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Meditation for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition where there is muscle pain, fatigue, and tender spots on the body. While there is no cure for this condition meditation may help you to cope with the symptoms. There are many benefits of meditation for Fibromyalgia including: decreased stress, feeling more at ease, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, decreased anxiety, increased energy and pain tolerance.

Fibromyalgia signs

Living a Happy Life with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain

A chronic pain diagnosis can sneak up from nowhere, throwing our lives into a whirlwind. You might feel overwhelmed, depressed or even terrified. Perhaps you’re uncertain of where to turn for help coping with your symptoms.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Hundreds of millions of people live with chronic pain. In the United States alone, tens of millions of individuals suffer from fibromyalgia – just one of many conditions which can cause long-term pain. If you have fibromyalgia, chronic pain or any associated conditions, keep reading for some ideas for how to improve your quality of life.

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the simplest – yet quickest – ways to manage chronic pain and other troubling symptoms of fibromyalgia. Simply put, when you feed your body wholesome, nutritious foods, you’re giving it the fuel it needs for healthy organ function, fighting off illness, and even healing. Enhancing your diet with a few select superfoods can help with fibromyalgia pain, and you probably already have many of them in your kitchen! Red grapes have a compound called resveratrol that helps keep muscle tissue strong, ginger and cherries have natural pain-fighting properties, and fish rich in omega-3s gives your brain the boost it needs to send relief to tender spots when they send pain signals. Similarly, there are lots of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties – like whole grains, leafy greens, tomatoes and olive oil – which should replace all or most of the processed foods consumed by fibromyalgia sufferers. That’s because the additives in processed foods may increase pain sensitivity, making physical discomfort feel even worse. If you’re enduring chronic pain, it’s critical that you take a look at your diet, and choose nutritious, natural foods over unhealthy, high-processed foods as often as you can.

Despite our best efforts to take care of ourselves, when your health starts to feel out of control, you might find yourself frustrated with your physical body and your life. During these difficult times, experts say it can be helpful to refocus your mind.

Author and transformational coach Sean Meshorer recommends redefining the things that make us happy. Meshorer can speak to the power of the bliss method from his own personal experiences living with chronic pain. This allowed him to develop “the bliss method” which completely focuses on finding happiness, contentment and peace – all without depending upon external factors.

By refocusing our minds to search for happiness within ourselves, we can better cope with our chronic pain. These techniques also help ease the depression, anxiety and fear that can come with our diagnosis, and help keep us from practicing harmful coping methods – like turning to our prescription pain pills – for comfort. In fact, you may be able to ease up some of your pain naturally via vitamins B, C, and D. If you aren’t already taking a vitamin supplement, it is worth looking into. There are several trusted brands, such as Ceregumil Vitamix Plus, which are great for joint pain.

Dr. Joseph Christiano, ND, CNC, agrees. “Refocusing the brain, using mental imagery, and practicing [breathwork],” he says, “are a few of the many techniques used for managing chronic pain in order to thrive while moving closer to pain-free living.”

Once you begin shifting your attention to the positive aspects of your life, you’ll find it easier to tap into your own potential for happiness. This is a skill that can be learned. Start by getting a piece of paper and a pencil, and creating a list of all the enjoyable things you can still do despite your chronic pain diagnosis.

Your personal reasons to stay positive might include having a warm, loving relationship or finding creative, new ways to serve humanity. Write down your favorite show to binge on Netflix. Be sure to include relaxing in bed with high thread count sheets, if that’s your ideal day. Whatever it is that brings you joy, write it down – and don’t be afraid to get creative. These are the things that will give you hope each day.

Many people also find a sense of calm, purpose and well-being by helping others. For some of us, that could mean blogging about our illness, with the underlying hope that others with chronic pain will realize they’re not alone. If you’re not a writer, you can still help others by donating to your favorite charity or finding other ways to help those in need.

Why are these techniques so powerful? The answer might have something to do with cortisol, the stress hormone. Many doctors now screen chronic pain patients for cortisol levels. Cortisol levels can be naturally reduced through lowering environmental stress factors. Activities such as yoga, meditation and massage also help by stimulating a calming neurotransmitter in the brain.

