Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

Improve Gulf War Illness in Veterans with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.” – US Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Engaging in warfare has many consequences to society and individuals, including the warriors themselves. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common problem among military veterans with between 11% to 20% of veterans who were involved in combat developing PTSD. There is a specific syndrome that has been identified in about 36% of veterans of the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The cluster of symptoms include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.

 

It has been demonstrated that mindfulness training is effective for PTSD symptoms . In addition, Yoga practice is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to be helpful for PTSD. Mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong have been found to be beneficial for individuals with a myriad of physical and psychological problems. This raises the possibility that Tai Chi practice may be beneficial for veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/), Reid and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in relieving the symptoms of participants whose symptoms were similar to Gulf War Illness. They identified multiple randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of Tai Chi practice for these symptoms.

 

They report that the published research indicates that Tai Chi practice significantly improves mood, sleep, global cognitive function, and respiratory function and significantly decreases insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain. Hence Tai Chi practice has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms that commonly occur in Gulf War Illness. This suggests that Tai Chi practice should be tried directly to treat veterans with Gulf War Syndrome. It remains for future research to test this hypothesis.

 

So, improve Gulf War Illness in veterans with Tai Chi.

 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction may provide significant benefits to symptoms associated with Gulf War Illness in veterans.” – Laura Stiles

 

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

 

Reid, K. F., Bannuru, R. R., Wang, C., Mori, D. L., & Niles, B. L. (2019). The Effects of Tai Chi Mind-Body Approach on the Mechanisms of Gulf War Illness: an Umbrella Review. Integrative medicine research, 8(3), 167–172. doi:10.1016/j.imr.2019.05.003

 

Abstract

Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic and multisymptom disorder affecting military veterans deployed to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It is characterized by a range of acute and chronic symptoms, including but not limited to, fatigue, sleep disturbances, psychological problems, cognitive deficits, widespread pain, and respiratory and gastrointestinal difficulties. The prevalence of many of these chronic symptoms affecting Gulf War veterans occur at markedly elevated rates compared to nondeployed contemporary veterans. To date, no effective treatments for GWI have been identified. The overarching goal of this umbrella review was to critically evaluate the evidence for the potential of Tai Chi mind-body exercise to benefit and alleviate GWI symptomology. Based on the most prevalent GWI chronic symptoms and case definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Gulf War Veterans Health Initiative Program, we reviewed and summarized the evidence from 7 published systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Our findings suggest that Tai Chi may have the potential for distinct therapeutic benefits on the major prevalent symptoms of GWI. Future clinical trials are warranted to examine the feasibility, efficacy, durability and potential mechanisms of Tai Chi for improving health outcomes and relieving symptomology in GWI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6600798/

 

Help Relieve Asthma Symptoms with Yoga

Help Relieve Asthma Symptoms with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga can help increase breath and body awareness, slow your respiratory rate, and promote calm and relieve stress — all of which are beneficial for people who have asthma.” – Judi Bar

 

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that involves a persistent inflammation of the airways. When the inflammation worsens, it makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs provoking coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It is estimated that 300 million people worldwide and 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma and the incidence appears to be growing. In the U.S.it is estimated to cost $60 billion per year in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in the world among children with about 10% of children suffering from asthma.

 

Asthma is not fatal and those with moderate asthma have an equivalent life expectancy to those that don’t. There is no cure for asthma. So, it is a chronic disease that must be coped with throughout the lifetime. Treatments are aimed at symptomatic relief. Most frequently drugs, anti-inflammatory hormones, and inhalers are used to help control the inflammation. Exercise can be difficult with asthma and may actually precipitate an attack. This can be a problem as maintaining fitness with asthma can be difficult. A relatively gentle form of exercise, yoga practice can be practiced without heavy breathing and thus may not provoke asthma. In addition, breathing exercises like those incorporated into yoga practice are known to help control asthma. This suggests that yoga practice may be a helpful exercise for people with asthma.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga for asthma.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880926/), Yang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of asthma. They found 15 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

 

They report that the research found that yoga practice produced a significant improvement in the asthma patients’ symptoms, control of asthma, and quality of life and a significant reduction in asthma medication use. In terms of lung function, the research found that yoga practice produced significant improvements in forced vital capacity and peak expiratory flow rate.

