Improve Type 2 Diabetes with Tai Chi Practice

Improve Type 2 Diabetes with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai Chi exercises can improve blood glucose levels and improve the control of type 2 diabetes and immune system response.” – Medical News Today

 

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. As such, it is reasonable to investigate its usefulness in preventing and treating Type 2 Diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi for type 2 diabetes mellitus.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513484/), Zhou and colleagues review and summarize the published research randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. They report on 8 published randomized controlled trials.

 

The published studies found that in general Tai Chi practice produces significant improvements in the metabolic profile of Type 2 Diabetes patients including a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels, plasma HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and body mass index (BMI). For fasting blood glucose levels, plasma HbA1c these reductions were greatest when Tai Chi had been practiced for at least 3 months.

 

These results suggest that Tai Chi practiced for at least 3 months is effective in treating Type 2 diabetes. It is important to recognize that Tai Chi is a gentle and safe exercise that is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses. Also, Tai Chi is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Tai Chi practice would appear to be an almost ideal gentle exercise to treat Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, improve type 2 diabetes with Tai Chi practice.

 

Diet and exercise are the cornerstone of diabetes management. People with diabetes who exercise regularly have better control over their blood glucose levels and fewer complications such as heart disease and stroke. Many people, however, are unable to keep up with their regular exercise because they either don’t enjoy it, or have a problem finding time to exercise. Tai chi offers a major advantage: It’s enjoyable, and to many, it’s almost addictive.” – Paul Lam

 

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

 

Zhou, J., Zhang, H., Shi, G., Zhang, L., Liu, H., Qin, Y., & Yang, J. (2018). Tai Chi for type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2018(7), CD009717. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009717.pub2

 

Abstract

This is a protocol for a Cochrane Review (Intervention). The objectives are as follows:

To assess the effects of Tai Chi for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Background

Description of the condition

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder resulting from a defect in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. A consequence of this is chronic hyperglycaemia (that is elevated levels of plasma glucose) with disturbances of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Long‐term complications of diabetes mellitus include retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy. The risk of cardiovascular disease is also increased. For a detailed overview of diabetes mellitus, please see under ‘Additional information’ in the information on the Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group in the Cochrane Library (see ‘About’, ‘Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs)’).

Description of the intervention

Exercise or physical activity is one of the principal therapies for type 2 diabetes (Kirk 2007). A systematic review found that exercise can significantly reduce glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels by 0.6% (Thomas 2006). The rate of aerobic and resistance exercise necessary to achieve metabolic benefits in clinical trials has sometimes resulted in poor compliance (Brandon 2003), because a large proportion of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus do not follow recommended physical activity guidelines (Mokdad 2003). A low‐impact, low‐intensity exercise such as Tai Chi may reduce poor compliance in this population and provide a beneficial alternative.

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that has been practised for many centuries. The three major components of Tai Chi are movement, meditation and deep breathing (Li 2001a). There are various perspectives on how Tai Chi works. Eastern philosophy holds that Tai Chi unblocks the flow of ‘Qi’. When Qi flows properly, the body, mind and spirit are in balance and health is maintained (Cohen 1997). Others believe that Tai Chi works in the same way as other mind‐body therapies, i.e. the connection between the mind and the body can relieve stress, combat disease and enhance physical well‐being (Li 2001aQiang 2010). Tai Chi combines deep diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation with movement, including many fundamental postural stances, and Qi is said to flow imperceptibly and smoothly from one to the other through slow and soft activity (Chinese Sport 1983). Physical responses to Tai Chi do not exceed 55% of maximum oxygen intake or 60% of the individual maximum heart rate (Li 2001b).

Adverse effects of the intervention

Exercise may lead to hypoglycaemia, falls, injuries, pain or fatigue.

How the intervention might work

A meta‐analysis showed that exercise significantly improves glycaemic control and reduces visceral adipose tissue and plasma triglycerides, but not plasma cholesterol, in people with type 2 diabetes, independently of weight loss (Thomas 2006). Tai Chi is a low‐impact, low‐intensity exercise, and people with diabetes who exercise regularly have better glycaemia control and cardiovascular outcomes than those who do not exercise (Kuramoto 2006Li 2001b). Tai Chi also has an impact on muscle mass through slow and gentle movements (Orr 2006; Qin 2005).

An insulin receptor defect is an important risk factor in the pathology of type 2 diabetes (Youngren 2007). Tai Chi exercise may increase insulin sensitivity (Wang 2008). Furthermore, Tai Chi enhances type 1 T helper function along with an increase in blood interleukin (IL)‐12 levels in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (Yeh 2009).

