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/

 

Improve Balance in Stroke Survivors with Qigong

Improve Balance in Stroke Survivors with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

One of the main issues that a stroke survivor experiences is a problem with balance. Factors contributing to this issue include vision impairments, unbalanced inner-ear equilibrium, or physical weakness on one side of the body. This is where tai chi can make a huge difference. With a complete focus on slow, controlled, and repetitive movements, tai chi is effective in improving one’s balance through dynamic motion and coordination, which is crucial to prevent falls.” – 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.

 

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. It is difficult to get stroke survivors to engage in exercise. Perhaps the practices of yoga or Tai Chi and Qigong, since they are adaptable and very gentle, might be acceptable and effective in the treatment of stroke survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mind–Body Movements on Balance Function in Stroke Survivors: 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/PMC6025433/ ), Zou and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of the mindful movement practices of yoga or Tai Chi and Qigong for assisting in the rehabilitation of stroke victims. They found 18 published randomized controlled studies.

 

They found that mindful movement practices produced strong and significant improvements in balance of the patients recovering from stroke. This is particularly important as problems with balance can lead to falling which is a leading cause of injury and death among stroke victims. So, improved balance is an important benefit to the patients. These results are encouraging and suggest that the mindful movement practices of yoga or Tai Chi and Qigong should be used in the rehabilitation or stroke victims.

 

So, improve balance in stroke survivors with yoga, tai chi or qigong.

 

“The main physical benefits of Tai Chi are better balance, improved strength, flexibility and aerobic endurance. Psycho-social benefits include less depression, anxiety and stress, and better quality of life.” –Ruth E. 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

 

Zou, L., Yeung, A., Li, C., Chiou, S.-Y., Zeng, N., Tzeng, H.-M., … Thomas, G. A. (2018). Effects of Mind–Body Movements on Balance Function in Stroke Survivors: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(6), 1292. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061292

 

Abstract

Objective: We performed a systematic review with meta-analysis and meta-regression to determine if mind–body movements (MBM) could be effective in rehabilitating balance function among stroke survivors. Methods: A literature search was conducted using major Chinese and English electronic databases from an inception until January 2018. Randomized controlled studies were included in our meta-analysis. Data was independently extracted by two review authors using a pre-developed table and confirmed by a third party to reach a consensus. Pooled effect size (Hedge’s g) was computed while the random-effect model was set. Results: The meta-analytic results showed a significant benefit of the MBM intervention on increased balance function compared to the control groups (Hedge’s g = 1.59, CI 0.98 to 2.19, p < 0.001, I2 = 94.95%). Additionally, the meta-regression indicated that the total number of sessions (β = 0.00142, 95% CI 0.0039 to 0.0244, p = 0.0067) and dose of weekly training (β = 0.00776, 95% CI0.00579 to 0.00972, p = 0.00) had significantly positive effects on balance function. Conclusions: The study encouraging findings indicate the rehabilitative effect of a MBM intervention for balance function in stroke survivors. However, there were significant limitations in the design among several of the included trials. Additional studies with more robust methodologies are needed to provide a more definitive conclusion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025433/

 

Prevent Osteoporosis with Tai Chi Practice

Prevent Osteoporosis with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“There are many ways that tai chi helps people with osteoporosis. An excellent study showed tai chi slowed down the loss of bone density approximately three fold. “ – Paul Lam

 

Bone is living tissue that, like all living tissues, is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone. This results in a loss of bone mass, causing bones to become weak and brittle. It can become so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. These fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide. In the United States 54 million adults over 50 are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass. Osteoporosis takes a huge personal and economic toll. The disability due to osteoporosis is greater than that caused by cancers and is comparable or greater than that lost to a variety of chronic diseases, such as arthritis, asthma and high blood pressure related heart disease.

 

The most common treatments for osteoporosis are drugs which slow down the breakdown of bone, combined with exercise. The side effects of the drugs are mild, including upset stomach and heartburn. But, there is a major compliance problem as the drugs must be taken over very long periods of time. In fact, only about a third of patients continue to take their medications for at least a year. Even when drugs are taken, exercise is recommended to improve bone growth. Indeed the mindful movement exercise of yoga has been shown to improve osteoporosis. The ancient mindful movement technique Tai Chi is a very safe form of gentle exercise that should make it potentially beneficial for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of Chinese martial arts Tai Chi Chuan on prevention of osteoporosis: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866477/), Chow and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis on the 9 published research studies of the effects of Tai Chi practice on mineral bone density. The published studies included a total of 1222 participants. They found that Tai Chi practice produced significant increases in mineral bone density but it required fairly long practice periods, greater than 4 months. There were indications that Tai Chi practice was particularly effective for women. This is encouraging as osteoporosis is much more prevalent in women than in men.

