Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“forest bathing has received increasing attention due to its health-promoting effects, including enhancing immune functions and decreasing blood pressure in hypertension patients, as well as stress relief effects.” – Genxiang Mao,

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve mood. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood. It appears intuitively obvious that if mindfulness training occurred in a beautiful natural place, it would greatly improve the effectiveness of mindfulness practice. In fact, being in nature has been shown to improve psychological health.

 

Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Qigong  practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Qigong has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the ability of Qigong training particularly when practiced in nature to improve well-being in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/ ) Yi and colleagues recruited healthy elderly (65 years of age and older) participants and assigned them to one of 3 conditions; no-treatment control, forest walking, or forest Qigong. The forest programs were 2 hours per session twice per week for 6 weeks and included warm-up exercises, stretching, physio-cognitive play, and cool-down along with 50 minutes of either forest walking, or forest Qigong. They were measured before and after training for cognitive impairment, depression, and quality of life. They also had the electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (EKG) recorded. Bioimpedance was used to determine body composition and nutritional metabolism.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control condition, the forest qigong group had a significant decrease in depression while the forest walking group had a significant decrease in cognitive impairment and increase in quality of life. In the EEG, the forest walking group had significant increases in Alpha and Beta rhythm power and a significant decrease in low frequency heart rate variability after training while the control and forest qigong groups did not. In addition, the forest qigong group had a significant increase in the upper body bioimpedance phase angle while the forest walking group had a significant increase in the lower body bioimpedance phase angle.

 

Bioimpedance phase angle is an indicator of the metabolic nutrition of the muscles. So, the practice of qigong in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the upper body while walking in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the lower body. This is not surprising as qigong involves frequent arm movements while walking involves more leg movements. Low frequency heart rate variability is an indicator of sympathetic nervous system activity and its decrease in the forest walking group suggests that walking in the forest is physiologically relaxing, reducing activating sympathetic activity. Finally, EEG power is indicative of brain information processing and its increase with forest walking is indicative of an increase in information (cognitive) processing.

 

These findings are interesting and suggest that walking in the forest and qigong in the forest have different effects on elderly individuals. Where forest qigong appears to be superior for decreasing depression and upper body metabolism, forest walking appears to improve cognitive ability, lower body metabolism, and physiological relaxation. Hence qigong in the forest is superior for emotional health while walking in the forest is superior for cognitive health. This suggests that the combination of qigong and walking in the forest may produce better well-being for elderly individual.

 

So, forest walking and forest qigong improve cognitive function in the elderly.

 

Forest bathing, also known as forest therapy or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is an evidence-based practice of connecting to nature as a way to heal.” – Credible Mind

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yi, J., Kim, S. G., Khil, T., Shin, M., You, J. H., Jeon, S., Park, G. H., Jeong, A. Y., Lim, Y., Kim, K., Kim, J., Kang, B., Lee, J., Park, J. H., Ku, B., Choi, J., Cha, W., Lee, H. J., Shin, C., Shin, W., … Kim, J. U. (2021). Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3004. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063004

 

Abstract

We developed two distinct forest therapy programs (FTPs) and compared their effects on dementia prevention and related health problems for older adults. One was focused on Qigong practice in the forest (QP) and the other involved active walking in the forest (WP). Both FTPs consisted of twelve 2-h sessions over six weeks and were conducted in an urban forest. We obtained data from 25, 18, and 26 participants aged 65 years or above for the QP, WP, and control groups, respectively. Neuropsychological scores via cognition (MoCA), geriatric depression (GDS) and quality of life (EQ-5D), and electrophysiological variables (electroencephalography, bioimpedance, and heart rate variability) were measured. We analyzed the intervention effects with a generalized linear model. Compared to the control group, the WP group showed benefits in terms of neurocognition (increases in the MoCA score, and alpha and beta band power values in the electroencephalogram), sympathetic nervous activity, and bioimpedance in the lower body. On the other hand, the QP group showed alleviated depression and an increased bioimpedance phase angle in the upper body. In conclusion, both active walking and Qigong in the forest were shown to have distinctive neuropsychological and electrophysiological benefits, and both had beneficial effects in terms of preventing dementia and relieving related health problems for elderly individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/

 

Improve Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia in Older Adults with Tai Chi

Improve Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia in Older Adults with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai Chi is not only a suitable exercise for elderly people with obesity, but it can also help to regulate BP, improve heart and lung function in these individuals, as well as reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, helping to improve their quality of life.” – Sun Lei

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Mindful movement practices such Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with hypertension who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises. Indeed, Tai Chi practice has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi on Preventing Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia in Middle-Aged and Elderly Patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8160700/ ) Wen and colleagues recruited patients with hypertension and hyperlipidemia between the ages of 40-75 years. They were randomly assigned to practice for 6 weeks, 3 time per week, for 60 minutes either simplified Tai Chi (24 form Yang style) or a Wu Style Tai Chi (60 forms) that was designed for hypertension and hyperlipidemia. They also practiced at home for 30 minutes a day. They were measured before and after the interventions for body size, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood lipids.