Why it is important to do this review

Exercise is one of the principal therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus and has definite effects and few side effects. Exercise interventions significantly improve glycaemic control, as indicated by a decrease in HbA1c. Tai Chi may be especially useful for elderly type 2 diabetes patients. Although Tai Chi may improve insulin sensitivity and lead to better glucose control, the evidence of the effects of Tai Chi on type 2 diabetes are still limited and conflicting. A systematic review of the effects of Tai Chi on type 2 diabetes is warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513484/

 

Improve the Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) with Qigong Practice

Improve the Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) with Qigong Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Qi Gong is an effective, inexpensive, highly accessible and adaptable form of physical, mental and spiritual exercise. . . It is especially beneficial for those who have chronic lung disease. It relieves anxiety/stress, increases energy levels, helps slow the progression of COPD and improves overall quality of life.” – Jessica Jackson

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) are progressive lung diseases that obstruct airflow. The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is very serious being the third leading cause of death in the United States, over 140,000 deaths per year and the number of people dying from COPD is growing. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. Symptoms develop slowly. Over time, COPD can interfere with the performance of routine tasks and is thus a major cause of disability in the United States. The most common cause of COPD is smoking. COPD is not contagious. Most of the time, treatment can ease symptoms and slow progression.

 

There is no cure for COPD. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. Gentle exercise such as Yoga practice could improve COPD symptoms as it has been shown to improve exercise tolerance and overall health and includes breathing exercises. Indeed, it has been shown that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of patients with COPD. 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 COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle practices.

 

In today’s Research News article “The therapeutic effects of qigong in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the stable stage: a meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727520/), Tong and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials exploring the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). They identified 10 randomized controlled trials including a total of 993 participants.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that Qigong practice produced a significant improvement in the general physical health of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients, significant improvements in lung function including increases forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity, a significant increase in exercise capacity as measured by the distance walked in 6-minutes, and improvements in activities engaged in during daily living. Hence Qigong practice improved the quality of life in COPD patients.

 

The results of this meta-analysis are remarkable and suggest that Qigong exercise is a safe and effective practice for the improvement of the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In addition, Qigong is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, improve the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with Qigong practice.

 

“this traditional form of meditation and exercise may be greatly beneficial in rehabilitating older COPD patients, and may be used as a favorable alternative to regular exercise routines.” – Anna Tan

 

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

 

Tong, H., Liu, Y., Zhu, Y., Zhang, B., & Hu, J. (2019). The therapeutic effects of qigong in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the stable stage: a meta-analysis. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 239. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2639-9

 

Abstract

Objectives

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one global disease. Lung function gradually declines. Medication does not fully reverse the airflow limitation. Qigong’s role in COPD rehabilitation has been assessed. We aimed to assess the effects of Qigong practised by COPD patients.

Methods

Eligible articles were obtained through a systematic search. The databased were search on October 8, 2017, and the date range of the searches in the electronic databases had no upper limit. The Cochrane risk-of-bias tool was used to evaluate the quality of the eligible studies. Mean differences with 95% confidence intervals were utilized to analyse the results.

Results

Ten included studies contained 993 participants. Statistical improvements occurred in the 6-min walk distance (6MWD) (MD, 30.57 m; 95% CI, 19.61–41.53 m; P < 0.00001); forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) (MD, 0.32 L; 95% CI, 0.09–0.56 L; P < 0.001); forced vital capacity rate of 1 s (FEV1/FVC) (MD, 2.66%; 95% CI, 1.32–2.26%; P = 0.0001); forced expiratory volume in 1 s/predicted (FEV1/pre) (MD, 6.04; CI, 2.58–9.5; P = 0.006); Monitored Functional Task Evaluation (MD, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.78–0.99; P < 0.00001); COPD Assessment Test for exercise (MD, − 5.54; 95% CI, − 9.49 to − 1.59; P = 0.006); Short Form-36 Health Quality Survey (SF-36)–General Health (MD, 5.22; 95% CI, 3.65–6.80; P < 0.00001); and Short Form-36 Health Quality Survey (SF-36)–Mental Health (MD, − 1.21; 95% CI, − 2.75 to 0.33; P = 0.12).

Conclusions

In this meta-analysis of RCTs between ten included studies, we found that Qigong can improve COPD patients in lung function, exercise capacity and quality of life who were in the stable stage.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727520/

Reduce Pain and Falls and Improve Mobility in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Reduce Pain and Falls and Improve Mobility in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Solid research shows that tai chi can benefit people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headache, and other ongoing, painful conditions.” – Harvard Health

 

The process of aging affects every aspect of the physical and cognitive domains. Every system in the body deteriorates including motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. Impaired balance is a particular problem as it can lead to falls. The elderly also frequently suffer from chronic pain.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. Physically, exercise can be helpful in strengthening the body to prevent or relieve pain. Psychologically, the stress, fear, and anxiety produced by pain tends to elicit responses that actually amplify the pain. Indeed, mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back painTai Chi, Qigong, and yoga  are all exercises and mindfulness practices that have been found to be effective for pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi for older adults with chronic multisite pain: a randomized controlled pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126990/), You and colleagues examine the ability of Tai Chi practice to reduce chronic pain in the elderly. They recruited elderly (>65 years of age) with multisite (2 or more) musculoskeletal pain who either had 1 or more falls in the last year or used a cane or walker. They were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks, 2 hours, twice a week of either Tai Chi or light physical exercise. They were measured before and after training for acceptability of the exercises, chronic health conditions, pain, attention, executive function, physical function, gait, falls, and fear of falling. 83% of the elderly completed the study.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline the elderly who engaged in Tai Chi had significantly lower pain and pain interference with activities, improvements in gait, including stride and swing time, and decreased gait asymmetry, and decreased fear of falling, and fewer falls over the subsequent 9 months, while the light exercise group did not.