 

These results are encouraging and suggest that Tai Chi practice may be an effective treatment to prevent the development of osteoporosis. Importantly, Tai Chi is gentle and safe, 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, 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 exercise to prevent bone mineral loss and the development of osteoporosis.

 

So, prevent osteoporosis with Tai Chi practice.

 

 “women who practiced tai chi for 45 minutes per day, five days per week for a year had a rate of bone loss that was 3.5 times slower than those who didn’t. This improvement was reflected in their bone mineral density.” – AlgaeCal

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Chow, T. H., Lee, B. Y., Ang, A. B. F., Cheung, V. Y. K., Ho, M. M. C., & Takemura, S. (2018). The effect of Chinese martial arts Tai Chi Chuan on prevention of osteoporosis: A systematic review. Journal of Orthopaedic Translation, 12, 74–84. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jot.2017.06.001

 

Summary

Background/Objective

Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is suggested to have beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal system. The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the evidence of the effect of TCC on bone mineral density (BMD) and its potential for prevention of osteoporosis.

Methods

A literature search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases from inception to January 2017. Randomized controlled studies, case–control trials, prospective cohort studies, and cross-sectional studies which evaluated the effect of TCC on BMD were selected without any subject or language restriction.

Results

Nine articles met the inclusion criteria, including seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs), one case–control trial (CCT), and one cross-sectional study, encompassing a total of 1222 participants. Five studies showed statistically significant improvements in BMD after TCC, three studies showed nonsignificant intergroup differences, and one study provided no statistical evaluation of results. The studies with nonsignificant results tended to have a shorter total duration of TCC practice. Apart from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), two studies additionally used peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) which showed statistically significant positive effects of TCC on preventing osteoporosis.

Conclusion

TCC is beneficial to BMD and may be a cost-effective and preventive measure of osteoporosis. This beneficial effect is better observed in long-term TCC practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866477/

 

Improve Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms with Tai Chi

Improve Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It isn’t every day that an effective new treatment for some Parkinson’s disease symptoms comes along. Especially one that is safe, causes no adverse side effects, and may also benefit the rest of the body and the mind. . . . tai chi may improve balance and prevent falls among people with Parkinson’s disease.” – Peter Wayne

 

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

 

Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. PD itself is not fatal but is often associated with related complications which can reduce life expectancy, such as falls, choking, and cardiovascular problems. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) also has psychological effects, especially cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. All of these symptoms result in a marked reduction in the quality of life.

 

There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief. So, there is a need to discover new and different treatments. Mindfulness training has been found to improve the psychological symptoms and the quality of life with PD patients.  In addition, Qigong  has been shown to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Hence, Tai Chi and Qigong may be an excellent treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “The impact of Tai Chi and Qigong mind-body exercises on motor and non-motor function and quality of life in Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618798/ ), Song and colleagues reviewed, summarized, and performed a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for the relief of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. They found 21 studies, including 823 total patients with an average age of 67.5 years, 15 of which were randomized controlled trials and 8 contained active control conditions. No adverse events were reported.

 

They found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvements in motor functions, balance, Timed-Up-and-Go (getting up from chair, walking 3 meters, and sitting back down), walking speed, and falls. Tai Chi practice was also found to significantly improve the psychological state of the patients with significantly lower levels of depression and increases in quality of life. Hence, Tai Chi practice produced important improvements in the motor ability and psychological state of patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

These findings are significant and important suggesting that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, 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.

 

So, improve Parkinson’s Disease symptoms with Tai Chi.

 

There are many obvious reasons everyone with Parkinson’s should be doing Tai Chi, but it’s the ones that are not yet obvious that may be the most intriguing. One obvious reason is that Tai Chi is the most powerful balance and coordination enhancing exercise known. In many studies at major universities Tai Chi was found to be TWICE as effective in reducing falls as the other balance enhancing exercises being studied.” – Sherri Woodbridge

 

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

 

Song, R., Grabowska, W., Park, M., Osypiuk, K., Vergara, G., Bonato, P., … Wayne, P. (2017). The impact of Tai Chi and Qigong mind-body exercises on motor and non-motor function and quality of life in Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 41, 3–13. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2017.05.019

 

Highlights

  • Tai Chi/Qigong is a mind-body intervention that has the potential to address motor and non-motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Mixed results for motor outcomes have been reported, while even less attention has been devoted to systematically evaluating the effects of Tai Chi/Qigong on non-motor outcomes.
  • Our meta-analyses indicate clinically relevant effect sizes in favor of Tai Chi/Qigong for motor function, balance, and quality of life, and significant effect sizes persisted even when comparisons were limited to active controls.