 

They found that the patients who practiced Wu Style Tai Chi in comparison to the simplified Tai Chi had significantly greater reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL Cholesterol and greater increases in HDL Cholesterol in comparison to baseline. In addition, a greater percentage of patients who practiced Wu Style Tai Chi discontinued antihypertensive drugs and showed clinically significant reductions in cardiovascular disease.

 

In the present study both forms of Tai Chi produced improvements in hypertension and hyperlipidemia as has been observed in previous research. But the present study demonstrated that Wu Style Tai Chi produces superior results. Wu Style is more complex and also emphasizes reverse abdominal breathing matched to the movements. It is believed that this increases circulation and may be responsible for the greater improvements. Regardless, Tai Chi is a safe and effective treatment for hypertension and hyperlipidemia in older adults.

 

So, improve hypertension and hyperlipidemia in older adults with Tai Chi.

 

tai chi is a promising and safe exercise alternative for patients with coronary heart disease who are unable or unwilling to attend traditional CR, in particular for older people, women, and deconditioned individuals.” – Elena Salmoirago‐Blotcher

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wen, J., & Su, M. (2021). A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi on Preventing Hypertension and Hyperlipidemia in Middle-Aged and Elderly Patients. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(10), 5480. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105480

 

Abstract

In our randomized controlled trial, we investigated whether Wu-style Tai Chi (Tai Chi combined with Daoyin) as a potential exercise prescription is more effective than simplified Tai Chi in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia in the middle-aged and elderly. We randomly assigned 66 patients with hypertension and hyperlipidemia to one of the two groups: the Wu-style Tai Chi group or the simplified Tai Chi group; the simplified Tai Chi group only exercised simplified Tai Chi three times a week for 6 weeks. The Wu-style Tai Chi group participated in 60 min of Wu-style Tai Chi three times a week for 6 weeks. Serum biochemical tests were conducted at baseline and at the end of the study. Measurements of blood pressure were performed at the same time. Primary outcomes were compared within and between groups at baseline and at 6 weeks. The participants in the Wu-style Tai Chi group performed, at 6 weeks, significantly better than baseline on all of the primary outcomes (p value ≤ 0.05). The results also show significant difference within the simplified Tai Chi group from baseline to 6 weeks in TCHO (mmol/L), SBP (mmHg), and LDL-C (mmol/L) (p value < 0.05). From baseline to 6 weeks, the Wu-style Tai Chi group had significant differences at more test indexes in serum and blood pressure than the simplified Tai Chi group. At 6 weeks, the Wu-style Tai Chi group had a significantly greater mean improvement in the SBP (mmHg) than did the simplified Tai Chi group (mean between-group difference, −5.80 (mmHg) [95% CI, −14.01 to 2.41]; p = 0.007). The results showed that, compared with simplified Tai Chi, Wu-style Tai Chi had a better effect on hypertension in the middle-aged and elderly. At 6 weeks in LDL-C (mmol/L), the Wu-style Tai Chi group had significantly greater improvement between the two groups (means between-group difference, −0.45 (mmol/L) [95% CI, −0.89 to −0.17]; p = 0.03). The results showed that Wu-style Tai Chi protected the cardiovascular system of the middle-aged and elderly in improving LDL-C (mmol/L), and was more significant than simplified Tai Chi. After 6 weeks of exercise, Wu-style Tai Chi could effectively improve hyperlipidemia and hypertension. The total effective rate of cardiovascular disease was 90.00%. There was significant difference in the treatment effect of hypertension and hyperlipidemia between the two groups during 6 weeks (p = 0.039), showing that, in a small population of middle-aged and elderly subjects, Wu style Tai Chi could be useful in managing important CV risk factors, such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8160700/

Improve Cognitive Ability in Older Adults with Tai Chi and Qigong Practices

Improve Cognitive Ability in Older Adults with Tai Chi and Qigong Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Qigong exercise induced significant neurocognitive improvement in aging.” – Di Qi

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently 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 in cognitive ability.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong have been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi and Qigong trainings are designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi and Qigong practice have been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi and Qigong have been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The research findings have been accumulating suggesting that a summarization of what has been learned about the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice on the cognitive ability of older adults is called for.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Chinese Mind-Body Exercises on Executive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A ) Ren and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice on the cognitive ability of older adults. They identified 29 published randomized controlled trials employing participants over 50 years of age.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi and Qigong practice produced significant increases in overall executive function including improvements in short-term memory and shifting, the ability to shift from attentional focus to attentional focus. They also found that when practice occurred 5 or more times per week, the effects doubled compared to practice less than 4 times per week.

 

The findings suggest that Tai Chi and Qigong practices are effective in improving thinking in older adults. Since cognitive abilities tend to decline with age, the results suggests that Tai Chi and Qigong practice may protect against age related cognitive decline. This is true especially when practice occurs 5 or more times per week.

