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Tai Chi Maybe Effective for Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis


In December 2008, Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study in which a group of researchers from South Korean investigated the effects of Tai Chi on disease activity, flexibility and depression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of Spondyloarthritis, is a chronic, painful, inflammatory arthritis primarily affecting spine and sacroiliac joints, causing eventual fusion of the spine; it has a strong genetic predisposition. Complete fusion results in a complete rigidity of the spine, a condition known as bamboo spine.


In this study, the researchers allocated 40 patients to either a Tai Chi treatment group or a no-treatment control group. The Tai Chi group performed 60 minutes of Tai Chi twice weekly for eight consecutive weeks and 8 weeks of home-based Tai Chi. After the practice, the group showed significant improvement in disease activity and flexibility compared to the control group. All outcome measures were significantly lower in the Tai Chi group than they were during pre-treatment, while they did not change in the control group.


These findings suggest that Tai Chi can improve disease activity and flexibility for patients with AS. Tai Chi is an easily accessible therapy for patients and, as such, may be an effective intervention for AS.


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