Improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Tai Chi

Improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process.” – Chungliang Al Huang

 

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) occurs in about 0.2% of the population. It produces a profound, prolonged, and debilitating tiredness that is not corrected by rest. When severe, it can produce a chronic and extreme tiredness, so severe that sufferers can become bed-bound or need to use a wheel-chair. It produces muscle pain, brain fog and dizziness, poor memory, disturbed sleep and trouble with digestion.

 

Unfortunately, there are no known cures for CFS. The usual treatments for fatigue are targeted at symptom relief and include exercise and drugs. As an alternative to these traditional treatments, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce fatigue. Tai Chi is a mindfulness practice that includes movement and balance training. The ability of Tai Chi to improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) needs investigation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Altered Effective Connectivity of Resting-State Networks by Tai Chi Chuan in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients: A Multivariate Granger Causality Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9203735/  ) Li and colleagues recruited adult patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and a group of healthy adults who had never practiced Tai Chi and provided them with 2 weekly 1 hour sessions of Tai Chi for 4 weeks. They were measured before and after training for health-related quality of life and had their brains scanned with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to the healthy adults before Tai Chi the patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) had significantly lower health-related quality of life and lower connectivity between the Sensorimotor Network (SMN) and the Default Mode Network (DMN). After Tai Chi training the patients with CFS had significant increases in health-related quality of life and improved connectivity between the SMN and DMN.

 

These findings demonstrate that Tai Chi practice can improve the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) potentially by strengthening connectivity in the brain. This is important as CFS is a mysterious disorder and these findings suggest that a lower level of brain connectivity may underlie the disorder. In addition, they show that Tai Chi practice may at least partially reverse these symptoms.

 

Tai Chi Chuan, the great ultimate, strengthens the weak, raises the sick, invigorates the debilitated, and encourages the timid.” – Cheng Man-ch’ing

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li Y, Wu K, Hu X, Xu T, Li Z, Zhang Y, Li K. Altered Effective Connectivity of Resting-State Networks by Tai Chi Chuan in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients: A Multivariate Granger Causality Study. Front Neurol. 2022 Jun 3;13:858833. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.858833. PMID: 35720086; PMCID: PMC9203735.

 

Abstract

Numerous evidence has shown that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have changes in resting brain functional connectivity, but there is no study on the brain network effect of Tai Chi Chuan intervention in CFS. To explore the influence of Tai Chi Chuan exercise on the causal relationship between brain functional networks in patients with CFS, 21 patients with CFS and 19 healthy controls were recruited for resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scanning and 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) scale assessment before and after 1month-long training in Tai Chi Chuan. We extracted the resting brain networks using the independent component analysis (ICA) method, analyzed the changes of FC in these networks, conducted Granger causality analysis (GCA) on it, and analyzed the correlation between the difference causality value and the SF-36 scale. Compared to the healthy control group, the SF-36 scale scores of patients with CFS were lower at baseline. Meanwhile, the causal relationship between sensorimotor network (SMN) and default mode network (DMN) was weakened. The above abnormalities could be improved by Tai Chi Chuan training for 1 month. In addition, the correlation analyses showed that the causal relationship between SMN and DMN was positively correlated with the scores of Role Physical (RP) and Bodily Pain (BP) in CFS patients, and the change of causal relationship between SMN and DMN before and after training was positively correlated with the change of BP score. The findings suggest that Tai Chi Chuan is helpful to improve the quality of life for patients with CFS. The change of Granger causality between SMN and DMN may be a readout parameter of CFS. Tai Chi Chuan may promote the functional plasticity of brain networks in patients with CFS by regulating the information transmission between them.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9203735/

 

Improve Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes with Tai Chi

Improve Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process.” – Chungliang Al Huang

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary lifestyle. Current treatments for Type 2 Diabetes focus on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetesTai Chi is mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise that has been found to improve the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. The research is accumulating. So, it is reasonable to examine what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of tai chi on glycaemic control, lipid metabolism and body composition in adults with type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis and systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8814847/ ) Guo and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. They identified 23 published randomized clinical trials.

 

They report that the published research found that in comparison to usual clinical care, patients who were given Tai Chi practice had significantly lower levels of body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, insulin levels, fasting blood glucose, blood glucose levels after meals, HbA1c, total cholesterol, and low density lipoproteins (LDL), and higher levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL). Tai Chi produced similar results in comparison to aerobic exercise with body mass index, fasting blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Tai Chi produced superior results to aerobic exercise in reducing HbA1c and increasing high density lipoproteins (HDL).

