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Updated: November 22, 2009 19:42 IST

Fight pain with Tai Chi

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Photo: K. Ananthan
Photo: K. Ananthan

Patients over 65 years with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise can improve physical function and experience less pain, say researchers.

For this study, Chenchen Wang and colleagues from Tufts University recruited 40 patients from the greater Boston area with confirmed knee OA who were in otherwise good health. Patients were randomly selected and 20 were asked to participate in 60-minute Yang style Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks.

The remaining 20 participants assigned to the control group attended two 60-minute class sessions per week for 12 weeks. Each control session included 40 minutes of instruction covering OA as a disease, diet and nutrition, therapies to treat OA, or physical and mental health education. The final 20 minutes consisted of stretching exercises involving the upper body, trunk, and lower body, with each stretch being held for 10-15 seconds.

At the end of the 12-week period, patients practising Tai Chi exhibited a significant decrease in knee pain compared with those in the control group. Researchers noted a 118.80 percent reduction in pain from baseline between the Tai Chi and control group.

Researchers also observed improved physical function, self-efficacy, depression, and health status for knee OA in subjects in the Tai Chi group. Indo-Asian News Service



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