 

Some advantages of Tai Chi and Qigong include the facts that they are not strenuous, involve slow gentle movements, are safe, having no appreciable side effects, and are appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi and Qigong practice excellent practices for protecting older individuals from age related cognitive decline.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in older adults with Tai Chi and Qigong practices.

 

“Tai chi appears to improve executive function—the ability to multitask, manage time, and make decisions—in people without any cognitive decline. In those with mild cognitive impairment, tai chi slowed the progression to dementia more than other types of exercise and improved their cognitive function in a comparable fashion to other types of exercise or cognitive training.” – Havard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ren F-F, Chen F-T, Zhou W-S, Cho Y-M, Ho T-J, Hung T-M and Chang Y-K (2021) Effects of Chinese Mind-Body Exercises on Executive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 12:656141. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141

 

Chinese mind-body exercises (CMBEs) are positively associated with executive function (EF), but their effects on EF, from synthesized evidence using systematic and meta-analytic reviews, have not been conducted. Therefore, the present systematic review with meta-analysis attempted to determine whether CMBEs affect EF and its sub-domains, as well as how exercise, sample, and study characteristics moderate the causal relationship between CMBEs and EF in middle-aged and older adults. Seven electronic databases were searched for relevant studies published from the inception of each database through June 2020 (PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Wanfang, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Weipu). Randomized controlled trials with at least one outcome measure of CMBEs on EF in adults of mean age ≥ 50 years with intact cognition or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and with or without chronic diseases were included. A total of 29 studies (N = 2,934) ultimately were included in this study. The results indicated that CMBEs improved overall EF (Standardized Mean Differences = 0.28, 95% CI 0.12, 0.44), as well as its sub-domains of working memory and shifting. The beneficial effects of CMBEs on EF occurred regardless of type (Tai Chi, Qigong), frequency of group classes (≤2 time, 3-4 time, ≥5 times), session time (≤45 min, 46-60 min), total training time (≥150 to ≤300 min, >300 min), and length of the CMBEs (4-12 week, 13-26 week, and >26 week), in addition to that more frequent participation in both group classes and home practice sessions (≥5 times per week) resulted in more beneficial effects. The positive effects of CMBEs on EF were also demonstrated, regardless of participants mean age (50-65 years old, >65 years old), sex (only female, both), and cognitive statuses (normal, MCI, not mentioned), health status (with chronic disease, without chronic disease), as well as training mode (group class, group class plus home practice) and study language (English, Chinese). This review thus suggests that CMBEs can be used as an effective method with small to moderate and positive effects in enhancing EF, and that more frequent group classes and home practice sessions may increase these effects. However, certain limitations, including strictly design studies, limited ES (effect size) samples for specific variables, and possible biased publications, required paying particular attention to, for further exploring the effects of CMBEs on EF.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A

 

Improve the Respiratory Symptoms of Lung Cancer Patients with Qigong Practice

Improve the Respiratory Symptoms of Lung Cancer Patients with Qigong Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies show that qigong practice can have many positive effects, particularly among patients with cancer, chronic illnesses, and breathing problems, as well as older adults. Benefits include improved lung function, mood, sleep, and quality of life, as well as reduced stress, pain, anxiety, and fatigue.” – Sloan Kettering Institute

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depressionTai Chi or Qigong practice has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce fatigue, and lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. They are very gentle and safe practices. The research on the effectiveness of Qigong training for lung cancer patients is sparse. So, it makes sense to Investigate the ability of Qigong training to improve the symptoms of lung cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Qigong in Managing a Cluster of Symptoms (Breathlessness-Fatigue-Anxiety) in Patients with Lung Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8047940/ )  Molassiotis and colleagues recruited patients who had complete treatment for lung cancer and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control group or to engage in Qigong practice. They were trained in Qigong in 2 weekly 90-minute practices for 2 weeks and then practiced Qigong at home for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. They were measured before and after training and at 12 weeks for disease status, fatigue, dyspnea (difficulty with breathing), anxiety, depression, cough frequency intensity and bothersomeness, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the group that practiced Qigong had significant reductions in fatigue, dyspnea (difficulty with breathing), anxiety, and cough score that were maintained at the 12-week follow-up. These effects were significantly greater in men than in women. Hence, Qigong practice appeared to improve the symptoms in lung cancer patients.

 

It should be noted that 2 weeks of Qigong training followed by 4 weeks of home practice is a rather low amount of practice relative to what is usually prescribed in other controlled research, as much as 6 months of practice. In addition, only 62% of the Qigong group completed the practice with a 62% adherence rate. So, the effective dose of Qigong was low. This suggests that if practice was extended over longer periods of time greater effectiveness would have been observed. Nevertheless, Qigong practice, even in low dose, had positive benefits for lung cancer patients.

 

So, improve the respiratory symptoms of lung cancer patients with Qigong practice.

