Tai Chi has an enormous array of health benefits and has been heavily studied. Benefits range from improving mood and energy levels to cardiovascular health to muscle strength and balance. Researchers from the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney in Australia recently conducted a study looking at Tai Chi as an aid for pain and disability - in this study from chronic low back pain.
Researchers recruited 160 participants (age range 18 - 70) all who expressed they had chronic low back pain. Tai Chi was practiced in 18 sessions lasting 40 minutes each over a 10 week period in a group setting. A waitlist group was used as a control and they continued with their standard western care. General questionnaires about the degree to which their back pain was an issue and common pain scales were used both before Tai Chi and afterwards.
After 10 weeks researchers found that the degree to which their back pain interfered with their life dropped by 1.7 points on a 0-10 scale and pain was reduced 1.3 points and mobility was up by 2.6 points on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. Researchers concluded that Tai Chi is an effective exercise routine to aid people with low back pain. A longer study would most likely find continued improvement if observations in class settings are an appropriate indicator.
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