Abstract

Purpose

To systematically evaluate and quantify the effects of Tai Chi/Qigong (TCQ) on motor (UPDRS III, balance, falls, Timed-Up-and-Go, and 6-Minute Walk) and non-motor (depression and cognition) function, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Methods

A systematic search on 7 electronic databases targeted clinical studies evaluating TCQ for individuals with PD published through August 2016. Meta-analysis was used to estimate effect sizes (Hedge’s g) and publication bias for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methodological bias in RCTs was assessed by two raters.

Results

Our search identified 21 studies, 15 of which were RCTs with a total of 755 subjects. For RCTs, comparison groups included no treatment (n=7, 47%) and active interventions (n=8, 53%). Duration of TCQ ranged from 2 to 6 months. Methodological bias was low in 6 studies, moderate in 7, and high in 2. Fixed-effect models showed that TCQ was associated with significant improvement on most motor outcomes (UPDRS III [ES=-0.444, p<.001], balance [ES=0.544, p<.001], Timed-Up-and-Go [ES=−0.341, p=.005], 6MW [ES=−0.293, p=.06]), falls [ES=−.403, p=.004], as well as depression [ES=−0.457, p=.008] and QOL [ES=−0.393, p<.001], but not cognition [ES= −0.225, p=.477]). I2 indicated limited heterogeneity. Funnel plots suggested some degree of publication bias.

Conclusion

Evidence to date supports a potential benefit of TCQ for improving motor function, depression and QOL for individuals with PD, and validates the need for additional large-scale trials.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618798/

 

Improve Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in Older Adults with Tai Chi

Improve Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in Older Adults with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

”A comparison of the effects of regular sessions of tai chi, walking, and social discussion, has found tai chi was associated with the biggest gains in brain volume and improved cognition.”  – Fiona McPherson

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our mental abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem solving ability. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Using modern neuroimaging techniques, scientists have been able to view the changes that occur in the nervous system with aging. In addition, they have been able to investigate various techniques that might slow the process of neurodegeneration that accompanies normal aging. They’ve found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

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. Because it is not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for an elderly population. Indeed, Tai Chi and Qigong have been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging and to increase brain matter in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Improves Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in Older Adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055800/ ), Zhou and colleagues recruited healthy older people (>55 years of age) and trained them in Tai Chi practice with a one hour, twice a week, for 12 weeks instruction. They were measured before and after training for leg strength while having their brains scanned for metabolites with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). N‐acetylaspartate (NAA) is a neuronal marker of neuronal health. They also measured the rate of recovery of phosphocreatine (PCr) in the leg following exercise, a marker of muscular fitness.

 

They found that after training there was a significant increase in N‐acetylaspartate (NAA). NAA is a marker of the number of neurons present in the brain. Hence it’s increase in this study suggests that Tai Chi training increases the number of brain cells in the elderly. This further suggests that Tai Chi training is neuroprotective and may reduce the degeneration of the brain that occurs in normal aging.

 

They also found that after training there was a significant decrease in the rate of recovery of phosphocreatine (PCr) in the leg following exercise. A PCr decrease indicates that the capacity of muscles to use oxygen has increased. This, then, is a measure of muscular fitness. Hence it’s decrease in this study suggests that Tai Chi training improves exercise fitness in older adults helping to counter the age related decline in strength.

 

These results suggest the biochemical mechanisms that may underlie the ability of Tai Chi training to slow or delay physical and mental decline and to increase brain matter. These results not only further support the benefits of Tai Chi training for aging adults but also indicate how this training may change the chemistry of the brain and muscles to counter the effects of aging.

 

So, improve brain metabolism and muscle energetics in older adults with Tai Chi.

 

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

 

“Studies have shown that the incorporation of Tai Chi to an elders’ exercise program can be beneficial. Tai Chi practice was “beneficial to improve the balance control ability and flexibility of older adults, which may be the reason of preventing falls.” – Eric Edelman

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Improves Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in

Study Summary

 

Zhou, M., Liao, H., Sreepada, L. P., Ladner, J. R., Balschi, J. A., & Lin, A. P. (2018). Tai Chi Improves Brain Metabolism and Muscle Energetics in Older Adults. Journal of Neuroimaging, 28(4), 359–364. http://doi.org/10.1111/jon.12515

 

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Tai Chi is a mind‐body exercise that has been shown to improve both mental and physical health. As a result, recent literature suggests the use of Tai Chi to treat both physical and psychological disorders. However, the underlying physiological changes have not been characterized. The aim of this pilot study is to assess the changes in brain metabolites and muscle energetics after Tai Chi training in an aging population using a combined brain‐muscle magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) examination.