 

Hence, yoga practice appears to be beneficial for asthma patients, improving lung function, asthma symptoms, drug use, and improving the patient’s quality of life. There were no recorded adverse events associated with the yoga practice. This is important as exercise is often difficult for asthma patients. Yoga practice appears to be feasible and well tolerated and beneficial for asthma patients.

 

So, help relieve asthma symptoms with yoga.

 

Having asthma means it can be a struggle to breathe properly, but yoga involves learning how to breathe deeply in and out through the nose to filter the air, and find a natural, balanced breathing pattern. Over time this helps to increase lung capacity and gives you more control of your breathing day-to-day.” – Julia White

 

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

 

Yang, Z. Y., Zhong, H. B., Mao, C., Yuan, J. Q., Huang, Y. F., Wu, X. Y., … Tang, J. L. (2016). Yoga for asthma. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4(4), CD010346. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010346.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disorder affecting about 300 million people worldwide. As a holistic therapy, yoga has the potential to relieve both the physical and psychological suffering of people with asthma, and its popularity has expanded globally. A number of clinical trials have been carried out to evaluate the effects of yoga practice, with inconsistent results.

Objectives

To assess the effects of yoga in people with asthma.

Search methods

We systematically searched the Cochrane Airways Group Register of Trials, which is derived from systematic searches of bibliographic databases including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, and PsycINFO, and handsearching of respiratory journals and meeting abstracts. We also searched PEDro. We searched ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO ICTRP search portal. We searched all databases from their inception to 22 July 2015, and used no restriction on language of publication. We checked the reference lists of eligible studies and relevant review articles for additional studies. We attempted to contact investigators of eligible studies and experts in the field to learn of other published and unpublished studies.

Selection criteria

We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared yoga with usual care (or no intervention) or sham intervention in people with asthma and reported at least one of the following outcomes: quality of life, asthma symptom score, asthma control, lung function measures, asthma medication usage, and adverse events.

Data collection and analysis

We extracted bibliographic information, characteristics of participants, characteristics of interventions and controls, characteristics of methodology, and results for the outcomes of our interest from eligible studies. For continuous outcomes, we used mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) to denote the treatment effects, if the outcomes were measured by the same scale across studies. Alternatively, if the outcomes were measured by different scales across studies, we used standardised mean difference (SMD) with 95% CI. For dichotomous outcomes, we used risk ratio (RR) with 95% CI to measure the treatment effects. We performed meta‐analysis with Review Manager 5.3. We used the fixed‐effect model to pool the data, unless there was substantial heterogeneity among studies, in which case we used the random‐effects model instead. For outcomes inappropriate or impossible to pool quantitatively, we conducted a descriptive analysis and summarised the findings narratively.

Main results

We included 15 RCTs with a total of 1048 participants. Most of the trials were conducted in India, followed by Europe and the United States. The majority of participants were adults of both sexes with mild to moderate asthma for six months to more than 23 years. Five studies included yoga breathing alone, while the other studies assessed yoga interventions that included breathing, posture, and meditation. Interventions lasted from two weeks to 54 months, for no more than six months in the majority of studies. The risk of bias was low across all domains in one study and unclear or high in at least one domain for the remainder.

There was some evidence that yoga may improve quality of life (MD in Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) score per item 0.57 units on a 7‐point scale, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.77; 5 studies; 375 participants), improve symptoms (SMD 0.37, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.65; 3 studies; 243 participants), and reduce medication usage (RR 5.35, 95% CI 1.29 to 22.11; 2 studies) in people with asthma. The MD for AQLQ score exceeded the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of 0.5, but whether the mean changes exceeded the MCID for asthma symptoms is uncertain due to the lack of an established MCID in the severity scores used in the included studies. The effects of yoga on change from baseline forced expiratory volume in one second (MD 0.04 litres, 95% CI ‐0.10 to 0.19; 7 studies; 340 participants; I2 = 68%) were not statistically significant. Two studies indicated improved asthma control, but due to very significant heterogeneity (I2 = 98%) we did not pool data. No serious adverse events associated with yoga were reported, but the data on this outcome was limited.

