Try Tai Chi to banish the aches and pains of older age
Our minds may be young but our bodies often let us down.
We all get to a point in life where our bodies simply refuse to work properly. It can be frustrating and saddening when it happens and many people choose to sit it out rather than face the pain.
Osteoarthritis is a painful joint condition which affects about one million people every year – most of whom are over the age of 50.
It mostly occurs in the hips, spine, knees, hands and big toe and makes physical activity extremely difficult.
Usually osteoarthritis is treated with physiotherapy, drugs and in some cases, knee and hip replacements.
Now, scientists believe there could be an easier, more natural way to ease the pain of osteoarthritis.
Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine found that patients over 65 who suffered from osteoarthritis in the knee could improve their physical functioning and reduce pain if they practiced Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is an ancient Eastern practice involving slow, rhythmic movements designed to induce a state of deep relaxation and heightened physical awareness.
40 participants were randomly divided into two groups – one group took part in an hour session of Yang style Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks, while the other attended two hour-long educational classes about osteoarthritis.
The Tai Chi sessions involved 10 minutes of self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principals, followed by 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement, 10 minutes of breathing techniques and 10 minutes of relaxation.
The educational classes involved 40 minutes of lecturing about osteoarthritis and 20 minutes of stretching exercises.
At the end of the 12-week trial, the Tai Chi group reported a significant decrease in knee pain in comparison to the control group.
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View and comment on the original Complementary Medical Association article here.
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