A study from the British Medical Journal found that tai chi is as good, or better, than aerobic exercise for people suffering from fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a pathology linked to chronic fatigue, sleep disturbance and muscle pain that mainly affects women.
The team of American researchers compared the effectiveness of sessions of tai chi, a Chinese martial art that makes use of slow choreographed movements, with aerobic exercise to find a better way for patients to alleviate the widespread pain and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. The research team also examined the influence of the duration and frequency of tai chi sessions.
The average age of the 226 study participants, in which 92 per cent were women, was 52. Symptom changes were analyzed at the 12, 24, and 52 week marks in the study, with participants continuing their standard medical treatment throughout the time.
The study found the people that took part in two tai chi classes every week had better results than those who opted for supervised aerobic exercise. There was little difference between patients who practiced tai chi once or twice a week, though there were increased benefits after 24 weeks of practice compared to just 12.
“This mind-body approach may be considered a therapeutic option in the multi-disciplinary management of fibromyalgia,” the study’s authors concluded.
This study aligns with the conclusion of a previous study in 2016, which discovered that complementary approaches like yoga, tai chi, and relaxation could help fibromyalgia patients effectively manage pain.
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