Tai Chi Chuan and orthopaedic pathologies

In the article “The Use of Tai Chi as a Movement Modality in Orthopaedics” (September 2000 edition of Complementary Medicine) we read:
The use of Taijiquan in orthopedic and musculoskeletal diseases is a therapeutic alternative that can greatly enhance the practice of orthopedic physiotherapy. It is a form of exercise that recognizes the mind/body connection. The movements are graceful and controlled, covering the entire arc of movement of each joint. There is no impact on the joints themselves. The slow and rhythmic cadence is coordinated with the breath. The movements mobilize all postural responses and challenge the proprioceptive senses. The maneuvers of the ankles and hips to maintain balance are continuously facilitated. The practice of Taijiquan has a positive effect on flexibility, muscle strength, muscle tension and posture. In theory it also has the potential to increase bone mass. In general, the beneficial effects of Taijiquan for musculoskeletal health appear remarkable.

Among the recommendations published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by the British and US Geriatrics Societies, Taijiquan is indicated as the non plus ultra of exercises because the movements are extremely slow and measured and focused precisely on balance, specifying that with a correct series of exercises falls in the elderly can be reduced by 55 percent.

Arthrite – A study at Tufts University, presented in October 2008 at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, showed that one hour of Taijiquan twice a week for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved mood and physical function more than standard stretching exercises in patients with severe osteoarthritis in the knee.

According to a study published in December 2008 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an eight-week course of Taijiquan followed by eight weeks of home training significantly improved flexibility and slowed the progression of the disease in patients with ankylosing spondylosis.

Bone density – an analysis of six studies conducted by Dr. Wayne and other Harvard researchers indicates that Taijiquan may be a safe and effective way to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women.

Taijiquan training consists of slow, fluid, and interconnected movements, in search of a harmony that involves the whole body in every single movement. In addition, the emphasis in Taijiquan on correct posture teaches the body how to properly absorb and discharge both the pressure due to the weight of the body itself, and the pressure due to external sources.

Taken from: officina della salute.

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