FYI: Tai Chi for Peripheral Neuropathy... really works

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Professor Uses Tai Chi To Fight Degenerative Nerve Disease

    Science Daily —

    Peripheral neuropathy is a degenerative nerve disease with no cure and few effective treatment options -- until now. Li Li, professor of kinesiology at LSU, is conducting a study into the benefits of tai chi for elderly peripheral neuropathy patients.

    So far, those practicing tai chi show far greater levels of improvement that those pursuing more traditional methods of treatment.

    Test results prove tai chi is more than just a mind game or a placebo it really works. Li's group conducts periodic scientific and medical testing to track each person's progress as they continue in the program.

    Other, more traditional methods of treatment, including walking and light machines, are also studied to compare the results to those gained from tai chi, but so far it is still the undisputed winner, producing improved flexibility, sensation and overall health.

    Most patients report a significant decrease in falls, increased confidence walking and standing and are able to stop using walkers or canes after consistent and extensive participation.

    The study, backed by little to no funding, started out in the summer of 2004 and was slated to last only a few months. But participants felt such improvement that they refused to give it up. So, in the fall of 2005, the study resumed with great anticipation and with funding from LSU s Department of Kinesiology.

    What was once a simple comparison between two forms of exercise walking and tai chi has now developed into a full-fledged study, utilizing the expertise of biomechanists, psychologists, physiologists and many others in order to gain a better understanding of the actual impact this exercise produces.

    The program includes approximately 75 individuals, with breakaway groups meeting up to three times a week for lessons. Thomas Yajun, a tai chi master who moved to the United States only three years ago knowing little to no English, leads the classes through their routines, which take into consideration the group's general level of mobility.

    As they become more comfortable and gain more mobility, Yajun pushes them farther, constantly expanding their boundaries. "People wouldn't come if it wasn't doing something," Li said. "I mean, some of these people travel 50 to 100 miles round trip just to make it to our classes. For many of them, if they couldn't come to our sessions, which are offered free of charge, they couldn't afford to go anywhere else."

    There are more than 150 people in the Baton Rouge area waiting to join Li's study. But with only LSU's Department of Kinesiology sponsoring the program, it cannot support any additional participants. Parking and facility space are already posing a problem.

    Li hopes to receive funding in the near future that will allow him to expand the program so that it can help others fight back against the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

    "I have really been helped by the program. My legs felt like they had bands around them and my feet would burn almost constantly. Since I've been here [approximately nine months], I've had only two episodes of severe burning and the bands, where as it was on a daily basis before," said Marian King, who, prior to joining the program was forced to stop working due to increasing difficulty with walking and standing.

    "We're seeing great results, and we're very excited," Li said. "Some people started the program unable to stand, even with assistance, for more than five minutes. Today, these same people have no trouble standing independently."

    "I was falling down in the house a lot. Sometimes I would fall down just by tripping. It's [tai chi] been a real improvement," said John Liebert, who only recently joined the program. "I fall down far less, and that's the big issue with me. It's not going to cure the disease, but it was never intended to be a cure. It has definitely helped my lifestyle. It's been a real improvement."

    For more information about Li's peripheral neuropathy tai chi group, please visit

    Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Louisiana State University.
  2. Mini4Me

    Mini4Me New Member

    Sounds like something I could do!
    Thanks for sharing.
  3. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member


    About 1 1/2 years ago several of us got a DVD for a type of Tai-Chi called Y-Dan. It's very gentle, easy to learn and doesn't require as much balance or stamina. It was developed for the Chinese imperial families and was not allowed to be taught to the public until fairly recently.

    It's still the ONLY exercise I tolerate on a daily basis. You can follow along and just do the breathing to start and then start working in one repetition at a time. It did help with my neuropathy and increased my energy.

    Here's the link to the original thread on the forum:

    You can find a couple of different suppliers by Googling Y-Dan...just be sure to get the version taught by Christopher Wong. It's available in both DVD and videocassete format. The price ranges from $25-$30, well worth it to me!

  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    while I don't have peripheral neuropathy thankfully, I have found I cannot balance as well as I once used to - I've also read a study that showed Tai Chi helped elderly people regain stability more than what physical therapy would proscribe... and of course there are other benefits attributed to Tai Chi as well.

    I will look into the CD... I did buy one of Tai Chi a while back, but couldn't really follow what he was doing, forget who it was, which is why I was thinking a class would be a good thing to start with at least; but I know it wasn't Y-Dan type... so I'll be looking at it...

    all the best,

  5. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    It is fairly common for hospitals to offer Tai Chi classes. These classes are tailored for people with health problems.

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