Improve the Psychological Symptoms Knee Osteoarthritis with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Symptoms Knee Osteoarthritis with Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness has been shown to help with anxiety and depression and can also help some people with the pain and distress of arthritis, as well as back and neck pain. Mindfulness may also help people with rheumatoid arthritis as it improves pain and stiffness, which leads to improved feelings of well-being, ultimately improving function and quality of life in the long-term.” – Arthritis Action

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of Mindfulness practices in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates pain in knee osteoarthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183521/ ), Lee and colleagues reexamined the data collected from adult patients (mean age of 60 years) with knee osteoarthritis. They were measured for mindfulness, pain, physical function (walk test), quality of life, depression, perceived stress, and self-efficacy. The data were then subjected to multiple regression analysis.

 

They found that higher mindfulness was associated with higher mental and physical quality of life and self-efficacy and lower depressive symptoms and perceived stress, but was not associated with pain, physical function or mobility. This was true especially for the describing, acting-with-awareness, and non-judging mindfulness facets. It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that being mindful is associated with improvement of the individual’s ability to deal with the psychological effects of knee osteoarthritis.

 

It is well established that mindfulness lowers the psychological and physiological impact of stress, reduces depression, and increases the individual’s belief that they can control what is occurring to them (self-efficacy). So, the present results are not surprising, but demonstrate that these relationships are present in patients with knee osteoarthritis and are associated with an improved psychological response to their disorder.

 

So, improve the psychological symptoms knee osteoarthritis with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness-based therapies could be key to reducing chronic pain of arthritis and similar conditions.” – Arthritis Digest

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lee, A. C., Harvey, W. F., Price, L. L., Morgan, L. P. K., Morgan, N. L., & Wang, C. (2017). Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates pain in knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 25(6), 824–831. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2016.06.017

 

Abstract

Objective

Previous studies suggest that higher mindfulness is associated with less pain and depression. However, the role of mindfulness has never been studied in knee osteoarthritis (OA). We evaluate the relationships between mindfulness and pain, psychological symptoms, and quality of life in knee OA.

Method

We performed a secondary analysis of baseline data from our randomized comparative trial in participants with knee OA. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. We measured pain, physical function, quality of life, depression, stress, and self-efficacy with commonly-used patient-reported measures. Simple and multivariable regression models were utilized to assess associations between mindfulness and health outcomes. We further tested whether mindfulness moderated the pain-psychological outcome associations.

Results

Eighty patients were enrolled (60.3±10.3 years;76.3% female, body mass index:33.0±7.1kg/m2). Total mindfulness score was associated with mental (beta=1.31,95% CI: 0.68,1.95) and physical (beta=0.69,95% CI:0.06,1.31) component quality of life, self-efficacy (beta=0.22,95% CI:0.07,0.37), depression (beta=-1.15,95% CI:-1.77,-0.54), and stress (beta=-1.07,95% CI:-1.53,-0.60). Of the five facets, the Describing, Acting-with-Awareness, and Non-judging mindfulness facets had the most associations with psychological health. No significant association was found between mindfulness and pain or function (P=0.08-0.24). However, we found that mindfulness moderated the effect of pain on stress (P=0.02).

Conclusion

Mindfulness is associated with depression, stress, self-efficacy, and quality of life among knee OA patients. Mindfulness also moderates the influence of pain on stress, which suggests that mindfulness may alter the way one copes with pain. Future studies examining the benefits of mind-body therapy, designed to increase mindfulness, for patients with OA are warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183521/

 

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Yoga

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical and psychological symptoms. . . .  regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.” – Susan Bernstein

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritisYoga, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of yoga practice in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga Based Lifestyle Intervention on Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Psychiatry.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952125/ ), Deepeshwar and colleagues recruited adults with knee osteoarthritis and randomly assigned then to receive twice daily sessions for one week of Integrated Approach to Yoga Therapy (IAYT) or to a no-yoga control condition. IAYT consists of yoga postures, yoga breathing, relaxation, meditation and lectures on yogic lifestyle, devotional sessions, and stress management. They were measured before and after training for standing, walking, and sitting, knee flexibility and range of motion, handgrip strength, and fear of falling.

 

They found that the group who received the Integrated Approach to Yoga Therapy (IAYT) treatment significantly improved in comparison to baseline and the control group in their speed of standing, walking, and sitting, their knee flexibility and range of motion, and their handgrip strength. Hence, they found that IAYT produced significant improvement in the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

 

It would have been better if they included an active control group in the study (e.g. a different exercise) to control for participant expectancy effects and experimenter biases. Nevertheless, the results replicate the previous findings that yoga practice is effective in treating knee osteoarthritis, strengthening the conclusions. IAYT is a complex of practices and future research should be targeted at identifying which components are effective and which are not. Regardless, gentle yoga practice appears to be a safe and effective alternative treatment for the improvement in movement in patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis with yoga.