 

Qigong improved physical and mental well-being as well as quality-of-life in patients with lung cancer.” – Patient Power

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Molassiotis, A., Vu, D. V., & Ching, S. (2021). The Effectiveness of Qigong in Managing a Cluster of Symptoms (Breathlessness-Fatigue-Anxiety) in Patients with Lung Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Integrative cancer therapies, 20, 15347354211008253. https://doi.org/10.1177/15347354211008253

 

Abstract

Background and Purpose:

Qigong is used by cancer patients, but its effect is not adequately evaluated to date. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Qigong for the management of a symptom cluster comprising fatigue, dyspnea, and anxiety in patients with lung cancer.

Methodology:

A total of 156 lung cancer patients participated in this trial, and they were randomized to a Qigong group (6 weeks of intervention) or a waitlist control group receiving usual care. The symptom cluster was assessed at baseline, at the end of treatment (primary outcome), and at 12 weeks, alongside measures of cough and quality of life (QOL).

Results:

There was no significant interaction effect between group and time for the symptom cluster overall and for fatigue and anxiety. However, a significant trend towards improvement was observed on fatigue (P = .004), dyspnea (P = .002), and anxiety (P = .049) in the Qigong group from baseline assessment to the end of intervention at the 6th week (within-group changes). Improvements in dyspnea and in the secondary outcomes of cough, global health status, functional well-being and QOL symptom scales were statistically significant between the 2 groups (P = .001, .014, .021, .001, and .002, respectively).

Conclusion:

Qigong did not alleviate the symptom cluster experience. Nevertheless, this intervention was effective in reducing dyspnea and cough, and improving QOL. More than 6 weeks were needed, however, for detecting the effect of Qigong on improving dyspnea. Furthermore, men benefited more than women. It may not be beneficial to use Qigong to manage the symptom cluster consisting of fatigue, dyspnea, and anxiety, but it may be effective in managing respiratory symptoms (secondary outcomes needing further verification in future research). Future studies targeting symptom clusters should ensure the appropriateness of the combination of symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8047940/

 

Improve Hypertension with Tai Chi

Improve Hypertension with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“under well-designed conditions, Tai Chi exercise training could decrease blood pressure and results in favorable lipid profile changes and improve subjects’ anxiety status. Therefore, Tai Chi could be used as an alternative modality in treating patients with mild hypertension, with a promising economic effect.” – Jen-Chen Tsai

 

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is an insidious disease because there are no overt symptoms. The individual feels fine. But it can be deadly as more than 360,000 American deaths, roughly 1,000 deaths each day, had high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. In addition, hypertension markedly increases the risk heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.  It is also a very common disorder with about 70 million American adults (29%) having high blood pressure and only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Treatment frequently includes antihypertensive drugs. But these medications often have adverse side effects. So, patients feel lousy when taking the drugs, but fine when they’re not. So, compliance is a major issue with many patients not taking the drugs regularly or stopping entirely.

 

Obviously, there is a need for alternative to drug treatments for hypertension. Mindfulness practices have been shown to aid in controlling hypertension. Mindful movement practices such Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They may be appropriate for patients with hypertension who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises. Indeed, Qigong practice has been shown to reduce blood pressure. There have been a number of studies performed and it is useful to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Ji Quan as antihypertensive lifestyle therapy: 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/PMC7987647/ )  Wu and colleagues reviewed, summarized, and performed a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of hypertension in adults..

 

They found 15 published controlled research studies and report that these studies found that Tai Chi practice alone produced significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension. These effects were greatest when the baseline blood pressure was highest. The size of the blood pressure reductions would be expected to reduce cardiovascular disease risk by at least 40%.

 

It is important to note that Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi practice is an almost ideal treatment for hypertension.

 

So, improve hypertension with Tai Chi.

 

Despite its gentle nature, the health benefits of tai chi can be impressive.” – Abbott

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wu, Y., Johnson, B. T., Chen, S., Chen, Y., Livingston, J., & Pescatello, L. S. (2021). Tai Ji Quan as antihypertensive lifestyle therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of sport and health science, 10(2), 211–221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2020.03.007

 

Abstract

Background

Professional health organizations are not currently recommending Tai Ji Quan alongside aerobic exercise to treat hypertension. We aimed to examine the efficacy of Tai Ji Quan as antihypertensive lifestyle therapy.

Methods

Tai Ji Quan interventions published in English and Chinese were included when they involved healthy adults, reported pre- and post-intervention blood pressure (BP), and had a non-exercise/non-diet control group. We systematically searched 11 electronic databases for studies published through July 31, 2018, yielding 31 qualifying controlled trials. We (1) evaluated the risk of bias and methodological study quality, (2) performed meta-regression analyses following random-effects assumptions, and (3) generated additive models representing the largest possible clinically relevant BP reductions.

