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Can Tai Chi help with my osteoarthritis?

Tai chi, the traditional Chinese exercise program, helps the body to become more flexible and relaxes the mind. One study found that tai chi reduces osteoarthritis pain, increases physical function, elevates mood and improves quality of life.

Do you ever see people doing tai chi grimacing in pain as they stretch and bend their joints? I haven’t. That’s probably because the gentle movements and strengthening activities performed in tai chi help prevent and relieve pain. Doing tai chi twice a week for just 12 weeks can be enough to relieve pain, especially in the knee. If you’re looking for an enjoyable and effective way to exercise your aching joints, turn in your skateboard or football helmet and give tai chi a try.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Tai chi might help your osteoarthritis (OA), especially when it comes to pain, activities of daily living, depression and quality of life. Tai chi is a traditional Chinese mind-body practice that's sometimes called moving meditation, even though it's actually a form of martial arts. To do tai chi, you breathe deeply as you move your body slowly, gently and with care. This stretches your joints and muscles, making them stronger without putting a lot of stress on the joints.

In a study comparing people with knee arthritis who did tai chi exercises to a similar group who did just regular stretching exercises, the people in the tai chi group showed more improvements in their OA symptoms and quality of life. We can't say for sure if tai chi can help OA in other parts of the body, though. If you want to try tai chi, look for a qualified instructor or class, and make sure you're doing the exercises correctly. Also, tai chi is more fun if you do it with other people.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.