Improve Balance in Stroke Victims with Tai Chi Practice

Improve Balance in Stroke Victims with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Stroke can impair balance, heightening the risk of a debilitating fall. But  . . .  stroke survivors can improve their balance by practicing the Chinese martial art of tai chi.” – ScienceDaily

 

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.

 

There are a number of risk factors for stroke that are unchangeable, such as family history, age, and genes. But there are a very large number of factors that are under our control including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, poor diet, sedentariness, and obesity. Given this list it is clear that basic physical fitness and exercise would be excellent for stroke prevention. 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 “Effect of Tai Chi Exercise on Balance Function of Stroke Patients: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6289026/ ), Wu and colleagues review summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of Tai Chi in improving balance and preventing falls in stroke survivors. They identified 6 randomized controlled trials for inclusion in the analysis.

 

They found that the published research reported that after Tai Chi practice the stroke victims demonstrated significantly better balance and walking ability and fewer falls than stroke victims who performed physical therapy or other exercises. Hence, the published research supports the conclusion that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective exercise for stroke victims to improve balance and decrease the likelihood of falls.

 

Tai Chi is a gentle and safe exercise that is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion, such as stroke recovery. 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 improve motor ability and balance and reduce falls in stroke victims.

 

So, improve balance in strike victims with tai chi practice.

 

Stroke survivors are particularly at risk from falls, with evidence suggesting they suffer up to seven times as many falls per year than healthy adults. Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, could help prevent falls by improving people’s balance, muscle strength and endurance as well as providing psychological benefits.“ – Ruth Taylor-Piliae

 

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, S., Chen, J., Wang, S., Jiang, M., Wang, X., & Wen, Y. (2018). Effect of Tai Chi Exercise on Balance Function of Stroke Patients: A Meta-Analysis. Medical science monitor basic research, 24, 210-215. doi:10.12659/MSMBR.911951

 

Abstract

Background

Tai Chi is an ancient form of physical activity that has been shown to improve cardiovascular function, but to date there had been no comprehensive systematic review on the effect of Tai Chi exercise on balance function of patients with stroke. This study evaluated the effect of Tai Chi exercise on balance function in stroke patients.

Material/Methods

PubMed, Cochrane library, and China National Knowledge Information databases and the Wan Fang medical network were searched to collect the articles. The random-effects model was used to assess the effect of Tai Chi exercise on balance function of stroke patients.

Results

Six studies were chosen to perform the meta-analysis according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. There were significant improvements of balance on Berg Balance Scale score (MD=4.823, 95% CI: 2.138–7.508), the standing balance with fall rates (RR=0.300, 95%CI: 0.120–0.770), functional reach test and dynamic gait index in Tai Chi intervention group compared to the control intervention group. However, the short physical performance battery for balance (SPBB) showed Tai Chi did not significantly improve the ability of balance for stroke patients (MD=0.293, 95%CI: −0.099~0.685).

Conclusions

Tai Chi exercise might have a significant impact in improving balance efficiency by increasing BBS score and reducing fall rate.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6289026/

 

Improve Health with Qigong

Improve Health with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The health benefits from Qigong and Tai Chi comes about both by supporting the body’s natural tendency to return to balance and equilibrium and also gently yet profoundly creating strength, flexibility and balance in the muscles and joints through gentle flowing movements.” – Denise Nagel

 

Qigong and Tai Chi have been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong and Tai Chi training are designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of Qigong practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammationincrease the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular function.

 

Because Qigong 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. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to step back and review the research on the effects of Qigong training on health and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Beneficial Effects of Qigong Wuqinxi in the Improvement of Health Condition, Prevention, and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: Evidence from a Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220394/ ), Guo and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effects of Qigong practice on physical and psychological health. They found 28 published research studies.

 

They report that the research finds that Qigong practice by healthy adults produces improvements in cognitive functions including concentration and attention, strengthens the immune system, improves body shape and size, physical function, and the cardiovascular system, improves mood and psychological well-being, improves lipid metabolism, slows physiological indicators of aging, and reduces inflammation. For clinical populations, they report that the research indicates that Qigong practice reduces depression, and improves osteoarthritis, including knee osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, and blood fat levels.

 

Conclusions from these very exciting findings must be tempered as the research methodologies were often weak. More tightly controlled studies are needed. Regardless, these findings suggest that Qigong practice produces improved physical and psychological health in both healthy adults and people with mental and physical diseases. These are a remarkable set of benefits from this simple practice and suggest the reason why it has continued to be practiced by large numbers of people for hundreds of years. Hence, this simple, inexpensive, convenient, safe, and fun practice may improve the participants ability to successfully conduct their lives, improving health and well-being.

 

So, improve health with Qigong.

