Herpes Tai Chi

Note
Alternative treatments/therapies should not replace your healthcare provider-led therapy/treatments. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence

Tai chi

Tai chi is a system of movements and positions believed to have developed in 12th Century China.
Tai chi techniques aim to address the body and mind as an interconnected system, and are traditionally believed to have mental and physical health benefits to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength. Limited available study showed that treatment with tai chi may increase immunity to the virus that causes shingles. This may suggest the use of tai chi in the prevention of chickenpox (varicella zoster) and shingles, but further well-designed large studies should be performed. Tai chi may also help with physical fitness, which is important with individuals with weakened immune systems.

Avoid with severe osteoporosis or joint problems, acute back pain, sprains, or fractures.
Avoid during active infections, right after a meal, or when very tired. Some believe that visualization of energy flow below the waist during menstruation may increase menstrual bleeding. Straining downwards or holding low postures should be avoided during pregnancy, and by people with inguinal hernias. Some tai chi practitioners believe that practicing for too long or using too much intention may direct the flow of chi (qi) inappropriately, possibly resulting in physical or emotional illness.

Tai chi should not be used as a substitute for more proven therapies for potentially serious conditions. Advancing too quickly while studying tai chi may increase the risk of injury.

Selected References
American Academy of Family Physicians. http://search.aafp.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
American Social Health Association. www.ashastd.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Femiano F, Gombos F, Scully C. Recurrent herpes labialis: a pilot study of the efficacy of zinc therapy. J Oral Pathol Med. 2005;34(7):423-5.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. www3.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Singh BB, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, et al. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7.
Sun Y, Yang J. Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1. Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004;24(1):57-8.
Thomas SL, Wheeler JG, Hall AJ. Micronutrient intake and the risk of herpes zoster: a case-control study. Int J Epidemiol. 2006;35(2):307-14.
World Health Organization. www.who.int. Accessed April 4, 2009.
VZV Research Foundation. www.vzvfoundation.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.