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Thread: Tai Chi as medicine

  1. #31
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    Tennessee

    Not only does our parent company Tiger Claw have an office in TN, that's where the The International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium on Health, Education and Cultural Exchange will be held this year.

    Wheelchair Tai Chi - One Of The Simplest Ways For People Who Use Wheelchairs To Improve Their Physical And Mental Health
    Article Date: 02 Jun 2009 - 0:00 PDT

    Studies overwhelmingly point to regular physical exercise as the crucial medicine for what ails Americans. Physicians have a hard time convincing even healthy patients to take action, but it's a much harder sell for those with limited movement caused by physical disabilities. They often lack the self-confidence to begin a physical fitness plan, and it's easy to understand why. They face transportation obstacles to visit an exercise facility. If they can get to the facility, accessing the building and equipment is often difficult or impossible, and fees are often high, says Dr. Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist in The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography. He says appropriate and interesting exercise is often not available to this group.

    "Physical inactivity often further deteriorates the general health condition for these individuals, and it also tends to make them more reliant on professional medical care rather than taking a proactive approach by engaging self-care, including medications to deal with their health issues," Guo says.

    As a result, the cost of care, treatment, rehabilitation, and reduced productivity totals a whopping $300 billion a year in the U.S. alone.

    "Physical disabilities in general and severe ambulatory disabilities in particular not only bring a tremendous amount of physiological and psychological suffering to the individuals, they can also create enormous burdens for families, relatives, and friends," Guo says.

    The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga professor has a fresh idea-wheelchair Tai Chi. Tai Chi is one of the ancient Chinese martial arts, a noncompetitive self-paced system of gentle physical exercise that Guo has adapted for wheelchair-dependent individuals in the U.S. and China. For his efforts, The Tennessee Higher Education Commission recently named Guo a faculty recipient of the state Love Award, recognizing his commitment to community service.

    He says wheelchair Tai Chi is one of the simplest ways for people who use wheelchairs to improve their physical and mental health. His holistic approach has been embraced in China, where he was invited by the Beijing 2008 Olympic Committee and the All China Federation for People with Disabilities to conduct a wheelchair demonstration for the International Paralympics Committee one day before the opening ceremony of the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

    "Before I left Beijing in September, I learned that in order to systematically promote the wheelchair Tai Chi program nationwide, the All China Federation for People with Disabilities and the China Paralympics Administrative Center decided to organize an annual national wheelchair tai chi competition," Guo says.

    Guo's technique is benefitting people in Chattanooga, such as a 70-year-old woman who suffered a stroke seven years ago as the result of high blood pressure. Mrs. B's left arm was partially paralyzed, and over the years, she fell twice. She was confined to a wheelchair for more than two years and unable to walk even a short distance.

    Mrs. B decided to participate in a small study of the effects of wheelchair tai chi, directed by Guo with University of Tennessee at Chattanooga faculty members Dr. Nancy Fell (physical therapy) and Dr. Janet Secrest (nursing) and Dr. Glenn Haban, a neuropsychologist at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga. The study is among the first in the country to explore the potential benefits of practicing a simple seated tai chi program for people with ambulatory disability resulting from health problems or injuries.

    Participants who qualified were unable to walk independently 50 feet or more with an assistive device in one minute or less. Six women and four men signed on for two months of free classes. They met twice a week for 45-minute tai chi sessions. Classes were held at the new Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital, located on the main campus in downtown Chattanooga.

    At the conclusion of the classes, Mrs. B's improvement was dramatic. She began walking and treading stairs unassisted, and she began to regain use of her left arm. With her strength and mobility vastly improved, she gives all the credit to the seated tai chi method.

    "I made so much progress, and I've enjoyed it," she says. "I've been inspired by what I've seen others doing, and it helps me. And they say what I did helped them."

    Many of the participants reported improved stamina and said they enjoyed the social nature of the classes. Mrs. K, a 46-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, said her breathing improved.

    "My energy is up, and my posture has gotten a lot better. I feel like I've accomplished something, and tai chi is easy-it's fun," she says. "The medical world should be aware that people need something like this."

    Though his professional reaction to the study is one of guarded optimism, Haban says Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation is committed to continuing the study. He remains hopeful that using Tai Chi as an intervention will positively impact patients' functional strengths.

    "The minimum that could be said in this study is that it points to the need for further research to be done," Haban says.