 

“The culprit is osteoarthritis, the “wear-and-tear” arthritis, of the knees. Good weight-bearing alignment, learned and practiced in yoga class, can help keep the knees happy and healthy. On the other hand, bad alignment in poses—heaven forbid—can actually contribute to the breakdown of the joint surfaces, and the subsequent painful inflammation, caused by osteoarthritis.” – Julie Gudmustad

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Deepeshwar, S., Tanwar, M., Kavuri, V., & Budhi, R. B. (2018). Effect of Yoga Based Lifestyle Intervention on Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 180. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00180

 

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the effect of integrated approach of yoga therapy (IAYT) intervention in individual with knee Osteoarthritis.

Design: Randomized controlled clincial trail.

Participants: Sixty-six individual prediagnosed with knee osteoarthritis aged between 30 and 75 years were randomized into two groups, i.e., Yoga (n = 31) and Control (n = 35). Yoga group received IAYT intervention for 1 week at yoga center of S-VYASA whereas Control group maintained their normal lifestyle.

Outcome measures: The Falls Efficacy Scale (FES), Handgrip Strength test (left hand LHGS and right hand RHGS), Timed Up and Go Test (TUG), Sit-to-Stand (STS), and right & left extension and flexion were measured on day 1 and day 7.

Results: There were a significant reduction in TUG (p < 0.001), Right (p < 0.001), and Left Flexion (p < 0.001) whereas significant improvements in LHGS (p < 0.01), and right extension (p < 0.05) & left extension (p < 0.001) from baseline in Yoga group.

Conclusion: IAYT practice showed an improvement in TUG, STS, HGS, and Goniometer test, which suggest improved muscular strength, flexibility, and functional mobility.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952125/

 

High Mindfulness and Low Anxiety is Associated with High Level Cognitive Ability

High Mindfulness and Low Anxiety is Associated with High Level Cognitive Ability

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness meditation has been found to elicit a positive impact on cognitive performance and abilities such as attention, memory, cognitive flexibility, and quality of task performance.” – Integrative Therapeutics

 

There is a tremendous amount of information present at any moment. It is a challenge to the nervous system to sort it out and pay attention to only the most significant information. This involves ignoring competing or conflicting stimuli and concentrating on only the most salient and pertinent stimuli. Mindfulness training can help. It involves a greater emphasis on attention to the immediate stimulus environment. So, it builds the capacity to focus on what is transpiring in the present moment. Mindful people generally have better attentional abilities and have fewer intrusive thoughts and less mind wandering. As a result, mindfulness has been shown to be associated with differences in thought processes, increases creativity, and improves cognitive processes.

 

In general, anxiety tends to interfere with high level thinking; interfering with cognitive ability. So, it would seem that people high in mindfulness and also low in anxiety would perform better on cognitive tasks compared to people low in mindfulness and high in anxiety. In today’s Research News article “Better Cognitive Performance Is Associated With the Combination of High Trait Mindfulness and Low Trait Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00627/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_640301_69_Psycho_20180515_arts_A ), Jaiswal and colleagues examine this prediction.

 

They recruited adults aged 18 to 30 years through Facebook and measured them for mindfulness and anxiety. They identified participants who were 0.85 standard deviations above the mean in mindfulness and 0.85 standard deviations below the mean in anxiety (High Mindfulness – Low Anxiety) and participants who were 0.85 standard deviations below the mean in mindfulness and 0.85 standard deviations above the mean in anxiety (Low Mindfulness – High Anxiety). These participants were asked to perform a flanker distraction task to measure attentional ability, a Stroop color test to measure interference with attention, and a visual working memory task.

 

They found that the High Mindfulness – Low Anxiety group performed significantly better than the Low Mindfulness – High Anxiety group on the Stroop attention interference task and the visual working memory task, and overall working memory capacity. The results confirmed the initial hypothesis that individuals with a combination of high mindfulness and low anxiety have superior attentional and cognitive abilities. Hence, it appears that mindfulness improves cognition while anxiety interferes with it.

 

The study was a cross sectional design and neither mindfulness nor anxiety were manipulated. Thus, causation cannot be determined. The results, though, support the initiation of a study where groups are trained in mindfulness and exposed to anxiety evoking situations to determine the causal connections of the combinations of mindfulness and anxiety on the ability for high level attentional ability and thought processes.

 

Nevertheless, it appears that high mindfulness and low anxiety is associated with high level attentional and cognitive ability.