 

“A compelling body of research emerges when Tai Chi studies and the growing body of Qigong studies are combined. The evidence suggests that a wide range of health benefits accrue in response to these meditative movement forms.” – Dr. Mercola

 

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

 

Guo, Y., Xu, M., Wei, Z., Hu, Q., Chen, Y., Yan, J., & Wei, Y. (2018). Beneficial Effects of Qigong Wuqinxi in the Improvement of Health Condition, Prevention, and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: Evidence from a Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 3235950. doi:10.1155/2018/3235950

 

Abstract

Purpose

Qigong is a modality of traditional Chinese mind-body medicine that has been used to prevent and cure ailments, to improve health in China for thousands of years. Wuqinxi, a Chinese traditional Qigong that focuses on mind-body integration, is thought to be an effective exercise in promoting physical and mental wellbeing. Thus, we summarized the evidence and aim to unravel effects of Wuqinxi on health outcomes.

Methods

We performed a systematic review of Wuqinxi studies published in English or Chinese since 1979. Relevant English and Chinese language electronic data bases were used for literature search. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by two reviewers.

Results

A total of 28 eligible studies were included in this review, among which three are 3 in English and 25 in Chinese. The studies included in this review involve three different experimental designs: (1) 16 RCTs; (2) 2 historical cohort studies; and (3) 10 pretest and posttest studies (PPS). Participants in this review are categorized as either healthy or clinical populations. The results from this systematic review support the notion that Wuqinxi may be effective as an adjunctive rehabilitation method for improving psychological and physiological wellbeing among different age of healthy populations in addition to alleviating and treating diseases among various clinical populations.

Conclusion

The results indicated that Wuqinxi has been thought to be beneficial to improve health and treat chronic diseases. However, the methodological problems in the majority of included studies make it difficult to draw firm conclusive statements. More methodologically rigorous designed large-scale RCTs with a long-term follow-up assessment should be further conducted to examine the effects of Wuqixi on health-related parameters and disease-specific measures in different health conditions. This systematic review lends insight for future studies on Wuqinxi and its potential application in preventive and rehabilitation medicine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220394/

 

Improve Physical and Mental Health with Musculoskeletal Disorders with Mindfulness Practices

Improve Physical and Mental Health with Musculoskeletal Disorders with Mindfulness Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is the term given to a variety of painful conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and joints, which are a leading cause of long term sickness absence. . .MSDs are also at risk of developing symptoms of depression . . . Being off work for a significant period of time, whether due to an musculoskeletal disorder or other condition, can cause many other repercussions – including mental health issues.” – Fit for Work

 

Orthopedic Disorders consist of a wide range of problems that are concerned with muscles, ligaments and joints. Disorders are ailments, injuries or diseases that cause knee problems, whiplash, dislocated shoulder, torn cartilages, foot pain and fibromyalgia. The most common forms of orthopedic disorders are arthritis, and back and neck pain.

 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most commonly affects the joints. Depending on the type of arthritis symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. It affects an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States. The pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility associate with arthritis produce fatigue and markedly reduce the quality of life of the sufferers.

 

The most common forms of chronic pain are back and neck pain. Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. Back and neck pain interferes with daily living and with work, decreasing productivity and creating absences. Arthritis and back pain can have very negative psychological effects and may lead to depression, isolation, and withdrawal from friends and social activities.

 

There are many different treatments for pain, but few are both safe and effective for chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions. So, alternative treatments are needed. Mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of arthritislow back pain and neck pain. In addition, mindfulness practices have been shown to improve mental health. So, it is likely that mindfulness practices will be effective for both the physical and mental health issues that accompany musculoskeletal disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Scoping review of systematic reviews of complementary medicine for musculoskeletal and mental health conditions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196876/ ), Lorenc and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness practices for the treatment of the psychological problems that accompany musculoskeletal disorders.

 

They summarize the evidence from 111 published research studies and report that these studies support the effectiveness of yoga for low back pain, and anxiety; Tai Chi for osteoarthritis, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders; meditation for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders; and mindfulness for stress and distress. There were no safety problems found with any of these mindfulness techniques.

 

This review indicates that there has accumulated a large body of evidence for the safety and effectiveness of mindfulness practices for the physical and mental health issues that accompany musculoskeletal disorders. Hence the published research to date supports the use of mindfulness practices in the package of treatments for musculoskeletal disorders.

 

So, improve physical and mental health with musculoskeletal disorders with mindfulness practices.

