Tai Chi May Help with CIDP Symptoms

Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise and recent studies have shown that it can help with chronic inflammation in the body, a key marker of CIDP neuropathy.  

By Shiraz Abbas

Chronic inflammation affects about 350 million people around the world and about 43 million people in the United States according to recent statistics. It is estimated that between 1.5 and 3.6 million people are affected by CIDP in the United States and 30, 000 are affected at any given time according to statistics.

In a previous article, we saw how the practice of Yoga could help with CIDP symptoms. New studies seem to be showing promise for other kinds of practices like Tai Chi. We know that CIDP is an inflammatory disease due to an autoimmune condition. In a recent study published in Biological Psychiatry, the study suggests that inflammation can be reduced through mind-body practices such as Tai Chi. They concluded that not only could Tai Chi help with sleep problems (sleep being a critical factor for proper immune function) but also significantly decrease inflammation in the body.

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Science Daily explains the phenomenon as follows:

Tai chi, a lifestyle intervention that targets stress that can lead to insomnia, was also found to reduce inflammation, and did so by reducing the expression of inflammation at the cellular level and by reversing activation of inflammatory signaling pathways. The reduction of cellular inflammation was also maintained during the 16-month follow-up.

Tai chi, like other mind-body breathing exercises seems to have an important role in stress reduction thereby playing an important role in markers of inflammation in the body. As we wrote in a previous article, stress plays an important role in the exacerbation of CIDP symptoms.

How does Tai Chi work according to Chinese medicine? NHS Networks explains it as follows:

Using the basic principles of yin-yang theory, Chinese medicine simply and elegantly explains these benefits of Taiji, an ancient martial art characterized by slow-moving, meditative movements. A healthy person generally has equal amounts of yang, or “fire/fast/active” energy, and yin, or “water/slow/passive” energy, in their body. Because inflammation, as well as insomnia, are considered yang, someone suffering from these conditions generally has too much yang energy in their body. The best way to reduce excessive yang energy—cooling down a raging fire, so to speak—is to balance it with adding more yin energy and activities to one’s body and daily life.

Because Taiji—or any slow-moving activity, including sleep, meditation, or gentle walking—is considered yin, practicing Taiji regularly brings the yin-yang energy of the body back into a healthy balance.

It’s no big surprise that many health conditions linked to inflammation can be traced back to a fundamental energetic imbalance in our modern lifestyles.

Whether you believe in Chinese medicine or not, you can rest assured that the practice plays an important role in stress reduction. Tai chi is a safe exercise but make sure to talk to your doctor before embarking on it.

Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.

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