Tai Chi/Fybromialgia - Studies and thoughts

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Dan Bian, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I came across this article today:
    Tai chi recommended to fight fibromyalgia

    I've heard of a couple of studies done recently regarding Tai Chi is a support/aid for Fybro sufferers, this article is the first I've seen that actually has a little more detail into the hows and who's of the study.

    Putting aside the combative aspects of traditional Tai Chi practice for a moment, (by which I mean applications, pushing hands, sparring etc) I find it interesting that the article notes that the study found a consistency between the instructors used; and I wonder what their over-all Tai Chi approach is?

    Are they "weekend instructor course" Tai Chi people, who teach a couple of classes at a local sports centre/village hall?
    Are they "martial art" teachers who, although teaching "for health" are still teaching from a martial perspective?
    Or is it a mix of different kinds of teacher?

    Just a few thoughts I had. Anyone care to weigh in?
  2. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Fibro is a funny one.

    There's no actual physical cause known at the moment, and the common medical suspicion is that in a percentage in cases (not all) it may be psychosomatic.

    Also its sometimes treated with antidepressants, which tends to work in some (not all) cases.
  3. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Edit, the average age was in their 50's, people in their 50s who already have chronic pain, probobly prefer gentle exercise with a social part, to gym/aerobics.
  4. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    The link to the BMJ is included in the BBC article. It gives a lot more information.

    - Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial

    I think it makes sense that an activity with explicit meditative aspects would be more effective than simple aerobic exercise for a condition that can be affected by anxiety and emotional states.
  5. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    There's this statement-

    "The effects of tai chi were consistent across all the instructors and nobody suffered any serious adverse effects."

    = the effects consistent regardless of instructor.

    Reading the report it appears they were all teaching an identical program.Which would be the only way to conduct such a study.I'd imagine presentation would be pretty much standardized also.Time constraints and all.
  6. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Based on the article I think it is simply doing a taiji form, any form, 3 times a week. But my guess is they are talking mostly about the Beijing 24 form (Yang 24 form). But likely any would do

    My guess is yes

    My guess is yes

    Again, yes

    However I also believe they are talking only about doing a form, and the health side and not the martial side at all
  7. ned

    ned Valued Member

    An interesting read, thanks DB.

    The consistency was due to the instructors teaching a "standardised classic yang style tai chi protocol for fibromyalgia" , they were also videoed to provide analytical feedback on the sessions as a means of ensuring uniformity in teaching and had training support to understand the nature of the condition.

    Whether or not this sort of specified programme could be expanded to help other suffers might depend on factors such availability of competent instructors (hugely variable) and funding.

    Was also interesting to read that the most intensive programme of the 4 subject groups ; 12 weeks, 24 weeks, once weekly, twice weekly, was more beneficial.
    ( made me smile when the study talks of " the implementation of tai chi in two dosages" . )

    Also that subjects in both the tai chi and anaerobic exercise study groups showed a reduced use of prescription drugs ( opiods,anti-depressants etc.) which suggests a saving that could be channeled towards cost of such schemes.
    Dan Bian likes this.
  8. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    hmmm....So will "Tai Chi for Fybromialgia" now become Pail Lam's next weekend certification seminar?
    Taoquan likes this.
  9. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    Fibromyalgia, has no way to properly diagnose from a western medical perspective. To date, there is no blood tests, orthopedic, neurological, or otherwise tests or exams that are reliable indicators for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia for the most part is a collection of symptoms that seem to correspond at the same time and thus when an individual exhibits a set of similar symptoms they are usually diagnosed with fibromyalgia (hereafter referred as fibro). To typically be diagnosed with fibro one must have a set of these symptoms;

    1) Body pain from which there is unknown cause, this pain is usually muscular in nature (i.e. not in joints, near nerve bundles etc) it is usually throughout the body (not to one location i.e. back pain) and is usually ranging in pain from soreness (think overtraining) to full intense sharp searing pain. (thus a very subjective symptom in itself)
    2) Chronic fatigue, usually sleep problems, extreme fatigue to the point of almost becoming disabled, not able to work or even function
    3) "Brain fog" a foggy feeling in the brain, unclear thinking, hard to recall events, hard to focus etc
    4) Depression
    5) Usually associated with some kind of digestive disease (of which can typically be diagnosed) i.e. Colitis, IBS, Cologeanous Colitis etc.
    6) Usually a set of 20 points are pressed and these points across the board are painful for all individuals with Fibro (interestingly enough of these 20 points-bilaterally, so 10 on either side x 2 for a total of 20, are acupuncture points.)

    Typically once a person exhibits any number of these symptoms (though now they are requiring all these to be met as they seem to be pretty consistent) one can be diagnosed with Fibro. However, to date, as I mentioned there is no standard as of yet. So aside from the digestive issues all the above symptoms are extremely subjective, thus, presently immeasurable by any modern instruments.

    Several studies have suggested that causes range from the symptoms above (for example, lack of sleep can greatly increase pain, affect digestion and cause brain fog and fatigue. So people with insomnia for example can frequently exhibit the above symptoms but the issue is insomnia not Fibro), To links with drinking too much caffeine (also affects sleep), too much soda/pop, to possibly side effects of prior infection with bacteria and viruses. Some have started to find that for most that are diagnosed with Fibro exhibit a shrinking in the Myelin Sheath around the nerves (this is important for later about this topic). This is the same myelin sheath that breaks down in MS (Multiple Sclerosis). This myelin sheath as it shrinks causes increase in pain and it can cause all types of pain issues (thus the broad spectrum of pain reported by Fibro)

    Some studies have found that for individuals with Fibro, being sedentary is the worse thing for them. They have found that most Fibro is improved with exercise and movement, the theory being that since the myelin sheath may shrink, exercise works and moves the nerves and muscles and thus "forces" the myelin sheath to expand. Typically for the first few weeks of exercise this actually increases an individuals pain with Fibro (again think of overtraining or starting training for the first time) but eventually their pain is alleviated because the sheath has been stretched.

    However, as we all know, not all movement or exercises are created equal, depending on what you want to do an exercise may be contraindicated. So for people where this sheath is constricting, doing extreme workouts (ala Boot Camps, Intense Cardio, Weight lifting etc) could actually make the condition worse. However, exercises like Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Swimming, Pilates that focus more on mobility and flexibility, can be quite beneficial and with less potential harm or pain from the training.

    What would make Tai Chi (Chuan), Qigong, unique is that it can incorporate breathing (Yoga can too, but when you actually work with the breath WHILE moving it is different physiologically)and it "forces" and individual to work the brain (remembering the sequence of a Form, rather than Yoga as being less "flowing"). These things combined with Kai He of Tai Chi (Opening and Unification) will typically allow an individual to work the body (movement), mind (memorization), Respiratory (breathing), thus allowing someone to start sleeping better, decreasing blood pressure, stretching the myelin sheath (other muscles, ligaments, etc.) and working the Lymph system.

    As far as experience with Tai Chi instructors vs, "Weekend warriors" would be the ability to incorporate the core Principles of Tai Chi Chuan (which in my opinion is the real cause for both the Health and Martial Benefits of TCC) from experienced and skilled practitioners. However, with the above information, you could see how it may not matter too much on the experience of the instructor so long as the individual with Fibro just starts to move, breath and relax.
    axelb and Dan Bian like this.
  10. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I thought you was dead!! :eek: :D
  11. Taoquan

    Taoquan Valued Member

    I might be, I don't know for sure :) Or perhaps I am a butterfly dreaming I'm a man???
    Dan Bian likes this.
  12. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    Haha :)
    Still practicing Tibetan Bat?

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