FIBROMYALGIA AND TAI CHI
Fibromyalgia is such an insidious condition, masquerading with dozens of strange symptoms that mimic other diseases, mystify doctors, and cause the patient to think that maybe they are imagining their illness and that the discomfort is “all in their head”. Yet the condition is so severely debilitating in some instances, that the individual is almost completely stopped from living a normal life.
Because of the deceptive nature of this condition…i.e. the patient looks to the eye of the casual observer as if there is nothing wrong…many sufferers go unattended, dealing with chronic pain, depression, fear, and hopelessness, alone and in desperate silence, without much support or hope for a change in their condition, unless they are fortunate enough to have strong loving families and friends who understand that this is a mysterious but very real condition that robs otherwise productive people of the joy of life.
Recovery from Fibromyalgia, though not guaranteed, is possible with the practice of Tai Chi and Chi Gong. Building the inner strength, supplying a natural way to reduce the chronic pain, gently addressing the activity level of the body, and calming the mind without heavy pharmaceutical sedation is the key. Because the movement of Tai Chi is so slow and gentle, and because each movement is modifiable to the current condition and comfort of the client, Tai Chi is effective at restoring strength, boosting energy, balancing mood, improving the immune system, and producing the natural endorpins to offset the chronic pain and misery of this condition.
In contrast to heavy, fast exercise common in the Western fitness routine, Tai Chi will not overtax the individual and will not spike the hormones of adrenalin and cortisol that vigorous exercise can incite. These hormones excascerbate the condition known as Fibromyalgia, which is why normal exercise routines often leave the individual feeling worse than before he or she started the work-out. However, w ith the gentle approach of Tai Chi, it is the parasympathetic nervous system, the “relaxation response” that is the part of the Central Nervous System that is engaged, not the sympathetic or “fight or flight” emergency response that can be triggered by more vigorous movement. Gradually, over time, more and more strength and flexibility is possible with less and less symptoms.