 

Hence, the research published to date indicates that Tai Chi practice is superior to usual clinical care in improving obesity, glycemic control, and plasma fats and is superior to  aerobic exercise in improving glycemic control and blood fats. This suggests that Tai Chi practice should be recommended for patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

Tai Chi Chuan, the great ultimate, strengthens the weak, raises the sick, invigorates the debilitated, and encourages the timid.” – Cheng Man-ch’ing

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Guo S, Xu Y, Qin J, Chen Y, You Y, Tao J, Liu Z, Huang J. Effect of tai chi on glycaemic control, lipid metabolism and body composition in adults with type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis and systematic review. J Rehabil Med. 2021 Mar 22;53(3):jrm00165. doi: 10.2340/16501977-2799. PMID: 33594445; PMCID: PMC8814847.

 

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effects of tai chi on metabolic control and body composition indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature.

Methods

Electronic resource databases were searched to collect eligible studies. Two reviewers selected studies and independently evaluated methodological quality.

Results

Twenty-three studies were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled results showed that tai chi had significant effects in improving metabolic indices, such as fasting blood glucose (mean difference (MD) = –1.04; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) –1.42 to 0.66; p < 0.01) and total cholesterol (MD = –0.50; 95% CI –0.86 to –0.13; p < 0.01) compared with conventional clinical therapy. Most indices did not support the use of tai chi over aerobic exercise, except for glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (MD = –0.24; 95% CI –0.49 to 0.00; p < 0.01) and high-density lipoprotein (MD = 0.07; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.12; p < 0.01).

Conclusion

Tai chi had better effects on metabolic control and body composition indicators than clinical conventional therapy, but only on HbA1c and HDL were superior than that of aerobic exercise. The best time-window for tai chi intervention may differ with different metabolic indices.

LAY ABSTRACT

Exercise therapy is a possible alternative and effective strategy for blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, since drug therapy is associated with side-effects, long-term loss of efficacy, and poor adherence to lifelong treatment. A review of evidence was performed regarding the effects of tai chi on glycaemic control and other indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results indicate that tai chi not only improves metabolic control, e.g. fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol, but also improves body composition indicators, e.g. body mass index. However, benefits of tai chi over aerobic exercise were seen in only a few outcome measures. The type and methodology of studies varied widely, with discrepancies in intensity, frequency, and duration of tai chi; therefore, further high-quality research is needed in order to draw specific and accurate conclusions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8814847/

 

Improve the Health of the Elderly with Depression with Tai Chi

Improve the Health of the Elderly with Depression with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“adding a mind-body exercise like tai chi that is widely available in the community can improve the outcomes of treating depression in older adults.” – UCLA Health

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the cardiovascular system and respiratory system included. The elderly frequently also have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive function, memory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The elderly are often depressed. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice on the health of  the elderly with depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and general aerobic exercise on weight, blood pressure and glycemic control among older persons with depressive symptoms: a randomized trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9077840/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited older adults (> 60 years of age) who had depressive symptoms and randomly assigned the to receive 3 times per week for 60 minutes for 12 weeks of either Tai Chi practice or 20 movement low impact aerobic exercise. They were measured before and after training and 3 month later for body size, blood pressure and blood HbA1c levels.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the aerobic exercise group, the group that practiced Tai Chi lost a significantly greater amount of weight and Body Mass Index (BMI), had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and had significantly lower HbA1c levels. Hence, in older adults with depressive symptoms Tai Chi practice is more effective than aerobic exercise in reducing body weight, blood pressure, and improving long-term glucose control.

 

So, Tai Chi improves the physical well-being of older adults.