 

“Yoga has been used to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and has been associated with significant improvement in range of motion and function, decreased tenderness, lower levels of depressive symptoms, and decreased pain during activity in patients with musculoskeletal disorders.” – Ruth McCaffrey

 

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

 

Lorenc, A., Feder, G., MacPherson, H., Little, P., Mercer, S. W., & Sharp, D. (2018). Scoping review of systematic reviews of complementary medicine for musculoskeletal and mental health conditions. BMJ open, 8(10), e020222. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020222

 

Abstract

Objective

To identify potentially effective complementary approaches for musculoskeletal (MSK)–mental health (MH) comorbidity, by synthesising evidence on effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety from systematic reviews (SRs).

Design

Scoping review of SRs.

Methods

We searched literature databases, registries and reference lists, and contacted key authors and professional organisations to identify SRs of randomised controlled trials for complementary medicine for MSK or MH. Inclusion criteria were: published after 2004, studying adults, in English and scoring >50% on Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR); quality appraisal checklist). SRs were synthesised to identify research priorities, based on moderate/good quality evidence, sample size and indication of cost-effectiveness and safety.

Results

We included 84 MSK SRs and 27 MH SRs. Only one focused on MSK–MH comorbidity. Meditative approaches and yoga may improve MH outcomes in MSK populations. Yoga and tai chi had moderate/good evidence for MSK and MH conditions. SRs reported moderate/good quality evidence (any comparator) in a moderate/large population for: low back pain (LBP) (yoga, acupuncture, spinal manipulation/mobilisation, osteopathy), osteoarthritis (OA) (acupuncture, tai chi), neck pain (acupuncture, manipulation/manual therapy), myofascial trigger point pain (acupuncture), depression (mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), meditation, tai chi, relaxation), anxiety (meditation/MBSR, moving meditation, yoga), sleep disorders (meditative/mind–body movement) and stress/distress (mindfulness). The majority of these complementary approaches had some evidence of safety—only three had evidence of harm. There was some evidence of cost-effectiveness for spinal manipulation/mobilisation and acupuncture for LBP, and manual therapy/manipulation for neck pain, but few SRs reviewed cost-effectiveness and many found no data.

Conclusions

Only one SR studied MSK–MH comorbidity. Research priorities for complementary medicine for both MSK and MH (LBP, OA, depression, anxiety and sleep problems) are yoga, mindfulness and tai chi. Despite the large number of SRs and the prevalence of comorbidity, more high-quality, large randomised controlled trials in comorbid populations are needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196876/

 

Tai Chi Practice Improves Type II Diabetes

 

T

ai Chi Practice Improves Type II Diabetes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Gentle exercise has been shown by studies to prevent diabetes in 60 percent of cases. Therefore, since tai chi is a gentle exercise, we can assume that it’s effective in preventing and improving the control of diabetes.” – Paul Lam

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II 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 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 “The Effects of Tai Chi on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079589/ ), Chao and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of Tai Chi practice for the treatment of Type II Diabetes. They identified 14 published research studies.

 

They found that the published research reports that Tai Chi practice produces a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose, blood glucose 2 hours after eating, and HbA1c levels in comparison to non-exercise control conditions, but equivalent reductions to aerobic exercises. The levels of HbA1c in the blood is a marker of blood glucose fluctuations. Diabetes management requires reducing fluctuations of blood glucose fluctuations. So, reduced HbA1c levels indicates better control. Hence, Tai Chi practice is as effective as aerobic exercises such as walking, running, and dancing in improving blood glucose levels and reduced fluctuations in blood glucose in people with Type II Diabetes.

 

This is important as Tai Chi practice is completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi would appear to be an excellent treatment for helping to control blood glucose levels in  people with Type II Diabetes.

 

So, Tai Chi practice improves Type II Diabetes.

 

Combining tai chi with a healthful diet, other daily exercises and solid medical care could help people with diabetes and pre-diabetes to increase their health, manage their condition and prevent further symptoms.” – Mark Stibich

 

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

 

Chao, M., Wang, C., Dong, X., & Ding, M. (2018). The Effects of Tai Chi on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of diabetes research, 2018, 7350567. doi:10.1155/2018/7350567

 

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the effects of Tai chi in type 2 diabetes mellitus (type-2 DM) patients using systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods

Seven electronic resource databases were searched, and randomized controlled trials on the role of Tai chi in type-2 DM patients were retrieved. The meta-analysis was performed with RevMan 5.3, and research quality evaluation was conducted with the modified Jadad scale.

