Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Does Tai Chi Chih Heal Shingles?

news you may not know

Maybe I Should Just

Unload The Truck...

This can't be right. Your 72-year-old mom called last week to say she was working on her shingles and asked if you wanted to join in. You're always up for a good home repair project - yes, there are the absolutely fabulous chocolate chip cookies to consider - so, you said you'd see her first thing Saturday morning.


She told you to meet her Saturday at the park down the street - at dawn. It seemed rather odd, but she is a morning person and, heck, maybe she was going for an early walk before tackling the roof. So, off you went.


As you approached the park you began to wonder if you just hadn't fully woken up. There was your mom, and maybe a dozen or so other folks, standing in the park. Not regular-type standing - really odd, exaggerated standing. And moving. Sort of. It was really so slow, you weren't sure if it qualified as moving, or was more likely to fall under the casual swaying category.


The group breaks up and your mom, all smiles, walks up and says, "Ah, that about takes care of the shingles. Now, let's go home and have coffee and cookies." And, now, you're sure - you're definitely still asleep.

Researchers at UCLA recently reported the results of a study assessing the benefits of Tai Chi Chih, a simpler version of Tai Chi. They specifically studied its impact on the immune systems of the elderly and its ability to fight the painful condition of shingles. The results were impressive.

The study used two patient groups - one group attended Tai Chi Chih classes three times per week for 16 weeks, while the other group attended health education classes. At the end of 16 weeks, both groups received treatment with Varivax, the shingles vaccine.

The group that practiced Tai Chi Chih showed an immunity to shingles twice as high as the health education group. They also exhibited multiple additional health benefits, including the reduction of pain, increased vitality and better levels of mental health.


Though you're disappointed not to be scrambling about your mom's roof, the park at dawn turns out to be a pretty cool place. Now that you've learned a few of the basic movements, you look only moderately out of place. But, even if you do make a bit of a fool of yourself - the chocolate chip cookies are worth it...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about shingles, see this from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. To learn more about Tai Chi Chih, see this from


Blogger acwo said...

I like your blog very much
keep it up!

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim, Ok, so I don't get Tai Chi either - I mean, I believe the results are bonafide, but the tai chi'ers all look as if they've been cocooned for years and are stretching and struggling to get out! Funny description though, comparing shingles and "roof repair!" giggle Geri Wurth

9:42 AM  
Blogger sylvia c. said...


I enjoyed this one, too.

You're too funny...

Thanks for the laugh and the info!


Sylvia C.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Devon Ellington said...

I wish I could talk my grandmother into trying that. She suffered horribly from shingles for three years. But she's old school New England, and not open to anything not given to her by a "real doctor."

8:14 AM  

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