 

“new research now suggests that the mind may be easier to cognitively train than we previously believed. Psychologists studying the effects of a meditation technique known as “mindfulness ” found that meditation-trained participants showed a significant improvement in their critical cognitive skills (and performed significantly higher in cognitive tests than a control group) after only four days of training for only 20 minutes each day.” – Science daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Jaiswal S, Tsai S-Y, Juan C-H, Liang W-K and Muggleton NG (2018) Better Cognitive Performance Is Associated With the Combination of High Trait Mindfulness and Low Trait Anxiety. Front. Psychol. 9:627. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00627

 

There are several ways in which cognitive and neurophysiological parameters have been consistently used to explain the variability in cognitive ability between people. However, little has been done to explore how such cognitive abilities are influenced by differences in personality traits. Dispositional mindfulness and anxiety are two inversely linked traits that have been independently attributed to a range of cognitive functions. The current study investigated these two traits in combination along with measures of the attentional network, cognitive inhibition, and visual working memory (VWM) capacity. A total of 392 prospective participants were screened to select two experimental groups each of 30 healthy young adults, with one having high mindfulness and low anxiety (HMLA) and the second having low mindfulness and high anxiety (LMHA). The groups performed an attentional network task, a color Stroop task, and a change detection test of VWM capacity. Results showed that the HMLA group was more accurate than the LMHA group on the Stroop and change detection tasks. Additionally, the HMLA group was more sensitive in detecting changes and had a higher WMC than the LMHA group. This research adds to the literature that has investigated mindfulness and anxiety independently with a comprehensive investigation of the effects of these two traits in conjunction on executive function.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00627/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_640301_69_Psycho_20180515_arts_A

 

Improve Arthritis in Older Adults with Seated Yoga

Improve Arthritis in Older Adults with Seated Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Chair yoga may help to reduce pain in older adults suffering from arthritis. Based around the ancient form of exercise, it allows people with reduced mobility to also take part. It helps to boost the strength and flexibility of older people and could become an effective treatment for those with the debilitating condition.” Stephen Matthews

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritisYoga, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. But, people with lower extremity osteoarthritis have difficulty with balance making standing postures problematic. So, it would seem reasonable to look into the effectiveness of yoga practice performed while sitting in a chair in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357158/ ), Park and colleagues recruited older adults (>65 years of age) with osteoarthritis of the lower extremity joints; hip, knee; ankle, and foot. They were randomly assigned to either receive health education or seated Hatha yoga practice. Both Health Education and yoga was practiced for 45 minutes twice a week for 8 weeks and home practice was encouraged. The participants were measured before and after treatment and at a 1-month and 3-month follow-up for pain interference in everyday activities, fatigue, balance, walking speed, pain, and functional ability.

 

They found that after the 8-weeks of practice and at the 1- and 3-month follow-ups, the yoga group had significantly greater reductions in pain, pain interference in daily activities, fatigue, and walking speed. There were no significant adverse events observed. Hence, practicing yoga while seated was well tolerated and safe and produced significant improvements in the symptoms of lower extremity osteoarthritis in elderly adults. This suggests that seated yoga practice may be a welcome, safe and effective alternative to pharmacologic or surgical treatment for osteoarthritis in the elderly.

 

So, improve arthritis in older adults with seated Yoga.

 

“The potential impact of this study on public health is high, as this program provides an approach for keeping community-dwelling elders active even when they cannot participate in traditional exercise that challenges their balance,” – Patricia Liehr

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Park, J., McCaffrey, R., Newman, D., Liehr, P., & Ouslander, J. G. (2017). A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(3), 592–597. http://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14717

 

Abstract

Objectives

To determine effects of Sit ‘N’ Fit Chair Yoga, compared to a Health Education program (HEP), on pain and physical function in older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis (OA) who could not participate in standing exercise

Design

Two-arm randomized controlled trial

Setting

One HUD senior housing facility and one day senior center in south Florida

Participants

Community-dwelling older adults (N = 131) were randomly assigned to chair yoga (n = 66) or HEP (n = 65). Thirteen dropped after assignment but prior to the intervention; 6 dropped during the intervention; 106 of 112 completed at least 12 of 16 sessions (95% retention rate).

Interventions

Participants attended either chair yoga or HEP. Both interventions consisted of twice-weekly 45-minute sessions for 8 weeks.

Measurements

Primary: pain, pain interference; secondary: balance, gait speed, fatigue, functional ability measured at baseline, after 4 weeks of intervention, at the end of the 8-week intervention, and post-intervention (1 and 3 months).

Results

The chair yoga group showed greater reduction in pain interference during the intervention (p = .01), sustained through 3 months (p = .022). WOMAC pain (p = .048), gait speed (p = .024), and fatigue (p = .037) were improved in the yoga group during the intervention (p = .048) but improvements were not sustained post intervention. Chair yoga had no effect on balance.

