28. March 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Heart Failure, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi has additional psychological benefits for patients with heart failure (HF) compared with a heart health education programme. American investigators randomised 100 patients with chronic systolic HF to a 12-week group tai chi program or an education control. At 12 weeks, semi-structured interviews were conducted on a random subset of participants. Positive themes emerged from both groups, however those in the tai chi group reported not only self-efficacy and social support, but overall empowerment, with additional gains such as internal locus of control, self-awareness and stress management.
The Impact of Tai Chi Exercise on Self-Efficacy, Social Support, and Empowerment in Heart Failure: Insights from a Qualitative Sub-Study from a Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2016 May 13;11(5):e0154678.

A satisfying life is good for the health of the heart, shows the results from a large study of British civil servants. Coronary risk factors and satisfaction within seven life domains (love relationships, leisure activities, standard of living, job, family, sex, and one’s self) were assessed in 7956 initially healthy members of the Whitehall II study cohort. Participants rated their satisfaction in each domain on a scale of one (‘very dissatisfied’) to seven (‘very satisfied’). Ratings for each domain were also combined to provide an average life satisfaction score. Participants’ health records were then examined for coronary deaths, heart attacks, and angina over a six-year follow-up period. Results showed that higher levels of average life satisfaction were associated with a significantly reduced risk (13%) of coronary heart disease. This reduced risk of heart disease was also associated with satisfaction in four specific life domains – job, family, sex and self – and was found in both men and women. A statistically significant dose–response effect was found – so that those reporting the greatest average life satisfaction enjoyed the greatest risk reduction in total coronary disease. (Heart health when life is satisfying: evidence from the Whitehall II cohort study. Eur Heart J. 2011 Nov;32(21):2672-7).

Tai chi exercise has measurable benefits for patients with chronic systolic heart failure (HF). In a multi-centre RCT, American researchers randomised 100 outpatients with HF to a group-based 12-week tai chi exercise program or time-matched education. At completion of the study, there were no significant differences in change in six-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake when comparing tai chi and control groups; however, patients in the tai chi group showed greater improvements in quality of life. Improvements with tai chi were also seen in exercise self-efficacy and mood. (Tai chi exercise in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Apr 25;171(8):750-7).