Do you or a loved one suffer from arthritis pains? Arthritis is common for many people, especially as we get older and add wear and tear to our joints. Elderly people are also at higher risk of falls. So anything to help decrease pain and fall risk, as well as help your quality of life, is more than welcome. Tai chi is one option.
One of my favorite experiences in China is to go early morning to a local park and watch elderly Chinese sing, play cards, write characters with big water brushes — and practice their tai chi exercises. It’s a lovely, flowing, serene moment, for both them and myself. And it’s easy to see why such a daily routine would be great to keep your muscles stretched and tone, as well as to improve your balance. And recent studies, including a meta-analysis printed in Arthritis Care and Research, do show a small but significant improvement in pain and disability, as well as a sense of general well being. There’s a good review of this in the website Chinese Medicine News (Tai chi soothes pain in arthritis sufferers). They summarize with a nice quote:
The authors state, “The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis.”
Other studies have shown a small decrease in fall risks among elderly who practice tai chi.
I think tai chi is one of the more positive health contributions China has made to the world, and I recommend it (or yoga) to anyone at any age, both for spiritual as well as physical wellness. And if you have any elderly loved ones in nursing homes, you should encourage the activity coordinators to start such programs.
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