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Tai Chi: A Gentle Way to Help Your Joints

Better Balance

Tai chi can also help your muscle strength and balance, says Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

She led a study based on a tai chi program run by the Arthritis Foundation. The results: People in the 8-week course improved their ability to balance, and reported less pain, fatigue, and stiffness.

Other research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that tai chi can be helpful for people who have fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain (which may include but is not limited to the joints). It's also been shown to aid people with chronic low back pain, as well as those with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease of the spine.

You might also like the meditative aspects of tai chi. "Many people find that it's easier to focus on a specific thought or mantra while they're moving, which is exactly what you do in tai chi," Jurisson says.

Reviewed on January 22, 2014

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