Benefits of Tai Chi for arthritic knees

November 3, 2008 by  
Filed under featured, Fitness & Sport, Healthy Ageing

Well anyone who is a regular reader, or has heard me speak, knows I am a great fan of Tai Chi for so many reasons. It is a traditional Chinese martial art that combines meditation with slow, gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation and any age or fitness can undertake it – just think of those elderly people you see doing it in the public parks in China. You can do it at home in 10 minutes, get a video to teach you or – best option of all is to find a qualified teacher and join a group. You will improve your fitness, helps build bone strength, lower your blood pressure, reduce stress levels and cultivate calm centredness. All good things, and now there is another one to add to the list – it can help if you have arthritic knees.

The American College of Rheumatology has just reported on a study done in Boston which found that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee benefited more from Tai Chi than from the traditional stretching exercises that such patients are usually given. Osteoarthritis sufferers experience interlinked pain, muscle weakness, and structural damage and where Tai Chi really scored was that it improved pain scores THREE times better than stretching. Researchers also concluded that the meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation involved may also benefit patients and it is recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Personal recommendation is the best way to find a good teacher, so ask around your local area, health stores and alternative health centres can be good sources. The Tai Chi Union For Great Britain can offer you a register of practitioners throughout the country at www.taichiunion.com or in Scotland you could contact the East Winds School of T’ai Chi Chu’an at www.eastwinds.co.uk. If you are looking in the London area then I can personally recommend Jon Wallwork as a wonderful teacher and he can be contacted by email at jw@jonwallwork.co.uk