Authors’ conclusions

We found moderate‐quality evidence that yoga probably leads to small improvements in quality of life and symptoms in people with asthma. There is more uncertainty about potential adverse effects of yoga and its impact on lung function and medication usage. RCTs with a large sample size and high methodological and reporting quality are needed to confirm the effects of yoga for asthma.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6880926/

 

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiopulmonary Health Over the Long Haul in Obese Elderly with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Research has found that seniors who regularly practice tai chi are steadier on their feet, less likely to suffer high blood pressure, and physically stronger.  Tai chi has been known to improve hand/eye coordination, increase circulation, and can even promote a better night’s sleep.” – Chris Corregall

 

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and diabetes. Overweight and abdominal obesity are associated with high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with pulmonary problems and type-2 diabetes. Obesity incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects over a third of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat the health consequences of obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Tai Chi practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function. Tai Chi training has also been shown to improve lung function. These findings are encouraging. But little is known about the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve cardiopulmonary function over the long-term.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/), Sun and colleagues recruited healthy obese adults over 50 years of age (average 66 years) and provided them with a health education training. In addition, half the participants received training in Tai Chi 3 times per week for 30-40 minutes. They were measured before and after training and then every 3 to 6 months over 6 years for blood pressure, body size, cardiac function, and lung function.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the health education only group, the Tai Chi group had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index, and significant improvements in cardiac and lung function that were maintained for 6 years. In addition, the Tai Chi  group had lower incidences of health complications, lower mortality, and lower rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

 

These results are exciting and remarkable. It is exceedingly rare to have such long-term follow-up of the effectiveness of an intervention. The results demonstrate that Tai Chi practice can be safely maintained over very long periods of time and produce sustained benefits for the health of the elderly. It’s important to note that Tai Chi is gentle and safe, appropriate for all ages, and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, improve cardiopulmonary health over the long haul in obese elderly with Tai Chi.

 

Practising the ancient martial art of Tai Chi is so beneficial to elderly people’s health that it should be “the preferred mode of training”” – The Telegraph

 

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

 

Sun, L., Zhuang, L. P., Li, X. Z., Zheng, J., & Wu, W. F. (2019). Tai Chi can prevent cardiovascular disease and improve cardiopulmonary function of adults with obesity aged 50 years and older: A long-term follow-up study. Medicine, 98(42), e17509. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017509

 

Abstract

To research the possible role of Tai Chi in preventing cardiovascular disease and improving cardiopulmonary function in adults with obesity aged 50 years and older.

Between 2007 and 2012, 120 adults with obesity, aged 50 years and older, were divided into a Tai Chi group and a control group, with 60 participants in each group. The 2 groups were evaluated for weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, blood pressure (BP), body mass index, and incidence of chronic disease during follow-up monitoring.

Two- and 6-year follow-up showed that the average BP in the Tai Chi group along with either the systolic or diastolic pressure decreased significantly compared to those in the control group (P < .001). Waist and hip circumference, weight, and body mass index in the Tai Chi group were significantly reduced compared to those in the control group (P < .001). The cardiopulmonary function of the control group and the Tai Chi group changed, with the cardiac index significantly higher in the Tai Chi group than in the control group (P < .05). The Tai Chi group had significantly higher levels of lung function, including vital capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and total expiratory time, than the control group. The total incidence of complications and mortality in the Tai Chi group were much lower than those in the control group (P < .001). The incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in the Tai Chi group (16.67%) was lower than that in the control group (38.33%).

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824704/

 

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

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

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

There is no cure for COPD. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. Gentle exercise such as Yoga practice could improve COPD symptoms as it has been shown to improve exercise tolerance and overall health and includes breathing exercises. Indeed, it has been shown that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of patients with COPD. Mindful Movement practices such Tai Chi and qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle practices.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Objectives

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

Methods

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

Results

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

Conclusions

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

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

Improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Symptoms with Qigong

Improve Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Symptoms with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

There is no cure for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. Mindful Movement practices such Tai Chi and qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle practices.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Objective:

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

Methods:

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

Results:

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

Conclusion:

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

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

 

Improve “Diabetic Lung” with Yoga Therapy

Improve “Diabetic Lung” with Yoga Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga can do more than just relax your body in mind — especially if you’re living with diabetes. Certain poses may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while also improving circulation.” – Daniel Bubnis

 

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, circulatory problems leading to amputations and pulmonary issues known as “Diabetic Lung.” 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 a common and increasingly prevalent illness that 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. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes. The extent to which yoga practice might also help with “Diabetic Lung” has not been well studied.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Adjuvant Yoga Therapy in Diabetic Lung: A Randomized Control Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521747/), Balaji and colleagues recruited diabetic patients whose lung function was less than 70% of normal. They were randomly assigned to receive either medical care as usual or to receive usual medical care and additional yoga therapy 3 times per week for 4 months. The yoga therapy included poses, relaxation, breathing exercises, and special postures designed to improve lung function. The participants were measured before and after the 4-month intervention for body size, and pulmonary function.

