More Evidence: Tai Chi Relieves Knee Pain

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Feb 02, 2009

Mind-Body-Spirit News

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

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at