Results

Participants (n = 3223) were middle-aged (56.6 ± 15.1 years of age, mean ± SD) adults with prehypertension (systolic BP (SBP) = 136.9 ± 15.2 mmHg, diastolic BP (DBP) = 83.4 ± 8.7 mmHg). Tai Ji Quan was practiced 4.0 ± 1.4 sessions/week for 54.0 ± 10.6 min/session for 22.3 ± 20.2 weeks. Overall, Tai Ji Quan elicited significant reductions in SBP (–11.3 mmHg, 95%CI: –14.6 to –8.0; d+ = –0.75) and DBP (–4.8 mmHg, 95%CI: –6.4 to –3.1; d+ = –0.53) vs. control (p < 0.001). Controlling for publication bias among samples with hypertension, Tai Ji Quan trials published in English elicited SBP reductions of 10.4 mmHg and DBP reductions of 4.0 mmHg, which was half the magnitude of trials published in Chinese (SBP reductions of 18.6 mmHg and DBP reductions of 8.8 mmHg).

Conclusion

Our results indicate that Tai Ji Quan is a viable antihypertensive lifestyle therapy that produces clinically meaningful BP reductions (i.e., 10.4 mmHg and 4.0 mmHg of SBP and DBP reductions, respectively) among individuals with hypertension. Such magnitude of BP reductions can lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease by up to 40%.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7987647/

 

Tai Chi Practice Improves the Symptoms of Multiple Diseases

Tai Chi Practice Improves the Symptoms of Multiple Diseases

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In addition to easing balance problems, and possibly other symptoms, tai chi can help ease stress and anxiety and strengthen all parts of the body, with few if any harmful side effects.” Peter Wayne

 

Tai Chi is an ancient mindfulness practice involving slow prescribed movements. It is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Indeed, studies have shown that Tai Chi practice is effective in improving the symptoms of many different diseases. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effectiveness of different Tai Chi practices for different disease conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “.Clinical Evidence of Tai Chi Exercise Prescriptions: A Systematic Review” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7972853/ ) Huang and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of different Tai Chi practices for different disease conditions. They identified 139 published randomized controlled trials utilizing a number of different Tai Chi styles and numbers of forms. Yang style was by far the most frequent style and 24 forms was the most frequent number of forms employed.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvement in the symptoms of musculoskeletal system or connective tissue diseases such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic low back pain.; on circulatory system diseases such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and chronic heart failure; on mental and behavioral disorders such as depression, cognitive impairment, and intellectual disabilities; on nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and sleep disorders; on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); on endocrine, nutritional, or metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome; on the physical and mental state of cancer patients, and on traumatic brain injury and urinary tract disorders; on balance control and flexibility and falls in older adults.

 

These are remarkable findings. Tai Chi practice appears to be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases. It doesn’t cure the disease. Rather if alleviates the symptoms. It is not known the mechanisms by which Tai Chi has these benefits. Future research needs to further explore what facets or effects of Tai Chi practice are responsible for the disease symptom improvements.

 

So, Tai Chi practice improves the symptoms of multiple diseases.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are evidence-based approaches to improve health-related quality of life, and they may be effective for a range of physical health conditions.” – Ryan Abbott

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Huang, J., Wang, D., & Wang, J. (2021). Clinical Evidence of Tai Chi Exercise Prescriptions: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2021, 5558805. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5558805

 

Abstract

Objectives

This systematic review aims to summarize the existing literature on Tai Chi randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and recommend Tai Chi exercise prescriptions for different diseases and populations.

Methods

A systematic search for Tai Chi RCTs was conducted in five electronic databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, EBSCO, and Web of Science) from their inception to December 2019. SPSS 20.0 software and Microsoft Excel 2019 were used to analyze the data, and the risk of bias tool in the RevMan 5.3.5 software was used to evaluate the methodological quality of RCTs.

Results

A total of 139 articles were identified, including diseased populations (95, 68.3%) and healthy populations (44, 31.7%). The diseased populations included the following 10 disease types: musculoskeletal system or connective tissue diseases (34.7%), circulatory system diseases (23.2%), mental and behavioral disorders (12.6%), nervous system diseases (11.6%), respiratory system diseases (6.3%), endocrine, nutritional or metabolic diseases (5.3%), neoplasms (3.2%), injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (1.1%), genitourinary system diseases (1.1%), and diseases of the eye and adnexa (1.1%). Tai Chi exercise prescription was generally classified as moderate intensity. The most commonly applied Tai Chi style was Yang style (92, 66.2%), and the most frequently specified Tai Chi form was simplified 24-form Tai Chi (43, 30.9%). 12 weeks and 24 weeks, 2-3 times a week, and 60 min each time was the most commonly used cycle, frequency, and time of exercise in Tai Chi exercise prescriptions.

Conclusions

We recommend the more commonly used Tai Chi exercise prescriptions for different diseases and populations based on clinical evidence of Tai Chi. Further clinical research on Tai Chi should be combined with principles of exercise prescription to conduct large-sample epidemiological studies and long-term prospective follow-up studies to provide more substantive clinical evidence for Tai Chi exercise prescriptions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7972853/

 

Improve Balance and Exercise Capacity in Stroke Patients with Tai Chi

Improve Balance and Exercise Capacity in Stroke Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With a complete focus on slow, controlled, and repetitive movements, tai chi is effective in improving one’s balance through dynamic motion and coordination, which is crucial to prevent falls. What many people may not know is that stroke survivors endure seven times as many falls each year as healthy adults.” – Henry Hoffman

 

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke and it is the third leading cause of death, killing around 140,000 Americans each year. A stroke results from an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, depriving it of needed oxygen and nutrients. This can result in the death of brain cells and depending on the extent of the damage produce profound loss of function. Even after recovery from stroke patients can experience residual symptoms. Problems with balance and falling are very common. About 30% of stroke survivors develop spasticity, where the muscles become stiff, tighten up, and resist stretching. Obviously, spasticity can interfere with regaining movement after stroke.

