Tai Chi and Fibromyalgia
A recent study by Wang et al (2018) carried out a study to identify the effectiveness of Tai Chi verses aerobic exercise as a core treatment for Fibromyalgia. It also looked at Tai Chi dosage and duration to have an effect.
The study was carried out over a 52 week period with 226 fibromyalgia sufferers. 151 where assigned to 1 of 4 tai groups (12 or 24 weeks, once or twice weekly) and 75 where assigned to an aerobic exercise group (24 weeks twice a week).
The study compared fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) and patient's global assessment (PGA), anxiety, depression, self efficacy, coping strategies, physical functional performance, functional limitation, sleep, and health related quality of life. The questionnaires were answered before exercises programmes commenced and after exercise 24 weeks later.
In all the groups FIQ scores improved. The Tai chi groups running over 24 weeks (both once and twice a weekly classes) had significantly greater improvements than the aerobic exercise group. The greater improvements were seen in FIQ, PGA, anxiety, self efficacy and coping strategy scores.
Tai Chi had was more beneficial following 24 weeks compared to 12 weeks. This improvement was not affected by doing it once or twice a week. No serious adverse side effects where identified during this study.
In Summary: Tai chi improves fibromyalgia symptoms better than aerobic exercise following 24 weeks of classes, where only one class a week was sufficient.