A research review conducted by Australian scientists found that practitioners of Tai Chi, the eastern martial art, may limit the effects of arthritis on maintaining mobility in active living communities.
Researchers at the George Institute found that when the martial art was the principal method used, it reduced p
ain and improved patients' ability to move, according to data from seven trials on the treatment.
"The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use of this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis," noted the authors in the study.
Its effects on movement and flexibility may have an ancillary benefit in another risk for older Americans; falls that can lead to bone fractures or other maladies.
Scientists at Oregon Research Institute followed practitioners and found that those who continued to use Tai Chi after a three-month instructional program reduced the likelihood of falls.
"Tai Chi, as a proven fall intervention, may have much to offer in terms of reducing the public health burden of falls and the benefits accrued for prevention," said lead author Dr Fuzhong Li, who noted that falls contributed to rising healthcare costs and decreased quality of life among seniors.