FibromyalgiaTai Chi

Fibromyalgia after 4 months of tai chi

Researchers in Spain and Sweden measured the response to the effects of 4 month of tai chi in men with fibromyalgia.

First, the details.

  • 6 men with fibromyalgia followed a 4-month tai chi program.
  • Changes in tenderness, functional capacity (30-second chair stand, handgrip strength, chair sit and reach, back scratch, blind flamingo, 8 feet up and go, and 6-minute walk tests) were recorded, along with the results of self-administered questionnaires.

And, the results.

  • There was significant improvement after the tai chi program for the chair sit and reach test.
    • Improvement was maintained after the detraining phase.
  • Tenderness, symptomatology, and quality of life did not significantly change after the tai chi or during the detraining phase.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “A 4-month tai chi intervention improved lower body flexibility in men with fibromyalgia.”

Small study, needing confirmation.

Interesting that only men participated. Women are 1.6 times more likely to have the disease. In part this might be due to the difference between the their response to pain and other comorbidities (fatigue, non-refreshed sleep, cognition) associated with fibromyalgia. It would be interesting to do the same study in women.

Others have reported the benefits of physical activity for fibromyalgia. Tai chi differs in that it adds a potentially beneficial cognitive component to exercise.

3/17/11 22:19 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, a complementary and alternative medicine website.