 

The ancient mindful movement technique Tai Chi and Qigong are very safe forms of gentle exercise that appears to be beneficial for stroke victims including improving balanceTai Chi involves both gentle exercise and mindfulness practice. Much has been learned. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize the research findings.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Influences of Tai Chi on Balance Function and Exercise Capacity among Stroke Patients: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932789/ ) Zheng and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. They identified 19 published randomized controlled trials.

 

They found that Tai Chi practice produced a significant improvement in balance. Standing and walking ability, 6-minute walking distance, gravity center swing, and exercise ability. Hence, the published randomized controlled trials make a strong case that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective non-drug treatment to improve the balance and motor ability of stroke patients. These improvements should reduce the incidence of dangerous falls and improve the overall health and quality of life of these patients.

 

Tai Chi practice is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion such as stroke. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to help improve the balance and exercise capacity of stroke patients.

 

Tai Chi has an overall beneficial effect on activities of daily living, balance, limb motor function, and walking ability among stroke survivors. . . and may also improve sleep quality, mood, mental health, and other motor function.” – Diyang Lyu

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zheng, X., Wu, X., Liu, Z., Wang, J., Wang, K., Yin, J., & Wang, X. (2021). The Influences of Tai Chi on Balance Function and Exercise Capacity among Stroke Patients: A Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 6636847. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6636847

 

Abstract

Objective

This study aims to explore the influences of Tai Chi on the balance function and exercise capacity among stroke patients.

Methods

Databases including PubMed, Embase, WOS (Web of Science), the Cochrane Library, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), Wanfang Data, VIP (VIP database), and CBM (China Biology Medicine disc) were retrieved to gather the figures of randomized controlled trials on the balance function and exercise capacity among stroke patients. Then relevant data were input and analyzed in Review Manager 5.3.

Results

Nineteen papers were included and analyzed in this study. According to the combined effect size, the balance function of stroke patients improved significantly: the Berg Balance Function Scale score [MD = 7.67, 95% CI (3.44, 11.90)]; standing and walking test scores [MD = 3.42, 95% CI (4.22, −2.63)]; gravity swing area [MD = 0.79, 95% CI (1.48, 0.10)]; and gravity swing speed [MD = −5.43, 95% CI (−7.79, 3.08)]. In addition, the exercise capacity improved significantly as well: the FMA (Fugl-Meyer Assessment Scale) scale score [MD = 4.15, 95% CI (1.68, 6.63)]. There are no significant influences or changes of other related results.

Conclusions

Stroke patients are able to improve their balance functions and exercise capacities prominently when they do Tai Chi exercise once or twice a week and ≥5 times/week and >30 ≤ 60 min/time.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932789/

 

Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation training improves the maintenance of goal-directed visuospatial attention and may be a useful strategy for counteracting cognitive decline associated with aging.” – Peter Malinowski

 

One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. A common method to study the activity of the nervous system is to measure the electrical signal at the scalp above brain regions. Changes in this activity are measurable with mindfulness training.

 

One method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to specific stimuli. These are called event-related, or evoked, potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The N2 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a negative going electrical response occurring between a 1 to 3 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The N2 component is thought to reflect cognitive control. The P3 response is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 3 to 6 tenths of a second following the target. The P3 component is thought to reflect attentional processing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/ ) Burgos and colleagues recruited healthy adults aged 44-65 years. They were separated into groups of participants who practiced for at least 5 years either Tai Chi, Meditation, aerobic exercise, meditation and exercise, or were sedentary. The participants performed a visuospatial task switch test that required the participants to respond to the position of a dot on a screen with the same or opposite hand or to switch back and forth between the two after 2 trials. This measures executive attention. As they were performing the task the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded and the evoked potentials to the dot recorded.

 

They found that on the visuospatial task switch test the Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups performed best, the aerobic exercise group intermediate, and the sedentary group worst. Performance was measured by the reaction times on the switch trials and also on the proportionate change in reaction times on switch trials. In the evoked potentials in the frontal and parietal cortical areas, the groups that had mental plus physical training (Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups) had significantly larger N2 responses on switch trials than the meditation or exercise alone groups. They also found that the larger the N2 response the better the performance on the switch task.

 

These are interesting results. But the groups were composed of people who chose to engage in these differing activities and the groups may be composed of people who differ in other ways other than the chosen activity. It would be best in future research if random assignment and training were used. Nevertheless, the results suggest that executive attention is best in people who practice mental and physical exercises. These are superior to either alone and particularly superior to being sedentary.  It was not studied here, but the better performance in attentional ability would predict better overall performance in life and resistance to the mental decline with aging.

