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Nov 1, 2011

Green Tea and Tai Chi: A Powerful Combination For Bone Health

The ancient practice of tai chi, originally a martial art, has long been known to enhance overall health, even in the very old.  Recent studies have shown that performing tai chi several times per week can enhance bone density and increase flexibility.   New research has shown that combining this ancient art with another traditional aspect of Chinese culture, green tea, can be even more effective at encouraging bone health.

Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie) Shen, a researcher at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has found that consumption of green tea along with the practice of tai chi is incredibly helpful for reversing the effects of osteoporosis.  Her 6 month-long double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 171 post-menopausal women, divided into 4 groups.  These groups consisted of the following: Group 1, starch pill and no tai chi; Group 2, 500 mg per day GTP (green tea polyphenols) and no tai chi; Group 3 placebo (starch pill) and tai chi 3 times per week; Group 4, GTP 500 mg per day and tai chi 3 times per week.  Blood and urine samples were taken, and the participants were assessed for muscular strength.  

At 3 and 6 months, groups 2 and 3 showed increases in markers for bone health, as well as increased muscular strength, while group 4 showed the largest increase in strength and bone health.  Participants in tai chi groups also mentioned ancillary benefits in terms of their mental clarity, calmness, and peace of mind.

Consumption of green tea and the regular practice of tai chi, taken together, are a tremendous combination for enhancing bone health, strength, and overall quality of life.  Have you had your tai chi 'n tea today?

Dustin Bergman, L.Ac