The inflammation of the joints is what causes arthritis pain, and in certain instances, by the drying of synovial fluids that cause the joint to literally rub bone against bone with not enough fluid to lubricate it. In more advanced cases, the pain experienced can be many times greater, which usually is experienced in the initial stages of arthritis. In addition, arthritis causes substantial reduction of range of motion and causes the joints to significantly stiffen. People assume that arthritis is a disease of the elderly but now it appears that a lot of very young people suffer from this condition as well. According to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, it estimated that, in the United States, almost 300, 000 children suffer from arthritis.
China is the place where Tai Chi originated. In parks across this country, groups of people practice this form of martial art every morning. Practicing Tai Chi requires internal strength and power. Its actual name is “tai chi chuan,” which, in English, translates to “ultimate supreme boxing.” Tai chi was developed as a component of Neijia which is a type of traditional Chinese defense art. Its movements and techniques have been described comprehensively in the Tai Chi Classics masters, which is a set of writings. Chinese tradition states that if a person becomes conscious of the ways in which Tai Chi can be utilized as self-defense, it indicates that the person understands fully well this martial art.
Dr Lam, a Tai Chi master and a family practitioner in the late 1990s used a team of Tai Chi specialists and health care practitioners to establish a program of modified Tai Chi to help manage arthritis stiffness and pain and to help treat arthritis itself.
A study shows that tai chi helps lessen pain and improves various health factors of people who were in the test group.
In the American Medical community, some doctors denied the benefits of the routine and declined to consider its techniques. However, a report from CNN stated that, based on a study, Tai Chi did have benefits but they were still too early to concretely establish the practice as a healing technique. The uncertainty of the results was due to a claim by a certain doctor that the design of the study was flawed.
A few years ago, health researchers from Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia performed additional tests on tai chi. They concluded that both hydrotherapy and Tai Chi can actually help eliminate or at least reduce arthritis pain and occasionally, the related stiffness. Tai chi also helps increase the range of movement of the patient subjects. The tests examined 150 woman and men over 60 years of age who all had chronic arthritis. The research was headed by Marlene Fransen and was published in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2007. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups, a waiting group and a hydrotherapy or Tai Chi class. The hydrotherapy and Tai Chi class attended classes for an hour twice a week. Significant improvement was seen 12 weeks later, when measurements of joint function and pain were conducted. The progressive pain alleviation and joint function continued another 12 weeks later, with no subject showing aggravation of their symptoms.
For many centuries in China, Tai Chi has been practiced in one form or another. It has a variety of styles or techniques and each of them have been found appropriate for use on people suffering from arthritis. The five essential forms of tai chi are:
- Sun style
- Yang Style
- Chen Style
- Wu style of Wu Chien-chuan and Wu Chuan-yü
- Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang or Wu
Tai chi’s benefits and why it’s very helpful in treating arthritis may be due to its use of gentle circular motions, instead of movements that are jerky in nature. There are 12 primary movements in Tai Chi and these movements are repeated many times and can be performed in a span of three minutes. Tai chi websites, video, books and other sources are available to explain the techniques used in this defense art.
Tai Chi offers light to moderate exercises that are very beneficial to people with arthritis, in addition to the circular movement that help promote enhanced range of motion. Although it may not work for everyone, tai chi is actually a strenuous type of workout. It seems to work in about 78 percent of cases in which it was utilized for reducing arthritis pain. Weight reduction and cardio-vascular health are its other benefits, which can be very important for the management of pain in people with arthritis. Management of stress using this exercise technique can help control the pain. In fact, the health benefits derived from Tai Chi go far beyond simple pain relief to various other factors related to general well being and health. Tai Chi boosts the quality of life of arthritis sufferers, is a totally holistic mind and body integration technique, helps to promote good posture, and is quite easy to learn.
It has a variety of styles and forms many of which are appropriate in the reduction of arthritis pain; however, it is important to look for an instructor who has experience working with people with arthritis and other special needs. As with all forms of exercise regimen, prior to beginning the regimen, you need to confer with your health care provider or doctor about the exercise classes you plan to attend. Your doctor or health care provider should make sure that the exercises are suitable for total body condition. They will also decide whether Tai Chi is a suitable and effective form of therapy for your arthritis.