 

They found that compared to baseline and medical care as usual, after yoga practice there was a significant reduction in body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) and a significant improvement in lung function including improvements in forced expiratory volume, forced vital capacity, and their ratio. Hence yoga therapy appears to be a safe and effective therapy for patients with “Diabetic Lung.”

 

In the present study the control condition did not include an exercise condition. So, it cannot be determined whether the exercise associated with the yoga practice or the other components of the practice were responsible for the improvements. But it is clear from this randomized controlled trial that yoga practice designed to improve lung function is a safe and effective treatment for diabetic patients with “Diabetic Lung.”

 

So, improve “Diabetic Lung” with yoga therapy.

 

Although regular exercise can help, yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.” – Yoga U

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Balaji, R., Ramanathan, M., Bhavanani, A. B., Ranganadin, P., & Balachandran, K. (2019). Effectiveness of Adjuvant Yoga Therapy in Diabetic Lung: A Randomized Control Trial. International Journal of Yoga, 12(2), 96–102. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_20_18

 

Abstract

Context:

Recent studies provide ample evidence of the benefits of yoga in various chronic disorders. Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by chronic hyperglycemia and Sandler coined the term “Diabetic Lung” for the abnormal pulmonary function detected in diabetic patients due underlying pulmonary dysfunction. Yoga therapy may help in achieving better pulmonary function along with enhanced glycaemic control and overall health benefits.

Aim:

To study the effect of adjuvant yoga therapy in diabetic lung through spirometry.

Settings and Design:

Randomized control trial was made as interdisciplinary collaborative work between departments of Yoga Therapy, Pulmonary Medicine and Endocrinology, of MGMC & RI, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth Puducherry.

Materials and Methods:

72 patients of diabetic lung as confirmed by spirometry (<70% of expected) were randomized into control group (n=36) who received only standard medical treatment and yoga group (n=36) who received yoga training thrice weekly for 4 months along with standard medical management. Yoga therapy protocol included yogic counseling, preparatory practices, Asanas or static postures, Pranayama or breathing techniques and relaxation techniques. Hathenas of the Gitananda Yoga tradition were the main practices used. Spirometry was done at the end of the study period. Data was analyzed by Student’s paired and unpaired ‘t’ test as it passed normality.

Results:

There was a statistically significant (P < 0.05) reduction in weight, and BMI along with a significant (P < 0.01) improvement in pulmonary function (FEV1, FVC) in yoga group as compared to control group where parameters worsened over study period.

Conclusion:

It is concluded from the present RCT that yoga has a definite role as an adjuvant therapy as it enhances standard medical care and hence is even more significant in routine clinical management of diabetes, improving physical condition and pulmonary function.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521747/

 

Meditation Alter Short-Term and Long-Term Breathing

Meditation Alter Short-Term and Long-Term Breathing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, meditation healthfully slows down heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, sweating, and soothing all other sympathetic nervous system fight or flight functions.” – EOC Institute

 

In our lives we are confronted with a variety of situations and environments. In order to successfully navigate these differing situations, we must be able to adapt and self-regulate. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is designed to adapt physiologically to the varying demands on us. It is composed of 2 divisions; the sympathetic division underlies activation, including increases in respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure, while the parasympathetic division underlies relaxation, including decreases in respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. These include alterations of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) producing physiological relaxation including reductions in breathing rates. But the effects of meditation on breathing has not been well studied.

 

In today’s Research News article “Breath Rate Variability: A Novel Measure to Study the Meditation Effects.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329220/), Soni and colleagues recruited experienced meditators and nonmeditators who expressed interest in meditation. They were asked to close their eyes and sit quietly for 15 minutes. During which time they measured for heart rate and respiration.

 

They found that the meditators had significantly greater mean and median breathing time, standard deviation of the breath to breathe interval, standard deviation of the average breath to breathe interval, root mean square standard deviation of the average breath to breathe interval and significantly lower breath rate. These measures suggest that meditation practice produces short-term changes in breathing when at rest. In addition, heart rate and breath rate variability measures suggested that there was a significant increase in long-term parasympathetic input in the meditators.