METHODS

Six healthy older adults were prospectively recruited and enrolled into a 12‐week Tai Chi program. A brain 1H MRS and a muscle 31P MRS were scanned before and after the training, and postprocessed to measure N‐acetylaspartate to creatine (NAA/Cr) ratios and phosphocreatine (PCr) recovery time. Wilcoxon‐signed rank tests were utilized to assess the differences between pre‐ and post‐Tai Chi training.

RESULTS

A significant within‐subject increase in both the NAA/Cr ratios (P = .046) and the PCr recovery time (P =.046) was observed between the baseline and the posttraining scans. The median percentage changes were 5.38% and 16.51% for NAA/Cr and PCr recovery time, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Our pilot study demonstrates significant increase of NAA/Cr ratios in posterior cingulate gyrus and significantly improved PCr recovery time in leg muscles in older adults following short‐term Tai Chi training, and thus provides insight into the beneficial mechanisms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055800/

 

Improve Recovery from Stroke with Tai Chi Practice

Improve Recovery from Stroke with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Suffering from a stroke is a tremendous event for anyone to face, but the practice of tai chi offers the possibility for a regeneration of the mind, body, and spirit.“ – 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. Strokes come in two varieties. The most common (87%) is ischemic stroke resulting from a blocked artery. But strokes can also occur due to leaking or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, known as hemorrhagic stroke.

 

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. The ancient mindful movement technique Tai Chi is a very safe form of gentle exercise that appears to be beneficial for stroke victims. It is difficult to get stroke survivors to engage in exercise. Perhaps the practice of Tai Chi, since it is very gentle, might be acceptable and effective in the treatment of stroke survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi for Stroke Rehabilitation: 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/PMC6068268/ ), Lyu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the 21 published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for patients undergoing rehabilitation from a stroke.

 

They found that Tai Chi practice in addition to conventional rehabilitation therapy in comparison to conventional rehabilitation therapy alone produced significantly greater gains in the victims ability to conduct daily living activities, in their limb motor abilities, balance, and walking ability. These results are impressive and suggest that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective addition to conventional rehabilitation therapy for stroke victims to improve movement and thereby improve their ability to conduct their normal daily activities.

 

Tai Chi is gentle and safe, 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, 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 be added to conventional rehabilitation therapy for the treatment of stroke survivors.

 

So, improve recovery from stroke with tai chi practice.

 

“Learning how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a challenge. Tai Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is important to prevent falls.” – 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

 

Lyu, D., Lyu, X., Zhang, Y., Ren, Y., Yang, F., Zhou, L., … Li, Z. (2018). Tai Chi for Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 983. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.00983

 

Abstract

Background: Stroke is a major cause of poor health and has numerous complications. Tai Chi (TC) may have positive effects on the rehabilitation of stroke survivors, but recent clinical findings have not been included in previously published reviews.

Objectives: We conducted this systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the effectiveness of all types of TC vs. conventional rehabilitation therapy for all aspects of stroke survivors’ rehabilitation that have been studied.

Method: We searched seven electronic literature databases (three in English, four in Chinese) and one clinical registry platform using established strategies to identify randomized controlled trials performed up to October 2017. Screening, quality assessment, and data collection were performed by two researchers separately, using the same standard. The results were analyzed using RevMan 5.3.0. The quality of evidence was evaluated with GRADEpro.

Results: A total of 21 studies with 1,293 stroke survivors met inclusion criteria; 14 were included in the quantitative synthesis to evaluate four aspects and five outcomes. Nine studies indicated that TC was able to improve independent activities of daily living (ADL), especially TC vs. conventional rehabilitation therapy [mean difference (MD) [95% confidence interval (CI)] = 9.92 [6.82, 13.02], P < 0.00001]. Five studies reported significant effects of TC plus conventional rehabilitation therapy in increasing scores on the Fugl–Meyer Assessment for the upper limb [MD (95%CI) = 8.27 [4.69, 11.84], P < 0.0001], lower limb [MD (95%CI) = 2.75 [0.95, 4.56], P = 0.003], and overall [MD (95%CI) = 4.49 [1.92, 7.06], P = 0.0006]. The Berg Balance Scale revealed significant improvements according to pooled estimates for TC vs. conventional rehabilitation therapy [MD (95%CI) = 5.23 [3.42, 7.05], P < 0.00001]. TC plus conventional rehabilitation therapy also improved walking ability as measured by the Holden scale [MD (95%CI) = 0.61 [0.38, 0.85], P < 0.00001] and up-and-go time [MD (95%CI) = 2.59 [1.76, 3.43], P < 0.00001].

Conclusion: TC has an overall beneficial effect on ADL, balance, limb motor function, and walking ability among stroke survivors, based on very low-quality evidence, and may also improve sleep quality, mood, mental health, and other motor function. Well-designed, higher-quality trials with longer-term follow-up periods are needed to develop better-quality evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6068268/