    From a neuropsychological perspective, Haban says three factors are needed to promote health, as well as recovery following a significant illness: physical activity, mental stimulation, and social involvement. Too often, he says, circumstances limit these factors, and patients suffer as a result.

    "Tai chi was able to intervene on all three dimensions," Haban says. "Also, a person's belief system about their illness will affect their outcome. That is, when a person believes they cannot get any better, they stop progressing. Toward that end, Tai Chi can foster hope and the person's belief that improvement in their status is possible. The significance of the study is that it provides some evidence that this relatively simple and inexpensive intervention can help improve a person's functional status."

    Photo caption: Though he does not use a wheelchair for mobility, Dr. Zibin Guo used the device to demonstrate an innovative Tai Chi technique for a group in China.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #32
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    I'm going to plug a book that has more scientific data and clinical studies than any other book I've seen. This book has an entire section dedicated to medical studies, another to diet and so much concise information in one place that it should be on the bookshelf of any serious TCM practitioner.

    It's called: "The way of Qi Gong - The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing" by Kenneth S. Cohen with foreword by Larry Dossey M.D.

    Section 1 Chapter 5 - "Does it Really Work - The Experimental Evidence"

    Diabetes referenced on pages 52, 74, 120, 275, 283, 291, 298, 301 and 303

    Let me quote a few passages since I have the book on my lap:

    Page 52:
    "High levels of DHEA has been correlated with youthfulness, less disease and a more competent immune system. --- Qigong theory maintains that jing, like DHEA, is found in the adrenals and brain, and is an individual indictaro of sexual vitality and resistance to disease"

    "Under proper medical supervision, DHEA may be helpful in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, AIDS, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and as replacement therapy for aging.

    Page 74:
    "Since 1958, the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension has focused much of its research on hypertension in the elderly and the treatment and prevention of geriatric diabetes. In one twenty-year study, qi gong practitioners were found to have stable, lowered blood pressure compared with controls, as well as significant relief from such other age-related disorders

    as coronary heart disease and diabetes. At the Shandong Inst of TCM, a study conducted with thirty-one middle-aged and elderly diabetics found that qigong had beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, insuin levels, micro circulation (measured in the nail bed), and disease resistance (reference 49)

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexus View Post
    I'm going to plug a book that has more scientific data and clinical studies than any other book I've seen. This book has an entire section dedicated to medical studies, another to diet and so much concise information in one place that it should be on the bookshelf of any serious TCM practitioner.

    It's called: "The way of Qi Gong - The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing" by Kenneth S. Cohen with foreword by Larry Dossey M.D.

    Section 1 Chapter 5 - "Does it Really Work - The Experimental Evidence"

    Diabetes referenced on pages 52, 74, 120, 275, 283, 291, 298, 301 and 303

    Let me quote a few passages since I have the book on my lap:

    Page 52:
    "High levels of DHEA has been correlated with youthfulness, less disease and a more competent immune system. --- Qigong theory maintains that jing, like DHEA, is found in the adrenals and brain, and is an individual indictaro of sexual vitality and resistance to disease"

    "Under proper medical supervision, DHEA may be helpful in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, AIDS, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and as replacement therapy for aging.

    Page 74:
    "Since 1958, the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension has focused much of its research on hypertension in the elderly and the treatment and prevention of geriatric diabetes. In one twenty-year study, qi gong practitioners were found to have stable, lowered blood pressure compared with controls, as well as significant relief from such other age-related disorders

    as coronary heart disease and diabetes. At the Shandong Inst of TCM, a study conducted with thirty-one middle-aged and elderly diabetics found that qigong had beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, insuin levels, micro circulation (measured in the nail bed), and disease resistance (reference 49)
    If one examines the literature, they rarely give an insight while stating the obvious: We knows the observable criteria, which are as follows,
    a. What is the funny art that those people are practicing? Tai chi chuan
    b. It is so slow, how can it be so powerful?
    c. They get results, which are positive, but do not extrapolate beyond that!

    Some pertinent information:
    1. The bottom line is movement. Move you assets!
    2. It has to be consistant (duration)
    3. Basic exercise concepts relating to type of movement are still applicable.
    4. They do not mention it in studies at all but the post standing component make the moving part more potent!
    5. The rehabilitative and physical therapy conceptual component is often ignored and may not even be worthwhile by 'modern standards' but it approximates the muscle meridian system in providing the appropriate strength and ability to heal the internal milieu of the body i.e heart, lungs, spleen, kidney and bladder (TCM approach) thereby providing total body health and longevity.

