Tai Chi may reduce fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia sufferers may find relief from the chronic pain condition by doing tai chi, revealed by researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The tai chi reported improvements in 66 people with fibromyalgia. Researchers evaluated these people for 12 weeks.

Tai Chi decreased pain and increased ability to do daily tasks without pain; less fatigue, depression and anxiety; and an overall better quality of life. Patients also reported better sleep quality and improved physical conditioning.

The improvements were still evident at 24 weeks, according to the research reported.

“It was incredible,” said lead study author Dr. Chenchen Wang, an associate professor of medicine in the rheumatology department at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. “You could see them change every week. They became very happy. I felt very, very excited to be with them.”

“This could represent an ideal exercise for fibromyalgia sufferers. Since it is a low-impact, gentle, non-threatening, accessible activity, it may be a perfect exercise for debilitated patients with fibromyalgia who otherwise cannot or choose not to do other forms of exercise,” Yeh said. “Also, since tai chi has a meditative component, it may also help to address the stress and anxiety that may be associated with the condition.”

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the U.S. National Institutes of Health provided funding for the research.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, UK

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