03. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Immune System, Stress, Wellbeing


A UK study has found that group drumming produces significant changes in well-being, including improvements in depression, anxiety and social resilience. Researchers enrolled 45 adults, who were already recipients of mental health services but not receiving antidepressant medications, in a 10 week programme of either weekly 90-minute group drumming sessions or community group social activities (such as quiz nights, women’s institute meetings and book clubs). By week six, the drumming intervention group showed decreases in depression and increased social resilience, while at 10 weeks they reported further improvements in depression alongside significant improvements in

anxiety and mental wellbeing. These changes were maintained at three-month follow-up. The drumming intervention group also saw their immune profile shift from a pro-inflammatory towards an anti-inflammatory response. (Effects of Group. Drumming Interventions on Anxiety, Depression, Social Resilience and Inflammatory Immune Response among Mental Health Service Users. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 14;11(3):e0151136).



Singing in a choir can reduce stress, improve mood and boost levels of immune proteins in people affected by cancer, suggests a study carried out in Wales. A single-arm preliminary study assessed the impact of singing on mood, stress and immune response in 193 people belonging to three populations affected by cancer: carers, bereaved carers and patients. Participants were all regular participants in five choirs across South Wales and took part in one hour of group singing. Before and after singing, visual analogue mood scales, stress scales and, saliva samples were taken. Across all five centres and in all three participant groups, singing was associated with significant reductions in negative affect and increases in positive affect, as well as significant increases in cytokines (including GM-CSF, IL-17, IL-2, IL-4 and sIL-2ra). In addition, singing was associated with reductions in cortisol, beta-endorphin and oxytocin levels. (Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers. ecancermedicalscience, 2016; 10 DOI: 10.3332 / ecancer.2016.631)

03. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Pain, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi should be considered as a viable therapy for chronic pain conditions, according to an international team of authors. Data from 18 randomised controlled trials (1260 individuals) were included in their systematic review. The aggregated results indicated that practising tai chi led to immediate relief of chronic pain from osteoarthritis, low back pain and osteoporosis. Their results also indicated that a minimum duration of tai chi practice for chronic pain relief should be six weeks, with longer duration achieving better gains. (Tai Chi for Chronic Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 29;6:25325).

A meta-analysis published by Chinese authors suggests that tai chi and qigong can offer significant, wide-ranging benefits for people with cardiovascular disease. A total of 35 articles with 2249 cardiovascular disease patients satisfied their inclusion criteria. The analysis of pooled data found that tai chi could improve blood pressure enough to reduce stroke risk by up to 41% and coronary heart disease risk by 22%. Patients performing tai chi also experienced benefits in terms of triglyceride levels, physical functioning and depression, compared with controls. (Traditional Chinese Exercise for Cardiovascular Diseases: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Mar 9;4(3):e002562).

03. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Elderly, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi may reduce the incidence of falls more than conventional lower extremity training (LET) in the elderly, and its effects can last for at least one year. Taiwanese researchers assigned 456 older adults with a history of falling to a tai chi group (one weekly hour-long class) or a LET class (stretching, muscle strengthening and balance training) for a six-month period. The tai chi group was significantly less likely than the LET group to experience any falls during the six-month intervention and the effects remained significant after 12 months of follow-up. Participants who independently practised tai chi or LET seven times per week or more were significantly less likely to experience injurious falls than their counterparts during the intervention and follow up. Cognitive function also improved to a greater extent in the tai chi group than in the LET group over the 18-month study period. (Effects of Home-Based Tai Chi and Lower Extremity Training and Self-Practice on Falls and Functional Outcomes in Older Fallers from the Emergency Department-A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Mar;64(3):518-25).