A new study, conducted by researchers from Tufts University, has found that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) can improve their physical function and experience pain relief through regular tai chi exercise.
The study, published in the November issue of Arthritis Care and Research, followed 40 patients over a 12-week period with confirmed knee OA who were in otherwise good health.
Researchers split the participants into two sections; the study group was asked to participate in 60 minute Yang style tai chi sessions twice weekly, while the control group attended standard physical therapy and education classes.
At the end of the 12 weeks, patients practicing tai chi reported a significant decrease in knee pain compared to those who went through ordinary knee therapy.
"Our observations emphasize a need to further evaluate the biologic mechanisms and approaches of tai chi to extend its benefits to a broader population," concluded Chenchen Wang, author of the study.
The Mayo Clinic reports that tai chi can reduce anxiety and depression, improve balance, flexibility and muscle strength as well as lower blood pressure.