A study from Harvard Medical School, in Boston, has found that tai chi, a low-impact exercise and movement meditation, can help relieve chronic neck pain. Researchers divided 14 participants, 18 years or older, with ongoing neck pain into three randomized groups. One received 12 weeks of tai chi instruction, one performed group neck exercises and one received no treatment.
“The study results showed that 12 weeks of tai chi was more effective than no treatment for benefiting pain levels, disability, quality of life and postural control in persons with chronic neck pain,” explains Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., co-author of the study; he’s also the founder of the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The group neck exercise subjects experienced results that were similar to those in the tai chi group, suggesting that the two paths are equally effective.