MISS Jenny Chan, a 43-year-old medical technologist, says that she is living proof that taiji helps to improve health.
She used to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and back problems. But after practising the mind-body exercise just once a week over the past three years, her health has improved drastically, she says.
“I have more energy now and my back problems are no longer there. I also sleep better as a result. Taiji has basically helped me improve my health, along
with my flexibility.”
According to New Age Tai Chi sports director Yip See Kit, a taiji practitioner of more than 10 years, the martial-arts exercise has always been known to have therapeutic benefits.
“Taiji has been known to help patients who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis and diabetes, as well as people with skeletal problems,” he says.
The 29-year-old master, who has over 10,000 students in his taiji school, adds that, “when done correctly, taiji can help to improve one’s balance, bone density and mental well-being”.
A trial published in the New England Journal Of Medicine last Thursday shows that taiji has therapeutic benefits for sufferers of fibromyalgia, which affects 1 per cent of Singapore’s population, according to Dr Kevin Yip, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Gleneagles Medical Centre.
Of the 66 patients that participated in the study, the 33 in the taiji study group had clinically important improvements in pain, mood, quality of life, sleep and exercise capacity.
The other 33 who undertook a wellness-education and stretching programme did not see much improvement, the trial found.
Dr Yip, whose clinic sees a few fibromyalgia patients a week, notes that fibromyalgia – an illness that causes pain near joints due to inflammation of the fibrous tissues – often requires years of treatment. Sufferers are also typically middle-aged women.
Normally, sufferers of fibromyalgia undergo chiropractic therapy and may be prescribed Western medication such as ibuprofen, a painkiller, and even anti-depressants.
Dr Yip adds: “I would recommend any of my patients to do taiji. But sufferers of fibromyalgia still need to take Western medication. Taiji is more of a complementary treatment.”