Conclusion

An 8-week chair yoga program was associated with reduction in pain, pain interference, and fatigue, and improvement in gait speed, but only the effects on pain interference were sustained 3 months post intervention. Chair yoga should be further explored as a nonpharmacologic intervention for older people with OA in the lower extremities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357158/

 

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Qigong techniques are simple and do not need to be carried out precisely to bring about its great benefits. Qigong practice is known for preventing disease, strengthening immunity and producing better health and well-being. However it is under-appreciated, even in China, that Qigong therapy can be effective for relieving pain and treating arthritis.” – Kellen Chia

 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most commonly affects the joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. It affects an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States. It is associated with aging as arthritis occurs in only 7% of adults ages 18–44, while 30% adults ages 45–64 are affected, and 50% of adults ages 65 or older. The pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility associate with arthritis produce fatigue and markedly reduce the quality of life of the sufferers. Arthritis can have very negative psychological effects diminishing the individual’s self-image and may lead to depression, isolation, and withdrawal from friends and social activities Arthritis reduces the individual’s ability to function at work and may require modifications of work activities which can lead to financial difficulties. It even affects the individual’s physical appearance. In addition, due to complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly cardiovascular disease, the lifespan for people with rheumatoid arthritis may be shortened by 10 years.

 

It is obvious that there is a need for a safe and effective treatment to help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers cope with the disease and its consequences. Increasing exercise has been shown to increase flexibility and mobility but many form of exercise are difficult for the arthritis sufferer to engage in and many drop out. But all that may be needed is gentle movements of the joints. Qigong or Tai Chi training are designed to enhance and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. They have been shown to have many physical and psychological benefits, especially for the elderly. Because They are not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and are safe, having no appreciable side effects, they are appropriate for an elderly population. So, it would seem that Qigong or Tai Chi practice would be well suited to treat arthritis in seniors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Qigong Exercise and Arthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/ ), Marks reviewed and summarized the published research on the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of arthritis. He found that Qigong practice produced significant improvements in the musculoskeletal system including increased strength, joint flexibility, posture, balance motor function, and motor coordination, and improvements in quality of life and cognitive function. In addition, the research reported decreased pain, fatigue, and blood pressure and improved immune function, metabolic function, circulation, aerobic capacity, and reduced falls, improved psychological health, mood, and sleep.

 

These are impressive results. Scientific research suggests that Qigong practice produces  widespread improvements in mental and physical health in arthritis sufferers. In addition, it is inexpensive, convenient, appropriate for individuals of all ages and health condition and is safe to practice, making it an almost ideal treatment for the symptoms of arthritis.

 

So, improve arthritis with Qigong.

 

“Qigong focuses on relaxing the body, which over time, allows the joints and muscles to loosen up, improving the circulation of fluids and blood. The practice focuses on rebuilding overall health and strengthening the spirit, while encouraging one to change the way one looks at life in general, and at the illness affecting you.” – 1MD

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ray Marks. Qigong Exercise and Arthritis. Medicines (Basel) 2017 Dec; 4(4): 71. Published online 2017 Sep 27. doi: 10.3390/medicines4040071

 

Abstract

Background: Arthritis is a chronic condition resulting in considerable disability, particularly in later life. Aims: The first aim of this review was to summarize and synthesize the research base concerning the use of Qigong exercises as a possible adjunctive strategy for promoting well-being among adults with arthritis. A second was to provide related intervention directives for health professionals working or who are likely to work with this population in the future. Methods: Material specifically focusing on examining the nature of Qigong for minimizing arthritis disability, pain and dependence and for improving life quality was sought. Results: Collectively, despite almost no attention to this topic, available data reveal that while more research is indicated, Qigong exercises—practiced widely in China for many centuries as an exercise form, mind-body and relaxation technique—may be very useful as an intervention strategy for adults with different forms of painful disabling arthritis. Conclusion: Health professionals working with people who have chronic arthritis can safely recommend these exercises to most adults with this condition with the expectation they will heighten the life quality of the individual, while reducing pain and depression in adults with this condition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis in Older Adults with Yoga

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis in Older Adults with Yoga 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Osteoarthritis is a chronic, long-term disease that affects millions of elderly adults. There is currently no known cure for it and treatment options are limited. New research, however, suggests that chair yoga is effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain.” Ana Sandoiu

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Various forms of traditional Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Baduanjin involve slow gentle movements of the limbs and mindfulness and have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Another mindfulness practice, yoga, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of yoga practice in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Managing knee osteoarthritis with yoga or aerobic/strengthening exercise programs in older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569242/, Cheung and colleagues recruited elderly (>60 years of age) participants with knee osteoarthritis and randomly assigned them to one of three conditions; Hatha Yoga, Strengthening Exercise, or Education Control. The yoga and exercise training occurred in 8 weekly 45-minute sessions supplemented with 4 30-minute sessions per week at home. The Education Control consisted of the distribution of pamphlets on knee osteoarthritis. Participants were measured before, the midpoint (4 weeks), and after training for knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness, and physical function, lower extremity function, anxiety, depression, fear of falling, spiritual health, quality of life, program satisfaction, and adherence to the program.

