Thursday, November 12, 2009


It is bound to happen as we age. I'm referring to osteoarthritis, or OA for short. Our bones are no longer as dense and strong as they used to be, and joint pain is a common complaint, especially in the knees and hips.

I've seen how my 83-year old mother struggles to get in and out of the car, or go up and down the stairs. And I wonder when it'll be my turn to experience the pain and discomfort. I've been told by my lady friends that taking glucosamine and chondroitin helps to build new cartilage for bones and relieves OA. But I try to avoid popping pills into my body, except for a multivitamin supplement that I take whenever I remember to!

The Singapore General Hospital has a website that provides very useful information on OA, including how to prevent it, how to treat it and a list of calcium-rich food which I find most helpful.

There have been many studies done on OA, with the most recent showing that practising taiji may not only reduce OA pain, but also improve joint function as well. Now this is something I can personally vouch for. There was a time when I had difficulty squatting or getting up from a seated position on the floor. Doing taichi (and qigong) exercises have helped tremendously in putting back some of that youthful spring in my bones!

Do check out this video for some simple taichi-qigong exercises that you can practise if you are a beginner.

Related videos:

Tai Chi & Qigong: Protect Your Knees

Six Healing Sounds


Al Simon said...

Good overall video, but there's something I'm not certain about.

When he is demonstrating the shift and turns, it looks a lot like he is collapsing the support knee inward during the turn. It's a little hard to tell though with the baggy pants, but I think you can see the collapse when he does it slowly around 3:59 in the video.

I would suggest making sure your knee stays in alignment with the support foot during the reverse turn. (These are called "reverse turns" because you are turning the body away from the supporting leg. A forward turn is towards the support leg.)

Check out this short, 4-minute video for more details on keeping your knees in alignment:

Tai Chi and Qigong: Protect Your Knees in Bear Movements.

The part about Tai Chi turns is in the second part of the video.

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks for the tip, Simon. I had actually viewed your videos while researching on Youtube. I've posted a link to the one you mentioned. Thanks again.

Unknown said...

There are no blood vessels in the cartilage area. The only way to feed it is through moving the joints through its full range of movement. Otherwise the cartilage will not be replaced. Taiji is one but not the only way to move the synovial fluid. What Taiji does well is to teach abt balancing and strengthening of the lower body. I discover a lot of knee pain problem was caused by the person using the knee joints for balancing when this should be done by the glutes muscles.