  4. #34
    With all these studies, does it mention whether the groups are doing taiji as opposed to learning taiji?
    For me, there is a massive difference between doing a form whilst having to really concentrate on what move comes next, as opposed to just doing the form and being relaxed in body and mind.
    Sure, you will still get benefits whilst learning from purely using your hinges frequently, ("the hinge opened everyday never seizes up") but I would have thought these benefits would be more akin to doing any other form of exercise.

  5. #35
    some of the more reliable studies on taiji, to my knowledge, have been conducted by:

    1) Steven Wolfe, PT, PhD - he was the one who got most of those studies going in the '90's on the benefits of taiji for balance in older adults, and things kinda took off from there

    e.g.: http://ptjournal.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/9/1189

    2) Yang Yang, PhD - he's a Chen guy w/a PhD in Kinese from Urbana - has been promoting his Evidence Based Taiji for a few years now

    http://www.chentaiji.com/research/

    here's a link to a rather exhaustive list of taiji related research compiled by a colleague of mine, Bill Gallagher, PT; some of it is probably better than others, but it shows you the range:
    http://www.EastWestRehab.com/reference.htm

    here's the gig w/research: it's hard to do good research, especially on a topic like taiji (or chiro, ostoepathic, acupuncture, etc.), which requires analysis and control of a large number of at times unknown variables and also is to a large degree contingent upon the personal skill of the operator - meaning that there is much more of a chance that subjectivity will creep in; now, I personally have no issue w/subjective reporting - anecdotal studies are a great tool - but they are just not generalizable, that's all; so when you are trying to do something about the effects of taiji w/a large cohort study, it can get tricky if you don't nail down your operational definitions / parameters, etc. really hard; so when people do shoddy research and present it as valid and reliable, (and this is often the case w/people who are trying to "prove" the efficacy of so-called "alternative" medicine) it's cause they are usually not trained as researchers; and as such, they should get shot down; problem is, they are often so cluless about their own shortcommings, that they accuse the people shooting them down of inherent bias against "alternative" stuff, labling them as close-minded; in fact, it's often the opposite: true skeptics are very open-minded, provided that one can demonstrate compelling objective (relatively) evidence as to why they ought to accept something into their belief system as being universally true...

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip J. View Post
    Altho nothing will satisfy those that feel their income threatened by us
    who would think their income was threatened?

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip J. View Post
    Yep.....
    High-powered medical experts in Houston require print and media reporters to report them saying that Tai Chi does not work.

    If you read the fine print - it says exactly what GLW is saying about studies - altho most potential beginners don't read the fine print. These same folks say the same thing on TV - no fine print explanation - about supplements, Chinese traditional medicine, chiropractors, etc... in fact they have at least a century of practice of doing this to the chiro's..... and they're very good at it. When the study mentioned above from England came out, there was all the screaming and hair-pulling about studies from foreign countries being not reliable; and also they have managed medicine and can't be trusted to say anything about medical topics.

    So, since they're trying to keep the beginners away - are they successful with doing that in Houston? I don't know.. but in Sugar Land we have a waiting list to get in and will start a new full-up beginner class in August.

    So yea, having a for-real study to refute them would be very nice!!!! I just don't have a clue who would pay for it tho....
    If you have seniors and others with chronic diseases in Asia and elsewhere doing taijiquan between 45-90 yrs and finding benefit and some say this is not real then let them eat diapers! US health requires continuous payment so if you can take care of your own wellbeing and fool the naysayers then so be it!
    I am not saying doctors do not count but if the individual has more say in his health then better to smile and thank them for the craft they weave!

  8. #38
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    Getting along with the Medical Establishment

    Quite a few doctors in Texas taking private Tai Chi lessons. The don't really want their peers to find out, but the seed of change is being planted.

    I got to present and teach Tai Chi to 75 medical students that where about to go into their internship. They were really great classes, and the students were wonderful. Medical school is pretty stressful, and the staff of many medical schools are looking for ways to reduce stress or help students deal with stress.

    It would not surprise me if the majority of these students some day take up tai chi. Medical students don't have a whole lot of down time, but there was a lot of deep interest.

