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Fibromyalgia and Taoist Tai Chi® arts

If you have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or have had it for years, you know that it can cause pain, extreme fatigue, muscle aching and tenderness, sleep problems, stiffness, headaches and psychological distress. Most importantly, it can deeply affect your enjoyment of life. Fortunately, research shows that Tai Chi helps people who have fibromyalgia. With Taoist Tai Chi® practice many people have found they can reduce pain, increase energy and move more freely. In addition, people practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts find they have better balance and flexibility, fewer headaches, improved cognitive function and a feeling of lightness and well-being.

 

Related Resources:

Anxiety and Depression

Chronic Pain

 

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One Person’s Story of Improved Quality of Life through Taoist Tai Chi® practice - Reduced Pain and Reduced Medication!

My name is Vicky. I have fibromyalgia and I spent two years in bed and in pain all the time. My pain specialist recommended Tai Chi. I have now been practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts for six years and I have got better. I can move with much less pain and I have been able to take myself off four prescriptions in five years. My recommendation: go to Taoist Tai Chi® arts classes and stick with it!

Research: Tai Chi and Fibromyalgia

Fair evidence of benefit of Tai Chi for improving quality of life for people with fibromyalgia.
  • This review of the research found that overall, people with fibromyalgia who practiced Tai Chi experienced improved function in daily life, less pain1 and greater ability to manage their pain2
  • Some European countries have begun to include Tai Chi in their treatment guidelines for fibromyalgia.

 

1Huston P. and McFarlane, B. (2016). Health benefits of Tai Chi: What is the evidence? Canadian Family Physician, 62(11), 881-890

2Jahnke, R., Larkey, L., Rogers, C., Etnier, J., Lin, F. (2010). A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and Tai Chi. The American Journal of Health Promotion, 24(6), 1-25.

 

Tai Chi groups experience statistically significant more improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms than aerobic exercise groups.
  • Patient scores on the revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQR) and outcomes in anxiety, depression, self efficacy, coping strategies, physical functional performance, functional limitation, sleep, and health related quality of life improved more for Tai Chi groups than for other treatment groups.
  • Those who practiced Tai Chi for 24 weeks showed greater improvement than those who practiced for only 12 weeks.
  • The mind-body approach of Tai Chi is a valid therapeutic option and may be “especially well suited” for the management of fibromyalgia.
  • The longer treatment group also showed significant improvements in mental health, including psychological well-being, coping, and self-efficacy.


Wang, CC., Schmid, CH., Fielding, RA., et. al. (2018). Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness  randomized  controlled trial. BMJ, 360, k851

Taoist Tai Chi® practitioners report improved balance and mobility.
  • More than 6000 of 12,000 Taoist Tai Chi®, arts practitioners across Canada responded to a National Health Questionnaire.
    • 96% reported improved balance
    • 84% reported improved mobility


Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi (2016). Promoting vitality and well-being: How Taoist Tai Chi® arts impact health and reduce stress on public health services.

What are people with fibromyalgia saying about Taoist Tai Chi® arts?

“Life with fibromyalgia means never knowing what part of you is going to fall apart. I have had tendinitis and bursitis just about anywhere a person can develop them. I fight heavy fatigue every day and flu-like symptoms almost every morning. I have Raynauds Syndrome which makes my hands and feet cold and white no matter what the weather. I have degenerative discs that threaten my mobility. What is the constant in all this chaos? Taoist Tai Chi® practice is the ultimate weapon against chronic pain, crushing fatigue, and reduced circulation! Battling a crazy unpredictable condition, Taoist Tai Chi® arts are the one thing in which I can put my trust. They have revived me, and healed me. They are an energy-return system. My physician tells me every visit, that I save the medical system so much time and money because I do tai chi, and how he wishes his other patients would do it too. I have had to give up activities, I have had to job-shift, I have felt left out and left behind…and yet Taoist Tai Chi® practice is always there…and I am living better because of it. Taoist Tai Chi® arts have given me the opportunity to live life with joy.”

– Barbara, Saint John, Canada

“I have fibromyalgia. I used to spend a lot of time in doctor’s offices trying to get relief.  Taoist Tai Chi® practice is what gives me the best relief. I have autoimmune issues. Before I started Taoist Tai Chi® arts I got very sick with mononucleosis… The inflammation in my chest was so bad it hurt to breathe, my body tried to help by taking shallow breaths which started to affect the heart. With guidance from my Taoist Tai Chi® arts instructor I opened up my chest and the continued practice keeps it open. My fascia is always trying to pull me closed, but regular practice keeps me open. Although not cured, I am quite comfortable now as long as I practice daily.”

– Sherry, Ottawa, Canada

“I manage fibromyalgia and post-traumatic syndrome by practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts almost every day. I have much less pain, increased flexibility, better circulation, greatly improved breathing, much better balance and better cognitive function.”

– Bonnie, Halifax, Canada

How does Taoist Tai Chi® practice help?

Taoist Tai Chi® arts involve a full range of motion with deep stretching and continuous turning of the spine. They exercise the whole physiology including muscular, skeletal, and circulatory systems, as well as tendons, joints, connective tissue and organs. This whole body approach has a profound effect on our health, increasing strength, flexibility and resilience whatever our condition.

Taoist Tai Chi® arts are also a form of moving meditation that has a deep effect on the brain, calming and clearing the mind.

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