ElderlyObesityOsteoarthritisTai Chi

Tai chi is effective in severe knee osteoarthritis

That’s the conclusion by researchers at Tufts Medical Center who presented their research at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting.

First, the details.

  • 40 patients (mostly elderly and obese) participated.
  • They had knee osteoarthritis for approximately 10 years.
  • They were randomly assigned to tai chi (10 modified forms from the classical Yang style) or conventional stretching and wellness education.
  • Treatments were twice-weekly for 60 minutes over 12 weeks.
  • Patients were evaluated using a battery of tools at the beginning and end of the study, and at weeks 24 and 48.

And, the results.

  • 85% of those in the tai chi group and 89% in the stretching and wellness group attended all the sessions.
  • The tai chi group had significantly greater improvements in pain, physical function, depression, self-rated effectiveness, and health status.
  • Patients who continued participating in tai chi after 12 weeks reported long-lasting benefits in pain and function.

The bottom line?
Dr. Chenchen Wang concluded, “Tai chi mind-body exercise appears to provide an important approach for self-care and self-management for knee OA.”

This YouTube video shows a simplified Yang style. I’m impressed by the amount of movement and balancing it requires on flexed knees. Open a separate window and compare it to the classical Yang style tai chi here.

10/27/08 19:17 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.