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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Fibromyalgia and tai chi: 06/18/2018

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health-oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

Tai chi helps counter fibromyalgia's physical and other related symptoms better than aerobic exercise, suggests a research study recently published in the BMJ.

The study's 11 researchers from Tufts and Brown University, report standardized fibromyalgia impact scores (as well as changes in a patient's global assessment, anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, coping strategies, sleep, functional limitations and quality of life) all improved more when patients participated in tai chi compared to aerobic exercises.

The randomized control study of 226 adults suggests the time a patient devotes to tai chi favorably impacts progress for fibromyalgia patients. The study's participants, who received tai chi twice a week for 24 weeks - or six months, reported more comparative benefits than peers who left the exercise program after three months.

Interestingly, the researchers report the overall participation rate was comparatively higher among the tai chi groups — and the same health benefits occurred among all tai chi instructors.

The authors write (and we quote): 'Tai chi mind-body treatment results in similar or greater improvement in symptoms than aerobic exercise, the current most commonly prescribed non-drug treatment, for a variety of outcomes for patients with fibromyalgia' (end of quote).

The study's authors report tai chi (which is rooted in Chinese traditional medicine) integrates physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and behavioral elements to promote health and fitness.

While some previous studies suggested a comparative benefit of tai chi for fibromyalgia patients, the current study is the first to feature a large number of participants. The study's authors add fibromyalgia affects between two-to-four percent of adults worldwide between ages 18-65.

In an encouraging finding, the results suggest both the persons in the study's tai chi and aerobic exercise groups reduced their use of analgesics, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and some other medications during the time they participated in the study.

The authors conclude tai chi (and we quote): 'may be considered as a therapeutic option in the multidisciplinary management of fibromyalgia' (end of quote).

Meanwhile, an introduction to fibromyalgia (from the American Academy of Physicians) is available within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's fibromyalgia health topic page.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provides information about complementary approaches to treat and cope with fibromyalgia in the 'treatments and therapies' section of MedlinePlus.gov's fibromyalgia health topic page.

Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles about fibromylagia are available in the 'journal articles' section of MedlinePlus.gov's fibromyalgia health topic page. Links to fibromyalgia clinical trials that may be occurring in your area also are available in the 'clinical trials' section.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's fibromyalgia health topic page, please type 'F...I...B...R...O...M...Y...A...L...G...I...A' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'fibromyalgia (National Library of Medicine).'

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It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!