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Effectiveness of Tai Chi on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Symptomatology in Women With Fibromyalgia: a Randomized Controlled Trial

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03016585
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 10, 2017
Last Update Posted : November 3, 2020
Marymount University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Won-mok son, Pusan National University

Brief Summary:

Fibromyalgia (FM) is an idiopathic disease affecting approximately 3% of the world population, primarily diagnosed in middle-aged women. Although FM is mainly characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, reduced muscular strength and flexibility are common symptoms associated with the presentation of the disorder. Interestingly, the etiology and underlying mechanism of FM are not completely understood, but previous findings suggest that autonomic dysfunction may explain some of the FM symptoms.

Compared to age-matched healthy individuals, patients with FM have an attenuated autonomic function which is associated with a reduction in vagal tone and increase in sympathetic activity. Therefore, autonomic function is a worthwhile target intervention in individuals with FM. Although traditional exercise ( both aerobic and resistance) has been shown to effectively improve HRV parameters and FM symptoms, most FM patients display a decline in adherence to traditional exercise and continue to experience considerable pain and fatigue years after the original diagnosis ultimately requiring medication to control their symptoms.Thus, new approaches are needed to improve autonomic function and clinical symptoms in patients with FM, which will ultimately improve their physical and emotional functioning leading to a better quality of life.

Tai Chi (TC) is a form of ancient Chinese martial art which integrates slow movements, controlled breathing and mental concentration. TC training is safe for special populations and has previously shown to decrease pain, fatigue as well as other FM related symptoms.However, the potential role of TC training on autonomic function is largely unexplored.

The investigators hypothesis is that 12 weeks of TC training would improve our primary outcome of autonomic function through improvements in sympathovagal balance, and the secondary outcomes measures of FM symptoms (pain, fatigue and sleep quality), strength and flexibility.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Fibromyalgia Other: Tai Chi Training Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of 12 weeks of TC training on on cardiac autonomic function, FM symptoms (pain, fatigue and sleep quality), strength and flexibility. The specific aim of the study is:

- To evaluate the effects of 12 weeks of TC training on autonomic function arterial function by assessing heart rate variability

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 37 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Effectiveness of Tai Chi on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Symptomatology in Women With Fibromyalgia: a Randomized Controlled Trial
Study Start Date : January 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : May 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Fibromyalgia

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Tai Chi Training
Tai Chi exercises 3 times per wk for 12 weeks
Other: Tai Chi Training
Participants practiced, under supervised instruction, 10 forms from the classic Yang style of Tai Chi 3 times per wk for 12 weeks.The Tai Chi sessions lasted approximately 55 minutes and included a 10-minute warm up, 40 minutes of practice and exercise finalizing with a 5-minute cooldown period.

No Intervention: Control
This arm involves not making any change to the subject's lifestyle at the moment of the start of the intervention and for 12 weeks.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Autonomic Function [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]
    Heart Rate Variability was assessed from electrocardiogram

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Fibromyalgia Symptomatology [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]
    Subjects filled visual analog scales (VAS) to evaluate symptom severity before and after 12 weeks.

  2. Flexibilty [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]
    Flexibility was measured using the Sit and Reach Test

  3. Muscle Strength [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]
    one repetition maximum (1RM) was performed using a leg extension machine

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   30 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sedentary

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Known pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, adrenal, pituitary, severe psychiatric or thyroid diseases.
  • Use of hormone replacement therapy during the 6 months prior to the study.
  • Any medication changes in the previous 12 months.
  • Current participation in psychological or physical therapy
  • History of steady exercise or received exercise training in the last year
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Responsible Party: Won-mok son, Ph.D, Pusan National University Identifier: NCT03016585    
Other Study ID Numbers: PusanNU
First Posted: January 10, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: November 3, 2020
Last Verified: October 2020
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Myofascial Pain Syndromes
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Rheumatic Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases
Nervous System Diseases