 

These are complex but interesting results that suggest that meditation practice alters respiration over both the short and long term. On the short term, while at rest with eyes closed meditators have better, more relaxed, control of respiration. On the long term, meditator appear to have increased parasympathetic control of respiration. This suggest an overall relaxation of respiration. Meditation would appear to alter the overall balance in the autonomic nervous system toward increased parasympathetic (relaxation) control and decreases sympathetic (activation) control. This may explain some of the benefits of meditation for stress reduction.

 

So, relax short-term and long-term breathing with meditation

 

“all forms of meditation studied reduce physiological stress markers in one way or another, and therefore, all forms are likely beneficial in managing stress.” – Michaela Pascoe

 

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

 

Soni, R., & Muniyandi, M. (2019). Breath Rate Variability: A Novel Measure to Study the Meditation Effects. International journal of yoga, 12(1), 45–54. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_27_17

 

Abstract

Context:

Reliable quantitative measure of meditation is still elusive. Although electroencephalogram (EEG) and heart rate variability (HRV) are known as quantitative measures of meditation, effects of meditation on EEG and HRV may well take long time as these measures are involuntarily controlled. Effect of mediation on respiration is well known; however, quantitative measures of respiration during meditation have not been studied.

Aims:

Breath rate variability (BRV) as an alternate measure of meditation even over a short duration is proposed. The main objective of this study is to test the hypothesis that BRV is a simple measure that differentiates between meditators and nonmeditators.

Settings and Design:

This was a nonrandomized, controlled trial. Volunteers meditate in their natural habitat during signal acquisition.

Subjects and Methods:

We used Photo-Plythysmo-Gram (PPG) signal acquisition system from BIO-PAC and recorded video of chest and abdomen movement due to respiration during a short meditation (15 min) session for 12 individuals (all males) meditating in a relaxed sitting posture. Seven of the 12 individuals had substantial experience in meditation, while others are controls without any experience in meditation. Respiratory signal from PPG signal was derived and matched with that of the video respiratory signal. This derived respiratory signal is used for calculating BRV parameters in time, frequency, nonlinear, and time-frequency domain.

Statistical Analysis Used:

First, breath-to-breath interval (BBI) was calculated from the respiration signal, then time domain parameters such as standard deviation of BBI (SDBB), root mean square value of SDBB (RMSSD), and standard deviation of SDBB (SDSD) were calculated. We performed spectral analysis to calculate frequency domain parameters (power spectral density [PSD], power of each band, peak frequency of each band, and normalized frequency) using Burg, Welch, and Lomb–Scargle (LS) method. We calculated nonlinear parameters (sample entropy, approximate entropy, Poincare plot, and Renyi entropy). We calculated time frequency parameters (global PSD, low frequency-high frequency [LF-HF] ratio, and LF-HF power) by Burg LS and wavelet method.

Results:

The results show that the mediated individuals have high value of SDSD (+24%), SDBB (+29%), and RMSSD (+26%). Frequency domain analysis shows substantial increment in LFHF power (+73%) and LFHF ratio (+33%). Nonlinear parameters such as SD1 and SD2 were also more (>20%) for meditated persons.

Conclusions:

As compared to HRV, BRV can provide short-term effect on anatomic nervous system meditation, while HRV shows long-term effects. Improved autonomic function is one of the long-term effects of meditation in which an increase in parasympathetic activity and decrease in sympathetic dominance are observed. In future works, BRV could also be used for measuring stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329220/

 

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Coronary Disease Rehabilitation with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Coronary Disease Rehabilitation with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing tai chi may help to modestly lower blood pressure. It’s also proved helpful for people with heart failure, who tend to be tired and weak as a result of the heart’s diminished pumping ability. The slow movements involve both the upper and lower body, which safely strengthens the heart and major muscle groups without undue strain.” – Harvard Heart Letter

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart failure, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of heart failure patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.  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 for coronary disease patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: 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/PMC5758591/ ), Yang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of 5 published research articles on the use of Tai Chi for the treatment of patients with coronary disease.

