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Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that incorporates health, mindfulness, and the physical exercises often done in slow motion in contemporary practice. Although a martial art used as a form of defense, Tai Chi has recently gained attention as a form of exercise that can be beneficial for those suffering fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Fibromyalgia is a general pain disorder that affects as many as five million people in the United States. Of those suffering fibromyalgia, the majority are women. Fibromyalgia is controversial in nature because there are still no diagnostic tests to determine the presence of fibromyalgia and self-reporting still remains the major contributing factor to diagnosis. However, for patients with fibromyalgia, the pain is very real, and often medical treatments remain costly and with difficult side effects such as fatigue and weight gain.
In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined 66 patients and concluded that there was significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms versus strict medical treatment. This study is the first to recognize an alternative technique to healing and health.
If you are interested in tai chi or its sister qi gong, you can contact your local martial arts studio. Usually, tai chi is taught with other Chinese arts such as Kung Fu. There are also several videos available through online retailers and Gaiam, a company that specializes in fitness.
Further information on the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/health/19taichi.html?_r=0.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|