Results

Fourteen studies, with 798 individuals related to the intervention of Tai chi on diabetes, were included. The results showed that, compared with nonexercise, Tai chi had the effect of lowering fasting blood glucose [MD = −1.39, 95% CI (−1.95, −0.84), P < 0.0001] and the subgroup effect size decreased with the increase of total exercise amount, there is no significant difference between Tai chi and other aerobic exercises [MD = −0.50, 95% CI (−1.02, 0.02), P = 0.06]; compared with nonexercise, Tai chi could reduce HbA1c [MD = −0.21, 95% CI (−0.61, 0.19), P = 0.31], and the group effect size decreased with the increase of total exercise amount. The reducing HbA1c effect of Tai chi was better than that of other aerobic exercises, but the difference was at the margin of statistical significance [MD = −0.19, 95% CI (−0.37, 0.00), P = 0.05]; compared with nonexercise, Tai chi had the effect of reducing 2 h postprandial blood glucose [MD = −2.07, 95% CI (−2.89, −1.26), P = 0.0002], there is no significant difference between Tai chi and other aerobic exercises in reducing 2 h postprandial blood glucose [MD = −0.44, 95% CI (−1.42, 0.54), P = 0.38].

Conclusion

Tai chi can effectively affect the management of blood glucose and HbA1c in type-2 DM patients. Long-term adherence to Tai chi has a better role in reducing blood glucose and HbA1c levels in type 2 DM patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079589/

 

Improve the Physical and Psychological State of the Elderly with Qigong Exercise

Improve the Physical and Psychological State of the Elderly with Qigong Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Qi Gong is an excellent form of exercise for Seniors because of its gentle and soothing nature, anyone can do Qi Gong, regardless of age, ability, flexibility, or activity level! It is also significantly effective in improving balance, relieving pain, encouraging mobility and reducing stress.” – Exercise to heal

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our mental abilities (cognition) which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem solving ability. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability. In addition, it has been found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue.

 

Qigong is 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, Qigong practice would appear to be an almost ideal gentle mindfulness training and light exercise to improve physical and psychological health in aging individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Acute Physiological and Psychological Effects of Qigong Exercise in Older Practitioners.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902057/ ), Lin and colleagues recruited practitioners of Chinese Bioenergy Qigong who were between the ages of 50 to 70 years. They were measured before and after a Qigong practice session for skin conduction, heart rate, anxiety, and overall health.

 

They found that after the single Qigong practice session there was a significant increase in skin conductance and heart rate and a significant decrease in anxiety. This suggests that there was an improvement in cardiovascular function and the practitioners psychological state after a single session of Qigong practice.

 

This study was a simple pre post comparison of the physical and psychological state of aging experienced practitioners after a single Qigong practice session. As such conclusions are severely limited. But, they do provide a glimpse at the short-term effects of Qigong practice that may underlie its long-term effectiveness. Indeed, the observed acute effects are in line with those observed over the long term, with Qigong practice improving cardiovascular function and the psychological state after practicing over a number of months. These effects are particularly important for the health and well-being of aging populations.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological state of the elderly with Qigong exercise.

 

qigong exercise helps the body to heal itself. In this sense, qigong is a natural anti-aging medicine.” – Qigong Institute

 

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

 

Lin, C. Y., Wei, T. T., Wang, C. C., Chen, W. C., Wang, Y. M., & Tsai, S. Y. (2018). Acute Physiological and Psychological Effects of Qigong Exercise in Older Practitioners. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 4960978. doi:10.1155/2018/4960978

 

Abstract

Qigong is a gentle exercise that promotes health and well-being. This study evaluated the acute physiological and psychological effects of one session of qigong exercise in older practitioners. A total of 45 participants (mean age, 65.14 years) were recruited. Meridian electrical conductance, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), heart rate variability (HRV), and Short Form 36 (SF-36) were evaluated and compared before and after one session of qigong exercise. The results revealed that the electrical conductance of all meridians, except spleen and bladder meridians, increased significantly (p < 0.05). Compared with baseline values, upper to lower body ratio and sympathetic/vagal index were significantly improved and closer to 1 (p = 0.011 and p = 0.007, resp.). STAI-S and STAI-T scores decreased significantly (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, resp.). The RR interval of HRV decreased significantly (p = 0.035), a significant positive correlation was observed between kidney meridian electrical conductance and SF-36 physical scores (r = 0.74, p = 0.018), and a positive correlation was observed between pericardium meridian electrical conductance and SF-36 mental scores (r = 0.50, p = 0.06). In conclusion, one session of qigong exercise increased meridian electrical conductance, reduced anxiety, and improved body and autonomic nervous system balance. These findings provide scientific evidence for acute physiological and psychological effects of qigong exercise in older practitioners.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902057/

 

Improve Autonomic Function, Metabolism, and Physical Fitness with Tai Chi

Improve Autonomic Function, Metabolism, and Physical Fitness with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Qigong and Tai Chi initiate the “relaxation response,” which is fostered when the mind is freed from its many distractions. This decreases the sympathetic function of the autonomic nervous system, which in turn reduces heart rate and blood pressure, dilates the blood capillaries, and optimizes the delivery of oxygen and nutrition to the tissues.”

