Effectiveness of Taiji Versus Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis

A recent medical study showed that practicing Taiji is equally effective versus doing physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis. [1][2]  Knee osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis of the knee, is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints in the knee — cartilage — wears away. When this happens, the bones of the knee joints rub more closely against one another with less of the shock-absorbing benefits of cartilage, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased ability to move.  More than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.

With respect to osteoarthritis, reference 1 states that “Currently there is no effective medical treatments.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis but often fail to relieve symptoms and may cause serious adverse effects.  Physical therapy, a globally recommended element of the standard care regimen for knee osteoarthritis produces moderate benefits for pain and physical functioning, but data on psychological well being and durability effects are limited.”

Previous studies of Taiji already showed promise that it can reduce pain and improve physical and psychological health for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, and knee osteoarthritis. The current study compares a group practicing Taiji and another group undergoing physical therapy.  The results show that both approaches produced beneficial effects in treating knee osteoarthritis, but the Taiji group had significanly greater improvements in depression and the physical component of quality of life (i.e., overall health improvement).

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Reminiscence from My 55th High School Class Reunion

On September 10, 2016 I attended my high school’s 55th Class Reunion in Placerville, California.  Many of these friends I haven’t seen since the 50th Class Reunion in 2011, and some I haven’t seen since our graduation 55 years ago in 1961.  In this article I like to share some of my reminiscences from attending this 55th Class Reunion.
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