Tai Chi is an ancient art practiced by people young and old. It combines slow and gentle movement with meditation and breathing to work the body both physically and mentally. The various styles use practiced primary movements that are repeated multiple times and can be completed within minutes a day. These gentle motions ranging from mild to moderate are beneficial to those who suffer from the often debilitating pain of arthritis.
Facts about Arthritis and Tai Chi
The Arthritis Foundation has determined that Arthritis is the leading cause of disability for Americans affecting more than 46 million people in the United States. The Center for Disease Control has noted that key measures in the prevention of this debilitating disease are exercise and weight loss. In a study conducted at the George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney and published by the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2007 it was shown that both Tai Chi and exercises which are water based can help reduce the stiffness and pain of the condition.
Benefits for Arthritis
For those who suffer from arthritis the recommended exercise to maintain joint range of motion and to control pain is usually painful and can aggravate the condition. With Tai Chi this is not the case. The movements are slow and focused, gentle and not quick and jerky. The circular motions of these soft gentle movements promote increased joint mobility, help improve posture and circulation.
When you factor in the potential for weight reduction with this exercise program and the improvement in cardiovascular function you are also regulating two additional contributing factors of arthritis pain. Breathing techniques and meditation used in the practice of tai chi relax the mind and control stress which can also be helpful in the control of pain. Tai Chi offers a holistic approach to total mind and body health improving quality of life with reduced pain and increased joint mobility.
Beginning Tai Chi
Speak to your physician to determine if a slow paced exercise program with gentle motions would be beneficial to the treatment of your arthritis pain. If you do decide to do this find an experienced instructor who can help you adapt the forms to meet your particular abilities and reach the goals you set. Remember any movement is good movement! You will want to ease your way into this beautiful art form and you will find that the many benefits of tai chi can help you in so many ways.