Tai chi has been described as meditation in motion, known to help such problems as hypertension, heart disease, arthritis and now studies show that tai chi can help alleviate fibromyalgia.
“Fibromyalgia affects more women and that tends to be because men don’t get checked as much and due to hormonal and dysregulation in metabolism in women,” says Dr. Peter Lind, who practices Wellness Care with an emphasis on Functional Neurology and Functional Metabolism.
Fibromyalgia has been around for a long time. There is debate regarding its existence and how to successfully diagnose it. Fibromyalgia is a term to describe pain throughout the body. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, digestive disturbances, balance issues, and memory loss. These are only a few of the symptoms.
“Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is not like diagnosing diabetes or arthritis. Most conditions and diseases once diagnosed have a simple, straightforward treatment plan. Unfortunately this doesn’t hold true for fibromyalgia since there are so many symptoms associated with it,” says Lind.
There is no x-ray, no MRI study, no CT scan, no blood test or any special testing needed to diagnose it. The only test is to palpate on the back, neck, gluteal region, arms and legs. Eighteen points have been established in these areas. If 11 of 18 are tender to palpation for at least three months, then fibromyalgia is the diagnosis.
Dr. Lind believes it’s necessary to go much deeper than that. According to Lind, it is necessary to look at neurological, metabolic, neurologic and metabolic disturbances. “You need to look at imbalances that lead to pain in muscles and fibrous tissues,” says Lind.
Medications, along with other treatments are used to treat fibromyalgia. Studies are showing that tai chi helps relieve symptoms.
In terms of impact on the body, “It can be practiced in a way where no matter what condition, it won’t be stressful to the body,” says Marshall Buchholz, instructor at Professional Martial Arts of Salem.
Tai chi is a slow-motion Chinese martial art. It involves meditation, breath control, and strong but gentle motions to direct the flow of spiritual and physical energy of the body. People afflicted with fibromyalgia most commonly suffer joint and muscle pain. One of the benefits of Tai Chi is that it’s gentle and the person can take it as far as they feel comfortable.
“Tai Chi is known to help joints in muscles and it’s an easy exercise. I think it can benefit something like fibromyalgia,” says Buchholz.
Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating condition. “Some people have trouble getting out of bed, have trouble thinking and remembering things,” says Lind.
If conventional treatments aren’t providing relief and there’s a possibility that tai chi can do so, the same thing doesn’t necessarily work for everyone but it’s a worth a shot. Why not try it?