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).

20. October 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Elderly, Tai Chi Chuan

Chinese and American investigators have found evidence that tai chi can help older women improve their cognition and postural control, specifically while dual tasking. Thirty-one older women were randomised to tai chi (three sessions per week) or a control group (general interest classes) for 16 weeks. Balance was tested in single leg stance after stepping down from a step, with and without a concurrent auditory response task. Tai chi subjects made fewer errors in the auditory test under dual-task conditions after tai chi training. They also showed significant improvements in their balance after training, in both single- and dual-task conditions. Subjects in the control group did not show any significant improvement in the dual-task condition after the intervention.
Effects of Tai Chi training on postural control and cognitive performance while dual tasking – a randomized clinical trial. J Complement Integr Med. 2016 Jun 1;13(2):181-7.

05. July 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Cancer, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi is an effective intervention for managing fatigue in patients with lung cancer undergoing chemotherapy, a Chinese study has found. Ninety-six patients were randomised to either tai chi, or low-impact exercise (control intervention), practiced for one hour, every other day for 12 weeks. At six weeks and 12 weeks, the tai chi group reported lower fatigue scores compared with the control group.
Tai Chi Exercise for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Lung Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015 Dec 22. pii: S0885-3924(15)00989-6.

05. July 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi can improve physical performance in people suffering from a variety of chronic health conditions, according to a systematic review carried out in Canada. Thirty-three studies involving 1584 participants and covering four common chronic conditions – cancer, osteoarthritis (OA), heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – met the authors’ inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses showed that tai chi improved or showed a tendency to improve physical performance outcomes, including six-minute walking distance (6MWD) and knee extensor strength, in all four chronic conditions. Tai chi also improved disease-specific symptoms of pain and stiffness in OA.
The effect of Tai Chi on four chronic conditions-cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Sep 17. pii: bjsports-2014-094388.

05. July 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi can improve endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness in elderly women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Korean investigators assigned 56 female RA patients to either a weekly tai chi exercise group, or a control group who received general information about the benefits of exercise. At the end of the three-month intervention period, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD, a measure of endothelial function) was found to have significantly increased in the tai chi group compared with the control group. In addition, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV, a measure of arterial stiffness) and total serum cholesterol also decreased significantly in the tai chi group.
The beneficial effects of Tai Chi exercise on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in elderly women with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2015 Dec 24;17(1):380.

19. April 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Cardiovascular Disease, Qigong, Tai Chi Chuan

Practising tai chi (TC) can help reduce pro-inflammatory factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in women, according to American researchers. In a randomised trial of 63 women aged 35 to 50 years who were at increased risk for CVD, a wait-list control group was compared with a group who undertook an eight-week tai chi intervention. The tai chi group attended weekly 60 minute instructor-led group classes and were encouraged to practice for 15 minutes per day at home. At the end of the eight-week intervention, tai chi was found to result in significantly decreases in fatigue and reduced serum levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (a pro-inflammatory cytokine). At follow-up, two months post intervention, the results indicated that tai chi practice had down-regulated multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with underlying CVD risk, including interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor, interleukin-8 and interleukin-4. Participants also reported increases in mindfulness, spiritual thoughts and behaviours, and self-compassion. The tai chi practice performed was tailored to address specific biological contributors to CVD. It included several ‘medical qigong’ movements, such as the Thymus Tap and Kidney Rub, purported to target the endocrine and immune systems. The study authors note that changes in several cytokines associated with functional signalling within these systems were found.
The Effects of Tai Chi on Cardiovascular Risk in Women. Am J Health Promot. 2015 Aug 25. [Epub ahead of print]).

23. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Cardiac, Heart Disease, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi training can improve renal and cardiac functions in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Chinese researchers randomly divided 21 patients with CKD and CVD into exercise and control groups. The exercise group performed tai chi for 30 minutes, three to five times a week for 12 weeks, while the control group did not. Patients’ renal and cardiac functions and blood lipid parameters were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of tai chi, increases were observed in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, a marker of kidney function), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF, a marker of heart function) and in serum levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL, ‘good’ cholesterol) level. Decreases were seen in heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and in serum levels of creatinine (Scr), total cholesterol (CH), triglycerides (TG) and low density lipoprotein (LDL, ‘bad’ cholesterol). The change in eGFR correlated negatively with the changes in CH, TG and LDL, and positively with the change in HDL. In addition, the change in SBP correlated positively with the changes in CH, TG and LDL, and negatively with the change in HDL. The authors conclude that tai chi training may improve renal and cardiac functions in CKD and CVD patients via improved regulation of lipid metabolism. (The effects of tai chi on the renal and cardiac functions of patients with chronic kidney and cardiovascular diseases. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Nov;26(11):1733-6).

23. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Osteoarthritis, Tai Chi Chuan

A 12-week balance training program combining tai chi and strength training (TCST) can effectively improve balance and aerobic capacity in patients with end-stage osteoarthritis who are awaiting hip surgery. A total of 81 patients aged from 60 to 69 years old were randomly divided into two groups: a training group (TG) and a control group (CG). Participants in TG performed TCST at home under their family’s supervision for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of training, the mean distance travelled in a six-minute walk was found to have increased from 409 metres to 478 metres in the TG, and the mean ‘Timed Up and Go’ test score had also significantly improved from 18.53 to 14.61. Self-reported functional status scores were also reported to have improved from 40.97 to 36.28, although there were no significant changes in pain or hip motion scores, meaning that hip surgery was still necessary. (A randomized controlled trial: Preoperative home-based combined Tai Chi and Strength Training (TCST) to improve balance and aerobic capacity in patients with total hip arthroplasty (THA). Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2014 Dec 13. pii: S0167-4943(14)00221-0).

23. April 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Tai Chi Chuan

Taiwanese researchers have discovered that tai chi may exert some of its anti-ageing health benefits by increasing stem cell populations. In their retrospective cross-sectional study, 32 young adult participants were selected out of a possible 60 based on a survey, and separated into three groups: a tai chi (TC) group (practising for more than 1 year), a brisk walking (BW), (practising for more than 1 year), and a control group that did no exercise at all (NE). Peripheral blood of the participants was examined for the presence of the CD34(–) marker, which is indicative of the presence of primitive hematopoietic and endothelial progenitor cells. Participants in the TC and BW groups were found to have significantly more CD34(+) progenitor cells in their blood than those in the NE group. No significant difference was found between the TC group and the BW group. (Tai Chi intervention increases progenitor CD34(+) cells in young adults. Cell Transplant. 2014;23(4-5):613-20).