 

They found that compared to the education condition, the Hatha Yoga and strengthening exercise practices produced significantly greater improvements in overall knee osteoarthritis symptoms, including pain, physical function, chair stands, walking, anxiety, and fear of falling. But, the Hatha Yoga practice compared to the strengthening exercise produced significantly superior improvements in overall knee osteoarthritis symptoms, including pain, physical function, anxiety, and fear of falling. Hence, although both exercises produced significant improvements in the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, Hatha Yoga was significantly better. Importantly, no adverse events were produced by the Hatha Yoga practice.

 

These are important results as, although yoga has been previously shown to improve knee osteoarthritis symptoms, it has not been shown to be superior to other exercise programs. This superiority suggests that the mindfulness components of yoga have benefits for knee osteoarthritis in addition to the gentle exercise components. This may be due to the ability of mindfulness training to reduce anxiety and stress responses which are known to amplify pain and fear. Regardless, the findings clearly indicate that Hath Yoga practice is safe and effective and should be recommended for elderly individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis in older adults with yoga.

 

“For the millions of older adults who suffer from osteoarthritis in their lower extremities (hip, knee, ankle or foot), chair yoga is proving to be an effective way to reduce pain and improve quality of life while avoiding pharmacologic treatment or adverse events.” – Florida Atlantic University

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cheung, C., Wyman, J. F., Bronas, U., McCarthy, T., Rudser, K., & Mathiason, M. A. (2017). Managing knee osteoarthritis with yoga or aerobic/strengthening exercise programs in older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology International, 37(3), 389–398. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-016-3620-2

 

Abstract

Although exercise is often recommended for managing osteoarthritis (OA), limited evidence-based exercise options are available for older adults with OA. This study compared the effects of Hatha yoga (HY) and aerobic/strengthening exercises (ASE) on knee OA. Randomized controlled trial with three arms design was used: HY, ASE, and education control. Both HY and ASE groups involved 8 weekly 45-min group classes with 2–4 days/week home practice sessions. Control group received OA education brochures and weekly phone calls from study staff. Standardized instruments were used to measure OA symptoms, physical function, mood, spiritual health, fear of falling, and quality of life at baseline, 4 and 8 weeks. HY/ASE adherences were assessed weekly using class attendance records and home practice video recordings. Primary analysis of the difference in the change from baseline was based on intent-to-treat and adjusted for baseline values. Eight-three adults with symptomatic knee OA completed the study (84% female; mean age 71.6 ± 8.0 years; mean BMI 29.0 ± 7.0 kg/m2). Retention rate was 82%. Compared to the ASE group at 8 weeks, participants in the HY group had a significant improvement from baseline in perception of OA symptoms (−9.6 [95% CI −15.3, −4]; p = .001), anxiety (−1.4 [95% CI −2.7, −0]; p = .04), and fear of falling (−4.6 [−7.5, −1.7]; p = .002). There were no differences in class/home practice adherence between HY and ASE. Three non-serious adverse events were reported from the ASE group. Both HY and ASE improved symptoms and function but HY may have superior benefits for older adults with knee OA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569242/

Tai Chi is Better than Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

Tai Chi is Better than Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi helps patients preserve and improve function by increasing strength, flexibility and coordination while avoiding aggravation of arthritic pain and inflammation. Tai chi is a particularly appealing form of exercise, as it is very low impact and emphasizes balance, coordination and strength. Tai chi is safe and has been shown to reduce falls in the elderly. Moreover, patients who practice tai chi often report an increased sense of wellness.” – Matthew Hepinstall

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. In the U.S., osteoarthritis affects 14% of adults over 25 years of age and 34% of those over 65. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful in for treatment. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis. Various forms of traditional Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Baduanjin involve slow gentle movements of the limbs and mindfulness and have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of Tai Chi relative to physical therapy in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparative Effectiveness of Tai Chi Versus Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4960454/, Wang and colleagues recruited patients who were 40 years or older with knee osteoarthritis who had never practiced Tai Chi or received physical therapy before. They were randomly assigned to receive either 60 minutes, 2 times per week for 12 weeks of Tai Chi or 30 minutes, 2 times per week for 6 weeks of physical therapy. All patients continued to practice at home for an additional 12 weeks. They were measured before treatment and 12, 24, and 52 weeks later for osteoarthritis symptoms, physical function, stiffness, depression, arthritis self-efficacy, walk test, and expectations regarding intervention effectiveness.

