Tai-Chi for Fibromyalgia: Should You Try It?
If you have fibromyalgia and experience musculoskeletal pain, poor sleep quality and depression, you might try tai-chi — a martial art form combining meditation with slow, gentle, graceful movements. A small but important study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that tai chi may help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia.
After 12 weeks, the tai-chi group had a greater reduction in pain and more improvement in mood, quality of life, sleep, confidence in their abilities and ability to exercise than the control group. People in the tai chi group were encouraged to continue their tai chi practice after the classes ended using an instructional DVD, and they were still feeling better 24 weeks after the study began. What’s more, no adverse effects were reported.
Bottom-line advice: Keep in mind that this is just one small study. Larger, longer studies are needed to confirm the results. Researchers still don’t fully understand the mechanism by which tai chi eases the symptoms of fibromyalgia or whether tai chi might help everyone with fibromyalgia. Still, if you’re seeking a form of exercise that may help improve your fibromyalgia symptoms, tai chi appears to be safe, and along with standard treatments such as medication, psychotherapy and education, it just may help you feel better.
Johns Hopkins Health Alerts 12.26.11
My own experience with Tai-chi was positive. For several years, I met weekly with others to practice. I do not suffer from fibromyalgia, but I was over stressed, experiencing severe menopause symptoms and having difficulty sleeping. Tia-Chi requires full concentration, slows down the heart rate and calms the nerves. For a person who has a hard time quieting the mind in sitting mediation, tai-chi is an excellent moving mediation. Perhaps it is the improvement of posture; perhaps the strengthening of the core that comes from controlled movement; perhaps it is the descipline of slowly moving through a series of poses. All of these produced results for me and many others I have known. You can reduce stress and even pain with tai-chi. Whether you have fibromayalgia or not, it is a wonderful way to reduce any pain that is exacerbated by stress and repetitive physical movements that cause stress on joints. Sitting for long periods bent over the computer is a good way to increase your arthritis and fibromayalgia pain. Tai chi could help.
If you have experience with tai-chi and fybromayalgia or other pain, arthritis or joint issues, please let us know your results.
Be Well, Do Well, Keep Moving
Injured at 52. Diagnosed and sentenced to a wheel chair at 55. Hiking, skiing, dancing and walking at 77. Read my story.