 

These are encouraging pilot results that are similar to other findings with Tai Chi with other types of patients. Unfortunately, because this was a small pilot study there were no statistically significant differences between the Tai Chi group and the light exercise group even though the Tai Chi groups was significantly improved relative to baseline whereas the light exercise group was not. But these results provide justification for performing a future large scale randomized controlled trial.

 

It’s important to note that Tai Chi is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, reduce pain and falls and improve mobility in the elderly with Tai Chi.

 

“Improved flexibility will reduce stiffness and help keep joints mobile. Stiffness causes pain; increase flexibility will relieve pain.  Tai Chi for Arthritis gently moves all joints, muscles and tendons throughout the body.” – Paul Lam

 

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

 

You, T., Ogawa, E. F., Thapa, S., Cai, Y., Zhang, H., Nagae, S., … Leveille, S. G. (2018). Tai Chi for older adults with chronic multisite pain: a randomized controlled pilot study. Aging clinical and experimental research, 30(11), 1335–1343. doi:10.1007/s40520-018-0922-0

 

Abstract

Background

Chronic pain is associated with poorer cognition and mobility, and fall risk in older adults.

Aims

To investigate the feasibility of a randomized trial of mind-body exercise (Tai Chi) versus light physical exercise in older adults with multisite pain.

Methods

Adults aged ≥ 65y with multisite pain who reported falling in the past year or current use of an assistive device were recruited from Boston area communities. Participants were randomized to either a Tai Chi or a light physical exercise program, offered twice weekly for 12 weeks. The primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability. Secondary outcomes included pain characteristics, cognition, physical function, gait mobility, fear of falling, and fall frequency.

Results

Of 176 adults screened, 85 were eligible, and 54 consented and enrolled (average age 75±8y; 96.30% white; 75.93% female). The dropout rate was 18% for Tai Chi and 12% for light physical exercise. For those completing the study, exercise class attendance was 76% for Tai Chi and 82% for light physical exercise. There were no significant group differences in most secondary outcomes. Tai Chi significantly lowered pain severity (4.58±1.73 to 3.73±1.79, p<0.01) and pain interference (4.20±2.53 to 3.16±2.28, p<0.05), reduced fear of falling (90.82±9.59 to 96.84±10.67, p<0.05), and improved several single-task and dual-task gait variables, while light physical exercise did not change these measures

Discussion and Conclusions

This study demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a larger randomized controlled trial in older adults with multisite pain. Study findings and challenges encountered will inform future research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6126990/

 

Improve Low Back Pain with Tai Chi Practice Alone or with Other Treatments

Improve Low Back Pain with Tai Chi Practice Alone or with Other Treatments

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We would expect disability to improve because tai chi involves physical activity and exercise, and this would improve people’s ability to do physical tasks around the house, sports, work, etc.,” – Chris Maher

 

Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. It is estimated, however, that 80% of the population will experience back pain sometime during their lives. There are varied treatments for low back pain including chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, surgery, opiate pain killing drugs, steroid injections, and muscle relaxant drugs. These therapies are sometimes effective particularly for acute back pain. But, for chronic conditions the treatments are less effective and often require continuing treatment for years and opiate pain killers are dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses.

 

Obviously, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for low back pain that are low cost and don’t have troublesome side effects. Mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back painTai Chi is a mindfulness practice that is safe and gentle and has been shown to improve spinal health and reduce pain. The evidence is accumulating, so, it would seem reasonable to summarize what has been learned regarding the ability of Tai Chi practice to treat chronic low back pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi alone or as additional therapy on low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750325/), Qin and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a met-analysis of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of low back pain. They identified 10 randomized controlled trials employing a total of 959 participants.

 

They report that the studies found that Tai Chi practice either alone or in combination with other therapies significantly reduced low back pain level and the patient’s disability in comparison to control groups. Improvements in disability included pain intensity, personal care, lifting, walking, standing, sleeping, social life, and travelling. This summary makes it clear that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment for chronic low back pain.

 

Tai Chi is not strenuous, involving 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 treat with chronic low back pain.

 

So, improve low back pain with Tai Chi practice alone or with other treatments.

 

“Tai chi helps with back pain in several ways. It strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and pelvic area that are crucial to supporting the lower back; it improves your balance and flexibility; and it makes you more aware of your posture when you sit, stand, and walk.” – Benjamin Kligler

 

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., Zhang, Y., Wu, L., He, Z., Huang, J., Tao, J., & Chen, L. (2019). Effect of Tai Chi alone or as additional therapy on low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine, 98(37), e17099. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017099

 

Abstract

Background:

This is the first systematic review evaluating and statistically synthesis the current studies regarding the effects of Tai Chi on pain and disability in patients with low back pain (LBP).

