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Tai-Chi & Hydrotherapy: Practical Forms of Treatment for Osteoarthritis, Study Says

According to a study published in the current issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, both Tai Chi and water-based exercise can help alleviate pain and stiffness of chronic osteoarthritis. 

The study – which was conducted by Marlene Fransen and a team of researchers at the George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney – involved 152 men and women ages 60 and above with chronic osteoarthritis. The participants were randomly assigned to hydrotherapy classes, Tai Chi classes or a waiting group. Each class was an hour long and were offered twice a week. 

Significant improvements on scores measuring pain and physical function were evidant in both groups after a 12 week period. At the 24 week mark, the participants were evaluated and the improvements were sustained. The hydrotherapy group showed the greatest improvement.

“Hydrotherapy classes appeared to be more acceptable (higher attendance), appeared to provide greater relief of joint pain, and resulted in larger improvements in objective measurements of physical performance,” wrote Fransen.

Researchers did note that patients assigned to the hydrotherapy group were more likely to attend classes than those assigned to Tai Chi. A possible reason for this is the unfamiliarity with Tai Chi. In the hydrotherapy group, 81 percent of the participants attended at least half of the classes offered, compared to 61 percent of Tai Chi participants.

The Arthritis Foundation reports arthritis to be the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting 46 million Americans. Often referred to as “OA,” osteoarthroses or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis affects an estimated 21 million people in the U.S with typical onset taking place after age 40.

Frank Mangano’s commentary:

Nothing new here folks as hydrotherapy has been used for centuries as a safe and effective treatment for back pain, muscle pain and inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis. There are many hydrotherapy techniques and cold-water treatments are effective in reducing inflammation.

I’ve been a fan of Tai-Chi for quite sometime but it seems as though hydrotherapy may be more effective in treating osteoarthritis. But remember, a truly preventative regimen against any kind of arthritis should always include weight control and regular exercise.

Related Posts

  1. Acupuncture Shown to Reduce Arthritis Pain, German Study Finds
  2. Tai Chi Successfully Treats Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms, Study Concludes
  3. Antioxidant Shown to be Effective in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, Study Concludes
  4. Benefits of Vitamin C Exhibited Yet Again: Lowers Arthritis Risk, Study Shows
  5. Chemical In Chili Peppers Cures Mice of Type 1 Diabetes, Study Concludes
  


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