Tai Chi helps those chronic aches and pains

A new analysis by Australian researchers has revealed that Tai Chi helps fight chronic aches and pains.

Researchers at The George Institute in Sydney say Tai Chi is beneficial for arthritis because it decreased pain and helps improve overall physical health, relieved tension and improved patients satisfaction with their health.

Tai chi is a form of traditional Chinese martial arts often practiced for health reasons and is popular worldwide amongst people with little or no interest in martial training, because of its benefit to health and health maintenance. It is usually performed in a group, but can also be practiced alone.

Medical studies of Tai Chi support its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and a form of martial arts therapy - it helps the mind focus and encourages mental calm and clarity by concentrating on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind.

The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of Tai Chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health by relieving stress and this has been supported by the results of the new research.

The researchers say musculoskeletal pain, such as that experienced by people with arthritis, places a severe burden on the patient and community and is recognized as an international health priority and exercise therapy, including strengthening, stretching and aerobic programs, have been shown to be effective for arthritic pain.

Tai Chi is regularly practiced in China to improve overall health and well-being, usually in a group but is also practiced individually at leisure, which differs from traditional exercise therapy approaches used in the clinic.

A new study led by Amanda Hall examined the effectiveness of Tai Chi in decreasing pain and disability and improving physical function and quality of life in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

The researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis and analysed seven eligible randomized controlled trials that used Tai Chi as the main intervention for patients with musculoskeletal pain and the results showed that Tai Chi improves pain and disability in patients suffering from arthritis.

The researchers say Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits and also helps painful conditions such as arthritis.

The study is published in the June issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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