This medical video focuses on the research that shows that a form of Tai Chi can help to boost seniors' immunity to shingles.
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Jennifer Mathews: Roberta Taggart knows she gives more than just relaxation to the seniors in her Tai Chi classes. Roberta Taggart: Just by becoming quiet and doing the form, they could inwardly get in touch with their body and feel very connected. Jennifer Mathews: But that's not all, a new study shows Tai Chi - slow exercise and intense meditation protects seniors against the shingles virus. Dr. Michael Irwin: As we age or as we experience declines in our immune function, this virus can express itself and produce a very painful rash. Jennifer Mathews: The rash clears, but Dr. Michael Irwin says, “Patients are often left with extreme sensitivity to pain.” Dr. Michael Irwin: They can ultimately become depressed and withdraw from their normal activities because of that pain. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Irwin's study shows three classes of Tai Chi a week for 15 weeks boosts shingles immunity by about 50 percent. Dr. Michael Irwin: There's nothing currently available to boost shingles immunity to match what we did. Jennifer Mathews: And that's not all. Dr. Michael Irwin: We found significant improvements in the older adults who practice Tai Chi and their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Irwin says Tai Chi could also offer protection against other viruses. Gaunnie Dixon feels the benefits. Gaunnie Dixon: It keeps me pretty much grounded. I'm more relaxed. Jennifer Mathews: Roberta says she was surprised at the study results. Roberta Taggart: The benefits are great. Boosting the immunity by 50 percent? What older adult wouldn't want that? Jennifer Mathews: And it looks like humans are the only ones reaping the benefits. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.