Fibromyalgia causes frustrating and sometimes disabling symptoms for an estimated 5 million Americans, including many people here in New York. Although doctors know relatively little about fibromyalgia, it can cause significant muscle and tissue pain along with long-term fatigue and memory problems.
The disorder can be so severe that many people with fibomyalgia diagnoses need to seek Social Security disability benefits.
Two new studies are pointing to surprising sources of relief for fibromyalgia sufferers: yoga and tai chi. While both of these activities might sound a little too cool to be truly beneficial, the researchers presented some compelling numbers. We'll cover the tai chi research today-check back soon for a discussion of yoga's benefits.
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art. The phrase "martial art" might conjure up an overwhelming mental image of strenuous and intense physical exertion that would be difficult for most fibromyalgia sufferers. However, tai chi actually involves more meditative and controlled motions at a slow pace.
A study from Tufts University assigned 66 patients to either a tai chi group or a more conventional pain management group. Participants in the tai chi group showed sustainable improvement in a number of categories: pain reports, sleep quality, ability to exercise, mood, and overall quality of life. This group had better results than the conventional pain management participants.
Another study found big tai chi benefits for arthritis sufferers as well.
Source: Huffington Post Healthy Living, "Two Ways to Help Relieve Fibromyalgia," Elaine Gavalas, Oct. 9, 2012
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