Monday, 9 April 2007

Can Tai Chi prevent shingles?

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When I was in high school, I developed a painful rash that looked a lot like poison ivy -- but seemingly came from nowhere and hurt like crazy. After visiting the doctor I learned that I had shingles.

Though it normally affects people over 50, the disease is relatively common. Fortunately, researchers may have found a way to prevent the uncomfortable skin condition: the ancient martial art of Tai Chi.

In the study, volunteers aged 59-86 either took Tai Chi for 12 weeks, or were enrolled in health education classes without any mention of martial arts -- Tai Chi or otherwise. After six months, those who'd taken Tai Chi had almost doubled their immunity levels against shingles.

Inspired to try it? Here's a website that'll take you through the basics, or head down to your local martial arts studio to take a class with others -- chances are, even if they don't teach it, they'll know someone who does.

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