 

tai chi is an exercise form you can practice all your life.  Good for the mind and the body, it’s a physical activity that will help keep you feeling healthy for years to come. “ – NHSNetworks

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, Y., Luo, B., Wu, X., Li, X., & Liao, S. (2022). Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and general aerobic exercise on weight, blood pressure and glycemic control among older persons with depressive symptoms: a randomized trial. BMC geriatrics, 22(1), 401. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-03084-6

 

Abstract

Background

Blood pressure and glycemic control are associated with the management of depressive symptoms in patients with depression. Previous studies have demonstrated that both Tai Chi and aerobic exercise have positive effects on blood pressure and glycemic control. Few studies have compared the physiological effects of Tai Chi versus aerobic exercise in older adults with depressive symptoms. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of Tai Chi and aerobic exercise on weight, body mass index, blood pressure and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level in older persons with mild to moderate-severe depressive symptoms.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial was performed. The older persons (age ≥ 60 years old) with depressive symptoms were recruited. Then, participants were randomly allocated to the Tai Chi group and the aerobic exercise group received a 12-week 24-movement Yang’s Tai Chi intervention and aerobic exercise, respectively. Data collection occurred at baseline and after completion of the interventions (week 12).

Results

A total of 238 participants with mild to moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were included in the final analysis, including 120 in the Tai Chi group and 118 in the aerobic exercise group. The difference in weight and body mass index in the Tai Chi group was 2.0 kg (Z = -4.930, P < 0.001) and 0.77 kg/m2 (Z = -5.046, P < 0.001) higher than that in the aerobic exercise group, respectively. After the 12-week intervention, the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure in the Tai Chi group were 5.50 mmHg (Z = -2.282, P = 0.022) and 8.0 mmHg (Z = -3.360, P = 0.001) lower than that in the aerobic exercise group, respectively. The difference in HbA1c level in the Tai Chi group was 0.50% higher than that in the aerobic exercise group (Z = -4.446, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

This study showed that Tai Chi exercise was more effective in improving blood pressure and HbA1c level than general aerobic exercise. It suggested that Tai Chi might be an effective approach for the management of blood pressure and long-term glucose control in older persons with depressive symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9077840/

Improve the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease with Long-Term Tai Chi Practice

Improve the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease with Long-Term Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.” – Fuzhong Li

 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an incurable progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are around seven million people worldwide living with PD. Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. Balance is a particular problem as it effects mobility and increases the likelihood of falls, restricting activity and reducing quality of life.

 

There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief. So, there is a need to discover new and different treatments. Mindfulness training has been found to improve the psychological symptoms and the quality of life with PD patients.  In addition, combinations of mindfulness and exercise such as Tai Chi and yoga practices have been shown to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. The mechanisms of  how Tai Chi practice improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are not known.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mechanisms of motor symptom improvement by long-term Tai Chi training in Parkinson’s disease patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8819852/ ) Li and colleagues recruited early-stage Parkinson’s Disease patients and randomly assigned them to 1 year of no treatment, brisk walking, or Tai Chi practice. They were measured at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year for Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, balance, timed up and go, and gait analysis. They also had blood drawn and analyzed for inflammatory cytokines and protein metabolites. In addition, they had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

They found that in comparison with baseline, no treatment, and brisk walking, Tai Chi practice produced significant increases in balance and significant decreases in step width at both 6 and 12 months. In comparison to no treatment Tai Chi practice produced significant decreases in Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, timed up and go, and blood cytokine levels and a significant increase in amino acid metabolism. In addition, improvements in Parkinson’s Disease symptoms were associated with increased connectivity in the brain Default Mode Network, increased amino acid metabolism, and decreased blood cytokine levels.

 

The results suggest that Tai Chi practice over a prolonged period improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and is superior to brisk walking in doing so. The results also suggest that Tai Chi practice may produce these improvements by altering physiological processes including the brain, inflammatory system, and protein metabolism.

 

So, improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease with long-term Tai Chi practice.

 

The incorporation of Tai Chi in the daily life of Parkinson’s disease patients allowed them to stay functionally and physically active. Improvement of physical parameters indicated that Tai Chi had the potential to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease.” – Allison Rodriquez

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li, G., Huang, P., Cui, S. S., Tan, Y. Y., He, Y. C., Shen, X., Jiang, Q. Y., Huang, P., He, G. Y., Li, B. Y., Li, Y. X., Xu, J., Wang, Z., & Chen, S. D. (2022). Mechanisms of motor symptom improvement by long-term Tai Chi training in Parkinson’s disease patients. Translational neurodegeneration, 11(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40035-022-00280-7

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi has been shown to improve motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but its long-term effects and the related mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term Tai Chi training on motor symptoms in PD and the underlying mechanisms.

