One of the top reasons our students come to us to learn Tai Chi is:
They hurt. Their days are colored by chronic pain.
It could be chronic pain from osteoarthritis (OA). (For the Top 5 Reasons to Practice Tai Chi for Knee OA, click here.) It could be chronic lower back pain. It could be pain in the neck, upper back or shoulders, often the results of years of accumulated stress and tension while working at a desk in front of a computer.
After a few months of Tai Chi, many of our students remark how chronic pain and stiffness – knees, hips, back, shoulders, neck – has improved.
Medical research is validating the benefits of Tai Chi for chronic pain.
On April 29, 2016, Scientific Reports published Tai Chi for Chronic Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis of Random Controlled Trials. The article reports on the researchers’ analysis of 18 separate studies focusing on chronic pain and Tai Chi. The studies involved more than 1200 subjects from Australia, China, Korea, and the US, all experiencing chronic pain from conditions like OA, lower back pain, and osteoporosis.
Based on their analysis of multiple studies, the authors concluded the following:
- Tai Chi practice improved pain for OA, lower back pain, and osteoporosis.
- Benefits for pain appear to accrue after practicing Tai Chi for 6 weeks or longer.
Here is the bottom line conclusion from the report:
“Clinicians may consider Tai Chi as a viable complementary and alternative medicine for chronic pain conditions.“
This is promising news if you suffer from chronic pain – an exercise that is low impact, does not require special equipment, and that can help you hurt less.
Those of us that practice Tai Chi know this: Tai Chi can be a powerful practice for healing our bodies – reducing pain, while improving strength, balance, flexibility, mobility, and function.
It’s encouraging to see medical research validate our experiences, opening the way for more people to benefit from Tai Chi.
The research report is available for free here:
visit our website www.chicagotaichi.org