By Kate Hunger
Physical Therapy Associate Professor Wei Liu, PhD, studies the use of prescribed tai chi forms to treat knee osteoarthritis.
Dr. Liu’s research, which is funded by a K23 grant from the National Institutes of Health, is featured in “How to Exercise With Chronic Pain,” published Nov. 9 as part of a series on chronic pain by The New York Times.
His research at UT Health San Antonio is conducted in the new biomechanics lab in the School of Health Professions. Dr. Liu is identifying tai chi’s biomechanical mechanisms in order to test a novel tai chi intervention for people with knee osteoarthritis. The intervention uses biofeedback and external knee adduction moment and offers a potential benefit of reducing pain for patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Dr. Liu’s research is timely and important, said Department of Physical Therapy Chair and Associate Professor Greg Ernst, PT, PhD, ECS.
“Joints are made to move, and lack of movement or exercise leads one down a path of poor joint health,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges in the chronic pain patient population is to overcome the inertia to get patients moving again. Taking an innovative approach to using tai chi as a form of exercise may help patients do that.”
Dr. Liu not only researches the efficacy of specific tai chi forms to treat knee osteoarthritis, he also practices and teaches tai chi.