Tai chi—a mind and body practice of Chinese origin that combines certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus, breathing, and relaxation—results in similar or greater improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms when compared to aerobic exercise, according to a new study from Tufts and Brown Universities, partially funded by our Center. Aerobic exercise is a core part of standard fibromyalgia treatment, but some patients struggle with it, so other options would be welcome.
In the study, 226 adults with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to either supervised exercise sessions or tai chi classes. Scores on a standard fibromyalgia symptom questionnaire improved in all groups, but tai chi had greater benefits than exercise when practiced with the same frequency and duration (twice weekly for 24 weeks). People assigned to tai chi attended more sessions than those assigned to exercise.
More information is available at the NIH website.