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Tai Chi Joint-Exercise

Posted April. 22, 2002 09:25,   


Housewife Lee (53) is suffering from degenerative arthritis. Although a doctor recommended on exercising, she is not sure of what exercise to do. Swimming is said to be good, but she is afraid of water. Would there be an exercise, which is easy to do anywhere, and which put no pressure on joints?

An appropriate exercise has been introduced for arthritis patients like Lee. Professor Bae Sang-Chul of Hanyang University, nirsing-professor Lee Eun-Ok of Seoul National University, and nursing-professor Song Na-Yoon of Soonchunhyang University recently published a research report that Tai Chi joint exercises are effective for arthritis patients to reduce pain and prevent joints from hardening.

Tai Chi is a martial art that spread from China since 1600s. Suffering from arthritis himself, Australian family-medicine doctor Paul Lamb transformed Tai Chi so that patients could practice it at ease.

It is commonly known that exercises are needed for joint diseases. They help strengthening muscles and reducing pain by producing more endorphin. Lack of movement may result in rapid exhaustion.

Professor Lee explained that jogging or aerobics may be too painful for joints, and swimming is also not easily accessible.

Tai Chi joint-exercises are, however, practical and economic once learnt.

After researching on 72 arthritis patients at Hanyang University Hospital between December 2000 and July 2001 for 12 weeks, professor Bae’s team reported that participants in Tai Chi exercises experienced 44 Per Cent decline in join-pain and 11 Per Cent in joint-hardening. Also, abdominal muscle strength increased by 33 Per Cent and sense of body-balance by 78 Per Cent.

Bae said, “It is not only good for arthritis patients, but also good for anybody in their 50s or higher, because it prevents joint-diseases. I am determined to spread Tai Chi worldwide, based upon our domestic research results.”

The research results were reported at American College of Rheumatology in November last year. Seminars are to be held at Hanyang Univeristy’s rheumatism clinic once a month from May. 02-2290-9216

Ji-Young Chae yourcat@donga.com