Tai Chi For Fibromyalgia
When it comes to finding relief, those suffering with fibromyalgia are always on the hunt. Fibromyalgia is a condition in which a person suffers with long-term, widespread muscular pain and tenderness. Unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia may feel discomfort in the joints, but no joint damage actually occurs. Fibromyalgia is linked to fatigue, sleep difficulties, headaches, depression, and anxiety. Doctors often recommend exercise for patients with fibromyalgia, but the chronic pain and fatigue associated with the condition can make activities like running and swimming difficult. So if you find yourself looking for a low-impact, stress-reducing physical activity, tai chi might be the perfect option.
What Is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a beautiful, flowing form of exercise. It involves series of movements performed in slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi is noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and deep muscle stretching. Each position flows slowly into the next without stopping or holding to ensure that the body is always in motion. There are different styles of tai chi; each has its own emphasis on different principles and methods. Some may focus on health maintenances, while others focus on the martial arts aspects of tai chi. Finding the appropriate form for you current health status is important to ensure needs are being met.
Who Can Do It?
Tai chi is low impact and puts very limited stress on the muscles and joints, making it sage for all ages and fitness levels. Even an older adult, who might otherwise not exercise may find that this form of activity provides them with a sense of calm and strength, without causing additional pain. Tai chi is inexpensive, as there is no need for special equipment, it can be done in or outdoors and you may choose to participate with a group or perform the exercises alone.
While tai chi is generally safe, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or those suffering with severe joint problems or back pain discuss this activity with their doctor prior to starting a routine. Modifications for many of the postures can be made, if needed, but it is important to ensure you are healthy enough for this program before initiating a workout.
How Does It Work?
Tai Chi is a mind and body exercise that is deeply rooted in ears of Chinese culture and philosophy. One basic thought is that a healthy body requires a strong mind. The art of tai chi involves meditation, breath control, and strong but gentle, fluid motions to surge the flow of physical and spiritual energy through the body. In one trial, 66 patients with fibromyalgia were split into two groups. One group was assigned two different exercise programs and received nutrition education, while the other group spent their 12 weeks with a mast tai chi instructor doing hour long tai chi sessions. Their training included tai chi theory and instruction. In addition to their hour long session, patients were to practice at home for at least 20 minutes each day. Those in the tai chi group reported nearly a 30% decrease in pain and symptoms.
So why is tai chi so helpful? Researchers say it’s not just one thing. Tai chi works to integrate mental, spiritual, philosophical and physical practices. Additionally, stress levels are reduced and people tend to make mutual connections and build positive relationships/connections through tai chi. These things are of great importance to fibromyalgia patients, as often times they fall into a pit of isolation or deep depression due to their chronic pain and the difficulty others have in relating to or understanding the condition. The wonderful thing about using tai Chi is that there are no side effects. While you may still experience some pain, the levels of discomfort should show a drastic reduction after a few weeks of consistent practice.
Clearing your mind and restoring the focus on your body will help your fibromyalgia pain by allowing you to have the strength to endure, reduce sleep issues making fatigue less of a problem and build confidence and quality of life – reducing risks of depression or anxiety that often accompany fibromyalgia. If you are searching for a new treatment option, seek out an opportunity to try tai chi in your community.