Shingles often results in extreme pain that can last for months. Now a simple exercise can protect against the virus. Yearly, up to 14,000 people over age 60 develop shingles, a painful nerve disease that comes from the chicken pox virus.
A new study shows tai chi -- slow exercise and intense meditation -- protects seniors against the shingles virus. Each tai chi class is about 45 minutes long. Tai chi has also been shown to help illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Specialists say that as we age, or as we experience declines in our immune function, this virus can express itself and produce a very painful rash. The rash however clears, but patients are often left with extreme sensitivity to pain.
A recent study shows three classes of tai chi a week for 15 weeks boosts shingles immunity by about 50 percent. Significant improvements were seen in the older adults who practiced tai chi and their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, tai chi was also found to offer protection against other viruses.