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/

 

Improve Metabolic Syndrome with Qigong

Improve Metabolic Syndrome with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For patients at risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, the Chinese exercises Tai Chi and Qigong may improve clinical parameters associated with the conditions.” – Charles Bankhead

 

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects 34% of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity and metabolic syndrome. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Qigong practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to step back and review the research and summarize what is known about the effects of Qigong training on metabolic syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wuqinxi Qigong as an Alternative Exercise for Improving Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome: A 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/PMC6517947/), Zou and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis on the published randomized controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. They identified 9 published research studies that included a total of 628 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that Qigong practice produced significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, including reductions in low density lipoproteins (LDL Cholesterol) and high density lipoproteins (HDL Cholesterol). In addition, they found that the longer the duration of practice the greater the decreases in diastolic blood pressure, total plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, and low density lipoproteins (LDL Cholesterol).

 

The findings are exciting as they suggest that Qigong practice is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and the longer the practice continues the greater the benefits. 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 parks 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, Qigong practice would appear to be an excellent gentle practice to treat the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

 

So, improve metabolic syndrome with Qigong.

 

“Qigong exercise has shown promising results in clinical experience and in randomized, controlled pilot studies for affecting aspects of T2DM including positive associations between participation in Qigong and blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, weight, BMI and insulin resistance.” – Guan-Cheng Sun

 

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

 

Zou, L., Zhang, Y., Sasaki, J. E., Yeung, A. S., Yang, L., Loprinzi, P. D., … Mai, Y. (2019). Wuqinxi Qigong as an Alternative Exercise for Improving Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(8), 1396. doi:10.3390/ijerph16081396

 

Abstract

Background: The improvement of living standards has led to increases in the prevalence of hypokinetic diseases. In particular, multifactorial complex diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, are becoming more prevalent. Currently, developing effective methods to combat or prevent metabolic syndrome is of critical public health importance. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to evaluate the existing literature regarding the effects of Wuqinxi exercise on reducing risk factors related to metabolic syndrome. Methods:Both English- and Chinese-language databases were searched for randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of Wuqinxi on these outcomes. Meanwhile, we extracted usable data for computing pooled effect size estimates, along with the random-effects model. Results: The synthesized results showed positive effects of Wuqinxi exercise on systolic blood pressure (SBP, SMD = 0.62, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.85, p< 0.001, I2 = 24.06%), diastolic blood pressure (DBP, SMD = 0.62, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.00, p < 0.001, I2 = 61.28%), total plasma cholesterol (TC, SMD = 0.88, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.36, p < 0.001, I2 = 78.71%), triglyceride (TG, SMD = 0.87, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.24, p < 0.001, I2 = 67.22%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, SMD = 1.24, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.72, p < 0.001, I2 = 78.27%), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL, SMD = 0.95, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.46, p < 0.001, I2 = 82.27%). In addition, regression results showed that longer-duration Wuqinxi intervention significantly improved DBP (β = 0.00016, Q = 5.72, df = 1, p = 0.02), TC (β = −0.00010, Q = 9.03, df = 1, p = 0.01), TG (β = 0.00012, Q = 6.23, df = 1, p = 0.01), and LDL (β = 0.00011, Q = 5.52, df = 1, p = 0.02). Conclusions: Wuqinxi may be an effective intervention to alleviate the cardiovascular disease risk factors of metabolic syndrome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517947/

 

Improve Depression by Modulating the Autonomic Nervous System in the Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Depression by Modulating the Autonomic Nervous System in the Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi appears to relieve symptoms of depression in older people.” – Tara Parker-Pope

 

Human life is one of constant change. We revel in our increases in physical and mental capacities during development, but regret their decreases during aging. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. This includes our mental abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability, and in emotion regulation. Depression is very common in the elderly. The elderly cope with increasing loss of friends and family, deteriorating health, as well as concerns regarding finances on fixed incomes. In addition, many elderly experience withdrawal and isolation from social interactions producing increased loneliness, worry and anxiety.

 

There is some hope for age related decline, however, as there is evidence that it can be slowed. There are some indications that physical and mental exercise can reduce the rate of decline. For example, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging and with improving depression. There is, however, been very little research on the mechanisms by which Tai Chi practice improves depression in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi on Heart Rate Variability in Older Chinese Individuals with Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313592/), Liu and colleagues recruited elderly (aged 60 and older) who were not taking antidepressant medications or drinking alcohol, but who scored as having mild depression on an elderly depression scale. They were randomly assigned to either receive Tai Chi training for 60 minutes, 3 times per week for 24 weeks, or to a no-treatment control condition. The elderly were measured before and after treatment for depression, and heart rate variability, a measure of autonomic nervous system activity.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group the Tai Chi participants had significantly decreased levels of depression and significant decreases in low frequency heart rate variability and significant increases in high frequency heart rate variability. The higher the levels of high frequency heart rate variability the lower the levels of depression and the lower the levels of low frequency heart rate variability the lower the levels of depression.

 

These findings are interesting and suggest that Tai Chi training reduces depression in the elderly. The results further suggest that Tai Chi training may do so by creating balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. High frequency heart rate variability is suggestive of parasympathetic (relaxation) activity and this was increased by Tai Chi training while low frequency heart rate variability is suggestive of sympathetic (activation) activity and this was decreased by Tai Chi training. Hence, the results suggest that Tai Chi training may lead to less activation and greater relaxation and this may counter depression.