As you can see, there are various ways to cultivate hope and happiness, even with a chronic pain diagnosis. From yoga to bodywork, from acupuncture to meditation, try a variety of practices until you find something that works for you. As always, check with your doctor before trying any new activity or holistic treatment method. You’ll want to make sure it is safe for your personal condition, and that it won’t contribute to further pain or illness.

If you have a chronic pain diagnosis, you can still live a blissful life. Don’t give up; use the tips above to train your brain. Keep searching for things that bring you joy. Your body and mind will thank you for it.


Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.

References

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20705881,00.html
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/diet-tips-fibromyalgia
http://bodyredesigning.net/how-to-thrive-when-battling-chronic-illness.asp
https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/cortisol-screening-chronic-pain-patients
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eating-healthy-important-7166.html
http://www.aarp.org/food/diet-nutrition/info-03-2011/pain-fighting-foods.html
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20705881,00.html
https://www.healthcentral.com/article/vitamins-b-c-d-may-prevent-pain
http://www.drugrehab.org/the-45-warning-signs-of-prescription-drug-abuse/

Fibromyalgia signs

Exercise and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that affects roughly 1 to 3% of the general population. The syndrome is characterized by widespread muscle aches and pains, stiffness, fatigue and muscle spasms. Most people with fibromyalgia report difficulty doing everyday activities such as carrying objects, walking and competing ADLs (activities of daily living). Pain, fatigue, helplessness, psychological distress and

difficulty coping with stresses plague many people with the condition. The exact causes of fibromyalgia are not well understood, but it is thought to be a combination of increased sensitivity to pain and environmental and psychological factors.  Criteria for diagnosis of Fibromyalgia from the American College of Rheumatology include:

  1. Chronic widespread pain in all four body quadrants
  2. Pain in 11 of 18 tender points
  3. Other symptoms: fatigue, weakness, attention and memory disturbances, heat and cold intolerance, and weight fluctuations.

For unknown reasons, a much larger percentage of women suffer from fibromyalgia than men.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Long-term effective treatment includes education, pharmacotherapy, behavioral therapy, and exercise. It is important to educate individuals that fibromyalgia is chronic, but it is not progressive and does not cause permanent damage or inflammation. Active participation is the key to improving their condition.

Can Exercise Help?

Affects one in 100 people over age 60

One would think that individuals with fibromyalgia shouldn’t exercise. And many people limit physical activity out of fear that it will make their symptoms worse. But in reality, if you have fibromyalgia, you can’t afford to not exercise.

If done correctly, exercise interrupts the downhill spiral of muscular and cardiovascular deconditioning and the resulting loss of function. Deconditioning leads to increased muscle soreness after even minimal amounts of physical activity. Additionally, many individuals have postural imbalances, tight muscles and poor range of motion, all of which place more strain on the body and movement.

A program including consistent aerobic exercise improves function, symptoms and well-being. And strength training improves muscle strength and reduces exercise-related pain and exercise-induced muscle fatigue. Overall, an exercise program can help to alleviate many of the physically and emotionally painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Exercising Safely With Fibromyalgia

Prior to increasing physical activity, discuss your plans with your physician. Because postural imbalances and tight, inflexible muscles are common in individuals with fibromyalgia, every activity session should begin and end with mobility (flexibility and range-of-motion) activities. You should also include self-myofascial release or foam rolling to help loosen tight muscles and prepare the body for movement. These exercises should be done slowly, emphasizing quality of movement, and never be painful.

Once you are able to perform these basic exercises comfortably, add strength training two to three times a week using light weights. The emphasis is not on quantity, but rather on the ‘quality’ of muscle movement. If you use too much weight, try too many sets or repetitions, you can cause muscular microtrauma, which leads to muscle soreness and can potentially worsen your symptoms.

Aerobic exercise should also be on your exercise plan. Warm water provides an optimal medium for beginning your exercise program. Many communities have facilities that offer warm-water exercise sessions for people with arthritis and these classes are ideal starting points for those with fibromyalgia as well. Walking is also an excellent activity. Other types of exercises, such as cycling, stairstepping and using other popular machines found in fitness facilities, may increase symptoms if you don’t maintain correct posture. Aerobic activities should be undertaken at a moderate intensity a minimum of three times per week. Start with just a few minutes and gradually increase duration to build up to 20 to 40 minutes of activity each day.

The key to exercise success for individuals with fibromyalgia is consistency. When you experience flare-ups, back off or take a day off. Resume your physical-activity program as soon as you feel better.

