Another research study has added to the growing evidence that tai chi enhances health and is a valuable pursuit for people with particular chronic conditions. According to a small study presented at the annual American College of Rheumatology Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, tai chi is an effective treatment for pain and physical impairment caused by severe knee osteoarthritis in older adults.
The negative effects of osteoarthritis include loss of muscle function and proprioceptive ability along with mental and emotional distress from chronic pain. The researchers theorized that the mind-body practice of tai chi might significantly alleviate all these effects.
Scientists from Tufts Medical Center and the Mind-Body Center, both in Boston, randomized 40 individuals with severe knee osteoarthritis into either a tai chi group or a stretching and wellness education group. Both groups participated in an hourlong class twice weekly for 12 weeks. Subjects completed questionnaires before and after the study intervention.
Study results showed that tai chi group members experienced significant improvements in pain, physical function, depression, self-efficacy and health status. The authors recommended that larger studies be undertaken to confirm these results.
For more information about the American College of Rheumatology’s annual meeting, go to www.rheumatology.org/annual.