Methods:

Seven electronic databases including PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang and VIP information from inception to early March 2019 were searched. The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) Scale was used to assess quality of all included randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The pooled effect size (weight mean difference, WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to determine the effect of Tai Chi on pain and disability among LBP patients based on random effects model.

Results:

The aggregated results of the meta-analysis suggested that Tai Chi significantly decreased pain (WMD = −1.27, 95%CI −1.50 to −1.04, P < .00001, I2 = 74%) and improve function disability, Oswestry disability index (ODI) subitems: pain intensity (WMD = −1.70, 95% CI −2.63 to −0.76, P = .0004, I2 = 89%); personal care (WMD = −1.93, 95% CI −2.86 to −1.00, P < .0001, I2 = 90%); lifting (WMD = −1.69, 95% CI −2.22 to −1.15, P < .0001, I2 = 66%); walking (WMD = −2.05, 95% CI −3.05 to −1.06, P < .0001, I2 = 88%); standing (WMD = −1.70, 95% CI −2.51 to −0.89, P < .0001, I2 = 84%); sleeping (WMD = −2.98, 95% CI −3.73 to −2.22, P < .00001, I2 = 80%); social life (WMD = −2.06, 95% CI −2.77 to −1.35, P < 0.00001, I2 = 80%) and traveling (WMD = −2.20, 95% CI −3.21 to −1.19, P < .0001, I2 = 90%), Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score (WMD = 7.22, 95% CI 5.59–8.86, P < .00001, I2 = 0%), Medical Outcomes Study Questionnaire Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) physical functioning (WMD = 3.30, 95% CI 1.92–4.68, P < .00001), and Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) (WMD = −2.19, 95% CI −2.56 to −1.82, P < .00001).

Conclusion:

We drew a cautious conclusion that Tai Chi alone or as additional therapy with routine physical therapy may decrease pain and improve function disability for patients with LBP. Further trials are needed to be conducted with our suggestions mentioned in the systematic review.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750325/

 

Improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Symptoms with Qigong

Improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Symptoms with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Along with traditional medical treatments, pulmonary exercise has been utilized to increase endurance during physical activity and decrease breathlessness.  Reports using TaiQi and Qigong have shown better functional capacity and pulmonary function in patients with COPD.” – Ryan Killarney

 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) are progressive lung diseases that obstruct airflow. The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is very serious being the third leading cause of death in the United States, over 140,000 deaths per year and the number of people dying from COPD is growing. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. Symptoms develop slowly. Over time, COPD can interfere with the performance of routine tasks and is thus a major cause of disability in the United States. COPD is not contagious. Most of the time, treatment can ease symptoms and slow progression.

 

There is no cure for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. 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 COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle practices.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Qigong on self-rating depression and anxiety scale scores of COPD patients: A meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6708806/), Wu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research findings of the effectiveness of Qigong practice in the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). They found 6 published randomized controlled trials including a total of 415 participants.

 

They report that the research studies found that Qigong practice produced significant improvements in lung function and significant reductions in anxiety and depression in the patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). It is not known if the improvement in lung function was responsible for the mood improvements in the patients or if this was an independent effect of  Qigong practice. Since Qigong is usually practiced in groups, the increased socialization may also have been responsible for the improvements in mood.

 

These are interesting and important findings. Qigong practice is a very gentle exercise that only mildly increases respiration and as such it is surprising that there were such marked improvements in lung function. But the results clearly suggest that Qigong practice is an excellent safe and effective treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) improving the patients physical and psychological well-being.

 

So, improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) symptoms with Qigong.

 

The gentle movements of tai chi can improve the lives and boost the exercise endurance of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” – Matt McMillen

 

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, J. J., Zhang, Y. X., Du, W. S., Jiang, L. D., Jin, R. F., Yu, H. Y., … Han, M. (2019). Effect of Qigong on self-rating depression and anxiety scale scores of COPD patients: A meta-analysis. Medicine, 98(22), e15776. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000015776

 

Abstract

Objective:

To explore the clinical efficacy and safety of Qigong in reducing the self-rating depression scale (SDS) and self-rating anxiety scale (SAS) scores of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods:

We searched CNKI, Wan fang, Chongqing VIP, China Biology Medicine disc, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE for studies published as of Dec 31, 2018. All randomized controlled trials of Qigong in COPD patients, which met the inclusion criteria were included. The Cochrane bias risk assessment tool was used for literature evaluation. RevMan 5.3 software was used for meta-analysis.

