Tai Chi exercise and auricular acupressure for people with rheumatoid arthritis: an evaluation study
Version of Record online: 25 JUL 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Clinical Nursing
Volume 21, Issue 19pt20, pages 2812–2822, October 2012
How to Cite
Lee, H.-Y., Hale, C. A., Hemingway, B. and Woolridge, M. W. (2012), Tai Chi exercise and auricular acupressure for people with rheumatoid arthritis: an evaluation study. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21: 2812–2822. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.04058.x
- Issue online: 18 SEP 2012
- Version of Record online: 25 JUL 2012
- Accepted for publication: 30 November 2011
- auricular acupressure;
- chronic disease;
- evaluation study;
- non-randomised study;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- Tai Chi exercise;
Aims and objectives. (i) To assess the effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). (ii) To ascertain if Tai Chi and auricular acupressure have a potentiation effect in controlling pain. (iii) To evaluate the acceptability and enjoyment of the classes.
Background. Tai Chi has been suggested as a suitable exercise for people with arthritis and specific programmes have been developed. Auricular acupressure is a therapeutic method by which points on the ear are stimulated to treat various disorders.
Design. A pragmatic non-randomised before/after study to compare the effects of the interventions.
Methods. People with RA (n = 21) were recruited and allocated into two groups. Both groups followed a Tai Chi exercise programme, twice a week for 12 weeks, but one group (n = 14) had, in addition, the auricular acupressure. Physical symptoms and function, pain, quality of life and self-efficacy were measured in both groups before and after the programme. Acceptability and enjoyment were assessed at the end.
Results. At 12 weeks, both groups had achieved statistically significant improvements in balance, grip strength, pinch strength, 50 foot walk time self reported joint pain, swollen joint count, tender joint count and in self efficacy in relation to pain control. All participants stated that they enjoyed the classes. There was no evidence to suggest that the auricular acupressure enhanced the effects of the Tai Chi intervention.
Conclusion. The classes appeared to be mentally as well as physically helpful to participants.
Relevance to clinical practice. People with a chronic debilitating disease such as RA should be encouraged to undertake gentle strengthening exercise such as Tai Chi because of its potential for physical and psychological improvements.