Tai chi and chronic pain

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2012 Jul-Aug;37(4):372-82. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0b013e31824f6629.


In the last 2 decades, a growing body of research aimed at investigating the health benefits of Tai Chi in various chronic health conditions has been recognized in the literature. This article reviewed the history, the philosophy, and the evidence for the role of Tai Chi in a few selected chronic pain conditions. The ancient health art of Tai Chi contributes to chronic pain management in 3 major areas: adaptive exercise, mind-body interaction, and meditation. Trials examining the health benefit of Tai Chi in chronic pain conditions are mostly low quality. Only 5 pain conditions were reviewed: osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, and headache. Of these, Tai Chi seems to be an effective intervention in osteoarthritis, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. The limitations of the Tai Chi study design and suggestions for the direction of future research are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mind-Body Therapies
  • Muscle Strength
  • Tai Ji*