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Tai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of Tai Chi practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammationincrease the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular function.

 

Because 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. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to explore further the effects of Tai Chi training on physical and psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi Synergy T1 Exercise on Autonomic Function, Metabolism, and Physical Fitness of Healthy Individuals.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/6351938/ ), Tai and colleagues recruited adults and randomly assigned them to either participate in 12 weeks, once a week for 60 minutes, of either Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise or a metabolically equivalent walking exercise. “Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise is an aerobic exercise composed of movements derived not only from Tai Chi exercise but also from Eight Trigrams Palms, form and will boxing, mantis boxing, Qigong, and Yoga . . . The 60-minute exercise involves 4 exercise elements: handwork, trunk work, legwork, and whole-body work. The 3 levels of exercise intensity, light, average, and heavy, are adjusted according to the tolerance and fitness of the exerciser.” The participants were measured before and after the 12 weeks of training for body size and fatness, heart rate and blood pressure, serum glucose and cholesterol, physical fitness, bone density, and cell counts of immune regulator cells, including T cells, CD3+ cells, CD19+ B cells, CD16-CD56- cytotoxic T cells, and CD16+CD56+ NK/T cells.

 

They found that both exercises decreased the Body Mass Index (BMI) indicating decreased body fatness and also increased parasympathetic control of heart rate and blood pressure suggesting reduced activation and greater relaxation. Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise, but not walking, was found to significantly improve physical fitness and reduce blood levels of glucose and cholesterol. Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise was also found to improve immune system function as indicated by significantly increased T cells, CD3+ T cells, CD19+ B cells, and CD16+CD56+NK cells and significantly decreased CD3+ cytotoxic T cells.

 

These results are impressive especially as the group sizes were relatively small, 26 and 23 participants. They suggest that Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise is safe and effective in improving the physical health of participants; improving body fatness, physiological relaxation, physical fitness, and immune system function. Metabolically equivalent walking exercise also improved physical health, but not to the same extent as Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise.

 

It is well established that exercise is important for health. There’s no question there. There is, however, a question as to what exercises may be best for which group of people. Tai Chi and similar mindful movement exercises have been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle recovery after exercise, movement and flexibility, and immune and metabolic function. The present study demonstrated that a particular form of augmented Tai Chi is very effective in improving health. It would be interesting to compare the effectgiveness of various forms of mindful movement prctices.

 

So, improve autonomic function, metabolism, and physical fitness with Tai Chi.

 

“Qigong practice activate a number of the body’s self regulating systems which are responsible for the balanced function of the tissues, organs and glands. The uptake of oxygen, as well as, oxygen metabolism is tremendously enhanced by Qigong practice.” – Roger Jahnke

 

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

 

Hsu-Chih Tai, Yi-Sheng Chou, I-Shiang Tzeng, et al., “Effect of Tai Chi Synergy T1 Exercise on Autonomic Function, Metabolism, and Physical Fitness of Healthy Individuals,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2018, Article ID 6351938, 7 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/6351938.

 

Abstract

Objectives. Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise is an aerobic exercise derived mainly from Tai Chi exercise. It is also derived from the Eight Trigrams Palms, form and will boxing, mantis boxing, Qigong, and Yoga, with a total of 16 sessions in 63 minutes. In this study, we investigated its effects on autonomic modulation, metabolism, immunity, and physical function in healthy practitioners. Method. We recruited a total of 26 volunteers and 23 control participants. Heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI) were recorded before and after practicing Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise and regular walking for 10 weeks, respectively. Serum glucose, cholesterol, and peripheral blood including B and T cell counts were also measured. They underwent one-minute bent-knee sit-ups, sit and reach test, and three-minute gradual step test. Results. Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise enhanced parasympathetic modulation and attenuated sympathetic nerve control with increased very low frequency (VLF) and high frequency (HF) but decreased low frequency (LF) compared to the control group. Metabolic profiles including serum glucose, cholesterol, and BMI significantly improved after exercise. The exercise enhanced innate and adaptive immunity by increasing the counts of CD3+ T cells, CD19+ B cells, and CD16+CD56+ NK cells but decreasing the CD3+ cytotoxic T cell count. All monitored parameters including physical fitness and physical strength improved after the exercise. Conclusion. Tai Chi synergy T1 exercise improves autonomic modulation, body metabolism, physical fitness, and physical strength after 10 weeks of practice.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/6351938/

 

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

Improve Knee Osteoarthritis with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Experts have long recommended tai chi as a low-impact workout that’s gentle on the joints. Research . . . revealed additional benefits: It may be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis (OA).” – Sharon Liao

 

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

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. This suggests that alternative and complementary practices that involve gentle knee movements may be useful in for treatment. Indeed, yoga practice has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis. Various forms of traditional Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Baduanjin involve slow gentle movements of the limbs and mindfulness and have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of Tai Chi relative to physical therapy in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Tai Chi versus Physical Therapy on Mindfulness in Knee Osteoarthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612617/ ), Lee and colleagues recruited adults over the age of 40 who were diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis and randomly assigned them to receive either Tai Chi for 60 minutes, twice a week, for 12 weeks, or physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis for 30 minutes twice a week for the first 6 weeks and 4 times a week for the second 6 weeks. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, pain, stiffness, and physical function, 6-minute walk test, quality of life, depression, perceived stress, and arthritis self-efficacy.

