Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia: Effective Pain Relief
By Western Berks on June 12th, 2018
Tai chi is proving to be an effective option in the management of pain for individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers studied 226 adults with fibromyalgia over a one year period. The participants of the trial were placed into 2 different groups to study the effectiveness of aerobic exercise and tai chi for relieving Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines slow, movements with deep breathing and mental focus. It provides gentle exercise through stretching with one pose flowing into the next, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. It’s low-impact, so it puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, which makes it generally safe for most people – no matter age or level of fitness. Tai chi is also appealing because no special equipment is needed, and it is very adaptable – it may be practiced indoors or out, alone or in a group setting. There are different styles of Tai chi. Some emphasize health maintenance and meditation, while others place more emphasis on martial arts.
The most effective trial group at relieving pain associated with Fibromyalgia was the twice-weekly, tai chi group. Compared with the aerobic exercise group, the tai chi group reported the most significant improvement. The tai chi group reported better scores than the aerobic group on depression, coping, and anxiety.
Researchers believe the mind-body approach of tai chi contributes to its effectiveness and suggest it may be useful in reducing opioid use. “By improving psychological wellbeing, coping, and self-efficacy, tai chi mind-body exercise may help to bolster confidence of patients with fibromyalgia to engage in behaviors that help them manage their symptoms and to persist in those behaviors,” researchers write. “Tai chi might also help buffer the negative impact of fibromyalgia on the patients’ physical and psychosocial wellbeing.”
However that’s not to say that aerobic exercise is not effective at providing pain relief and health benefits as well. All groups, tai chi and aerobic exercise, reported decreased use of drugs including analgesics, antidepressants, and muscle relaxers.
Try out a Tai chi class and get your mind and body aligned! With the help of a dedicated Physical Therapist, you can incorporate your existing exercise routine into a customized treatment and exercise plan to provide effective pain relief for whatever is troubling you.