Methods

Ninety-five early-stage PD patients were enrolled and randomly divided into Tai Chi (n = 32), brisk walking (n = 31) and no-exercise (n = 32) groups. At baseline, 6 months and 12 months during one-year intervention, all participants underwent motor symptom evaluation by Berg balance scale (BBS), Unified PD rating-scale (UPDRS), Timed Up and Go test (TUG) and 3D gait analysis, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), plasma cytokine and metabolomics analysis, and blood Huntingtin interaction protein 2 (HIP2) mRNA level analysis. Longitudinal self-changes were calculated using repeated measures ANOVA. GEE (generalized estimating equations) was used to assess factors associated with the longitudinal data of rating scales. Switch rates were used for fMRI analysis. False discovery rate correction was used for multiple correction.

Results

Participants in the Tai Chi group had better performance in BBS, UPDRS, TUG and step width. Besides, Tai Chi was advantageous over brisk walking in improving BBS and step width. The improved BBS was correlated with enhanced visual network function and downregulation of interleukin-1β. The improvements in UPDRS were associated with enhanced default mode network function, decreased L-malic acid and 3-phosphoglyceric acid, and increased adenosine and HIP2 mRNA levels. In addition, arginine biosynthesis, urea cycle, tricarboxylic acid cycle and beta oxidation of very-long-chain fatty acids were also improved by Tai Chi training.

Conclusions

Long-term Tai Chi training improves motor function, especially gait and balance, in PD. The underlying mechanisms may include enhanced brain network function, reduced inflammation, improved amino acid metabolism, energy metabolism and neurotransmitter metabolism, and decreased vulnerability to dopaminergic degeneration.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8819852/

 

Improve Psychological Health During Addiction Recovery with Qigong

Improve Psychological Health During Addiction Recovery with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For people in the early stages of recovery whose emotions may be all over the map, Tai Chi can help stabilize moods, provide mental focus and clarity, and smooth out the rough spots. “ – Pinnacle

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat substance abuse disorders and to prevent relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictionsTai Chi is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and gentle exercises, that may be an acceptable and effective treatment for patients recovering from addictions. Studies on the use of Tai Chi and Qigong practices to treat substance abuse have been accumulating and there is a need to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Qigong and Tai Chi Exercise on Drug Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957847/ ) Cui and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice during substance abuse treatment. They identified 11 studies including a total of 1072 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi and Qigong practices during substance abuse treatment produced significant reduction in depression, and anxiety, and significant improvements in quality of life, and sleep quality. Qigong practice appears to be superior to Tai Chi practice in producing these benefits.

 

Hence, the published research suggests that Tai Chi and Qigong practices improve the psychological health of the patients during addiction recovery.

 

 

Tai chi can also be continued in life following treatment. It can serve as an important part of an aftercare plan that enhances well-being and reduces the likelihood of relapse.” – Footprints to Recovery

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Cui, J., Liu, F., Liu, X., Li, R., Chen, X., & Zeng, H. (2022). The Impact of Qigong and Tai Chi Exercise on Drug Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 826187. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.826187

 

Abstract

Background

Previous preliminary studies have found that qigong exercises produced significant effects in healthy people and in various clinical populations. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the effects of qigong and tai chi exercise on individuals with drug addiction.

Methods

A systematic search of seven English databases and three Chinese databases was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized comparative studies (NRS) assessing the effects of qigong and tai chi on drug addiction. Study quality was assessed using the Checklist for the Evaluation of Non-Pharmaceutical Trial Reports (CLEAR-NPT).

Results

Two RCTs and nine NRS studies were included in this study, including a total of 1072 patients with drug addiction (age range, 27–43 years). The results showed that qigong and tai chi exercise had a significant overall effect on depression (SMD = −0.353, 95%CI [−0.548, −0.159]), anxiety (SMD = −0.541, 95%CI [−0.818, −0.264]), quality of life (SMD = 0.673, 95%CI [0.438, 0.907]), and sleep quality (SMD = −0.373, 95%CI [−0.631, −0.116]). The subgroup analysis found that qigong outperformed tai chi on the improving depression, anxiety, and sleep quality.