 

So, improve depression by modulating the autonomic nervous system in the elderly with Tai Chi

 

 “Tai chi has many physical and emotional benefits. Some of the benefits of tai chi include decreased anxiety and depression and improvements in cognition. It may also help you manage symptoms of some chronic diseases.” – Healthline

 

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., Xie, H., Liu, M., Wang, Z., Zou, L., Yeung, A. S., … Yang, Q. (2018). The Effects of Tai Chi on Heart Rate Variability in Older Chinese Individuals with Depression. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(12), 2771. doi:10.3390/ijerph15122771

 

Abstract

Background Very little research has been done to simultaneously investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on depression and heart rate variability (HRV). This study, therefore, attempted to explore the effects of TC on depression and on HRV parameters. Methods Sixty older individuals with depression score of 10 or above (the Geriatric Depression Scale, GDS) were randomly assigned into two groups: TC (n = 30) and control group (n = 30). Participants in the experimental group participated in a 24-week TC training program (three 60-min sessions per week), whereas individuals in the control group maintained their unaltered lifestyle. Depression and HRV were measured using the GDS and digital electrocardiogram at baseline and after the 24-week intervention. Results The TC had produced significant positive chances in depression and some HRV parameters (mean heart rate, RMSSD, HF, LFnorm, and HFnorm) (p < 0.05), whereas these positive results were not observed in the control group. Conclusions The results of this study indicated that TC may alleviate depression of the elderly through modulating autonomous nervous system or HRV parameters. This study adds to a growing body of research showing that TC may be effective in treating depression of the elderly. Tai Chi as a mild to moderate mind-body exercise is suitable for older individuals who suffer from depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313592/

 

Improve Chronic Low Back Pain with Mindful Movement Practices

Improve Chronic Low Back Pain with Mindful Movement Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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. The pain interferes with daily living and with work, interfering with productivity and creating absences. 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.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. Physically, exercise can be helpful in strengthening the back to prevent or relieve pain. Psychologically, the stress, fear, and anxiety produced by pain tends to elicit responses that actually amplify the pain. So, reducing the emotional reactions to pain may be helpful in pain management. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve emotion regulation producing more adaptive and less maladaptive responses to emotions. Indeed, mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back pain. Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga  are both exercises and mindfulness practices that have been found to be effective for back pain. There is accumulating evidence. So, it is useful to take a step back and summarize what has been found.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are Mindful Exercises Safe and Beneficial for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain? A 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/PMC6571780/), Zou and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of the mindful movement practices of Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga on chronic low back pain. The identified 17 randomized controlled trials that included a total of 2022 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that both Tai Chi and yoga practices produced significant reductions in pain intensity and back specific disability in patients with chronic low back pain. There were no reported adverse events with Tai Chi practice but there were a few adverse events reported with yoga practice. So, although both are effective in treating chronic low back pain, more care must be taken with yoga practice to protect against injury.

 

The results of the published research strongly suggests that Tai Chi  practice should be prescribed for chronic low back pain, reducing pain and disability. 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, Tai Chi practice would appear to be an excellent gentle practice to chronic low back pain.

 

So, improve chronic low back pain with mindful movement practices.

 

“On the physical side, tai chi supports or improves balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and stamina. On the mental side, tai chi helps relieve stress, improves body awareness and, when done in a group setting, reduces social isolation.” – 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

 

Zou, L., Zhang, Y., Yang, L., Loprinzi, P. D., Yeung, A. S., Kong, J., … Li, H. (2019). Are Mindful Exercises Safe and Beneficial for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(5), 628. doi:10.3390/jcm8050628

 

Abstract

Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a common health issue worldwide. Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga, as the most widely practiced mindful exercises, have promising effects for CLBP-specific symptoms. Objective: We therefore conducted a comprehensive review investigating the effects of mindful exercises versus active and/or non-active controls while evaluating the safety and pain-related effects of mindful exercises in adults with CLBP. Methods: We searched five databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library) from inception to February 2019. Two investigators independently selected 17 eligible randomized controlled trials (RCT) against inclusion and exclusion criteria, followed by data extraction and study quality assessment. Standardized mean difference (SMD) was used to determine the magnitude of mindful exercises versus controls on pain- and disease-specific outcome measures. Results: As compared to control groups, we observed significantly favorable effects of mindful exercises on reducing pain intensity (SMD = −0.37, 95% CI −0.5 to −0.23, p < 0.001, I2 = 45.9 %) and disability (SMD = −0.39, 95% CI −0.49 to −0.28, p < 0.001, I2 = 0 %). When compared with active control alone, mindful exercises showed significantly reduced pain intensity (SMD = −0.40, p < 0.001). Furthermore, of the three mindful exercises, Tai Chi has a significantly superior effect on pain management (SMD= −0.75, 95% CI −1.05 to −0.46, p < 0.001), whereas Yoga-related adverse events were reported in five studies. Conclusion: Findings of our systematic review suggest that mindful exercises (Tai Chi and Qigong) may be beneficial for CLBP symptomatic management. In particular, Tai Chi appears to have a superior effect in reducing pain intensity irrespective of non-control comparison or active control comparison (conventional exercises, core training, and physical therapy programs). Importantly, training in these mindful exercises should be implemented with certified instructors to ensure quality of movement and injury prevention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571780/