What the hell? Tai Chi as good as a vaccine for preventing shingles.
Granted, the research was supported by an alternative-care organization (NCCAM), but it was published in a reputable journal with an apparently favorable review:
In a controlled study of adults vaccinated against varicella zoster virus, those who had earlier been assigned to perform a westernized version of tai chi exercises had significantly higher levels of vaccine-stimulated cell-mediated immunity than did controls, found Michael R. Irwin, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues at UC San Diego.
And even before they were vaccinated, tai chi alone helped those who practiced it to mount an immune response to varicella zoster virus comparable to that of patients half their age, the investigators reported in the April issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Also note the caveat:
In the prospective controlled trial, 112 healthy older adults 59 to 86 years old were randomized to receive training and participation in tai chi chih, a westernized, standardized form of the art, or to a health-education program, both for 25 weeks.
So it looks like they've found the potential for a preventative effect, but not an actual proven one.
the investigators could not determine whether tai chi actually reduced the occurrence of shingles.
But still, the fact that tai chi can act as a potential vaccine against a somewhat-communicable skin disease is something incredible to me. Especially since I'm looking to get into Health Psychology, which includes areas such as this.