Conclusion

Existing studies suggest that qigong and tai chi are effective at improving depression, anxiety, and quality of life in drug users; however, the evidence from rigorous randomized controlled group trials is lacking.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957847/

 

Improve Cardiorespiratory Function in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Function in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Long term regular [Tai Chi] exercise has favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in older adults.” – Youlian Hong

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the cardiovascular system and respiratory system included. The elderly frequently also have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The research on the effects of Tai Chi training on the cardiorespiratory system of older adults has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Tai Chi Training in Cardiorespiratory Fitness of Elderly People.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8942636/ ) Tan and colleagues review and summarize the published research randomized controlled trials on the effects of Tai Chi training on the cardiorespiratory system of older adults (> 50 years of age). They identified 24 published research studies.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that Tai Chi training produced significant increases in heart rate, VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise) and O2 pulse (oxygen consumed per heart beat, a measure of stroke volume), and vital capacity (the greatest volume of air that can be expelled from the lungs after taking the deepest possible breath). The increase in vital capacity was significantly larger in participants who practiced for 48 weeks and over.

 

The results are clear. Tai Chi training produces improves cardiorespiratory function in older adults. Thus suggests that Tai Chi training can help overcome or delay age-related physical decline.

 

tai chi is an effective way in improving cardiovascular responses and stress in prehypertensive individuals.” – Touraj Hashemi Nosrat-abad

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tan, T., Meng, Y., Lyu, J. L., Zhang, C., Wang, C., Liu, M., Zhao, X., Lyu, T., & Wei, Y. (2022). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Tai Chi Training in Cardiorespiratory Fitness of Elderly People. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2022, 4041612. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/4041612

 

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in elderly people using meta-analysis.

Methods

This study used seven electronic databases and data retrieved from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the role of Tai Chi on CRF in the elderly. All these 24 RCTs were screened and selected from 7 literature databases. The Stata 11.2 software (StataCorp, USA) was used for the meta-analysis, subgroup analysis, and bias test, while the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool was used for the assessment of the risk of bias (RoB). 4 researchers independently participated in sample selection, data extraction, and RoB assessment.

Results

Following the inclusion criteria, 24 eligible studies were included in our analysis. The meta-analysis indicated that Tai Chi practice significantly increased the maximum rate of oxygen consumption (VO2 max) (weighted mean difference (WMD)  = 3.76, 95% CI: 1.25 to 6.26, P < 0.1), leading to an overall reduction in the heart rate (HR) (WMD  = −1.84, 95% CI: −2.04 to −1.63, P  ≤ 0.001) and an increase in the O2 pulse (WMD = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.60 to 1.28, P ≤ 0.001) in individuals who practiced Tai Chi regularly compared with those who did not. The subgroup analysis suggested that overall in those who practiced Tai Chi, males (WMD = 1.48, 95% CI: 0.85 to 2.12, P ≤ 0.001) had higher O2 pulse than females (WMD = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.33 to 1.12, P ≤ 0.001). The subgroup analysis also showed an increase in the vital capacity (VC) (WMD = 316.05, 95% CI: 239.74 to 392.35, P ≤ 0.001) in individuals practicing Tai Chi. When the samples were further stratified by Tai Chi practicing time, the subgroup analysis suggested that individuals practicing Tai Chi over a period of 24 weeks showed no significant difference in VC (WMD = 82.95, 95% CI: -98.34 to 264.23, P=0.370), while those practicing Tai Chi over a period of 48 weeks showed a significant increase (WMD = 416.62, 95% CI: 280.68 to 552.56, P ≤ 0.001). Furthermore, the subgroup analysis demonstrated that the increase in VC is significantly correlated with the Tai Chi practicing time (WMD = 344.97, 95% CI: 227.88 to 442.06, P ≤ 0.001).

Conclusion

Regular Tai Chi practice could improve the CRF in the elderly, as indicated by significant improvement in indicators including VO2max, O2pulse, VC, and HR. However, gender and practice time might influence the overall beneficial outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8942636/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi involves a series of graceful, gentle movements that can get your heart rate up while also relaxing your mind. It’s been called meditation in motion.” – Cleveland Heart Lab

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/ ) Yang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for patients with cardiovascular disease. They identified 37 published trials.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practiced improved the psychological well-being of the patients including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, bodily pain and increases in mental health, self-efficacy, and mood.

 

Hence practicing Tai Chi improves the mental health and quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease.

