Tai Chi helps keep arthritis sufferers on their feet

The traditional Chinese martial art of Tai Chi has been said to produce a variety of health benefits for older adults.

These include stress reduction, improved posture and balance and lower extremity strength. A new review of research, however, suggests another potential benefit of performing Tai Chi.

Four comparative studies measured improvements of ambulatory adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in 8-10 week Tai Chi programmes. Although, in three studies, no differences were found, in one small study, the most notable results were a significantly increased range of motion in the ankle, hip and knee and increased enjoyment of exercise. No detrimental effects were reported. Preserving range of motion in affected joints is particularly important for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to maintain functionality.

The Cochrane Library - Issue 3 of 2004 is published this week by Wiley, and this newsletter highlights some of the key health care conclusions reached by new Cochrane reviews and their implications for practice.

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