Tai Chi for Arthritis Pain-Does It Work?
During your search for natural ways to maintain your mental and physical health when suffering from aching joints, you’ve probably thought about trying tai chi for arthritis pain. These relaxing and soothing exercise movements can help increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, so it’s no wonder many sufferers have turned to tai chi for relief. In fact, a common nickname for it is ‘meditation in motion’.
But Harvard Medical School felt this didn’t do full justice to the movements and referred to tai chi in 2009 as ‘medication in motion’ instead!
So, if the pace of practicing yoga for arthritis is a bit too slow, the stretching too difficult, or it just isn’t your thing, then read on to see why tai chi for arthritis pain might be exactly what you need to add to your exercise regimen!
What is Tai Chi?
If you’ve ever wanted to impress someone by telling them you practice a martial art, now is your chance! Although it has changed in its implementation over the years, this mind-body practice began in China and is still considered a martial art there in the 21st century.
What makes it a mind and body practice?
Well, tai chi is made up of a series of low-impact movements that flow together in constant motion. While performing the movements, you’ll breathe deeply and mimic many types of meditation or mindfulness training by focusing on the present feelings your body experiences.
And what makes it perfect for those suffering with arthritis?
Low-impact exercises tend to require more relaxed muscles as opposed to an activity like powerlifting, so they put much less strain on our muscles, joints, and tendons. This means that they can be adjusted according to your current level of pain and mobility.
Whether seated or standing, you can still get your exercise in!
What are the Health Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi?
Much like yoga, tai chi provides health benefits related to both our mental and physical health.
According to the original Chinese teachings, the movements help to promote the flow of our body’s qi, or energy force, as well as a balance of yin and yang-seemingly opposing elements in the universe that can complement one another when kept in harmony.
Mental Health Benefits
They may not be the most visible, but don’t shrug aside these benefits to mental functioning due to a lack of belief in the ancient ways. Because of improvements to focus and an attention on your bodily sensations, research suggests that the mind-body connection is strengthened.
As Dr. Michael Irwin, a professor of behavioral sciences and director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, put it to TIME Magazine, “Even with yoga, you can do it and have your mind be somewhere else. It’s very hard to do tai chi and not be present.”
In this way, you can become more aware of your surroundings and your body’s capabilities. This can help you prevent falls while finding greater enjoyment in daily exercises and life itself!
Physical Health Benefits
Physically, it may help to improve blood flow, as well as heart and kidney function. You’ll probably find that you’re able to fall and stay asleep easier, too!
Those who practice tai chi for arthritis pain experience a myriad of condition-specific benefits:
The improved blood flow helps carry Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients from natural arthritis-fighting supplements like GLX3 throughout our bodies. This allows our exercise and supplement regimens to work together to reduce symptoms!
Plus, a scientific study published in The Journal of Rheumatology linked the practice of tai chi movements to potentially reduced pain and increased mobility in individuals suffering from arthritis.
Who doesn’t want that?
2 General Principles of Practicing Tai Chi for Arthritis
There are many different forms of tai chi practiced around the world, but some of the ancient movements are a bit more intense. To see examples of the best tai chi movements for arthritis, check out these videos on YouTube. Despite the differences, there are core principles you should focus on when practicing tai chi. We’ve combined them into two main values below:
- Move Slowly
With flowing, smooth, and controlled motions, go through the forms. You can pretend as if you are moving through water or dense clouds in flowing, often circular manner.
- Maintain the Mind-Body Connection
Consciously center yourself and your breath, and then transfer your weight according to the movements. Remember to rebalance yourself in a steady, upright position instead of rapidly and carelessly progressing through the forms. Become aware of your breathing and bodily sensations, and focus on increasing the flow of energy while your body stays aligned and stable.
Follow these principles and you’ll be able to participate no matter what form the instructor teaches!
Final Word: Tai Chi for Arthritis Pain
Now that you know a bit more about the benefits of practicing tai chi for arthritis pain, you can begin by watching the videos or researching classes nearby!
Just take it slow, and let the instructor know about any conditions or injuries you may have. That way, he or she can adjust the movements to your current state to help you recover faster.
As always, consult a doctor first before making any major changes to your exercise regimen, and remember to fuel your body with healthy foods and natural supplements like GLX3 so you can get the most out of your tai chi practice!
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