Science News

T'ai Chi Can Help Prevent Shingles

Sun, 9th Nov 2003

Part of the show The Safety of Genetically Modified Plants

Shingles is caused by the same virus which causes chicken pox, the Herpes Zoster virus. Once you have had chicken pox, HZV lives in your nerve cells forever and can sometimes reactivate itself. It is usually kept at bay by the immune system by zoster virus specific immunity factor. If you are unwell or as you age, the HZV can flare-up causing chicken pox like spots along one nerve known as shingles. T’ai Chi seems to boost the level the zoster virus specific immunity factor by up to 50%. (this study looked at people doing T’ai Chi 3 times a week for 4 months.) It seems T’ai Chi reduces the levels of stress hormones, which boosts the immune system.

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