Rheumatoid arthritis is classed as an autoimmune disease – a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the cells that line your joints and a result they become swollen stage and painful.
The NHS says it’s not clear what triggers the problem with the immune system, but lists what makes you at increased risk of it:
- If you are a woman
- If you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis
- If you smoke
The main treatment options for the condition include long-term medication, supportive treatments such as physiotherapy and surgery.
But many people prefer natural remedies which have been proven to relieve the symptoms.
Exercise and fish oil supplements have been found to help reduce pain and stiffness, and in an unusual circumstance, so has Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art which is renowned for both its defence training and it health benefits.
The practise is a gentle form of exercise which can help maintain strength, flexibility and balance, and is described as “meditation in motion”.
One study, titled ‘Exploring Tai Chi in rheumatoid arthritis: a quantitive and qualitative study’ outlines that Tai Chi may impose function in those with rheumatoid arthritis.
The NHS adds: “While there’s scope for more rigorous research on Tai Chi’s health benefits, studies have shown that Tai Chi can help people aged 65 and over to reduce stress, improve posture, balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs.”
If you are interested in taking up Tai Chi, make sure you take lessons from a knowledgeable instructor and don’t perform moves that make your pain worse.