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LSU professor uses tai chi to fight degenerative nerve disease

BATON ROUGE Peripheral neuropathy is a degenerative nerve disease with no cure and few effective treatment options until now. Li Li, professor of kinesiology at LSU, is conducting a study into the benefits of tai chi for elderly peripheral neuropathy patients. So far, those practicing tai chi show far greater levels of improvement that those pursuing more traditional methods of treatment.

Test results prove tai chi is more than just a mind game or a placebo it really works. Li's group conducts periodic scientific and medical testing to track each person's progress as they continue in the program. Other, more traditional methods of treatment, including walking and light machines, are also studied to compare the results to those gained from tai chi, but so far it is still the undisputed winner, producing improved flexibility, sensation and overall health.

Most patients report a significant decrease in falls, increased confidence walking and standing and are able to stop using walkers or canes after consistent and extensive participation.

The study, backed by little to no funding, started out in the summer of 2004 and was slated to last only a few months. But participants felt such improvement that they refused to give it up. So, in the fall of 2005, the study resumed with great anticipation and with funding from LSU s Department of Kinesiology. What was once a simple comparison between two forms of exercise walking and tai chi has now developed into a full-fledged study, utilizing the expertise of biomechanists, psychologists, physiologists and many others in order to gain a better understanding of the actual impact this exercise produces.

The program includes approximately 75 individuals, with breakaway groups meeting up to three times a week for lessons. Thomas Yajun, a tai chi master who moved to the United States only three years ago knowing little to no English, leads the classes through their routines, which take into considerat
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Contact: Ashley Berthelot
aberth4@lsu.edu
225-578-3870
Louisiana State University
23-Jan-2007


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