    Reduction of stress is the doorway to introducing Tai Chi to the medical profession. After a few of them get back issues relived we will have a fairly exuberant set of mature doctors understanding the value of Tai Chi. Promoting qigong to them first thing is probably not the right path to enlightenment.

    Bob
    Not so much a master of tai chi,
    more of a slave to tai chi.

  9. #39
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    Oz

    Personally, I've found qigong to be more powerful than tai chi for arthritis, but perhaps it's not as in the vernacular yet.
    Tai Chi 'helps arthritis pain'
    22nd June 2009

    Researchers in Australia say they have found that the Chinese martial arts exercise Tai Chi has benefits for people suffering from arthritis.

    A clinical trial carried out by researchers at The George Institute for International Health said the results showed a positive effect on musculoskeletal pain among participants who practised Tai Chi.

    The study forms part of the first comprehensive analysis of Tai Chi and shows an improvement in pain and disability among arthritis sufferers who do the exercises, which evolved in China from martial arts and incorporate concepts of bodily energy, or qi.

    The team said it would now go on to study whether similar benefits were seen in people suffering from chronic pain in their lower back.

    Author Chris Maher said the study provided the first robust evidence in support of Tai Chi as a beneficial exercise for people with arthritis.

    Tai Chi also showed a positive trend among practitioners in the direction of good general health, for which it is still practised by millions in China today.

    Musculoskeletal pain such as that which comes with arthritis represented a severe burden on the sufferer, and on the community of which they were a part, the team said in a statement.

    In Australia alone, 3.85 million people are affected by such chronic pain and disability. Low back pain is thought to cost the economy billions every year, the researchers said.

    George Institute spokeswoman Amanda Hall said the research should encourage people with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis to seek exercise to relieve the pain.

    Hall said Tai Chi was cheap, convenient and fun, bringing a host of benefits like social interactions and improved mental health.

    Tai Chi is now being practised by growing numbers of people outside China and East Asia, and there is now a significant body of research investigating its health benefits.

    Practised both alone and in groups or classes, it consists of set forms of slow martial arts movements like punching, kicking and blocking, encouraging stillness of mind and smoothness of motion.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Personally, I've found qigong to be more powerful than tai chi for arthritis, but perhaps it's not as in the vernacular yet.
    I agree that qigong can be quite a bit more powerful that way. To me that is almost the point. Tai Chi will help get people ready to handle what qigong can give them. Folk who grow up in an ultra conservative environment are often so blocked in their flows that qigong can be pretty distressing and even scary.

    If you are doing the breathing correctly and the focus, tai chi is qigong and is much safer to learn if you don't have the right teacher.

    Bob
    Not so much a master of tai chi,
    more of a slave to tai chi.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sifu View Post
    ..... tai chi is qigong and is much safer to learn if you don't have the right teacher.
    Bob
    I personally prefer the word daoyin, though it may be archaic!

  12. #42
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    Daoyin

    I do too, except I might be then asked to explain what Tao is.

    Have you ever tried to explain Tao to a typical Texan? I have a hard enough time trying to explain it to myself.

    Bob
    Last edited by Sifu; 06-22-2009 at 07:27 PM.
    Not so much a master of tai chi,
    more of a slave to tai chi.

  13. #43
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    works for me

    There's a vid if you click the link.
    Tai Chi Martial Art can Tackle Pain: Study
    2009-07-27 20:29:36 APTN Web Editor: Qin Mei
    A new study by Australian researchers has found that the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi could have positive health benefits for arthritis sufferers.

    It's the first comprehensive analysis of the role of Tai Chi in treating musculoskeletal pain, drawing on the experiences of patients who say the exercise improves their physical abilities.

    Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts which has been popular in China for centuries.

    But claims that it can relieve arthritis means it now has growing following in America and Australia as this class in Sydney shows.

    Everyone here has some form of muscular or skeletal problem and they, like the scientists from Sydney's George Institute, are convinced regular classes like this can reduce their pain and increase their mobility.

    Lead researcher Amanda Hall reached the conclusion after analysing data from seven separate randomised controlled trials which assessed the impact of Tai Chi on the physical condition of arthritis patients.

    Although there is no specific medical evidence to support the idea that Tai Chi helps arthritis, Hall says most patients surveyed in her review reported an improvement in their pain and mobility levels thanks to the exercise.

