Arthritis, meaning inflamed joint or joints, is an often painful and debilitating disease that affects many of us, especially as we get older. In modern times, it is even more of an issue as we have been given the ability to extend our lives with powerful medical and pharmaceutical intervention. Arthritis affects both men and women, though some variants like fibromyalgia are much more evident in women and likewise gout is a form that is more prevalent in men.

The most common forms of arthritis (like osteoarthritis) directly affect a joint or joints, whilst others (like rheumatoid arthritis) attack areas immediately around the joint or joints. You may also have other conditions that can cause pain in much the same way as arthritis but are not necessarily centred around joints, such as fibromyalgia (affecting the muscles and soft tissue) and many types of systemic disease (affecting multiple organ systems in the body).

It is also worth noting that as our mobility and physical discomfort are compromised, we are more likely to be mentally affected and stressed by the limitations enforced on us.

And just so we’re clear about what a big deal arthritis related disease is, here are a few statistics to put things into perspective:

  • 4.11 million people in England are estimated to have osteoarthritis of the knee (around 18% of the population aged 45 and over) and 2.46 million people in England have osteoarthritis of the hip (around 11% of the population aged 45 and over). - Arthritis Research UK
  • An estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States reported being told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia - Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 21 March 2018)

This was a randomized, 52 week, single blind comparative effectiveness trial. Participants with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to either supervised aerobic exercise twice weekly for 24 weeks or to one of four tai chi interventions: 12 or 24 weeks of supervised tai chi completed once or twice weekly. We followed participants for 52 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQR) total score from baseline to 24 weeks.

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Tai Chi for Knee Health - Clinical Gait Analysis shows Tai Chi as low impact exercise

Chris Cinnamon - Chicag Tai Chi

Published on 13 Jul 2016
Chicago Tai Chi Instructor Chris Cinnamon reports on a Tai Chi experiment he conducted in the UIC Biomechanics Lab comparing the impact of Tai Chi compared to normal gait. The surprising results support how Tai Chi can benefit knee health, especially for those with knee osteoarthritis. 

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Tai Chi found to be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis

American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

Both Tai Chi and physical therapy positively impact pain, function and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis – making Tai Chi a viable treatment alternative for people suffering with the degenerative disease, according to new research.

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Comparative effectiveness of tai chi versus physical therapy in treating knee osteoarthritis

A Randomized, Single-Blind Trial

C. Wang, M. Iversen, T. McAlindon1, W.F. Harvey, J. Wong, R. Fielding, J. Driban1, L.L. Price, C. Schmid

Background Knee osteoarthritis (OA) causes long-term pain and few medical remedies effectively influence the course of the disease. Our previous work demonstrated that Tai Chi can improve both physical and psychological health among patients with chronic pain conditions (1).

Objectives This study is the first randomized, single-blind trial of Tai Chi versus a standard Physical Therapy regimen for patients with symptomatic and radiographic Knee OA.

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