Is Tai Chi Good for Arthritis?
Is tai chi good for arthritis? Arthritis is a joint disease characterized by swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. It is one of the most common joint disorders; however, it is still not well understood. Moreover, this condition worsens with time—common types of arthritis include osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It can result in a permanent change in the joints. Therefore, people are actively trying to find solutions to improve this condition through therapies or exercise. Thus, in this article, we will explain, is tai chi good for arthritis or not.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is a traditional Chinese exercise that combines breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. Tai chi can help reduce stress, improve balance and posture, and increase muscular strength in the lower body and ability to move. American Tai Chi and Qigong Association claims that the tai chi movement modeled flexibility of animals like tiger, snake, etc.
Moreover, tai chi movements are like a slow dance. Thus, when you practice tai chi, energy flows from one point to another, emphasizing the proper nature. There are numerous forms of tai chi, among which the most popular one is Yang style. All type of tai chi includes circular motions and concentration on breath patterns.
Is Tai Chi Good for Arthritis?
For a long time, tai chi is famous for its calming, slow, and meditative nature. However, recently, people saw a massive turnover in Tai chi's popularity due to its physical perks or benefits like moving with ease. Keeping this into consideration, many people are trying to find the connection between tai chi and arthritis. Therefore, in this section, we will discuss the tai chi impact on arthritis in detail.
Exercise Helps Arthritis:
Before jumping on to tai chi, let's start in a sequence with the exercise first. All our lives, we heard that exercise is essential for both your physical and mental and emotional states. However, health issues like arthritis, which cause pain in joints, limit a person's ability to exercise well.
But the critical point is without exercise; your joints will become stiffer, leading to greater pain and stiffness. In simple terms, without exercise the condition of arthritis will become worse. Exercise helps keep your bones healthy, muscles, and joints healthy and improves your flexibility and strength.
Moreover, exercise can improve blood circulation and body fluids through joints, tendons, and muscles. Therefore, it can help with the healing process. Thus, one of the best alternatives for exercise for people with arthritis is Tai Chi. Due to the low impact of tai chi on the knees and joints, it is best for people with arthritis.
Tai Chi for Arthritis
You have to understand an important point that not all exercises are suitable for arthritis. The best and effective exercise is the one with low risk of injury and provides three main benefits; increasing flexibility, improving cardiorespiratory fitness, and strengthening muscles. The exercise which fits on all these criteria is tai chi.
Besides other exercises, tai chi is also an excellent option in contrast to physical therapy for arthritis. The two main reasons supporting this statement are that, apart from improvement in depression, tai chi also improves the physical quality of life.
There is a special tai chi program for people with arthritis using unique Qigong components; this program has a powerful healing ability. Don't worry all the movements and poses in this program are safe. There are numerous benefits one can gain from practicing Tai Chi. However, the most important advantage of tai chi for arthritis are:
One of the main reasons for pain in arthritis is due to the loss of flexibility. Therefore, the first thing Tai Chi can do for you is to improve flexibility by reducing stiffness in joints and help to mobile knee joints. When you practice tai chi for arthritis, it can gently move all joints, muscles, and tendons throughout your body.
Besides, a number of researches have also shown the positive impact of tai chi on flexibility. Moreover, several evidences claim that tai chi can decrease the chances of falls by almost 47.5 percent. It can give relief from arthritic pain by helping people to stretch a little more, therefore, improving their flexibility.
Improve Muscular Strength:
Another benefit of tai chi for arthritis is to keep your joints stable to protect them; you need muscular strength. As a result of which it can reduce the chances of injury and pain. Moreover, with increased muscular strength, a person can be more active. Consequently, it will improve blood and body fluid circulation.
Numerous sportspeople and athletes suffer from osteoarthritis in their life due to injuries. However, they still can perform the best. Why due to the presence of muscular strength. According to research, tai chi can increase muscular strength by 15 to 20 percent. Therefore tai chi can help people to reduce by developing muscular strength. After three months of tai chi practice, you can improve physical balance and function by 30 percent.
Lastly, tai chi can improve the practitioner's cardiorespiratory fitness by strengthening their heart and lungs. As a result of which it can increase their stamina. Joints and tissues suffering from arthritis need a good supply of blood and oxygen to heal.
Therefore, better blood circulation, fluid, and oxygen help keep your joints flexible and strong. Thus, with time tai chi can help to develop a greater level of physical fitness.
Improve Balance and Fall Prevention:
Another less discussed but highly significant benefit of tai chi is the improvement in balance and fall prevention. Several studies claim that tai chi is useful for improving balance to prevent falls. According to the Sydney Central Area Health Promotion study, by doing tai chi for only 16 weeks, one can reduce the chances of falling to 70 percent.
Moreover, it can help to improve balance by reducing pain, fatigue, and stiffness. Another study claims that tai chi is effective for fibromyalgia, a condition is causing widespread pain in the whole body, not only in the joint. Finally, tai chi comes with a meditation aspect as people find it easy to focus on specific mantras during movements.
Practical Benefits of Tai Chi Program for Arthritis
In the above section, we have tried to mention all the essential physical benefits of tai chi for arthritis patients. However, apart from these benefits, many people want to know about arthritis programs, cost, and other features. They want to know what practical advantages the tai chi arthritis program has over other arthritis treatment methods.
Therefore let’s have a look at the practical advantages of tai chi:
- Tai chi for arthritis is a very cheap and affordable program. You don't have to buy expensive equipment, special clothing or space. Moreover, it doesn't depend on the weather.
- It is a progressive exercise in terms of age. You can start it at any age and develop your skills.
- As you progress through its different stages or level, you will notice your mind has become more serene, and your body becomes stronger.
- When you reach a higher tai chi level, it will become more fascinating and help you discover greater enjoyment, health benefits, and personal fulfillment.
- Tai chi is an enjoyable exercise for people with arthritis.
Things to Know About Tai Chi
Here are some of the things you should know before practicing tai chi:
There is no second thought on the statement that a positive frame of mind helps speeds up the healing process. There is numerous evidence supporting this claim. And when it comes to tai chi, it can integrate both body and mind. When you practice tai chi, your focus is on the clarity of mind, movements, and body coordination.
Tai chi can help to relax and improve your mood. When you are more relaxed, the positive mindset can ultimately enhance the perception of pain. Tai chi is one of the powerful mind-body exercises for arthritis. It helps students to be more mindful of intrinsic energy having greater self-control and empowerment.
Another fundamental concept in tai chi is the Qi concept. Qi concept exists for thousands of years in eastern cultures, and it represents the inner energy of a person. The literal meaning of the word Gong is exercise.
Therefore, Qigong is the practice of having better inner energy. It includes breathing exercises, along with certain body movements and meditation. When your inner energy flows through the body smoothly, it can increase the healing process and results in better health and vitality.
According to Chinese medicine, arthritis is a result of the weak and sluggish flow of Qi. Therefore, tai chi is a great technique to help people with arthritis. When it comes to arthritis, tai chi includes Sun Style's unique Qigong in all its movements. Its slow and gentle movement keeps the person strong and supple.
We have explained in-depth about is tai chi good for arthritis. Tai chi definitely helps to improve arthritis by improving fitness, muscular strength, and flexibility.