Posts Tagged ‘Tai Chi’


Some terminologies for alternative health:

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese medicine that uses the placement of needles at specific points of the body to balance the flow of “qi,” or life energy, which Western doctors believe is actually the body’s electrical pathways. The treatments promote relaxation and relieve stress, pain and symptoms caused by a wide array of diseases, from the common cold to AIDS. An estimated 3.1 million American adults and 150,000 children used acupuncture in 2006.

Aromatherapy: A branch of herbal medicine that uses the essential oils extracted from plants and herbs to treat conditions ranging from infections and skin disorders to immune deficiencies and stress. Practitioners believe that the scents of the oils can calm emotions and release stress. The therapy is widely used in Europe and is gaining ground in the United States.

Chiropractic medicine: Chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine in an attempt to correct alignment problems that typically accompany chronic conditions like lower back pain and to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. About 8 percent of American adults and 3 percent of children, or 20 million Americans, used the therapy in 2006.

Herbal and dietary supplements: Natural supplements can be effective in preventing some diseases. Research is ongoing, but there is evidence that folic acid can prevent birth defects, calcium and Vitamin D can prevent bone loss, and zinc can slow the deterioration of vision. Around 17.7 million Americans in 2006 used natural products, including fish oil, Echinacea, flaxseed oil or pills, and ginseng.

Massage therapy: This ancient healing technique has been practiced in various forms around the world, including in India, China, Japan and Greece, where Hippocrates defined medicine as “the art of rubbing.” Today, massage therapy is used to treat sports injuries, reduce stress and pain, and to ease the symptoms of many diseases and the side effects of their treatments. About 18 million adults and 700,000 children used some sort of massage in 2006.

Meditation, tai chi and yoga: Western doctors are now realizing that the mind and the body are interconnected and that these diverse therapies can prevent falls, enhance balance and aid the body’s immune system. Meditation and other mind-body practices relieve the symptoms of many conditions, including headaches, hypertension and irritable bowel syndrome. About 20 million American adults and 725,000 children practiced some sort of meditation in 2006.

Reiki: A Japanese practice in which providers place their hands lightly on or just above the patient, with the goal of facilitating the patient’s own healing response. Used by people seeking relief from the symptoms and side effects of conventional medical treatment. About 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children tried the therapy in 2006.

SOURCES: The National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Tai chi appears to be safe and may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twenty patients with RA were randomly assigned to tai chi or attention control in twice-weekly sessions for 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, 50% of patients randomized to tai chi achieved a 20% response measured on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response criterion, compared with 0% in the control. Those practicing tai chi also showed greater improvement in disability index, vitality and depression index. Similar trends in improvement were also observed for disease activity, functional capacity and health-related quality of life. (Tai Chi improves pain and functional status in adults with rheumatoid arthritis: results of a pilot single-blinded randomized controlled trial. Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:218-29).

South Korean research has shown that (Sun-style) tai chi is effective in alleviating several symptoms of osteoarthritis. 43 middle-aged women who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis were randomised to participate in 20-minute tai chi sessions at least 3 times a week for a 12-week period, or to serve as controls. At the end of the study, the women in the tai chi group reported significantly less pain and stiffness in their joints and improved overall physical functioning. No changes were observed in the control group. Women in the tai chi group also showed significant improvement in balance and abdominal muscle strength. (J Rheumatol 2003;30:2039-44).

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