi help me?

A: Yes, most certainly! See the following article:

The gentle Chinese martial art of Tai Chi is more effective at relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia than simple stretching could account for, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Aside from reductions in pain, patients in the tai chi group reported improvements in mood, quality of life, sleep, self-efficacy and exercise capacity,” a research team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wrote in an accompanying commentary. “The potential efficacy and lack of adverse effects now make it reasonable for physicians to support patients’ interest in exploring these types of exercises, even if it is too early to take out a prescription pad and write ‘tai chi.'”

Fibromyalgia is a hard-to-define condition characterized by symptoms including severe pain, fatigue, stiffness, and trouble sleeping. Some researchers believe that it may be caused by the body’s pain sensitivity becoming too high.

Because conventional medicine has had trouble finding effective treatments for fibromyalgia, many patients turn to alternative therapies such as tai chi or acupuncture.

The researchers assigned 33 adults suffering from fibromyalgia either to take a 60-minute tai chi class from a certified master twice per week, or to attend classes consisting of health lectures and stretching exercises. Participants in the tai chi group were also encouraged to practice for 20 minutes per day.

Those practicing tai chi experienced significantly more improvement in their fibromyalgiasymptoms — an average of 28 points on a 100-point scale, in comparison with only a nine-point improvement in the stretching group.

Tai chi was initially developed as a martial art but is also practiced as a form of meditative exercise.