UCLA – Researchers found that Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese low-impact mind-body exercise, provided significant health benefits for adults suffering from tension headaches. Compared with a control group, patients who participated in a 15-week Tai Chi program were helped not only with headache pain, but also perceived improvement in other areas, reporting increased energy, emotional well-being, social functioning and improved mental health.

According to researchers, Tai Chi’s emphasis on relaxation, breathing and coordination may help relieve stress, the underlying cause of the pain associated with tension headaches. The patients who participated in the Tai Chi program showed improvement on a quality-of-life based measurement called SF-36 and also on a test called HIT-6TM designed to capture the effect of headaches.

The NIH-funded study was carried out by Ryan Abbott, M.T.O.M, L.Ac., at UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and Dr Ka-Kit Hui, Wallis Annenberg Professor in Integrative East-West Medicine and director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. The Tai Chi for headaches study appears in the March 2007 issue of the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine – eCAM (Courtesy of EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS).

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