Tai Chi for Rheumatic Diseases, Fibromyalgia, and MS

Feb 24 14:31 2008 Carolyn Cooper Print This Article

Because Tai Chi improves flexibility and builds muscle strength gradually, doctors and physical therapists recommend it for people with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. The fluid-as-silk movements of this gentle Chinese practice are tailor-made for easing sore joints and muscles.

"There's no doubt that Tai Chi,Guest Posting done properly, can be a beneficial exercise for people with arthritis," says Paul Lam, M.D., a Sydney-based family practitioner and Tai Chi master who designed the Australian arthritis program. "Tai Chi is an exercise almost anyone who can walk can do safely." Dr. Lam began doing Tai Chi nearly 30 years ago for his own osteoarthritis. "Tai Chi takes the joints gently through their range of motion while the emphasis on breathing and inner stillness relieves stress and anxiety." Peter Stein, M.D., a Greenbrae, Calif., rheumatologist, says he finds Tai Chi especially good for people with fibromyalgia and those with a high level of muscle pain. “People in pain often can't even do yoga," he says. “They need something milder and more soothing, and Tai Chi is very good for relieving pain.”A 10-week study from 1991 that evaluated Tai Chi's safety for rheumatoid arthritis patients concluded that the weight-bearing aspects of this exercise have the potential to stimulate bone growth and strengthen connective tissue.A 1999 study that looked at people with multiple sclerosis who practiced Tai Chi found that it contributed to an overall improvement in quality of life for people with chronic, disabling conditions. Given its low impact and evidence that it tends to increase muscle strength and balance, and gives general pain relief, it's a great option for those who experience symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia and MS.

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Carolyn Cooper
Carolyn Cooper

Carolyn Cooper is a certified fitness professional and Energy Intuitive. She is also founder of Tai Chi Flow, Inc., which has produced a series of videos (www.TaiChiFlow.com) including Tai Chi Flow for Kids, Tai Chi Flow for Pregnancy (featured in Fit Pregnancy Magazine) and Tai Chi Flow for Everybody. Cooper also publishes an e-newsletter called “Living in the Flow” and was a contributing author of the book 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health.

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