How exercises can benefit patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis


Role of Exercises in Arthritic Programs

Exercises help maintain and improving the range of movement, overall flexibility, muscular support of joints.  Exercises also relieve pain, fatigue, and morning stiffness and may play an active role in disease control and avoidance of deformity.


Sensible exercises help to keep the joints healthy and functionally robust. 


Arthritic-relieving exercises should be designed to specifically strengthen muscles around joints, enhance flexibility and range of motion, elevate pain and relieve muscular stiffness in arthritic patients. 


Joint rotational exercises promote the flow of synovial fluids into and out of the cartilages. 


Strengthening and weight-bearing exercises also strengthen the bones.  Regular exercises (twice a day) are a very important part of arthritic programs.  Stretches are an important part of arthritic-relieving exercises.



What does exercise do for arthritis?

 A healthy joint is dependent on the health of muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint.  Muscle tone is dependent on muscle usage and nutrient.  Strong muscles, ligaments and tendons provide adequate support for the joints and allow joints to move properly. 


Lack of exercise causes deterioration in strength and elasticity of the muscles, ligaments and tendons,  and thus limit the range of movement (flexibility) of the joints,  which in turn cascades to even less joint movement.  Avoidance of exercise due to painful joint leads to disuse of muscles, ligaments and tendons and ultimately to further joint deterioration and more pain.  The aim of therapeutic exercises is to ensure healthy elastic strong muscles, ligaments and tendons that are physiologically functional and properly aligned. 


Exercises also relieve pain and fatigue of the muscles and joints.  It lubricates the joints and allow the synovial fluids to pass into and out of the cartilages.  It greatly relieves stiffness. 


Exercises also improve circulation of the blood and helps to nourish the muscles, ligaments and tendons with oxygen and nutrients.  Because of their deep breathing used,  Tai Chi and Chi Kung exercises, in particular,  are effective in this regard. 


Exercises for arthritis should include emphasis on stretching the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the joints.  This improves the flexibility and mobility of the joints and assists the patient to move the joints. This also helps to overcome any inertia and avoidance of exercises.  


All medical programs for arthritis contain exercises specifically designed for arthritis.  Post-operative knee and hip therapies also contain physiotherapy exercises.  This shows the importance the medical profession attaches to exercise in management of arthritic disorders.


Traditional Chinese medicine asserts that pain, in general,  is caused by stagnation of blood and qi.  “Where qi is blocked and stops,  there is pain” is a famous TCM quotation.  Exercises helps to circulate blood and qi, and thus relieves stagnation of blood and qi,  and as a result,  helps to relieve pain.  Tai Chi and Chi Kung is also very effective in this regard because they develop qi and invigorate blood and qi circulation to all parts of the body. 


Master John Chow has developed a special program called Tai Chi Chi Kung for Arthritis™ that is specifically designed for arthritis.  It is the most comprehensive program of its sort in the world.  This program contains exercises that do all the above.



Written by John Chow, a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur, healer and teacher of martial arts and spiritual paths in Melbourne, Australia.

Copyright:-  No part of this article can be used, quoted, copied in any form without the permission from the author.  For further information on this article, please contact John Chow  at




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The information provided above is for general reference only. Although the author(s) has attempted to be as thorough as possible in compiling the information in this article(s), no legal responsibility nor liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. The information is presented for educational purposes only. Please refer any medical matter to your doctor before acting on any health-related information.