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Dance‐based exercise and Tai Chi and their benefits for people with arthritis: a review

Ray Marks (Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 1 October 2005




The first aim of this review article is to systematically summarise, synthesise, and critically evaluate the research base concerning the use of two art forms, namely, dance‐based exercises and Tai Chi, as applied to people with arthritis (a chronic condition that results in considerable disability and, particularly in later life, severely impacts the life quality of the individual with this condition). A second is to provide directives for health educators who work or are likely to work with this population in the future.


The material specifically focuses on examining the efficacy of dance therapy and Tai Chi as intervention strategies for minimising arthritis disability and dependence and improving life quality. The paper includes a review of all relevant articles published in the English language on the topic.


Collectively, these data reveal that dance‐based exercises and Tai Chi – practiced widely in China for many centuries as an art form, as well as a religious ritual, relaxation technique, exercise, and self‐defence method – may be very useful rehabilitation strategies for people with different forms of arthritis.


While more research is indicated, health educators working with people who have chronic arthritis can safely recommend these two forms of exercise to most people with arthritis with the expectation that both will heighten the life quality of the individual with this condition.



Marks, R. (2005), "Dance‐based exercise and Tai Chi and their benefits for people with arthritis: a review", Health Education, Vol. 105 No. 5, pp. 374-391.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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