    Tai Chi has many forms, and the movements practised in classes like this one, have been specifically developed to benefit arthritis sufferers.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #44
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    cute story

    Who says it's ever too late to start?
    Tai Chi A Great Exercise for Anyone Even if You Are 100 Years Old
    (7/26/09) Tai chi is a wonderful form of exercise in its own right, but it is especially great for seniors. Its flowing physical activity offers many health benefits from strength training to that all important balance training. And almost anyone at any age can do it. There is one centenarian who practices tai chi twice a week without fail

    July 26, 2009-- posted by FitcomHealth.com

    Tai Chi is part of that family of mind-body exercises that goes far beyond providing benefit to your body, but also, as the name implies, your mind, and many would say also for your soul.

    Although on the surface it does not appear to be strenuous enough to strengthen ones body, it actually does. It used gravity on body parts such as your arms to strengthen them. Although it has great benefit to anyone who practices it, Tai chi is particularly beneficial to seniors who have an exercise that they can perform that helps them in their daily functional lives.

    Tai Chi Class
    One can enroll in a tai chi class at any age. It provides good all round exercise across multiple muscle groups, develops balance and calms the mind.

    A Centenarian Who Practices Tai Chi
    One of the highlights in 100-year-old's Rose Lazinsky's, routine is kicking it up twice a week in the tai chi martial arts exercise classes at Pikesville's North Oaks Retirement Community where she lives in Maryland.

    Generally, nothing prevents the from showing up. She cannot, she said, bear the thought of missing a session, as it provides both wellness and social benefits.

    Mrs. Lazinsky started Tai Chi three years ago. "I like everything about it," she said. And she has no problem with the breathing, stretching, walking and other related exercises. "I feel wonderful when we're done, but at my age I do get a little tired,"

    Easy to Learn
    Tai chi is easy to learn and you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health. In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions or martial arts moves. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention - as in some kinds of meditation - on your bodily sensations.

    It differs from other types of exercise in several ways. The movements are never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.

    Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn't leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness - muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning.

    People who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength - almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.

    "Although you aren't working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body," says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. "Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen."

    A Great Aid to Improving Balance
    As people age, they need to develop their balance ability to prevent potential falls. Tai chi improves balance. Proprioception - the ability to sense the position of one's body in space - declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble.

    Source: Harvard University Health
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #45
    Most of these studies at Harvard are run by Ramel Rones, using some basic qigong, or his 'Sunrise Tai Chi' form, which is basically the first 9 movements of the classical Yang form as taught by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, plus a closing move and abdominal breathing.

    The osteoarthritis study was designed by Ramel under Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc. He presented their research on the benefits of tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee at the International Tai Chi Symposium in Nashville, TN in July this year.

    "Rami" has been involved with the NIH in Boston since the 1990's and they have been very serious about slowly building real mainstream credibility, by operating WITHIN the system and following all the procedures requires of this kind of research.

    These studies are VERY controlled, with all the double-blind controls required, and they have been slowly progressing over the past 10 years or so, from small groups toward larger, longer-term studies.

    Many places here in Boston, Mass General Hospital, Tufts medical School, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, are involved in these studies, and offer weekly taiji/qigong classes.

    Its impossible to say if Taiji, or Qigong, or Daoyin, or whatever, is better for health and healing - it depends on the teacher, the student, the condition, etc.

    But it is becoming clear that unlike jogging or other 'external' exercises, 'internal' arts like taiji and qigong have a lot of benefit because not only do they exercise the body, and increase range of motion, and oxygen uptake, but they also trigger the 'relaxation response' which retrains the nervous system and can have health benefits even on the genetic level.

    I would say taiji is about 15 years behind yoga as far as when it will hit the mainstream in a big way. Qigong is probably another 10 years behind that.

    Harvard May 2009 Newsletter

    Tai chi is often described as "meditation in motion," but it might well be called "medication in motion." There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health....In a 40-person study at Tufts University, presented in October 2008 at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, an hour of tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved mood and physical functioning more than standard stretching exercises in people with severe knee osteoarthritis. According to a Korean study published in December 2008 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, eight weeks of tai chi classes followed by eight weeks of home practice significantly improved flexibility and slowed the disease process in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and debilitating inflammatory form of arthritis that affects the spine.
    Last edited by YMAA_com; 07-29-2009 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typoz

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