 

practicing tai chi may help to modestly lower blood pressure. It’s also proved helpful for people with heart failure, who tend to be tired and weak as a result of the heart’s diminished pumping ability. The slow movements involve both the upper and lower body, which safely strengthens the heart and major muscle groups without undue strain.” – Harvard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yang, G., Li, W., Klupp, N., Cao, H., Liu, J., Bensoussan, A., Kiat, H., Karamacoska, D., & Chang, D. (2022). Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 22(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03482-0

 

Abstract

Background

Psychological risk factors have been recognised as potential, modifiable risk factors in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, has the potential to improve psychological well-being and quality of life. We aim to assess the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods

We searched for randomised controlled trials evaluating Tai Chi for psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and cardiovascular risk factors, from major English and Chinese databases until 30 July 2021. Two authors independently conducted study selection and data extraction. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Review Manager software was used for meta-analysis.

Results

We included 37 studies (38 reports) involving 3525 participants in this review. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally poor. Positive effects of Tai Chi on stress, self-efficacy, and mood were found in several individual studies. Meta-analyses demonstrated favourable effects of Tai Chi plus usual care in reducing anxiety (SMD − 2.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): − 2.55, − 1.70, 3 studies, I2 = 60%) and depression (SMD -0.86, 95% CI: − 1.35, − 0.37, 6 studies, I2 = 88%), and improving mental health (MD 7.86, 95% CI: 5.20, 10.52, 11 studies, I2 = 71%) and bodily pain (MD 6.76, 95% CI: 4.13, 9.39, 11 studies, I2 = 75%) domains of the 36-Item Short Form Survey (scale from 0 to 100), compared with usual care alone. Tai Chi did not increase adverse events (RR 0.50, 95% CI: 0.21, 1.20, 5 RCTs, I2 = 0%), compared with control group. However, less than 30% of included studies reported safety information.

Conclusions

Tai Chi seems to be beneficial in the management of anxiety, depression, and quality of life, and safe to practice in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors. Monitoring and reporting of safety information are highly recommended for future research. More well-designed studies are warranted to determine the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/

Improve Motor Ability in Parkinson’s Disease Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Motor Ability in Parkinson’s Disease Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi, a balance-based exercise, has been shown to improve strength, balance, and physical function and to prevent falls in older adults. . . it may also improve axial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as postural stability.” – Fuzhong Li

 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an incurable progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are around seven million people worldwide and one million people in the U.S. living with PD and about 60,000 people are diagnosed with PD every year. PD is associated with aging as most patients are diagnosed after age 50. In fact, it has been speculated that everyone would eventually develop PD if they lived long enough.

 

Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. PD itself is not fatal but is often associated with related complications which can reduce life expectancy, such as falls, choking, and cardiovascular problems. PD also has psychological effects, especially cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Balance is a particular problem as it effects mobility and increases the likelihood of falls, restricting activity and reducing quality of life.

 

There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief. So, there is a need to discover new and different treatments. Mindfulness training has been found to improve the psychological symptoms and the quality of life with PD patients.  In addition, combinations of mindfulness and exercise such as Tai Chi and yoga practices have been shown to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Tai Chi on Motor Function, Balance, and Quality of Life in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814935/ ) Yu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practices for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. They identified 17 randomized controlled trials containing a total of 951 patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice was safe and effective producing significant increases in the patient’s gait velocity, balance confidence, timed up and go, and balance. Hence, the published research found highly significant evidence that Tai Chi practice results in improvements in movements and balance in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

The improvements in balance are reflected in the previous observations that Tai Chi practice reduces the likelihood of falls in the elderly and in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. Since, falls are a significant source of disability and even death, the improvement in balance alone justifies the recommendation of Tai Chi practice for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

So, improve motor ability in Parkinson’s Disease patients with Tai Chi.

 

The incorporation of Tai Chi in the daily life of Parkinson’s disease patients allowed them to stay functionally and physically active.” – Alison Rodriguez

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yu, X., Wu, X., Hou, G., Han, P., Jiang, L., & Guo, Q. (2021). The Impact of Tai Chi on Motor Function, Balance, and Quality of Life in Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 6637612. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6637612

 

Abstract

Objective

Parkinson’s disease adversely affects function and quality of life, leading to increased mortality. The practice of Tai Chi has been associated with multifaceted improvements in health-related fitness. Considering the limited number of clinical studies included in previous reviews, inconsistent methodological quality, and inconclusive results, this meta-analysis aims to assess the effects of Tai Chi in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Method

Four English language databases and four Chinese databases were systematically searched for existing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Tai Chi in Parkinson’s disease from database inception through August 1, 2020. Methodological quality was appraised with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. A meta-analysis of comparative effects was performed using the Review Manager v.5.3 software.

