For patients with fibromyalgia, tai chi is more effective than conventional stretching, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
As part of the experiment, 33 people with fibromyalgia took tai chi lessons for 3 months. The 1 hour lessons took place twice per week. Patients were also instructed to practice at least 20 minutes per day on their own.
Another group of 33 patients participated in wellness education and stretching classes as defined by American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria.
Findings showed significant improvement in pain, mood, quality of life, sleep and ability to exercise. Specifically, those taking tai chi improved an average of 28 points on the 100-point Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). In contrast, those taking the conventional stretching classes improved only 9 points.
NEJM – August 19, 2010;363:73-54.