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Tai Chi serves as alternative treatment to fibromyalgia

08-20-2010 10:35 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Practicing Tai Chi, a Chinese exercise of slow body movements, may help ease fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Tufts Medical Center in Boston found out that fibromyalgia suffers who practiced hour-long sessions of Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks felt less pain, less fatigue, depression and anxiety, enjoying an overall better quality of life in comparison with their counterparts who only had a twice-weekly wellness and stretching education class.

Participants perform tai chi, a traditional form of Chinese martial arts in Beijing on August 8, 2007. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
Participants perform tai chi, a traditional form of Chinese martial 
arts in Beijing on August 8, 2007. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Patients in the Tai Chi group also reported better sleep quality and improved physical conditions, according to the researchers who published the findings in the Aug. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

As only 66 patients were involved in the test, larger studies are needed to confirm the findings. But Tai Chi looks promising as an alternative treatment to fibromyalgia, the researchers noted.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, insomnia and multiple tender points. The syndrome can also cause psychological issues, including anxiety, depression, and memory and concentration problems, sometimes called the "fibromyalgia fog."

About 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia, and about 75 percent to 90 percent of them are women, according to estimates from the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Originating as a martial art in China, Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise that utilizes slow, gentle movements to build strength and flexibility, as well as deep breathing and relaxation, to move qi, or vital energy, throughout the body.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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