Tai Chi and Ailing Joints
Mar 29, 2018

Angel Alvarez
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

Tai chi produces the same benefits as physical therapy for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis, according to a new study by researchers at the Tufts School of Medicine.

The study, led by Chenchen Wang, a professor at the School of Medicine, focused on osteoarthritis patients who reported significant pain. The average participant was 60 years old, and many were obese. “This was a really representative sample of patients we see in our clinical practice at Tufts Medical Center every day,” says Wang, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

Wang defines tai chi in her studies as a multi-component traditional Chinese mind-body practice that combines meditation with slow, gentle, graceful movements, deep diaphragmatic breathing, and relaxation.

Patients were randomly assigned to either do tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks with an instructor with 10 to 30 years of experience, or undergo physical therapy twice a week at Tufts Medical Center for six weeks and then do six weeks of exercise at home. At the end of the 12 weeks, the tai chi and physical therapy groups reported equal improvement in pain and related health outcomes, effects that remained 52 weeks after the start of the study.

“Six weeks is very expensive with a physical therapist,” says Wang, who is a member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health

at the National Institutes of Health. By comparison, “tai chi is relatively cheap, and you can get it in a lot of places,” she notes.

The effects were the same across the four tai chi instructors, she adds, showing the protocol is easy to learn and perform successfully. “Everyone can do this,” she says.

Further, the tai chi group showed significantly more improvement than the physical therapy group when it came to depression and quality of life. “By integrating physical, psychosocial, emotional, spiritual and behavioral elements, tai chi may systematically promote health by its effect on both the body and the mind,” according to the study, which was published online May 17 in advance of print publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“These people never knew what tai chi was. But when we brought them to the tai chi room at Tufts Medical Center week by week, we saw them changing to become happier, healthier people,” says Wang, who watched patients’ progress on video. “It was very exciting to see every day.”

The study conclusion: “Standardized tai chi should be considered as an effective therapeutic option for knee osteoarthritis.”

Rise of Integrated Medicine

Times have certainly changed since Wang conducted her first study in 2008 at Tufts showing that tai chi alleviates pain in knee osteoarthritis patients. For that research, the 40 patients and single instructor practiced the ancient Chinese martial art in a conference room. “When there were meetings, patients would stand outside and wait,” says Wang.

Her most recent study was a different story. It included 204 patients and four instructors, the largest group in any tai chi study, and they practiced in a dedicated tai chi room.

Wang has seen a greater accommodation in the medical world’s attitude toward tai chi as well. “After 10 to 20 years doing this work, I think integrated medicine is becoming popular now,” Wang says. “Everyone realizes its importance.”

Now Wang is planning on studying the mechanism by which tai chi produces its benefits. She has been conducting brain imaging studies to more closely examine the biological psychology and social aspects of the treatment, and also will estimate the net health-care spending reduction of offering tai chi as an alternative to physical therapy.

Tai chi could benefit more than just osteoarthritis patients, says Wang. She has also found that it promotes cardiovascular fitness and reduces pain associated with fibromyalgia.

“When I came to North America and I saw people use pain medication, I was so surprised. I asked, ‘Why would you use something like this?’” says Wang, who grew up watching her mother, a Chinese physician, rely on traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, combined with Western medicine.

“This is the main reason I became a physician and scientist, and I think more young people and health-care professionals should realize the importance of this field,” she says. “Complementary and integrated medicine is a big field now—whatever patients need, this provides the best care.”

by Monica Jimenez For Tufts Now

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Tai Chi
$320 USD
Tai Chi Individual and Group Workshop


I teach Yang Form Tai Chi.

In 2009, I started Tai Chi with Shifu Renate at The International School of Tai Chi in Cape Town.

In 2015, I was invited to be an Instructor.

In 2007, I became a Reiki Master and Teacher.

In 2018, I completed 8 years on a Buddhist Bodhisattva Project Course, including weekly classes, Urban Retreats and 3 and 10 day Rural Retreats.

I have a Cranfield MBA and a wide interest and experience.

You Get

What I've introduced means that you get someone who deeply understands mindfulness in many different contexts and with many different learnings with a number of teachers, in a number of disciplines, with a focus on Tai Chi as a starting point, using the "Beginners Mind" when you start and the "Beginners Mind" even when you become advanced. I am open to all kinds of discussions and questions and because I understand and have worked with the Human Energy Field, and I understand Intuition and Serendipity, and I have spent decades consulting for corporations and non-profits, you get a well rounded session with so much more than you expected.


We start with a 15 minute session with a bottle of mineral water.

We do a 50 to 60 minute Tai Chi class.

We end with a tea / coffee / cappuccino and cake / croissant / fruit salad (depending on where we meet) and you get to discuss the session with me and talk about anything that might be on your mind.

I like to work in parks and on the beach near coffee shops. We can negotiate places.

The price is for anywhere within The City of Cape Town, all the way to Scarborough on the one side and all the way to Paarl, Stellenbosch and The Strand on the other side.

I am willing to travel further afield subject to a daily rate.

You are welcome to attend sessions alone or with up to 4 people at the same price.

David Lipschitz
Tai Chi
$15 USD
Qigong & Tai chi lesson

I’m a certified teacher in Yang-style Tai chi and Qigong and I offer personalized live lessons for your needs. I will also provide you with an explanation of Qigong theory and I can also provide you with a personal written report if you wish.

Lessons can be tailored for stress relief, healing of certain body parts, increased energy and curing insomnia. You can get to learn a variety of movements, or we can do several lessons where you learn the full 24-Yang style sequence.

I offer a discount for several lessons or group sessions!

Feel free to message me if you have any questions or want to book my services!

Klaus Einar Blomster

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