With appropriate mobility exercises, strength training and aerobic conditioning, you can expect to see improvement in your functional status overall.

How can an exercise professional help someone with Fibromyalgia?

Sclerosis-exerciseIf you have fibromyalgia and are considering starting an exercise program, you may have questions such as:

  1. What type of exercise should I be doing? Aerobics? Weight training? Both?
  2. How intensely should I be working?
  3. What if I feel pain or discomfort during exercise?
  4. Where should my heart rate be?
  5. What time of day should I exercise?
  6. Should I change my nutritional habits at all?

A certified personal trainer or other exercise professional can help to answer all these questions and develop an exercise program that is tailored towards your needs and abilities. Your trainer will do an initial evaluation on you to find out your baseline measures in terms of aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility, bodyfat, and circumference measurements. An evaluation may also look at your posture and how you perform basic movement patterns. Based upon this information, your trainer can determine what muscles may be tight and need to be stretched or foam rolled. The evaluation process will also indicate what muscles are weak and need to be strengthened through resistance training to help improve mobility and improve quality of life. An exercise professional can also formulate a target heart rate zone for you to train in while you perform aerobic exercise.

If you develop any symptoms during exercise, your trainer should recognize the situation and alter the activity accordingly.  Individuals with fibromyalgia often have flare-ups of intense pain. Communication between you and your trainer can help to pin point certain exercises or movements that may cause these flare-ups and be avoided or decrease the intensity. Sometimes rest is the best remedy for pain flare-ups. Your  trainer will develop a strength training routine customized towards your needs and abilities and shows you ways to modify exercises or movements that may be too intense or demanding, especially at first. The goal of the client-trainer relationship is to create an exercise program that is effective, challenging, yet comfortable and ultimately leads to a better quality of life.


Eric Lemkin is a certified personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, corrective exercise specialist and founder of Functionally Active Fitness. Lemkin has been a certified personal trainer for 17 years and has helped people ages 8-80 reach their fitness goals through customized personal training – specializing in exercise for the elderly or handicapped. 

References

1. Wolfe, F.H., K. Ross, J. Anderson, et al. Aspects of fibromyalgia in the general population: sex, pain threshold, and fibromyalgia symptoms. Journal of Rheumatology 22:151–156, 1995.

2. Buchwald, D., P. Umali, J. Umali, et al. Chronic fatigue and the chronic fatigue syndrome: prevalence in a Pacific Northwest health care system. Annals of Internal Medicine 123:81–88, 1995.

3. Skinner, J.S. Chronic fatigue syndrome: Matching exercise to symptom fluctuations. The Physician and Sportsmedicine 32:28–32, 2004.

4. Tuck, I., and D. Wallace. Chronic fatigue syndrome: A woman’s dilemma. Health Care of Women International 21:457–466, 2000.

5. Clauw, D.J., and L.J. Crofford. Chronic widespread pain and fibromyalgia: What we know, and what we need to know. Best Practices in Research and Clinical Rheumatology 17:685–701, 2003.

6. Norregaard J., P.M. Bulow, J.J. Lykkegaard, et al. Muscle strength, working capacity and effort in patients with fibromyalgia. Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 29:97–102, 1997.

7. Simms R.W., S.H. Roy, M. Hrovat, et al. Lack of association between fibromyalgia syndrome and abnormalities in muscle energy metabolism. Arthritis and Rheumatism 37:794–800, 1994.

fall-walking

Walking Can Improve Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition characterized by widespread pain that can sometimes include symptoms such as fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbances and mood changes. It is believed that fibromyalgia affects the way your brain receives pain signals and causes pain sensations to be increased above normal levels. There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia and doctors are only able to try to treat the symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. Medications and lifestyle changes can help to improve the quality of life of those people affected by this condition. Walking is considered by many experts to be one of the best ways to manage many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Let’s start by taking a look at the symptoms of fibromyalgia and then discuss how walking can help.

Symptoms

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:

  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Tender points throughout the body
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory impairment
  • Sleep disturbances including insomnia
  • Tingling and swelling in the hands and feet
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Stiffness upon rising
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Reproductive issues
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

As you can see above many of the symptoms that accompany fibromyalgia make it difficult for sufferers to have a desire to do any physical activity-even if it is just walking. However, experts agree that including some type of exercise in a patient’s treatment plan will be very useful in symptom management. When exercise is included with other treatments such as medication, physical therapy, dietary changes, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage, there can be a significant improvement in the quality of life.