 

Overall, compared to baseline the patients showed significantly reduced pain, depressive symptoms, and stress; and improved physical function, quality of life, self-efficacy, and walk distance. There were no significant differences between the groups. Hence, Tai Chi practice was found to be as effective as physical therapy in alleviating the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

 

Tai Chi practice, though has a number of advantages. It is completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence, Tai Chi would appear to be an excellent treatment for the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

 

So, improve knee osteoarthritis with Tai Chi.

 

Tai chi helps improve physical strength and mobility and promotes a sense of well-being. . . participants with knee osteoarthritis who practiced tai chi twice a week had less pain and better physical function compared with study participants enrolled in a wellness education and stretching program.” – 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

 

Lee, A. C., Harvey, W. F., Wong, J. B., Price, L. L., Han, X., Chung, M., Driban, J. B., Morgan, L., Morgan, N. L., … Wang, C. (2017). Effects of Tai Chi versus Physical Therapy on Mindfulness in Knee Osteoarthritis. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1195-1205.

 

Abstract

Tai Chi mind-body exercise is widely believed to improve mindfulness through incorporating meditative states into physical movements. A growing number of studies indicate that Tai Chi may improve health in knee osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic pain disease and a primary cause of global disability. However, little is known about the contribution of mindfulness to treatment effect of Tai Chi practice. Therefore, our purpose was to investigate the effect of Tai Chi mind-body practice compared to physical therapy (PT) on mindfulness in knee OA. Adults with radiographic-confirmed, symptomatic knee OA were randomized to either 12 weeks (twice weekly) of Tai Chi or PT. Participants completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) before and after intervention along with commonly-used patient-reported outcomes for pain, physical function, and other health-related outcomes. Among 86 participants (74% female, 48% white, mean age 60 years, 85% at least college educated), mean total FFMQ was 142±17. Despite substantial improvements in pain, function, and other health-related outcomes, each treatment group’s total FFMQ did not significantly change from baseline (Tai Chi= 0.76, 95% CI: −2.93, 4.45; PT= 1.80, 95% CI: −2.33, 5.93). The difference in total FFMQ between Tai Chi and PT was not significant (−1.04 points, 95% CI: −6.48, 4.39). Mindfulness did not change after Tai Chi or PT intervention in knee OA, which suggests that Tai Chi may not improve health in knee OA through cultivating mindfulness. Further study is needed to identify underlying mechanisms of effective mind-body interventions among people with knee OA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5612617/

 

Increase Self-Efficacy with Tai Chi

Increase Self-Efficacy with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The science of Tai Chi is just now catching up with and substantiating what Tai Chi practitioners have known for centuries – Tai Chi often leads to more vigor and energy, greater flexibility, balance and mobility, and an improved sense of well-being.  Cutting-edge research now lends support to long-standing claims that Tai Chi favorably impacts the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind.” – Peter Wayne

 

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. It is an important characteristic for the individual’s ability to effectively navigate the complex and stressful environments in the modern world. It is an important foundation for success in many areas of life. So, methods that could help to improve the development of self-efficacy may be very helpful for the individual throughout the course of their life. A relatively simple method to do this is Mindfulness training. Indeed, it has been shown to significantly improve self-efficacy.

 

Tai Chi is 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 almost ideal gentle mindfulness training and light exercise to improve psychological health and well-being and perhaps self-efficacy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Tai Chi on Self-Efficacy: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6114250/ ), Tong and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research literature on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice to improve self-efficacy. Their review of the literature revealed 27 studies, 20 of which were randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the vast majority of the studies found that engaging in Tai Chi practice produced significant improvement in self-efficacy. This was true for college students and the elderly and for patients with diseases including arthritis, heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and other diseases. Unfortunately, although significant improvement were observed relative to baseline, many of the studies were of low quality or involved small numbers of participants resulting in a lack of significant differences compared to control groups.

 

Obviously, more research is needed employing stronger research designs and larger numbers of participants. But, the existing published research suggests that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective method to improve self-efficacy in a wide range of people with or without diseases. Hence, this simple, inexpensive, convenient, safe, and fun practice may improve the participants ability to successfully conduct their lives, improving health and well-being.