Results

Seventeen published RCTs totaling 951 subjects were included. Results showed that Tai Chi has a statistically significant effect on the outcomes of gait velocity, unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale (UPDRS) motor score, activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) score, and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The effects on the Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT) and Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) were not statistically significant.

Conclusions

This systematic review and meta-analysis of Parkinson’s disease and Tai Chi suggests Tai Chi is a relatively safe activity that can result in gains in general motor function and improve bradykinesia and balance. It has no statistically significant advantage for quality of life and functional mobility. Further randomized trials with larger sample sizes and of higher methodological quality are needed to confirm these results and to assess the feasibility of Tai Chi intervention for potential different clinical applications.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814935/

 

Improve Functional Fitness in the Elderly with Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

Improve Functional Fitness in the Elderly with Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise improve physical function and experience less pain.” – Science Daily

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful for treatment.

 

Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong and yoga have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritisTai Chi practice, has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including arthritis. Much of the research involves controlled laboratory studies. It needs to be demonstrated that Tai Chi practice is an effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis of the community-dwelling elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impacts of tai chi exercise on functional fitness in community-dwelling older adults with mild degenerative knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325845/ ) Chen and colleagues recruited a sample of community-dwelling otherwise healthy elderly (age >65 years) individuals diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. They were randomly assigned them to a 60 minutes twice a week for 12 week program of either health education or Sun style Tai Chi practice. They were measured before and after the 12-week practice period for functional fitness including the 30-s chair stand, 30-s arm curl, 2-min step, chair sit-and-reach, back-scratch flexibility, single-leg stand, functional reach, 8-foot up-and-go, and 10-m walk tests.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the health education group, the group that practiced Tai Chi  had significant improvements in the 30-s chair stand, 30-s arm curl, 2-min step, chair sit-and-reach, single-leg stand, functional reach, and 8-foot up-and-go. Hence, Tai Chi practice increases functional fitness in the community-dwelling elderly with knee osteoarthritis. This should translate in improved movement with less pain and increased quality of life in these community-dwelling elderly individuals.

 

So, improve functional fitness in the elderly with knee osteoarthritis with Tai Chi.

 

research shows an ancient form of exercise called Tai Chi might offer hope to combat arthritis pain in seniors.” – Julie Podewitz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chen, P. Y., Song, C. Y., Yen, H. Y., Lin, P. C., Chen, S. R., Lu, L. H., Tien, C. L., Wang, X. M., & Lin, C. H. (2021). Impacts of tai chi exercise on functional fitness in community-dwelling older adults with mild degenerative knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 449. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02390-9

 

Abstract

Background

Degenerative osteoarthritis (OA) often leads to pain and stiffness of the affected joints, which may affect the physical performance and decrease the quality of life of people with degenerative knee OA. Compared to traditional exercise, tai chi is a safe exercise with slow movements which can facilitate physical functioning and psychological well being, and might be suitable for improving the physical activities of older adults with knee OA. Therefore, this study investigated the impacts of tai chi exercise on the functional fitness of community-dwelling older adults with degenerative knee OA.

Methods

Sixty-eight community-dwelling older adults with knee OA were recruited from the local community to participate in this randomized controlled clinical trial. All subjects were randomly assigned to either an TCE group that practiced tai chi exercise (TCE) (n = 36) or a control group (CON) (n = 32) that received regular health education programs twice per week for 12 weeks. Outcome measurements were determined using functional fitness tests before and after the intervention, including a 30-s chair stand (number of repeats), 30-s arm-curl (number of repeats), 2-min step (number of steps), chair sit-and-reach (reaching distance, cm), back-scratch flexibility (distance between hands, cm), single-leg stand (time, s), functional reach (reaching distance, cm), 8-foot up-and-go (time, s), and 10-m walk tests (time, s). Pre-post comparisons of functional fitness were analyzed using the ANCOVA test with SPSS software version 18.0.

