A Norwegian study has used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how group tai chi (TC) exercise impacted on disease activity, physical function, health status and experience in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Fifteen patients were instructed in TC twice weekly for 12 weeks. TC led to improved lower-limb muscle function at the end of intervention and at 12 weeks follow-up. Qualitative analyses showed that patients experienced improved physical condition, confidence in moving, balance and less pain during exercise and in daily life. Other patient experiences included stress reduction, and increased body awareness and confidence in moving. The authors conclude that TC has beneficial effects on health not related to disease activity or standardised health status assessment. They suggest that this combination of research methods may contribute to an understanding of how TC exerts its effects. (Exploring Tai Chi in rheumatoid arthritis: a quantitative and qualitative study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Mar 5;11:43).