 

They found that both groups had large significant improvements in osteoarthritis pain, and physical function that remained significant 1 year after training. Most of the other outcome measures were also significantly improved in both groups. The Tai Chi group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in depression and physical quality of life than the physical therapy group and also had greater but non-significant improvements in all measure than the physical therapy group. So, both Tai Chi and physical therapy were effective in improving the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, but Tai Chi was superior particularly for depression and quality of life.

 

These are interesting and important results. While both Tai Chi and physical therapy were effective, Tai Chi appeared to have some better results. This is particularly important because this ancient gentle practice is completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi would appear to be an excellent treatment for the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis with Tai Chi.

 

“For the uninitiated, tai chi may be a little daunting. The ancient Chinese exercise is hardly as mainstream as aerobics or the treadmill, but with its gentle, fluid movements and proven health benefits, it’s a natural arthritis workout.”Mary Jo DiLonardo

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, C., Schmid, C. H., Iversen, M. D., Harvey, W. F., Fielding, R. A., Driban, J. B., … McAlindon, T. (2016). Comparative Effectiveness of Tai Chi Versus Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 165(2), 77–86. http://doi.org/10.7326/M15-2143

 

Abstract

Background

Few remedies effectively treat long-term pain and disability from knee osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that Tai Chi alleviates symptoms, but no trials have directly compared Tai Chi with standard therapies for osteoarthritis.

Objective

To compare Tai Chi with standard physical therapy for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Design

Randomized, 52-week, single-blind comparative effectiveness trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01258985)

Setting

An urban tertiary care academic hospital.

Patients

204 participants with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (mean age, 60 years; 70% women; 53% white).

Intervention

Tai Chi (2 times per week for 12 weeks) or standard physical therapy (2 times per week for 6 weeks, followed by 6 weeks of monitored home exercise).

Measurements

The primary outcome was Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included physical function, depression, medication use, and quality of life.

Results

At 12 weeks, the WOMAC score was substantially reduced in both groups (Tai Chi, 167 points [95% CI, 145 to 190 points]; physical therapy, 143 points [CI, 119 to 167 points]). The between-group difference was not significant (24 points [CI, −10 to 58 points]). Both groups also showed similar clinically significant improvement in most secondary outcomes, and the benefits were maintained up to 52 weeks. Of note, the Tai Chi group had significantly greater improvements in depression and the physical component of quality of life. The benefit of Tai Chi was consistent across instructors. No serious adverse events occurred.

Limitation

Patients were aware of their treatment group assignment, and the generalizability of the findings to other settings remains undetermined.

Conclusion

Tai Chi produced beneficial effects similar to those of a standard course of physical therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4960454/

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Traditional Chinese Exercise

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Traditional Chinese Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For the uninitiated, tai chi may be a little daunting. The ancient Chinese exercise is hardly as mainstream as aerobics or the treadmill, but with its gentle, fluid movements and proven health benefits, it’s a natural arthritis workout.”Mary Jo DiLonardo

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. In the U.S., osteoarthritis affects 14% of adults over 25 years of age and 34% of those over 65.

 

Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It involves the whole joint, including articular cartilage, meniscus, ligament, and peri-articular muscle. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.  There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement.

 

Gentle movements of the joints with exercise appears to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful in for treatment. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis and mind-body practices in general have been shown to reduce the gene expressions that underlie the inflammatory response which contribute to arthritis. This suggests that various forms of traditional Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Baduanjin would be perfect treatments as they involve slow gentle movements of the limbs and mindfulness. Indeed, Tai Chi has been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of traditional Chinese exercises in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Traditional Chinese Exercise in Treating Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266306/

Zhang and colleagues review the published research literature on the effectiveness of traditional Chinese exercises on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. They found 8 published randomized controlled trials 7 of which employed Tai Chi and 1 employed Baduanjin as the exercise. Treatment varied in duration from 8 to 24 weeks with 12 weeks the most common duration. They found that the studies demonstrated that the traditional Chinese exercises produced significant short-term improvements of moderate effect sizes in knee pain, physical function, and joint stiffness.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that traditional Chinese exercises are safe and effective treatments for knee osteoarthritis. There is a need for more studies of the long-term effectiveness of these practices. Since, these ancient gentle practices are completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, and are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, it would appear to be an excellent treatment for knee osteoarthritis sufferers.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis with traditional Chinese exercise.