Results

Results revealed that participants’ functional fitness in the TCE group had significantly higher adjusted mean post-tests scores than that in the CON group after the intervention, including the 8-foot up-and-go (s) (mean difference [MD]=-2.92 [-3.93, -1.91], p = 2.39*10− 7), 30-s arm curl (MD = 4.75 (2.76, 6.73), p = 1.11*10− 5), 2-min step (MD = 36.94 [23.53, 50.36], p = 7.08*10− 7), 30-s chair stand (MD = 4.66 [2.97, 6.36], p = 6.96*10− 7), functional-reach (MD = 5.86 [3.52, 8.20], p = 4.72*10− 6), single-leg stand with eyes closed (MD = 3.44 [1.92, 4.97], p = 2.74*10− 5), chair sit-and-reach (MD = 3.93 [1.72, 6.15], p = 0.001), and single-leg stand with eyes opened (MD = 17.07 [6.29, 27.85], p = 0.002), with large effect sizes (η²=0.14 ~ 0.34).

Conclusions

Community-dwelling older adults with knee OA in the TCE group had better functional fitness performances after the 12-week tai chi intervention than those receiving only health education.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8325845/

 

Improve Physical Ability, Balance, and Flexibility with Tai Chi

Improve Physical Ability, Balance, and Flexibility with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi is a relatively safe activity that can result in gains in general motor function and improve bradykinesia and balance. “ – Xiny Yu

 

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving mindfulness and gentle movements. It is easy to learn, safe, and gentle. Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through controlled breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the physical and motor effects of this practice been scrutinized with empirical research. The findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871341/ ) Wehner and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the effects of Tai Chi training on physical ability, strength, balance, and flexibility. They identified 31 published randomized controlled trials that included mostly participants over 60 years of age.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produce a significant increase in hand grip strength, timed walking distance, postural balance, and spine flexibility. These findings suggest that engaging in Tai Chi practice results in improved health-related fitness. This is particularly important for aging individuals where physical decline is inevitable and suggests an increased health-related quality of life. The improvements in balance are important as they signal a decreased likelihood of falls which are very dangerous for the elderly.

 

So, improve physical ability, balance, and flexibility with Tai Chi.

 

our main finding suggests a statistically significant general improvement in motor efficiency for the TC group.” – Luisa Sartori

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wehner, C., Blank, C., Arvandi, M., Wehner, C., & Schobersberger, W. (2021). Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 7(1), e000817. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2020-000817

 

What is already known?

  • Tai Chi training has positive effects on a variety of chronic diseases (eg, osteoarthritis) and health-related issues (eg, reduced risk of falling).
  • Tai Chi training exerts a positive impact not only on physical parameters, but also on mental health.
  • There is good evidence for positive effects of Tai Chi training for older people and patient populations, as most previous studies concentrated on these populations.

What are the new findings?

  • There is evidence that Tai Chi training can also moderately improve physical fitness as measured by tests commonly applied in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts; for healthy people such tests are more relevant compared with the clinical assessment tools used for unfit and patient populations. Improvements were observed in handgrip strength, functional capacity, postural balance and thoracolumbar flexibility.
  • We hypothesise that not only slow motions of the legs and kicking movements while standing on one leg, which are characteristic in Tai Chi but also the improvement of thoracolumbar flexibility enhance postural balance.

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the impact of Tai Chi training on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility, as measured by tests commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts.

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources

The following databases were searched up to 31 July 2020: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE via PubMed and SPORTDiscus.

Eligibility criteria for studies

Inclusion: (1) Randomised controlled trials published in German or English; (2) Tai Chi used as an intervention to improve physical performance; (3) Test methods commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports and (4) Participants aged ≥16 years (irrespective of health status). Exclusion: (1) Studies not focusing on Tai Chi or including Tai Chi mixed with other interventions and (2) Modified or less than eight Tai Chi movements.

Results

Out of 3817 records, 31 studies were included in the review, 21 of them in the meta-analysis. Significant improvements in handgrip strength (2.34 kg, 95% CI 1.53 to 3.14), walking distance during 6 min (43.37 m, 95% CI 29.12 to 57.63), standing time in single-leg-stance with open eyes (6.41 s, 95% CI 4.58 to 8.24) and thoracolumbar spine flexibility (2.33 cm, 95% CI 0.11 to 4.55) were observed.

Conclusion

Tai Chi training seems to moderately improve physical fitness when evaluated by tests used in health-related fitness or competitive sports. Moreover, thoracolumbar spine flexibility seems to be a factor in the improvement of postural balance. Further research is needed, including younger healthy participants performing a widely used, standardised form (eg, Peking-style routine) with high-intensity movements (eg, use of lower stances).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871341/