Results:

Six studies (combined n = 415 patients) met the inclusion criteria. Compared with conventional therapy alone, Qigong in combination with conventional therapy significantly improved the following outcome measures: SDS score [mean difference (MD) −3.99, 95% CI (−6.17, −1.82), P < .001, I2 = 69%]; SAS score[MD −4.57, 95% CI (−5.67, −3.48), P < .001, I2 = 15%]; forced expiratory volume in one second/prediction (FEV1% pred) [MD 3.77, 95% CI (0.97,6.58), P < .01, I2 = 0]; forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) [MD 0.21, 95% CI (0.13, 0.30), P < .001, I2 = 0%]; forced vital capacity (FVC) [MD 0.28, 95% CI (0.16, 0.40), P < .001, I2 = 0]; 6-minute walk test (6MWT) distance [MD 39.31, 95% CI (18.27, 60.34), P < .001, I2 = 32%]; and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score [MD −11.42, 95% CI (−21.80, −1.03), P < .05, I2 = 72%].

Conclusion:

Qigong can improve the SDS and SAS scores of COPD patients, and has auxiliary effects on improving lung function, 6MWT distance, and SGRQ score.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6708806/

 

Improve the Physical Fitness of Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disorders with Tai Chi

Improve the Physical Fitness of Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disorders with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

giving a child beginner skills can be life changing. Qi Gong has the power to bring one physical ease, mental clarity, emotional stability and spiritual awareness. That is worthwhile at any age.” – Donna Henderson

 

Intellectual disabilities involve below average intelligence and relatively slow learning. They are quite common, affecting an estimated 10% of individuals worldwide. These disabilities present problems for the children in learning mathematics, reading and writing. These difficulties, in turn, affect performance in other academic disciplines. The presence of intellectual disabilities can have serious consequences for the psychological well-being of the children, including their self-esteem and social skills. In addition, anxiety, depression, and conduct disorders often accompany learning disabilities. Not as well known is that children with intellectual disabilities also have motor problems.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve attentionmemory, and learning and increase success in school. Exercise has been shown to improve psychomotor performance in children with intellectual disabilities.  Tai Chi practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. So, it makes sense to examine Tai Chi practice for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi as an Alternative Exercise to Improve Physical Fitness for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479776/), Kong and colleagues recruited children and adolescents (aged 10-18 years) who had an intellectual disability (IQ < 70). They were randomly assigned to either no treatment, or to 12 weeks of twice a week 1 hour of either aerobic dance exercise, or Tai Chi training. They were measured before and after training for body size, body fat, flexibility, balance, coordination in upper and lower extremities, muscular strength (grip strength), leg power, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

 

They found that the aerobic dance was more strenuous (heart rate mean of 105 beats per minute) than Tai Chi practice (heart rate mean of 97 beats per minute). Compared to baseline the aerobic dance group had significant increases in body mass index, sit-ups, and 6-min walk test. The Tai Chi group had significant increases in vertical jump, lower-limb coordination, and upper-limb coordination, and balance.

 

These results demonstrate that exercise is beneficial for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities helping them overcome some of their motor problems. Aerobic dance and Tai Chi practice are both beneficial, but have different physical benefits. Aerobic dance appears to increase body size and fitness while Tai Chi practice appears to improve leg strength and limb coordination as well as balance. It would probably make sense in the future to combine the two exercises into a single program to produce maximum benefits. These programs may be very helpful for the children and adolescents in correcting motor problems. It was not tested but this could improve their self-esteem.

 

So, improve the physical fitness of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities with Tai Chi.

 

“Kids with special needs benefit from Tai Chi.  Because Tai Chi works on the inside of the body it helps to relieve the sense of inner turmoil and confusion that gets us off balance.  It can alleviate stomachaches, nervousness, fear, anger and frustration.  It helps improve focus, concentration and self-control.” – Cari Shurman

 

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

 

Kong, Z., Sze, T. M., Yu, J. J., Loprinzi, P. D., Xiao, T., Yeung, A. S., … Zou, L. (2019). Tai Chi as an Alternative Exercise to Improve Physical Fitness for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7), 1152. doi:10.3390/ijerph16071152

 

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on anthropometric parameters and physical fitness among children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities (ID). Methods: Sixty-six Chinese individuals engaged in sport-related extracurricular activities (TC and aerobic exercise (AE)) as exercise interventions or arts/crafts activities as a control condition (CON). The experimental protocol consisted of a baseline assessment, a 12-week intervention period, and a post-intervention assessment. Results: Significant interaction effect was only observed in the performance of a 6-min walk test. After 12 weeks of intervention, the AE group had significant changes in body mass index (p = 0.006, d = 0.11), sit-ups (p = 0.030 and d = 0.57), and 6-min walk test (p = 0.005, d = 0.89). Significant increases in vertical jump (p = 0.048, d = 0.41), lower-limb coordination (p = 0.008, d = 0.53), and upper-limb coordination (p = 0.048, d = 0.36) were observed in the TC group. Furthermore, the TC group demonstrated significantly greater improvements on balance compared to the control group (p = 0.011). Conclusions: TC may improve leg power and coordination of both lower and upper limbs, while AE may be beneficial for body mass index, sit-ups and cardiorespiratory fitness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479776/

 

Tai Chi Practice is a Cost-Effective Treatment to Reduce Falls in Older Adults

Tai Chi Practice is a Cost-Effective Treatment to Reduce Falls in Older Adults

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Across multiple studies, Tai chi appears to reduce risk of falling by 20 to 45 percent and is considered one of the best exercises available for ambulatory older adults with balance concerns.” – Peter Wayne

 

The process of aging affects every aspect of the physical and cognitive domains. Every system in the body deteriorates including motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. Impaired balance is a particular problem as it can lead to falls. In the U.S. one third of people over 65 fall each year and 2.5 million are treated in emergency rooms for injuries produced by falls. About 1% of falls result in deaths making it the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly.

