Researchers in Texas find that a tai chi programme improves pain and daily living activities in people with arthritis. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese system of gentle exercise which has been long held to have a wide range of health benefits. Now researchers at University in Texas report on one of the first studies of the effects of tai chi in osteoarthritis.
Seventeen patients, average age 54, did 10 weeks of a tai chi programme especially designed for use in arthritis, and were compared to 10 controls who did not do the exercises. At the end of the study, the tai chi group reported significantly less pain, and fewer difficulties in activities of daily living. They also had improved abdominal strength and balance in comparison to the controls, though there were no difference in flexibility, upper muscle or knee muscle strength. Evidently older people can benefit greatly from taking up tai chi as part of their exercise routine.