Starting your walking routine

Walking is considered to be one of the best low-intensity workouts for people with fibromyalgia. It is one of the easiest exercises for people to start with when trying to increase physical activity. Before starting any exercise program, you should talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They may be able to help you come up with an exercise plan that is tailored to your needs. A custom plan may help you be more successful at sticking to the program in the long term.

First, you will want to make sure that you have a good pair of shoes. They don’t have to be super expensive, just quality shoes that will protect your feet and joints while walking. A good pair of shoes will help prevent painful blisters and calluses. Consider where you will be doing most of your walking. Will you be hitting the pavement or walking on trails in the woods? There are different shoes for different surfaces, so make sure you pick the right one. You will want a shoe that has light to medium flexibility and good arch support. Try on several different shoes that fit your needs to see which one provides the best overall fit. Your feet may still be sore and swollen the first few times you go out, but you can always use ice packs for feet to help get relief.

One of the most important things to remember is to start off slow. If you haven’t been physically active for awhile because of your pain and other symptoms, it will be easy to overdo things and cause more pain than when you started. Don’t rush into anything. You can always increase your activity level as you become more comfortable. It’s probably best to start off with short walks of approximately 10 minutes, three times a week. You want to get your heart rate up, but don’t walk so quickly that you feel out of breath. The next week you can try increasing your time out to 15 minutes and go up 5 minutes each week for the first month. Starting in the second month you will want to keep walking for 30 minutes, but increase the frequency to five times a week. It may not seem like a lot of physical activity, but it does help you keep a routine, and you can always increase the duration or intensity of your walks later.

Benefits of walking

Walking has many benefits for fibromyalgia sufferers. It has been shown in recent research to have the same pain relieving benefits as non-opioid pain relievers in controlling pain. Getting regular physical exercise may take more time for pain relief to kick in, but it is much better for you than taking medication. Exercise helps increase the levels of serotonin in your brain which are decreased in fibromyalgia patients. Walking will also help loosen and condition your muscles which can improve ease of movement.

Cortisol is a hormone in your body that is released when your body feels as if it is being threatened. The chronic pain and stress that fibromyalgia sufferers undergo cause cortisol levels to rise which can help lead to a host of medical symptoms which are very similar to the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Regular physical exercise can help lower cortisol levels, which in turn may help you to lose weight. You may also notice that you are sleeping better once you get into a walking routine.

While walking will not cure your fibromyalgia it may help you in more ways then you can even imagine. The feeling of accomplishment that you will have will make you feel better about yourself. That alone is worth putting on your shoes and getting into the great outdoors.


Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing. Working to motivate others and defeat aging stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and aging all the way to social, news, and inspirational pieces…the goal is help others “rebel against age”.

Senior Man On Cross Trainer In Gym

Where to Begin When You Are Working Out With a Health Condition

The gym can be a confusing place especially for individuals with health concerns. Many times, these clients are trying to navigate their workouts by themselves because they are unsure of the appropriate questions that they need to ask.

First of all, there are two different types of trainers. There are trainers who have a four year degree and certifications. These trainers are sometimes called Fitness Specialists and have had many hours of study related to a wide variety of diseases and injuries. They are used to modifying exercises and programs based on any specific condition you may have. Fitness Specialists are usually found in a medically based fitness facility affiliated with a hospital. Please note that some Fitness Specialist’s will specialize in a certain area. Some work with individuals with diseases and disabilities and some don’t.

Personal Trainer, Gym, Pull Down Machine, Exercising, AssistanceWhen you finally narrow down who you might like to hire you will want to ask some questions. Please don’t be afraid to ask these questions as they will help you to decide which trainer is right for you. It is also recommended that you observe Fitness Specialists training clients.

First you want to make sure that the trainer has had experience with your condition. If not, they should be willing to research it and or speak with your doctor with your permission. There are exercise guidelines that all Fitness Specialists should follow when working with clients who have health conditions.

You will also want to ask about the trainers background. It is alright to ask about education, certifications, and years of experience. You also want to hire someone who is patient with you. This is extremely important as you figure out which exercises work best for your body. I would also like to add that you need to be patient with yourself as well. Try to relax and enjoy your training session.