 

Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults, fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness. It is obviously important to discover methods to improve balance and decrease the number of falls in the elderly.

 

Tai Chi training is designed to enhance and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. It includes balance training and has been shown to improve balance and coordination. Indeed, Tai Chi training has been shown to reduce the frequency of falls in the elderly. It is not known, however, if Tai Chi training is more or less cost-effective than other exercises for reducing falls in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Cost-Effectiveness of a Therapeutic Tai Ji Quan Fall Prevention Intervention for Older Adults at High Risk of Falling.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696718/), Li and colleagues recruited community-based elderly individuals (over 70 years of age) who had experienced at least one fall in the last year and randomly assigned them to one of three conditions; Tai Chi practice, multimodal (mixed) exercises, or stretching. The exercises occurred in twice weekly, 60-minute sessions, for 24 weeks. They were measured before and after training for falls, health related quality of life, health index, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and health-related service utilization expenses.

 

They found that Tai Chi practice resulted in significantly greater reduction in falls and increase in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) than either the multimodal or stretching exercises. The costs of implementing the 3 programs were equivalent. The total health-related utilization cost was $1,958 per participant for Tai Chi, compared with $2,583 for multimodal and $2,131 for stretching. Tai Chi produced greater reductions in falls at a lower cost and resulted in lower health care costs results in in incremental costs of $850 per additional fall prevented and $27,614 per additional QALY gained.

 

These results suggest that Tai Chi practice is a safe, effective, and cost-effective means of reducing falls in the elderly. Falls when they occur in the elderly can be quite devastating and can produce major injuries that can even lead to death. So, their prevention is very important not just for reducing health care costs but for the longevity and quality of life of the individual.

 

So, Tai Chi practice is a cost-effective treatment to reduce falls in older adults.

 

Falling in adults age 65 and older is significantly associated with loss of independence, premature mortality and big health care costs.” – Peter Harmer

 

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

 

Li, F., Harmer, P., Eckstrom, E., Fitzgerald, K., Akers, L., Chou, L. S., … Winters-Stone, K. (2019). Cost-Effectiveness of a Therapeutic Tai Ji Quan Fall Prevention Intervention for Older Adults at High Risk of Falling. The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 74(9), 1504–1510. doi:10.1093/gerona/glz008

 

Abstract

Background

Data on the cost-effectiveness of proven fall prevention exercise interventions are limited. We aimed to establish the cost-effectiveness of Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance (TJQMBB) compared with a conventional exercise intervention for older adults at high risk of falling.

Methods

We conducted a trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis involving 670 older adults who had a history of falling or impaired mobility. Participants received one of three interventions—TJQMBB, multimodal exercise, or stretching exercise (control)—each of which was implemented twice weekly for 24 weeks. The primary cost-effectiveness measure was the incremental cost per additional fall prevented, comparing TJQMBB and multimodal exercise to Stretching and TJQMBB to multimodal exercise, with a secondary measure of incremental cost per additional quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. The intervention was conducted between February 2015 and January 2018, and cost-effectiveness was estimated from a health care system perspective over a 6-month time horizon.

Results

The total cost to deliver the TJQMBB intervention was $202,949 (an average of $906 per participant); for multimodal exercise, it was $223,849 ($1,004 per participant); and for Stretching, it was $210,468 ($903 per participant). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios showed that the multimodal exercise was cost-effective ($850 per additional fall prevented; $27,614 per additional QALY gained) relative to Stretching; however, TJQMBB was the most economically dominant strategy (ie, having lower cost and being clinically more efficacious) compared with multimodal and stretching exercises with regard to cost per additional fall prevented and per additional QALY gained. TJQMBB had a 100% probability of being cost-effective, relative to Stretching, at a threshold of $500 per each additional fall prevented and $10,000 per additional QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses showed the robustness of the results when extreme cases, medical costs only, and missing data were considered.

Conclusions

Among community-dwelling older adults at high risk for falls, TJQMBB is a cost-effective means of reducing falls compared with conventional exercise approaches.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696718/

 

Treat Depression with Tai Chi

Treat Depression with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A 12-week program of instruction and practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese Americans not receiving any other treatments.” – Science Daily

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.  Mindful Movement practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi have been found to be effective for depression. Research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and examine what has been learned regarding the application of Tai Chi practice for depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Treating Depression With Tai Chi: State of the Art and Future Perspectives.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474282/), Kong and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for depression. They report that the published research has demonstrated that Tai Chi practice significantly decreases depression levels in a variety of groups including adults, the elderly, pregnant women, patients taking antidepressant drugs or not, and those with a variety of diseases including fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart failure, mild dementia, and cerebrovascular disorder.

