A randomized controlled trial of 8-form Tai chi improves symptoms and functional mobility in fibromyalgia patients

Kim D. Jones, Christy A. Sherman, Scott D. Mist, James W. Carson, Robert M. Bennett, Fuzhong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Previous researchers have found that 10-form Tai chi yields symptomatic benefit in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). The purpose of this study was to further investigate earlier findings and add a focus on functional mobility. We conducted a parallel-group randomized controlled trial FMmodified 8-form Yang-style Tai chi program compared to an education control. Participants met in small groups twice weekly for 90 min over 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was symptom reduction and improvement in self-report physical function, as measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), from baseline to 12 weeks. Secondary endpoints included pain severity and interference (Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), sleep (Pittsburg sleep Inventory), selfefficacy, and functional mobility. Of the 101 randomly assigned subjects (mean age 54 years, 93 % female), those in the Tai chi condition comparedwith the education condition demonstrated clinically and statistically significant improvements in FIQ scores (16.5 vs. 3.1, p=0.0002), BPI pain severity (1.2 vs. 0.4, p=0.0008), BPI pain interference (2.1 vs. 0.6, p=0.0000), sleep (2.0 vs. -0.03, p=0.0003), and selfefficacy for pain control (9.2 vs. -1.5, p00.0001). Functional mobility variables including timed get up and go (-.9 vs. -.3, p=0.0001), static balance (7.5 vs. -0.3, p= 0.0001), and dynamic balance (1.6 vs. 0.3, p=0.0001) were significantly improved with Tai chi compared with education control. No adverse events were noted. Twelve weeks of Tai chi, practice twice weekly, provided worthwhile improvement in common FMsymptoms including pain and physical function including mobility. Tai chi appears to be a safe and an acceptable exercise modality that may be useful as adjunctive therapy in the management of FM patients. (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier, NCT01311427)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1214
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Fibromyalgia
  • Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire
  • Functional mobility
  • Symptom management
  • Tai chi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


Dive into the research topics of 'A randomized controlled trial of 8-form Tai chi improves symptoms and functional mobility in fibromyalgia patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this