Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tai Chi, Anyone? Study Shows It Helps With Fibromyalgia

A Woman does tai chi.Image via Wikipedia
I went to Qigong (chee gung) class at my health club this morning and it was on "vacation" - which means it's canceled until further notice. I was really disappointed because I had just begun to take the class and had only attended two or three sessions. Now I'll have to pay to take Qigong at another facility when I'm already paying an exorbitant amount at my current health club. Oh, well, I guess "health" is the operative word here, and I have to do what I need to do to maintain it.

The Universe had conspired to get me to the class in the first place. I was getting so many messages that taking Qigong was the right thing to do for my fibromyalgia that I couldn't ignore it any longer. First my Chinese acupuncturist suggested Qigong to treat my fibromyalgia and had told me where to take a class. Then while I was on hold for my doctor at an integrated health center, the recorded message told me about a Qigong class there. I called the instructor for more information, and he told me that his fibromyalgia patients report that their symptoms are completely gone after taking his class. He also offers a book and CD.

Then two different friends gave me two different articles about a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed improvement in fibromyalgia patients who took Tai Chi. I had tried Tai Chi several years ago and didn't notice any difference. But in all fairness, I probably didn't give it enough time. I was impatient to see results and stopped going after a few classes.

The New York Times reports on the study:
A clinical trial at Tufts Medical Center found that after 12 weeks of tai chi, patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, did significantly better in measurements of pain, fatigue, physical functioning, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education. Tai chi patients were also more likely to sustain improvement three months later.

I asked my instructor about the differences between Qigong and Tai Chi. Her answer was that Tai Chi is based on martial arts while Qigong is designed for healing and energy. Qigong means “cultivating essential life energy.” I've done classes in both practices and they are similar but Qigong seemed more flowing and gentle.

If you're looking for a DVD to do at home, someone recommended Lee Holden as a good DVD instructor. His Qigong and Tai Chi DVD's can be found at his website

Has anyone else had experience with either Qigong or Tai Chi? Did it help your fibromyalgia? Tell us about it!
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