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Osteoporosis and Taoist Tai Chi® arts

If you are recently diagnosed or have had it for years, you know that osteoporosis can cause pain, increased risk of bone fractures and problems with alignment, balance, breathing and mobility. Over time it can affect your energy and your enjoyment of life. Research shows that tai chi helps people who have osteoporosis. With Taoist Tai Chi® practice many people have found they can reduce pain, be more balanced and move more freely. Practitioners have stabilized bone density and even increased it along with height. In addition people practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts find they have more energy and a feeling of lightness and well-being.

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One Person’s Story of Improved Quality of Life through Taoist Tai Chi® practice

My name is Philomena and I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine since 2014. I thought my independence was disappearing as my spine was so curved that I was in terrible pain and I had little sense of balance. My spirit was crushed and I was frightened. Despite this alien situation I could do my Taoist Tai Chi® practice, and slowly the pain decreased. Taoist Tai Chi® arts have straightened my spine; in fact it’s more straight than it was before the spinal fractures arrived! With a straight spine there is less pain and less need for analgesics. I love the sense of freedom of movement which comes with the practice. It is paradoxical, with several weakened and poorly formed vertebrae, that my body should feel strong and powerful when practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts. It’s not only diligent practice of the form but the whole immersive experience of development within the organisation, as well as the rich heritage of chanting, that give never ending practical support to the body and the mind.

How Does it Work?

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.

Move  Confidently – Be Active – Be Social

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Research: Osteoporosis and Tai Chi

The Effect of Taichi Practice on Attenuating Bone Mineral Density Loss
  • The aggregated results from this systematic review suggests that Taichi is effective on attenuating BMD loss at the regions of lumbar spine and proximal femur neck in special populations (e.g., older adults, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, people with osteoarthritis, and cancer survivors).

You L, Wang C, Chen K, et al. The Effect of Taichi Practice on Attenuating Bone Mineral Density Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1000. Published 1 September 2017


Health Benefits of Tai Chi: What is the Evidence?
  • Systematic Reviews of tai chi indicate “fair evidence for the benefits of tai chi for improving quality of life for people with osteoporosis.”

Huston, P. and McFarlane, B. (2016). Health benefits of Tai Chi: What is the evidence? Canadian Family Physician, 62, 881-90.

“Promoting Vitality and Well-being: How Taoist Tai Chi® arts Impact Health and Reduce Stress on Public Health Services”
  • 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

Promoting Vitality and Well-being: Canadian Health Questionnaire Detailed Report

A randomized, prospective study of the effects of Tai Chi Chun exercise on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women
  • This is the first randomized study to show that a programmed Tai Chi exercise intervention is beneficial for retarding bone loss in weight-bearing bones in early postmenopausal women.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, A randomized, prospective study of the effects of Tai Chi Chun exercise on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. May 2004, Volume 85, Issue 5, Pages 717–722

Taoist Tai Chi® practice Improves Bone Health

Through anecdotal evidence and scientific research we know that Tai Chi is good for our health. Here Dr. Tedeschini Lalli discusses how Taoist Tai Chi® arts activate the bones to increase calcium uptake.

What are Practitioners with Osteoporosis saying about Taoist Tai Chi® arts?

“In reflecting on how Taoist Tai Chi® practice has helped me in living with severe osteoporosis, I feel so much gratitude. Having suffered numerous painful fragility fractures, I can’t imagine the shape I would be in without Taoist Tai Chi® arts. As a result of my practice, I am now pain free- no neck or back pain or migraines. My posture and balance are improving rather than deteriorating. I have not lost any of my height and am even slightly taller. I no longer feel like I even have an illness; rather I have a growing sense of well being that I never dreamed possible.”

– Meiko, Victoria, Canada

“At 73 I am stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually then when I started Taoist Tai Chi® [arts] at 58. The muscles, ligaments and tendons in my back have realigned. I no longer need osteoporosis meds as my bone density has increased. My right ankle, badly sprained at age 17, has been corrected. I am ¾” taller! I have maintained [my] weight [and my] breathing has improved.”

– Daniel, Ramara, Canada

“Several years ago I had a bone density scan. The results showed early to moderate osteopenia. I had been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and slight scoliosis in the past, and I was in debilitating pain, so this bone scan was particularly important, as it indicated bone loss that might lead to osteoporosis. Shortly thereafter I began Taoist Tai Chi® arts. My latest bone density scan revealed the osteopenia was no longer evident. The scan showed the hip and spine were building bone rather than losing, and I was taller!  As for the other spinal health issues, they are no longer causing me pain and discomfort. My endocrinologist/cellular functional medicine/ woman’s health specialist and I agree Taoist Tai Chi® practice has been key to regaining my health at all levels and specifically my bone health.”

– Rose, Surrey, Canada

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