 

So, increase self-efficacy with Tai Chi.

 

“In the search for effective ways to experience positive outcomes in the all-important life aspects such as overall health, well-being and mortality, one of the sleeper strategies to consider involves adopting an ancient Chinese practice called tai chi.” – Suzanne Kane

 

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, Y., Chai, L., Lei, S., Liu, M., & Yang, L. (2018). Effects of Tai Chi on Self-Efficacy: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1701372. http://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1701372

 

The purpose of this systematic review is to summarize and update the readers regarding clinical studies that have investigated the effects of Tai Chi on self-efficacy and to describe their limitations and biases. Nine electronic databases were searched from the establishment of the database until August 10, 2017. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs), nonrandomized controlled studies (NRSs), quasi-experimental studies, or studies with pre-post design were included if they clearly defined a Tai Chi intervention and evaluated self-efficacy outcomes. We categorized these 27 studies into the “disease category” and the “population category,” based on the types of participants. This systematic review summarizes the effects of Tai Chi on self-efficacy in various populations and found that Tai Chi appeared to have positive effects on self-efficacy in some populations. Fifteen research studies showed that Tai Chi had significant positive effects on self-efficacy, while 11 studies did not; only one study found a negative outcome at the follow-up. In addition, it is unclear which type, frequency, and duration of Tai Chi intervention most effectively enhanced self-efficacy. Tai Chi appears to be associated with improvements in self-efficacy. Definitive conclusions were limited due to the variation in study designs, type of Tai Chi intervention, and frequency, and further high-quality studies are required.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6114250/

 

Improve Sleep, Fitness, and Abstinence in Women with Stimulant Addiction with Tai Chi

Improve Sleep, Fitness, and Abstinence in Women with Stimulant Addiction with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As a recovering addict, I urge you to try Tai Chi. It helps you relax, restores your energy, reduces cravings, and combats depression and pain. Plus, it will boost your physical, mental and emotional health.” – Angela Lambert

 

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

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Tai Chi is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment patients recovering from addictions. There has, however, been a paucity of studies on the use of Tai Chi practice to treat substance abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Effects of Tai Chi Intervention on Sleep and Mental Health of Female Individuals With Dependence on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ), Zhu and colleagues recruited women who were in a drug abuse rehabilitation program for stimulant abuse. They were randomly assigned to receive either Tai Chi practice or usual care with light exercise and drug education. They were treated for 60 minutes per day for 3 months and measured before and after treatment and 3 months later for sleep quality, depression, and physical fitness. Drug relapses were also recorded over the subsequent 4 year period.

 

They found that the group that practiced Tai Chi had higher sleep quality with shorter sleep durations, greater sleep efficiency, and less daytime disruptions, at the completion of training but not 3 months later. They also found that the Tai Chi group had a significant decrease in their resting pulse rate that was maintained 3 months later. Importantly, significantly fewer of the Tai Chi group relapsed (9.5%) compared to the usual treatment group (26.3%) and for those who relapsed the Tai Chi group stayed abstinent for a significantly longer period (1209 vs. 880 days).

 

These are interesting and important results that suggest that Tai Chi practice can be of great benefit to women being treated for stimulant drug abuse. The practice appears to improve sleep quality and physical fitness but most importantly appears to help maintain abstinence. There are many programs that produce cessation of drug use, but relapse occurs frequently. That a simple and inexpensive mindfulness exercise can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the programs in producing and maintain abstinence is very encouraging.

 

So, improve sleep, fitness, and abstinence in women with stimulant addiction with Tai Chi.

 

“A common complaint many of us share in early recovery is difficulty sleeping. If we have been abusing alcohol or drugs, it may be many years since we last experienced ‘normal’ sleep, and it is going to take a little time for our body to adjust. One of the things you are likely to notice if you practice Tai Chi regularly is that you find it easier to get to sleep at night.” – Hope 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

 

Zhu D, Dai G, Xu D, Xu X, Geng J, Zhu W, Jiang X and Theeboom M (2018) Long-Term Effects of Tai Chi Intervention on Sleep and Mental Health of Female Individuals With Dependence on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. Front. Psychol. 9:1476. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476

 

