People who suffer with the disabling pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia need natural ways to relieve their discomfort and disability. One treatment that could help some of the five million people who suffer with this frustrating disorder is exercise. On the other hand, some types of exercise may be better than others. According to a recent study, tai chi for fibromyalgia has benefits.
The Benefits of Tai Chi: Can It Help Fibromyalgia Problems?
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers recruited thirty fibromyalgia sufferers to take part in a three month tai chi program, – consisting of two sixty minute sessions a week of tai chi exercise and training. The participants also did twenty minutes of daily tai chi at home. A control group took part only in twice weekly fibromyalgia educational sessions or did stretching exercises.
Did tai chi for fibromyalgia have benefits? Not only did the tai chi group experience improvement in their general symptoms of fibromyalgia, including muscle pain and fatigue, they slept better, reported less depression, and had greater exercise tolerance. One in three fibromyalgia sufferers in this study was able to stop their medications after starting the tai chi classes.
Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia: Is It Really Beneficial?
Several previous studies have also shown promising benefits of tai chi for fibromyalgia treatment. This is encouraging – but some researchers urge caution about jumping on the tai chi bandwagon. In this type of study, there’s always concern about the “placebo effect” where people experience improvements because they know they’re receiving a treatment. Also, no one knows how much tai chi for fibromyalgia is best and whether differences in teaching style affects the outcome. Still, the results are encouraging, especially since participating in tai chi has few risks and is safe for most people.
The Benefits of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia: The Bottom Line?
There’s still much more to learn about tai chi for fibromyalgia – but the downsides of practicing tai chi are few – and the benefits could be substantial. Tai chi teaches participants to better control their bodies using gentle movements, breathing techniques, and meditation. This gives a greater sense of confidence and well-being and may reduce their perception of pain and discomfort.
If you have fibromyalgia, consider signing up for a tai chi class ‘” or explore one of the many dvd’s that teach these techniques, but, talk to a doctor first ‘” especially if you’re pregnant, older, or have other medical problems.
Family Practice News. September 1, 2010. page 36.