Efficacy of rehabilitation with Tai Ji Quan in an Italian cohort of patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Aug;24:109-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.05.010. Epub 2016 May 27.


Background: Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is characterized by musculoskeletal pain, muscle tenderness leading to disability, impaired quality of life (QoL), fatigue and it is accompanied by sleep disorders and psychological distress. Mind body therapies (MBT), such as Tai Ji Quan (TJQ), use different techniques to facilitate the ability of the mind to influence disease characteristics and symptoms. Some studies showed that TJQ, in patients with rheumatic diseases, particularly FMS, improved QoL, disability and psychological distress.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of TJQ on disability, QoL, fatigue, sleep and psychological distress in an Italian cohort of FMS patients.

Methods: We enrolled 44 FMS patients: 22 patients (Experimental Group) participated to a course of Tai Ji Quan style of (2/week for 16 weeks); 22 patients (Control Group) participated to an educational course about FMS (2/week for 16 weeks). At baseline (T0) and at the end of treatment (T1), patients were assessed for disability [Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ)], Quality of Life [Short-Form 36 (SF36)], fatigue [Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness-Fatigue (FACIT-F)], pain [Widespread Pain Index (WPI)], tenderness [Tender Points (TP)], Sleep Quality [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)] and mood disorders [Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)].

Results: At T1 versus T0, patients of the Experimental Group showed a significant improvement in FIQ, FACIT, SF36 (Summary Physical Index, Physical activity, physical role, bodily pain, general health, vitality, emotional role limitations), in WPI, TP, PSQI (total, sleep duration, and sleep disturbance) and HADS (total score and anxiety subscale), while Patients in the Control Group did not improve in any parameter.

Conclusions: In FMS patients TJQ, if performed by an expert physiotherapist, should be regarded as an effective rehabilitation method.

Keywords: FMS; Fibromyalgia Syndrome; Mind body therapies; Tai Ji Quan.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / complications
  • Fibromyalgia / psychology
  • Fibromyalgia / rehabilitation*
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tai Ji*
  • Treatment Outcome