 

They found that in comparison to other gentle aerobic exercise practice Tai Chi produced significantly greater improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness, or aerobic capacity, which is reflected by VO2max, measured with a stress test. But, the effect was not as great as that produced by vigorous aerobic exercise. No adverse events were reported. Hence, Tai Chi practice was found to be safe and effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness in patients with coronary disease.

 

Tai Chi practice was not as effective as vigorous aerobic exercise. But it is difficult to get patients with coronary disease to engage in and sustain vigorous exercise. It scares them and produces considerable discomfort. Tai Chi practice, on the other hand, is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Tai Chi practice may be an ideal treatment for patients with coronary disease, not only one that is effective but also one that they will engage in and sustain.

 

So, improve cardiorespiratory fitness in coronary disease rehabilitation with Tai Chi.

 

“Both fear of exercise and the perception of cardiac rehabilitation as dangerous were the most commonly reported reasons for declining participation in cardiac rehabilitation. Tai chi can clearly overcome these barriers because it is a different form of exercise. During training, participants are constantly reminded they do not need to strive or struggle to achieve predetermined goals in terms of heart rate or exercise intensity. Instead, they are invited to focus their attention on the breath and/or on the movements of the body. As a result, participants do not see tai chi exercise as threatening, and this may result in improvements in exercise self-efficacy,” – Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yang, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, S., Shi, P., & Wang, C. (2017). The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 1091. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01091

 

Abstract

Background: Tai Chi that originated in China as a martial art is an aerobic exercise with low-to-moderate intensity and may play a role in cardiac rehabilitation.

Aim: To systematically review the effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness for coronary disease rehabilitation.

Methods: We performed a search for Chinese and English studies in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, Wanfang Data, and China Science and Technology Journal Database. The search strategy included terms relating to or describing Tai Chi and coronary disease, and there were no exclusion criteria for other types of diseases or disorders. Further, bibliographies of the related published systematic reviews were also reviewed. The searches, data extraction, and risk of bias (ROB) assessments were conducted by two independent investigators. Differences were resolved by consensus. RevMan 5.3.0 was used to analyze the study results. We used quantitative synthesis if the included studies were sufficiently homogeneous and performed subgroup analyses for studies with different control groups. To minimize bias in our findings, we used GRADEpro to grade the available evidence.

Results: Five studies were enrolled—two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three nonrandomized controlled trials (N-RCTs)—that included 291 patients. All patients had coronary disease. ROB assessments showed a relatively high selection and detection bias. Meta-analyses showed that compared to other types of low- or moderate-intensity exercise, Tai Chi could significantly improve VO2max [MD = 4.71, 95% CI (3.58, 5.84), P < 0.00001], but it seemed less effective at improving VO2max as compared to high-intensity exercise. This difference, however, was not statistically significant [MD = −1.10, 95% CI (−2.46, 0.26), P = 0.11]. The GRADEpro showed a low level of the available evidence.

Conclusion: Compared to no exercise or other types of exercise with low-to-moderate intensity, Tai Chi seems a good choice for coronary disease rehabilitation in improving cardiorespiratory fitness. However, owing to the poor methodology quality, more clinical trials with large sample size, strict randomization, and clear description about detection and reporting processes are needed to further verify the evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/

 

Improve the Symptoms of COPD with Mindful Movement Practices

Improve the Symptoms of COPD with Mindful Movement Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“a low-cost exercise intervention is equivalent to formal pulmonary rehabilitation, and this may enable a greater number of patients to be treated. Physical activity is key to reducing symptoms in COPD. We do recommend [pulmonary rehabilitation], but our study shows that tai chi is a viable alternative when there is no local [pulmonary rehabilitation] service.” – Yuan-Ming Luo

 

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

 

There is no cure for COPD. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine, bronchodilators, steroids, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and surgery. They all attempt to relieve symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, improve exercise tolerance, prevent and treat complications, and improve overall health. Gentle exercise such as Yoga practice could improve COPD symptoms as it has been shown to improve exercise tolerance and overall health and includes breathing exercises. Indeed, it has been shown that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of patients with COPD. Mindful Movement practices such Tai Chi and qigong are ancient Chinese practices involving mindfulness and gentle movements. They are easy to learn, safe, and gentle. So, it may be appropriate for patients with COPD who lack the ability to engage in strenuous exercises to engage in these gentle practices.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of meditative movement on COPD: 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/PMC5909800/ ), Wu and colleagues review and summarize the published literature on the use of yoga practice or Tai Chi and qigong (meditative movements) for the treatment of Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). They discovered 16 studies of which 7 evaluated yoga, 4 tai chi, 3 qigong, and 2 tai chi and qigong combined. The studies involved 1176 total COPD patients.