Asking the questions from above help to keep you feeling confident. Exercise can seem frustrating in the beginning but you have to keep a positive mindset. In the beginning, set small goals and do the best you can during each training session.


Robyn Caruso is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 15 years of experience in medical based fitness.

tai-chi

The Benefits of Adding Tai Chi to Your Exercise Regimen

Tai Chi is better than a glass of wine!”

The above quote is an actual proclamation from one of my students at the end of class one night. Let’s take some time to look through all the things that you can expect from learning this relaxing, slow martial art.

Because Tai Chi offers a slow, meditative approach to movement, some people question it as an exercise modality since the aerobic component is not high. You should not dismiss it, however, simply because you might not break a sweat doing it! The intensity of this form of exercise can be increased or decreased depending on the depth of the postures and the duration of practice.  It is certainly a low-impact form of exercise which is beneficial to people with existing joint issues and to people who want to avoid joint issues.

Let’s take a look at both the scientifically proven benefits and the anecdotal benefits that occur with the regular practice of Tai Chi.

Physical benefits

As you would expect, there are many physical benefits when one practices any form of exercise over a period of time.  The benefits that research has proven with the regular practice of Tai Chi are surprisingly far-reaching, especially in our current climate of anti-aging remedies.  The Mayo Clinic lists some of the benefits of Tai Chi as:

  • Improved aerobic capacity
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Improved flexibility, balance and agility
  • Improved muscle strength and definition
  • Enhanced quality of sleep
  • Enhanced functioning of the immune system
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in joint pain
  • Improved symptoms of congestive heart failure
  • Reduction in the risk of falls in older adults

That list is impressive just by itself!  There are other studies that have proven improvement for those who live with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, COPD and others.  It has also been proven to improve bone mineral density in elderly women. One study (Tai Chi Chuan: an ancient wisdom on exercise and health promotion) even stated that, “The long-term practice of Tai Chi Chuan can attenuate the age decline in physical function . . . .”  It’s no secret that we are living longer now due in part to medical advances.  It can be argued that we are not necessarily living better, however.  The practice of Tai Chi can possibly be one of the ways we are able to increase the enjoyment of our later years because of the improvements it provides in physical function.

One of the biggest concerns of aging is falling.  Obviously, the physical detriment of broken bones or concussions or even just severe bruising are difficult for the aging population to deal with.  The mental effect of being scared it will happen again is even worse, however.  There are many studies that show a rapid decline in independence after just one fall.  Clearly, working on balance is an important concept to help prevent falls.  In a meta-study, authors Wong and Lan wrote in “Tai Chi and Balance Control” that, “recent studies substantiate that Tai Chi is effective in balance function enhancement and falls prevention.”  They also concluded that, “Tai Chi improves static and dynamic balance, especially in more challenging sensory perturbed condition.”  A different study on the effect of 4-and 8-week intensive Tai Chi training on balance control in the elderly concluded that, “even 4 weeks of intensive Tai Chi training are sufficient to improve balance control.”  Anecdotally, I have witnessed this in the classes I teach.  Many of my students comment on the marked improvement in their balance.  One student in particular related the story of how she and her husband were hiking and she was getting frustrated because she felt unstable going over the rocks.  Then she remembered her Tai Chi training and started to incorporate some of the principles of columns and weight shift, and she immediately felt more balanced and in control on their hike!

One of the other anecdotal effects that I have seen in my classes is weight loss with Tai Chi.  It is not something that people express as a goal when they start Tai Chi, however, I have had several students who have admitted that beneficial weight loss has been a side effect of their training.

Mental benefits 

The benefits of Tai Chi are not only substantiated as physical benefits.  There are important mental and emotional benefits as well.  Let’s return to the list of benefits from the Mayo Clinic. They also list the following as resulting from practicing Tai Chi:

  • Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved mood
  • Improved overall well-being

And I would add the following to that list:

  • Increased mental focus
  • Improvement in working memory/executive function
  • Social enjoyment and interaction