 

They report that the published research indicates that Tai Chi practice may lower depression by producing neuroplastic changes in the nervous system, particularly the brain’s Default Mode Network that’s known to be involved in self-referential thinking which is prevalent in depression. Another possible mechanism is indicated by the research demonstrating that Tai Chi reduces the physiological and psychological responses to stress, that are known to exacerbate depression. Tai Chi is also known to reduce the inflammatory response that is heightened in depression. In addition, Tai Chi is a mild exercise and exercise has been shown to reduce depression. Finally, Tai Chi practice appears to relax the autonomic component of the peripheral nervous system

 

The results of the published research suggests that Tai Chi  practice should be prescribed for depression. In addition, Tai Chi is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, treat depression with Tai Chi.

 

“A 12-week program of instruction and practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese Americans not receiving any other treatments.” – Mayo Clinic

 

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

 

Kong, J., Wilson, G., Park, J., Pereira, K., Walpole, C., & Yeung, A. (2019). Treating Depression With Tai Chi: State of the Art and Future Perspectives. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 237. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00237

 

Abstract

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in America. Current treatments for MDD are unsatisfactory given high non-response rates, high relapse rates, and undesirable side effects. Accumulating evidence suggests that Tai Chi, a popular mind–body intervention that originated as a martial art, can significantly regulate emotion and relieve the symptoms of mood disorders. In addition, the availability of instructional videos and the development of more simplified and less structured Tai Chi has made it a promising low-intensity mind-body exercise. In this article, we first examine a number of clinical trials that implemented Tai Chi as a treatment for depression. Then, we explore several mechanisms by which Tai Chi may alleviate depressive symptoms, hypothesizing that the intervention may modulate the activity and connectivity of key brain regions involved in mood regulation, reduce neuro-inflammatory sensitization, modulate the autonomic nervous system, and regulate hippocampal neurogenesis. Finally, we discuss common challenges of the intervention and possible ways to address them. Specifically, we pose developing a simplified and tailored Tai Chi protocol for patients with depression, comparatively investigating Tai Chi with other mind–body interventions such as yoga and Baduanjin, and developing new mind–body interventions that merge the advantages of multiple mind–body exercises.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474282/

 

Facilitate Stroke Rehabilitation with Tai Chi Practice

Facilitate Stroke Rehabilitation with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

implementing the ancient Chinese art of tai chi into one’s routine may produce strong results of increased stability and functionality, leading to an overall sense of well being for the stroke survivor.” – Saebo

 

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.

 

It is clear that basic physical fitness and exercise are excellent for stroke prevention and rehabilitation. Yoga practice is an exercise that can be adapted to the needs and limitations of stroke victims. 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 balance. It is difficult to get stroke survivors to engage in exercise. Perhaps the practice of Tai Chi, since it is adaptable, very gentle, and fun, might be acceptable and effective in the treatment of stroke survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of Tai Chi exercise on motor function and sleep quality in patients with stroke: A meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6626210/), Li and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the rehabilitation of patients who have survived strokes. They identified 17 published randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the published studies found that Tai Chi practice produced a significant improvement in balance and ability to perform daily activities in the stroke survivors. There were no significant improvements in either sleep quality or walking ability.

 

The results of the published research to date suggest that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment to improve stroke survivors ability to perform daily activities. This is important for improving the independence of the survivors and for their quality of life. The studies also found that Tai Chi practice improved balance. This is very important as this would reduce the likelihood of falls which are a real threat to the health and even longevity of stroke survivors. So, Tai Chi practice produces important benefits for the health and well-being of stroke survivors.

 

So, facilitate stroke rehabilitation with Tai Chi practice.

 

The benefits of tai chi for stroke patients may come from the unique combination of slow, controlled movements coupled with relaxation. In one study on tai chi for stroke recovery, patients who didn’t participated in tai chi sustained 5 times more falls than those who did.” – Flint Rehab

 

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

 

Li, Y., Zhang, Y., Cui, C., Liu, Y., Lei, M., Liu, T., … Jin, C. (2017). The effect of Tai Chi exercise on motor function and sleep quality in patients with stroke: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 4(3), 314–321. doi:10.1016/j.ijnss.2017.06.001

 

Abstract

Objective

The meta-analysis is to objectively evaluate the efficacy of Tai Chi exercise for motor function and sleep quality in patients with stroke.

