Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tai chi may help prevent shingles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tai chi is already known as a good low-impact exercise for older people. Now a recent study suggests it offers benefits beyond improving fitness and balance: It may help prevent shingles, a painful skin condition.

Researchers found older people who performed the slow, graceful movements of tai chi had a better immune response against the virus that causes shingles than those who only got health education, according to the most rigorous test to date.

It's unclear how tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art that has become increasingly popular in the West, affects the immune system. But health experts were encouraged by the positive results.

Click photo to view ongoing Tai Chi photoset.

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