Knee osteoarthritis is a painful, chronic disability. Currently, there are very few effective methods for treating the symptoms, and virtually no remedies available for treating the root causes of the condition or improving longterm pain levels and knee function. Previous studies that I have helped develop, and other studies from around the world, suggest that Tai Chi could be an effective way of improving the lives and reducing the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis patients.
Until recently, no trials have directly compared Tai Chi to other therapies for knee osteoarthritis. But, I am excited to announce that I helped develop a study that does exactly that, and it was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine Journal!
The study, titled Comparative Effectiveness of Tai Chi Versus Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Trial, examines the effectiveness of Tai Chi versus standard physical therapy as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis in a 52 week, single-blind, randomized trial.
To read the scientific abstract in full, click here.
204 participants (who averaged 60 years old) took part in the study. 70% were women and 30% were men, and all of them suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee. Each participant was put into one of two groups: one group did Tai Chi regularly for the duration of the study, and the other group did physical therapy.
At the end of the trial, both groups showed significant improvement in their symptoms. That’s good news, because it means that both Tai Chi and physical therapy work! However, the participants that did Tai Chi also reported a significant decrease in their feelings of depression, and felt that the physical part of their quality of life had improved dramatically.
Overall, this study did not prove that Tai Chi is better for your knee osteoarthritis than regular physical therapy, but it does provide evidence for the body AND mind benefits of a Tai Chi practice.
After all, why just have less pain when you can also feel happier and have a higher quality of life with the same amount of effort?
Again, if you would like to read the full study abstract, you can find it here.
I also want to give a big thank you (and congratulations) to all of my co-authors who worked hard to make this study happen. One more important study bringing the mind-body world and the world of science together.