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Why Tai Chi for Arthritis? 

This entry was posted in General May 3, 2019

Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that can help improve balance and prevent falls. It consists of making slow, graceful movements while breathing deeply.

Studies have found that Tai Chi also improves leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, the immune system, and the ability to concentrate. It is believed that Tai Chi was devised by a Taoist teacher who lived during the 13th Century and that it may have started originally as a form of self-defence or martial art. It is now practiced by millions around the world.

Although the activity levels are slow-moving and gentle, Tai Chi can be considered an aerobic exercise and is said to have benefits similar to taking a fast walk.

Because Tai Chi is a low impact exercise, it should be safe for all ages and all levels of fitness and studies have shown that it may well help to reduce falls in older adults by up to 45%.

Other benefits are thought to be a lower anxiety, stress, and depression, higher energy levels, better balance and flexibility, muscle strengthening and lower blood pressure.

There is some evidence that Tai Chi can improve mobility in the ankles, hips and knees in people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is still not known if it can reduce pain or improve the quality of life for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The essential principles are all about the integration of mind and body integration with controlled breathing and mental concentration. The life force is known as the qi, which is pronounced ‘chee’ and the aim is to get that to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body.

The largest study of Tai Chi for Arthritis, was from the University of North Carolina and it showed significant health benefits for people with all types of arthritis.

In the study, 354 participants were split into two groups. The Tai Chi group received 8 weeks of lessons, while the other group was a control group waiting for Tai Chi classes. It was found that there was significant pain relief, less stiffness and better ability to manage daily living. The participants felt better about their overall wellness, as well as experiencing improved balance.

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