Tai Chi – a remedy not a sneeze

tai-chiI have been fortunate enough to visit China and see first hand how popular it is. And with good reason. In the UK we know it is helpful in cardiac rehab (have even run a demo class in the Rest of Life Programme). And now a study of more than 200 people suffering knee osteoarthritis (the wear and tear kind) has reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine that Tai Chi (Chinese mind-body practice) may be as good and is safer than other therapies.
A staggering 80,000 knee replacements are undertaken annually in the UK. Up until the point of surgery we rely on appropriate weight reduction, physical activity/therapy and medication – the latter almost always includes a potentially harmful effect.
This study was relatively small and lasted only one year — yet osteoarthritis symptoms can last decades. So, we’ll need larger and longer studies of tai chi in osteoarthritis before we can confidently say that it’s a long-term treatment for a long-term condition. Still, this new report is encouraging. Not so long ago, proponents of “complementary and alternative” treatments such as tai chi routinely met resistance from patients and doctors who wanted to see evidence that these treatments actually work. In recent years, that long-awaited evidence has begun piling up. This new study is just the latest example.
Why not make contact with a local Group near you and test the water.

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