ACR: Tai Chi Associated With Improvements in Arthritis

May reduce pain, fatigue, stiffness, improve feelings of well-being in arthritis patients

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A regular Tai Chi practice may reduce symptoms and increase feelings of well-being in people who suffer from all kinds of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis, according to the largest study to date of the Arthritis Foundation's Tai Chi program presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Atlanta.

Leigh Callahan, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues randomly assigned 354 individuals with various types of arthritis to eight weeks of a twice-weekly Tai Chi course or no intervention, though the control group received the Tai Chi course after the eight-week follow-up evaluation.

The researchers found that participants in the immediate Tai Chi course experienced moderate improvements in self-reported pain, fatigue, and stiffness, and had an increase in feelings of well-being as indicated by psychosocial measures such as perceived helplessness and self-efficacy. They also showed improvements in balance or reach.

"Our study shows that there are significant benefits of the Tai Chi course for individuals with all types of arthritis, including fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis," Callahan said in a statement. "We found this in both rural and urban settings across a southeastern state and a northeastern state."

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