Methods

Randomized controlled trials(RCTs) about the effects of Tai Chi versus a non-exercise or conventional rehabilitation exercise control group on motor function and sleep quality in patients with stroke were searched from multiple electronic databases(PubMed, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, AMED, CBM, CNKI, Wanfang and VIP) until August 2016. Two investigators independently screened eligible studies, extracted data, and assessed the methodological quality by using the quality evaluation criteria for RCTs recommended by Cochrane Handbook. Then meta-analysis was performed by RevMan5.3 software.

Results

A total of 17 RCTs with 1209 participants were included. The meta-analysis indicated that there was a significant difference on improving the balance function(P < 0.001) and ability of daily activity (P = 0.0003) of patients with stroke between Tai Chi group and control group. However, no significant effect was found on Tai Chi for walking function and sleep quality(P > 0.05).

Conclusion

Tai Chi exercise can significantly improve the balance function and ability of daily activities of patients with stroke, and there are no significant differences in walking function and sleep quality. Therefore, lots of multicenter, large-sample, higher quality randomized controlled trials are needed to verify the effects of Tai Chi exercise in improving walking function and sleep quality for patients with stroke.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6626210/

 

Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain with Tai Chi

Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi has demonstrated usefulness in the prevention and treatment of certain problems such as back pain. Importantly, Tai Chi is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive, and gentle on the spine, so many people with back pain are starting to try it as an adjunct to (or sometimes instead of) traditional medical approaches to manage back pain. Furthermore, Tai Chi does not require any expensive equipment and can be practiced anywhere.” – Robert Humphreys

 

Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. It is estimated, however, that 80% of the population will experience back pain sometime during their lives. There are varied treatments for low back pain including chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, surgery, opiate pain killing drugs, steroid injections, and muscle relaxant drugs. These therapies are sometimes effective particularly for acute back pain. But, for chronic conditions the treatments are less effective and often require continuing treatment for years and opiate pain killers are dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses.

 

Obviously, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for low back pain that are low cost and don’t have troublesome side effects. Mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back painTai Chi is a mindfulness practice that is safe and gentle and has been shown to improve spinal health and reduce pain. So, it would seem reasonable to examine the ability of Tai Chi practice to treat chronic low back pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Chen-Style Tai Chi for Individuals (Aged 50 Years Old or Above) with Chronic Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388249/), Liu and colleagues recruited older adults (aged 50 and over) who were diagnosed with chronic low back pain and randomly assigned them to receive Chen Style Tai Chi training, deep core stabilization exercise, or a no-treatment control condition. Tai Chi and core stabilization exercise practice occurred for 60 minutes three times per week for 12 weeks. They were measured before and after training for lower back pain intensity and for knee and ankle joint position matching ability (proprioception).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group both Tai Chi training and core stabilization exercise produced a significant decrease in lower back pain, with Tai Chi training producing the greatest relief of the pain. There were, however, no significant effects of training on knee and ankle joint proprioception.

 

The study is significant in that it demonstrates that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment to relieve chronic low back pain in older adults. This pain is a major problem decreasing their ability to fully engage in daily and work activities. So the relief of the pain by Tai Chi practice should contribute to a marked increase in their quality of life.

 

Tai Chi is not strenuous, involving 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 treat with chronic low back pain.

 

So, relieve chronic low back pain with Tai Chi.

 

Some solid research shows that tai chi can benefit people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headache, and other ongoing, painful conditions.”  – Harvard 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

 

Liu, J., Yeung, A., Xiao, T., Tian, X., Kong, Z., Zou, L., & Wang, X. (2019). Chen-Style Tai Chi for Individuals (Aged 50 Years Old or Above) with Chronic Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(3), 517. doi:10.3390/ijerph16030517

 

Abstract

Tai Chi (TC) can be considered safe and effective intervention to improve pain and pain-related functional disability. However, it is unclear that whether aging individuals with Chronic Non-Specific Low Back Pain (CNS-LBP) can achieve positive results. This study, therefore, attempted to explore the effects of TC on pain and functional disability in CNS-LBP patients aged 50 years old or above. Forty-three individuals (aged 50 years old or above) with CNS-LBP were randomly assigned into three groups: Chen-Style TC group (n = 15), Core Stabilization training (CST) group (n = 15), and control group (n = 13). Participants in the TC group participated in Chen-style TC training program (three 60-min sessions per week for 12 weeks), individuals in CST group received 12-week Core Stabilization exercise on the Swiss ball, whereas individuals in the control group maintained their unaltered lifestyle. Pain intensity as primary outcome was measured using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), A BiodexSystem 3 isokinetic dynamometer was used to measure knee and ankle joint position sense (JPS) as secondary outcomes at baseline and after the 12-week intervention. TC and CST have significant effects in VAS for CNS-LBP patients (p< 0.01, TC group OR CST group versus control group in mean of the post-minus-pre assessment). However, the feature of joint position sense (JPS) of ankle inversion, ankle eversion and knee flexion did not occur, it showed no significant effects with TC and CST. TC was found to reduce pain, but not improve lower limb proprioception in patients with CNS-LBP. Future research with larger sample sizes will be needed to achieve more definitive findings on the effects of TC on both pain and lower limb proprioception in this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6388249/