T’ai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that focuses on slow, flowing movement from posture to posture. This liquid movement:
- Relieves stress
- Increases flexibility
- Improves balance
- Promotes a sense of centeredness and well-being
Exercise is a primary recommendation for fibromyalgia treatment, but many patients are worried that strenuous exercise can cause more pain. T’ai chi provides a good balance between gentle strength building and flexibility.
A study from Australia showed that people experienced a 25% reduction in their pain intensity when they completed the tai chi programme. The smooth, gentle movements help to relax you and keep your mind calm and focused.
To put it into perspective, 23% reported an improvement in their pain, and 32% reported an improvement in their disability after completing a Tai Chi course.
However, scientists believe that the ‘positive’ results only last for as long as the patient takes part in the Tai Chi exercises.
It is accessible to all ages and physical abilities and can be practiced on many levels, from a simple ‘meditative’ exercise to a martial art.
The best part is that you don’t even work up a sweat, even though you seem to be moving every muscle in your body. I found the breathing exercises extremely good.
Finding the right book on this subject is hard, as there are so many out there, and after chatting to my teacher, I think the best way to look at this type of therapy would be by going to YouTube and checking out some of the videos. As with Yoga, there are many different types of Tai Chi to choose from.
If you want to try it at home first there are a number of DVD’s you can follow. One excellent one which my husband bought is Tai Chi For Beginners, 8 Lessons with Dr. Paul Lam.