 

Both the performance on the task and the N2 responses reflect better executive control of attention. This means that the participants who performed both mindfulness and physical exercise improved their ability to control attention. Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and meditation are known to alter the brain and improve attention. But the reason why exercise supplements these benefits is unknown. It is possible that exercise isn’t responsible for improvement but that sedentariness is responsible for deterioration and exercise acts to prevent this deterioration. Nevertheless, the results are clear mindfulness plus physical activity alters the brain in such a way as to improve the individual’s ability to control attention.

 

So, improve attention in older individuals with exercise and mindfulness.

 

mindfulness may be a way to improve our cognitive control as we age by teaching us to improve our ability to focus our attention on a particular task.” – Holy Tiret

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Burgos, P. I., Cruz, G., Hawkes, T., Rojas-Sepúlveda, I., & Woollacott, M. (2021). Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 569025. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.569025

 

Abstract

Physical and mental training are associated with positive effects on executive functions throughout the lifespan. However, evidence of the benefits of combined physical and mental regimes over a sedentary lifestyle remain sparse. The goal of this study was to investigate potential mechanisms, from a source-resolved event-related-potential perspective, that could explain how practicing long-term physical and mental exercise can benefit neural processing during the execution of an attention switching task. Fifty-three healthy community volunteers who self-reported long-term practice of Tai Chi (n = 10), meditation + exercise (n = 16), simple aerobics (n = 15), or a sedentary lifestyle (n = 12), aged 47.8 ± 14.6 (SD) were included in this analysis. All participants undertook high-density electroencephalography recording during a switch paradigm. Our results indicate that people who practice physical and mental exercise perform better in a task-switching paradigm. Our analysis revealed an additive effect of the combined practice of physical and mental exercise over physical exercise only. In addition, we confirmed the participation of frontal, parietal and cingulate areas as generators of event-related-potential components (N2-like and P3-like) commonly associated to the performance of switch tasks. Particularly, the N2-like component of the parietal and frontal domains showed significantly greater amplitudes in the exercise and mental training groups compared with aerobics and sedentary groups. Furthermore, we showed better performance associated with greater N2-like amplitudes. Our multivariate analysis revealed that activity type was the most relevant factor to explain the difference between groups, with an important influence of age, and body mass index, and with small effects of educational years, cardiovascular capacity, and sex. These results suggest that chronic combined physical and mental training may confer significant benefits to executive function in normally aging adults, probably through more efficient early attentional processing. Future experimental studies are needed to confirm our results and understand the mechanisms on parieto-frontal networks that contribute to the cognitive improvement associated with practicing combined mental and aerobic exercise, while carefully controlling confounding factors, such as age and body mass index.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/

 

 

Improve Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Substance Abusers with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Substance Abusers with Mind-Body Practices.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Available data suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may help significantly reduce the consumption of several substances including alcohol, cigarettes, opiates, and others.” – NCCIH Clinical Digest

 

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 treat substance abuse and prevent relapse but an effective treatment has been elusive. Most programs and therapies to treat addictions have poor success rates. Recently, mindfulness training has been found to be effective in treating addictions. Mind-Body practices such as yoga has been found to be effective in treating substance abuse and Tai Chi practice has also been found to improve addiction recovery.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on the Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Individuals With Substance Use Disorder-A Randomized Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775308/ ) Zhu and colleagues recruited men who were being treated for a substance use disorder (Amphetamines). They were randomly assigned to receive either 20 minutes, 3 times daily, 5 days per week, for 3 months of mind-body exercise or recreational activities. The mind-body exercises were selected from Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga movements. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for physical fitness, physical, mental, social, and physical symptoms quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the recreational activities group, the group that performed mind-body exercises had significant reductions in body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate, and significant increases in sit-and-reach, cardiovascular endurance, and physical, mental, social, and physical symptoms quality of life. These improvements were present at the endo of training and 3 months later at follow-up.

 

The results are clear. Mind-body exercise significantly improved the physical fitness and psychological well-being of the participants. The form of exercise was unique containing components from Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga practices. But previous research has demonstrated physical and psychological improvements in a variety of healthy and ill individuals with Tai Chi and Qigong and also yoga practices. So, it is not surprising that using selective components of these practices would also have these benefits. But the study is unique in applying these practices to men recovering from amphetamine abuse. Although not reported, it would be expected that these benefits would help them with recovery from substance use disorder.

 

So, improve physical fitness and quality of life of substance abusers with mind-body practices.

 

What does this mean for treatment practice or for an addict in recovery? At their core, mind-body therapies improve overall mental and physical health while improving brain function.” – Constance Scharff

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhu, D., Jiang, M., Xu, D., & Schöllhorn, W. I. (2020). Long-Term Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on the Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Individuals With Substance Use Disorder-A Randomized Trial. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 528373. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.528373

 

Abstract

Background: Mind-body exercises (MBE) are sequences of low to medium-intensity activities that benefit healthy performers physically and mentally. In contrast to the unmodified application of traditional tai chi, qi gong, or yoga in the healthy population, MBEs are typically tailored for individuals with substance abuse disorder (SUD). Despite numerous applications in practice, the detailed effects of tailor-made MBEs for SUD are unclear.

