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Tai Chi Shown to Boost Immune System

In more evidence exercise strengthens your body's immune system naturally, Tai Chi, a form of Chinese exercise that combines relaxation and mild physical exercise, may prevent the incidence of shingles among older folks.

UCLA researchers monitored the health of 112 healthy adults (ages 59-86), half of whom participated in tai chi classes three times a week for about four months while the rest took weekly health education classes. Then, all patients were given injections of the needless Merck chicken pox vaccine, Varivax.

All by itself, the practice of tai chi alone was responsible for increasing a patient's immunity comparable to that of 30-40-year-old adults. What's more,Tai Chi, plus a needless vaccine, bumped up that increased immunity by about 40 percent more than vaccination alone.

In fact, Tai Chi patients doubled their immunity to shingles as compared to the control group during the entire 25-week study, and reported great improvements in mental health, vitality, overall pain and physical functioning, all benefits one can expect from regular exercise.

By the way, Tai Chi can be beneficial in fighting arthritis and multiple sclerosis too.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 55, No. 4, April 2007: 511-517

Yahoo News April 8, 2007

Science Blog April 6, 2007