Previous studies provide evidence that Tai Chi (TC) can reduce the symptoms of sleep problems and be of benefit for the rehabilitation of substance abusers. In this study, we investigated if TC practice can improve sleep quality and mood of females who are dependent on amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS). Eighty subjects were randomly assigned to TC intervention and standard care (SC) for 6 months. We applied analysis of variance on repeated-measure with the year of drug dependence as the covariate to test the changes of the self-rated Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), as well as fitness after 3 and 6 months. Relapse investigation was conducted by checking the database of China’s National Surveillance System on Drug Abuse and that of the Shanghai Drug Control Committee’s illicit drug dependents. Our investigation focused on the relapse of participants who had undergone and completed treatment in the Shanghai Mandatory Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center in 2015. The result showed that the PSQI scores of sleep duration [F (2, 92) = 9.86], need for sleep medications [F (2, 92) = 36.44] and daytime dysfunction [F (2, 92) = 5.15] were found to have a significant difference by time × group interaction after 6 months. SDS showed no significant difference between the two groups; however, the score of SDS in TC decreased after 6-month intervention, and no changes were observed in SC. Pulse rate had significantly decreased in the TC group compared with the SC group after 6 months. 9.5% (4) ATS dependents in TC and 26.3% (10) ATS dependents in SC were found to have relapsed. Our result suggested that TC had positive effects on sleep quality, depression and fitness. Long-term study demonstrated that TC may be a cheap and potential supplementary treatment for ATS-dependent individuals. TC may also be considered as an alternative exercise to escalate abstinence for ATS-dependent females.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01476/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A

 

Improve Cardiovascular and Cognitive Function with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiovascular and Cognitive Function with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” – Peter M. Wayne

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Tai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of Tai Chi practice been scrutinized with empirical research. But, it has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, increase the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular function. Tai Chi has also been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain.

 

Because 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. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to explore further the effects of Tai Chi training on physical and psychological well-being. One way to do this is to look at the short-term acute effects of Tai Chi training on practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Acute Effects of Tai Chi Training on Cognitive and Cardiovascular Responses in Late Middle-Aged Adults: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5831874/ ), Cheung and colleagues recruited healthy older adults, aged 50 to 65 years, who had either at least 1 year of Tai Chi practice or no Tai Chi practice. The Tai Chi practitioners were asked to practice for 10 minutes while the non-practitioners were asked to stand quietly. For 1 minute before and after the 10-minute practice period they were measured for heart rate, oxygen saturation in the blood, perceived stress and palmar skin temperature. The Electroencephalogram (EEG) from the frontal cortex was measured and used to gauge attention and meditation levels.

 

They found that prior to the Tai Chi practice the EEG-derived attention level significantly increased but fell during and after the practice in the practitioners but not the control group. After practice the perceived stress level was significantly lower, 44%, and the heart rate was significantly lower in the practitioners relative to the control group.

 

These results suggest that the very short-term effects of Tai Chi practice in experienced practitioners are to increase attention and lower perceived stress and heart rate. This suggests that the immediate effects of Tai Chi practice are to improve the psychological and physiological states of the practitioners. Compounded over time these effects may be responsible for the great health benefits of Tai Chi practice.

 

So, improve cardiovascular and cognitive function with Tai Chi.

 

“It’s a rare aspect of exercise. Unlike almost every other form of physical activity, tai chi demands focus, which is central to its meditative benefits. “Even with yoga, you can do it and have your mind be somewhere else. It’s very hard to do tai chi and not be present.” – Michael Irwin

 

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

 

Cheung, T. C. Y., Liu, K. P. Y., Wong, J. Y. H., Bae, Y.-H., Hui, S. S.-C., Tsang, W. W. N., … Fong, S. S. M. (2018). Acute Effects of Tai Chi Training on Cognitive and Cardiovascular Responses in Late Middle-Aged Adults: A Pilot Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2018, 7575123. http://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7575123

 

Abstract

This study explored the immediate effects of Tai Chi (TC) training on attention and meditation, perceived stress level, heart rate, oxygen saturation level in blood, and palmar skin temperature in late middle-aged adults. Twenty TC practitioners and 20 nonpractitioners volunteered to join the study. After baseline measurements were taken, the TC group performed TC for 10 minutes while their cognitive states and cardiovascular responses were concurrently monitored. The control group rested for the same duration in a standing position. Both groups were then reassessed. The participants’ attention and meditation levels were measured using electroencephalography; stress levels were measured using Perceived Stress Scale; heart rate and blood oxygenation were measured using an oximeter; and palmar skin temperature was measured using an infrared thermometer. Attention level tended to increase during TC and dropped immediately thereafter (p < 0.001). Perceived stress level decreased from baseline to posttest in exclusively the TC group (p = 0.005). Heart rate increased during TC (p < 0.001) and decreased thereafter (p = 0.001). No significant group, time, or group-by-time interaction effects were found in the meditation level, palmar skin temperature, and blood oxygenation outcomes. While a 10-minute TC training could temporarily improve attention and decrease perceived stress levels, it could not improve meditation, palmar skin temperature, or blood oxygenation among late middle-aged adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5831874/