By Carrie Lowry
Fibromyalgia for me was a slow starter and gradually got worse. It was clear to me that staying in bed all day should not be an option. Then I saw an article on the benefits of Tai Chi/ Qigong for Fibromyalgia and felt that this could be a good way for me to get back into living. I was middle aged and didn’t want to spend the rest of my life being miserable. I learned that it was important to get my body moving and just moving around the house was not helping at all. This was a real down time for me!
The common symptoms I was experience were:
• Muscle pain
• Extreme fatigue
• Sleep problems
• Bowl problems
It took about 3 months before I could be diagnosed. My doctor tested painful tender points during an examination. He asked me about the exact pain I was feeling in certain areas such as over my neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, buttocks, and knees. These areas were small and much more sensitive than other nearby areas. The doctor also checked other points on my body that were not tender points to make sure I didn’t react to these as well.
Getting the diagnosis gave me some emotional relief because then I knew what I was dealing with. I’m big on research, so I got busy learning what I could do for myself. One of the important things I learned was that I needed to move. Yuck, just the thought of it at first made me cringe!
The research showed me that Tai Chi and Qigong are two mind-body practices that originated in ancient china and have been practiced there for thousands of years. People of almost any age or condition can participate.
One of the results of doing Tai Chi and Qigong are heightened feelings of well-being along with a variety of other health benefits such as:
• Boost in energy
• Decreased pain and stiffness
• Better sleep
• Better physical and mental health
• Feeling better allows me to be more active – helps with depression
The research at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston reveal that a significant number of patients with fibromyalgia responded well to Tai Chi, experiencing alleviation of joint pain and other symptoms. This study is published in New England Journal of Medicine. I’ve also learned that trials have shown there were better results with Tai Chi / Qigong than reported in trials of drug treatments for fibromyalgia.
I was motivated and really engaged and after about two months started to feel much better. Improvement was gradual, but steady. Seeing the other students in my class, who I now consider friends, has also given me something to look forward to. My experience with Tai Chi / Qigong has been very positive, so I highly recommend it to all those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Check with your doctor who, I’m sure, will recommend that you do gentle exercises. Tai Chi is perfect for this.
I now understand why Tai Chi / Qigong have lasted for thousands of years in China. It’s greatly helping me and my friends in so many ways.
Join one of Crystal Klein’s 4 weekly classes offered at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center of the Lehigh Valley, located at 628 Twin Ponds Rd., Breinigsville, PA. Call 610-395-3355 for more information.