Tai Chi is better than drugs for alleviating Parkinson's symptoms

According to recent research, Parkinson’s patients can benefit enormously and reduce the symptoms of the disease by practicing Tai Chi, the ancient martial art of the Chinese tradition.

Parkinson’s disease characterized by slowness of movement, resting tremors, and stiff, inflexible muscles, is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world.

There is no cure yet, and although medications can improve symptoms, they do not treat all manifestations of the disease.

Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art that involves sequences of slow, controlled movements intended to cultivate one of three types of life energy, called qi, was found to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in 147 older adults.

According to the results published by BMJ Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry patients who already had the disorder and started practicing Tai Chi needed lower doses of the necessary medications.

Previous research also suggests that Tai Chi relieves Parkinson’s symptoms in the short term, but it is not known whether this improvement could be sustained in the long term.

I study

To find out, Chinese researchers monitored two groups of Parkinson’s patients for over five years, from January 2016 to June 2021.

A group of 147 patients practiced Tai Chi twice a week for one hour; the other group of 187 patients continued with standard care but did not practice Tai Chi.

Disease severity was formally assessed in all participants at the start of the monitoring period, and disease progression, including increased need for medication, was then monitored annually until 2021.

A number of other symptoms were also monitored, such as the quality of sleep and the activity of the autonomic nervous system.

The results showed that the progression of the disease was slower in the group that practiced Tai Chi.

The researchers said falls, dizziness, and back pain were the three side effects reported by study participants, but they were all “significantly lower” in the Tai Chi group.

Finally, the researchers underlined that:

The long-term beneficial effect could prolong time without disability, leading to better quality of life, less burden on the healthcare system and less medication use by patients.

Source: BMJ

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