 

“Today, the vast majority of people in the U.S. who practice tai chi do it for health reasons, not just intellectual curiosity. It’s low-impact, so your knees, ankles, and other joints don’t get overly stressed. “Almost everyone can do tai chi.” – Gene Nelson

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Zhang, Y., Huang, L., Su, Y., Zhan, Z., Li, Y., & Lai, X. (2017). The Effects of Traditional Chinese Exercise in Treating Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 12(1), e0170237. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170237

 

Abstract

Background and Aims

Traditional Chinese exercise (TCE) includes a variety of exercise, which is being accepted by more and more people in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA) from different countries. With the attendant, many clinical reports focus on it. Our meta-analysis aimed to systematically assess the effects of traditional Chinese exercise on pain, stiffness, physical function, quality of life, mental health and adverse events in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods

PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Web of Science, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM) were searched from the time of their inception through April 2016 and risk of bias was independently assessed by two authors. Outcome measures included pain, physical functional, joint stiffness, quality of life, mental health and safety. For pooled outcomes, standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.

Results

Eight randomized controlled trials with a sample size of 375 cases met the criteria to be included in the study indicating that high quality literature is lacking in this field. Results of the meta-analysis showed that short-term TCE could relieve pain (SMD: -0.77;95% CI: -1.13 to -0.41; P<0.0001), improve physical function (SMD -0.75; 95% CI: -0.98 to -0.52; P<0.00001), and alleviate stiffness (SMD: -0.56; 95%: CI -0.96 to -0.16; P<0.006), but had no significant effect on quality of life (SMD: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.17 to 0.97; P = 0.005), and mental health (SMD 4.12; 95% CI: -0.50 to 8.73; P = 0.08). Moreover, TCE was not associated with serious adverse events.

Conclusions

Our systematic review revealed that short-term TCE was potentially beneficial in terms of reducing pain, improving physical function and alleviating stiffness. These results may suggest that TCE could prove useful as an adjuvant treatment for patients with knee OA. Further studies are urgently needed to confirm these results.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266306/

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Yoga

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and living room

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Hatha yoga is an important non-medicinal method in rehabilitation of patients with knee osteoarthritis and will result in a significant decrease in pain and symptoms and a significant increase in daily activities, sports and spare-time activities, and quality of life.” – Gholam Ghasemi,

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. In the U.S., osteoarthritis affects 14% of adults over 25 years of age and 34% of those over 65.

 

Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It involves the whole joint, including articular cartilage, meniscus, ligament, and peri-articular muscle. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.  There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement.

 

Mind-body practices in general have been shown to reduce the gene expressions that underlie the inflammatory response which contribute to arthritis. It is also known that gentle movements of the joints with exercise appears to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that yoga practice, which involves both mindfulness and exercise of the joints may be useful for treatment. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of yoga practice in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Yoga on Pain, Mobility, and Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1471491792874742/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061981/

Kan and colleagues review the published research studies on the effectiveness of yoga practice for knee osteoarthritis. They found 9 published articles, with subjects between 51-70 years of age. Yoga practice was for 60-90 minutes per session and 3-4 sessions per week for from 8-20 weeks. Most of the studies included a control condition, most frequently comparing physical therapy plus yoga practice to physical therapy alone. They found that the literature uniformly reported that the yoga practice was safe, with no adverse effects and that it produced clinically significant decreases in knee osteoarthritis pain. Although the findings were mixed, overall there appeared to be improvement produced by yoga practice in movement and mobility, and the patients’ quality of life.

 

The published research strongly suggests that the practice of yoga is a safe and effective way to improve pain, mobility, and quality of life in people suffering with knee osteoarthritis. Yoga contains both exercise and mindfulness practice. The published studies did not separate these components. So, it cannot be determined if either alone or in combination are essential for effectiveness. But, it is clear that knee osteoarthritis patients can practice yoga and that it is a safe and effective practice to help relieve the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis with yoga.

 

“Yoga is definitely one option for people with arthritis. Not only for the exercise benefits, but it’s also beneficial in the mind/body area, promoting relaxation and stress reduction,” – Sharon Kolasinksi

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

 

Study Summary

Kan, L., Zhang, J., Yang, Y., & Wang, P. (2016). The Effects of Yoga on Pain, Mobility, and Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2016, 6016532. http://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6016532

 

Abstract

Objective. To systematically assess the effects of yoga on pain, mobility, and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Methods. Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), and other sources were searched systematically in this study. Two reviewers identified eligible studies and extracted data independently. Downs and Black’s Quality Index were used to evaluate the methodological quality of the included studies. Results. A total of 9 articles (6 studies) involving 372 patients with knee osteoarthritis met the inclusion criteria. The most common yoga protocol is 40~90 minutes/session, lasting for at least 8 weeks. The effect of yoga on pain relief and function improvement could be seen after two-week intervention. Conclusion. This systematic review showed that yoga might have positive effects in relieving pain and mobility on patients with KOA, but the effects on quality of life (QOL) are unclear. Besides, more outcome measure related to mental health of yoga effects on people with KOA should be conducted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061981/

 

Improve Circulation with Tai Chi

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, dancing and shoes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.” – Harvard Women’s Health Watch

 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most commonly affects the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis, symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. It affects an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States. It is associated with aging as arthritis occurs in only 7% of adults ages 18–44, while 30% adults ages 45–64 are affected, and 50% of adults ages 65 or older. Due to complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the lifespan for people with RA may be shortened by 10 years. This is due to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, with the risk more than double that of non-RA individuals.