Objectives: This study aimed to analyze and compare changes in the physical fitness and quality of life of individuals with SUD that underwent conventional or tailor-made MBEs.

Methods: A total of 100 subjects obtained from the Shanghai Mandatory Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center with SUD were randomly assigned into two groups. The subjects in the experimental group (n = 50) practiced tailored MBE for 60 min a day, five times a week, for 3 months. The subjects (n = 50) in the control group were treated with conventional rehabilitation exercises with the same intervention protocol. The outcomes of fitness and quality of life for drug addiction were measured at the beginning and after 3 and 6 months by a questionnaire (QOL-DA). A two-way repeated measure analysis of variance was applied to compare the difference of treatments in the two groups.

Results: Statistically significant differences for the experimental group were found in systolic (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.124) and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.097), pulse (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.086), vital capacity (p < 0.05, η2 = 0.036), flexibility (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.143), and aerobic endurance (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.165). Results of the QOL-DA showed statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups in total score (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.158) with greater effects on the former.

Conclusions: This study provided evidence that tailored MBE could lead to remarkable effects with regard to blood pressure, vital capacity, flexibility, and aerobic endurance in comparison with conventional rehabilitation methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775308/

 

Increase Quality of Life and Decrease Weight of Patients with Diabetes with Tai Chi

Increase Quality of Life and Decrease Weight of Patients with Diabetes with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“a regular tai chi exercise program may help lower blood glucose levels, allowing people with diabetes to better control their disease.” – Lindsey Getz

 

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 life style. 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 Quality of Life, Body Mass Index, and Waist-Hip Ratio in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: 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/PMC7851054/ ) Qin 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 found 18 published research studies, 15 of which were randomized controlled studies.

 

They report that the published research found that patients with Type 2 Diabetes who practiced Tai Chi had significant improvements in their quality of life including physical function, pain, overall health, vitality, social function, emotional function, and mental health dimensions. The research also found that Tai Chi practice produced significant reductions in body size as reflected in the waist-hip ration and the body mass index (BMI), but the improvements were equivalent to that produced by other aerobic exercises.

 

These are important findings as Type 2 Diabetes is so impactful on the health and longevity of large numbers of patients. The results suggest that Tai Chi practice reduces body size which is very important in improving metabolic and glucose control. As a consequence, it greatly improves the quality of life of the patients. It appears from the research that the exercise component of Tai Chi practice is important for the improvements as other aerobic exercises produce similar effects.

 

Some advantages of Tai Chi practice include the facts that it is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to improve the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, increase quality of life and decrease weight of patients with diabetes with Tai Chi.

 

Tai Chi exercises can improve blood glucose levels and improve the control of type 2 diabetes and immune system response.” – Anna Sophia McKenney

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Qin, J., Chen, Y., Guo, S., You, Y., Xu, Y., Wu, J., Liu, Z., Huang, J., Chen, L., & Tao, J. (2021). Effect of Tai Chi on Quality of Life, Body Mass Index, and Waist-Hip Ratio in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in endocrinology, 11, 543627. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.543627

 

Abstract

Background

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a worldwide public health concern with high morbidity and various progressive diabetes complications that result in serious economic expenditure and social burden. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effect of Tai Chi on improving quality of life (QoL), body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) in patients with T2DM.

Method

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed following PRISMA recommendation. Four English databases and three Chinese databases were searched. The PEDro scale was used to assess the methodological quality of including studies. Study inclusion criteria: randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies were included, patients with T2DM that adopted Tai Chi as intervention and QoL, BMI and/or WHR as outcome measurements.

Results

Eighteen trials were included. The aggregated results of seven trials showed that Tai Chi statistically significantly improved QoL measured by the SF-36 on every domains (physical function: MD = 7.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.76 to 13.71, p = 0.01; role-physical function: MD = 9.76, 95% CI = 6.05 to 13.47, p < 0.001; body pain: MD = 8.49, 95% CI = 1.18 to 15.8, p = 0.02; general health: MD = 9.80, 95% CI = 5.77 to 13.82, p < 0.001; vitality: MD = 6.70, 95% CI = 0.45 to 12.94, p = 0.04; social function: MD = 9.1, 95% CI = 4.75 to 13.45, p < 0.001; role-emotional function: MD = 7.88, 95% CI = 4.03 to 11.72, p < 0.001; mental health: MD = 5.62, 95% CI = 1.57 to 9.67, p = 0.006) and BMI (MD = −1.53, 95% CI = −2.71 to −0.36, p < 0.001) compared with control group (wait list; no intervention; usual care; sham exercise).

Conclusion

Tai Chi could improve QoL and decrease BMI for patients with T2DM, more studies are needed to be conducted in accordance with suggestions mentioned in this review.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851054/