The studies concerned with the effect of Tai Chi on psychological well-being are not as conclusive as the studies on the physical benefits due in part to the obvious reliance on subjective measures.  In general, however, the studies do demonstrate beneficial effects in regard to practicing Tai Chi for depression, anxiety, stress management and mood disturbance.  One study on the therapeutic benefits of Tai Chi exercise (Kuramoto AM) states that, “Tai Chi can influence older individuals’ functioning and well being . . . and the positive effects of Tai Chi may be due solely to its relaxing, meditative aspects.”   Just the other day, I had a student comment to me after class that, “It always seems that whatever I’m dealing with on a particular day just eases back into the proper perspective when I’m done with Tai Chi.  It obviously doesn’t make the problem go away, but it feels like I can approach it with a better mindset and a healthier attitude.”  That’s really the beauty of Tai Chi.  It’s not some mystical, magical force or religion.  In one study that measured heart rate, adrenaline, cortisol and mood during Tai Chi (Jin P), “Relative to baseline levels, subjects reported less tension, depression, anger, fatigue confusion and state-anxiety. They felt more vigorous and in general, they had less total mood disturbance.”  In another meta-analysis regarding Tai Chi exercise and the improvement of health and well-being in older adults (Yau MK), “There is considerable evidence that Tai Chi has positive health benefits; physical, psychosocial and therapeutic.  Furthermore, Tai Chi does not only consist of a physical component, but also sociocultural, meditative components that are believed to contribute to overall well-being.” This same study concluded that, “It is recommended as a strategy to promote successful aging.”  That’s quite an endorsement!  You might say that Tai Chi comes close to being a fountain of youth for those that practice it!

In my own experience, I have seen the improvement in mental focus and working memory.  If you are not “in the moment” and really thinking about your movements and how to apply the principles of Tai Chi . . . you will get lost!  You can’t think about what’s for dinner that night, or the fight that you had with your spouse the night before.  You must focus your mind on the task at hand and that actually causes a relaxation and meditative effect.  Because many of the movements force you to cross the midline, you are also forcing your brain to function in a different pattern by making the left side talk with right side.  Jean Blaydes Madigan, a neurokinesiologist states that, “Crossing the midline integrates brain hemispheres to enable the brain to organize itself. When students perform cross-lateral activities, blood flow is increased in all parts of the brain, making it more alert and energized for stronger, more cohesive learning. Movements that cross the midline unify the cognitive and motor regions of the brain.”  Wow!  You are actually making your brain function better on all levels with the simple practice of Tai Chi!

In two different meta-studies concerned with the cognitive performance in healthy adults (Zheng, G, et. al and Wayne PM, et.al), they both concluded that “Tai Chi shows potential protective effects on healthy adults’ cognitive ability.  Tai Chi shows potential to enhance cognitive function in older adults, particularly in the realm of executive functioning.”  Executive function is defined on WebMD as “ a set of mental stills that help you get things done.”  Who doesn’t need to get more things done in their life??  And unfortunately, if we don’t work at it, executive function declines as we age.

The last point I want to mention about the benefits of practicing Tai Chi is the most subtle, but certainly a very important point, especially as we age.  I see a community develop in my classes that is so strong, it supports each member and provides a social interaction that is rare in our society. Many studies have shown that for successful aging, people need to be involved and to interact with each other.  My students come to class to enjoy the benefits of Tai Chi . . . but they also come to class to enjoy the social interaction and support from their classmates.  This kind of support and interaction can happen in any number of different venues, of course.  I think the combination of the relaxing atmosphere, a non-intimidating, simple to move kind of exercise and the joint experience of learning something new that has a calming influence on your mood is un-paralleled in the exercise world.  Tai Chi brings together your physical well-being with your mental and social well-being in a unique experience that can be practiced for years. Better than a glass of wine, indeed!


Dianne Bailey has been providing professional weight management and sports conditioning training for individuals since 2002 and opened The Conditioning Classroom, a private personal training studio, in 2006. She earned the prestigious designation of Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist from the National Sports Conditioning Association in 2007. In addition, Dianne is a Certified Tai Chi Instructor (level 1) through the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association and leads the Tai Chi program here at the studio.

Woman Receiving Massage

Invest in Your Health with Therapeutic Massage. If You Don’t, Who Will?

Massage, Reiki and CST allow me to work deeply into the muscles of my clients but without the pain often associated with “deep tissue massage.” Sore points are gently held until they release, and restrictions in the central nervous system are removed, allowing circulation to flow through the muscle fibers again, restoring movement and flexibility.