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack” (Centers for Disease Control). Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with high levels of inflammation and inflammation damages blood vessels. It can lead to hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) which in turn leads to cardiovascular disease. So, there is a need for treatments to reduce inflammation and hardening of the arteries in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be helpful for heart health particularly those that are also exercises such as tai chi and yoga. Tai chi is an ancient contemplative practice involving slow motion smooth mindful movement. The reason that it has continued to be practiced by millions for centuries is that it has major mental and physical benefits including a reduction in the inflammatory response. Modern research is verifying these benefits. Mindful movement practice has been shown to improve balance, self-concept, and attention span, reduce falls, boost the immune system and helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, insomnia, even improve cancer recovery, and improve recovery from heart failure. So, it makes sense to further explore the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for hardening of the arteries in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The beneficial effects of Tai Chi exercise on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in elderly women with rheumatoid arthritis.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1440063292684259/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718020/

Shin and colleagues recruited female rheumatoid arthritis patients (average 64 years old) and randomly assigned them to either receive 3 months of Tai Chi training or education about rheumatoid arthritis, its effects and methods of control. At the end of training they found that, in comparison to the education group, the Tai Chi group had a significant (32%) improvements in the ability of the blood vessels to dilatate in response to blood flows, (6%) reduction in arterial stiffness, and a significant decrease in total cholesterol. They found that the effectiveness of Tai Chi to improve the blood vessels was independent of its effects on cholesterol.

 

These results are impressive and important. Tai Chi exercise was effective in reducing the hardening of the arteries and blood cholesterol levels that normally are problematic with rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests that Tai Chi practice may reduce the cardiovascular disease which is a potentially fatal consequence of rheumatoid arthritis. Importantly, since rheumatoid arthritis impairs movement, Tai Chi is a very gentle practice, it is safe for a wide range of individuals, including the elderly and patients compromised by other illnesses including rheumatoid arthritis. So, tai chi is an excellent light exercise program that can improve hardening of the arteries and cholesterol levels and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

 

So, improve circulation with Tai Chi.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Qi gong and tai chi are relaxing ways to improve your flexibility and balance. Both are great ways to stay active and vital. The gentle, flowing movements are easy on the joints.” – Melinda Ratini

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Shin, J.-H., Lee, Y., Kim, S. G., Choi, B. Y., Lee, H.-S., & Bang, S.-Y. (2015). The beneficial effects of Tai Chi exercise on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in elderly women with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 17, 380. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-015-0893-x

 

Abstract

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been known to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi exercise on CVD risk in elderly women with RA.

Method: In total, 56 female patients with RA were assigned to either a Tai Chi exercise group (29 patients) receiving a 3-month exercise intervention once a week or a control group (27 patients) receiving general information about the benefits of exercise. All participants were assessed at baseline and at 3 months for RA disease activity (Disease Activity Score 28 and Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3), functional disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire), CVD risk factors (blood pressure, lipids profile, body composition, and smoking), and three atherosclerotic measurements: carotid intima-media thickness, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV).

Results: FMD, representative of endothelial function, significantly increased in the Tai Chi exercise group (initial 5.85 ± 2.05 versus 3 months 7.75 ± 2.53 %) compared with the control group (initial 6.31 ± 2.12 versus 3 months 5.78 ± 2.13 %) (P = 1.76 × 10−3). Moreover, baPWV, representative of arterial stiffness, significantly decreased in the Tai Chi exercise group (initial 1693.7 ± 348.3 versus 3 months 1600.1 ± 291.0 cm/s) compared with the control group (initial 1740.3 ± 185.3 versus 3 months 1792.8 ± 326.1 cm/s) (P = 1.57 × 10−2). In addition, total cholesterol decreased significantly in the Tai Chi exercise group compared with the control group (−7.8 ± 15.5 versus 2.9 ± 12.2 mg/dl, P = 2.72 × 10−2); other changes in RA-related characteristics were not significantly different between the two groups. Tai Chi exercise remained significantly associated with improved endothelial function (FMD; P = 4.32 × 10−3) and arterial stiffness (baPWV; P = 2.22 × 10−2) after adjustment for improvement in total cholesterol level.

Conclusion: Tai Chi exercise improved endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness in elderly women with RA, suggesting that it can be a useful behavioral strategy for CVD prevention in patients with RA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718020/