 

They found that the studies reported that COPD patients who engaged in meditative movements were able to walk further in 6 minutes than controls even when the control condition was walking exercise. Further meditative movement was reported to significantly improve lung function and quality of life with COPD and reduce fatigue. Hence the published literature supports the use of meditative movements, yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, for the treatment of the symptoms of Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).

 

These findings are particularly important as mindful movement practices, are gentle and safe, having no appreciable side effects, they appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, the mindful movement practices of yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong would appear to be almost ideal, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms of Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).

 

So, improve the symptoms of COPD with mindful movement practices.

 

“Finding a way to relieve stress when dealing with COPD is key to sustaining good health.  Tai Chi is an easy, graceful exercise that is highly effective for reducing stress levels.” – Lung 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

 

Wu, L.-L., Lin, Z.-K., Weng, H.-D., Qi, Q.-F., Lu, J., & Liu, K.-X. (2018). Effectiveness of meditative movement on COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 13, 1239–1250. http://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S159042

 

Abstract

Background

The effectiveness of meditative movement (tai chi, yoga, and qigong) on COPD remained unclear. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the effectiveness of meditative movement on COPD patients.

Methods

We searched PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Center Register of Controlled Trials for relevant studies. The methods of standard meta-analysis were utilized for identifying relevant researches (until August 2017), quality appraisal, and synthesis. The primary outcomes were the 6-minute walking distance (6MWD), lung function, and dyspnea levels.

Results

Sixteen studies involving 1,176 COPD patients were included. When comparing with the control group, the 6MWD was significantly enhanced in the treatment group (3 months: mean difference [MD]=25.40 m, 95% CI: 16.25 to 34.54; 6 months: MD=35.75 m, 95% CI: 22.23 to 49.27), as well as functions on forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) (3 months: MD=0.1L, 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.18; 6 months: MD=0.18L, 95% CI: 0.1 to 0.26), and FEV1 % predicted (3 months: 4L, 95% CI: 2.7 to 5.31; 6 months: MD=4.8L, 95% CI: 2.56 to 7.07). Quality of life for the group doing meditative movement was better than the control group based on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire dyspnea score (MD=0.9 units, 95% CI: 0.51 to 1.29) and fatigue score (MD=0.75 units, 95% CI: 0.42 to 1.09) and the total score (MD=1.92 units, 95% CI: 0.54 to 3.31).

Conclusion

Meditative movement may have the potential to enhance lung function and physical activity in COPD patients. More large-scale, well-designed, multicenter, randomized controlled trials should be launched to evaluate the long-range effects of meditative movement.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5909800/

 

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness with Tai Chi

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing Tai Chi Chuan regularly may delay the decline of cardiorespiratory function in older individuals. In addition, TCC may be prescribed as a suitable aerobic exercise for older adults.” – J.S. Lai

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart attack, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiac patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.  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, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for cardiac patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: 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/PMC5758591/ ), Yang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of 5 published studies involving the application of Tai Chi practice for cardiac patients. Two studies were randomized controlled trials while 2 did not have a comparison (control) condition.

 

They report that the published studies found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvement in the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood (VO2max) and was superior to light or moderate exercise but not different from intense exercise. Tai Chi practice also produced a significant improvement in peak heart rate in comparison to baseline and no exercise, but was inferior to intense exercise in this regard. Hence, there is evidence that Tai Chi practice can be of benefit to cardiac patients improving cardiorespiratory function.

 

The studies reviewed tended to have small samples or had week or nonexistent control conditions. So, conclusions must be tempered. The present summary, however, suggest that larger randomized controlled trials are justified. Tai Chi was not found to be as beneficial as intense exercise. But, intense exercise may be dangerous for cardiac patients. The attractiveness of the low intensity, low cost, convenient, and socially fun nature of Tai Chi practice makes it a good choice for cardiac patients.

 

So, improve cardiorespiratory fitness with Tai Chi.

 

“The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi hold promise as an alternative exercise option for patients who decline traditional cardiac rehabilitation.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Yang YL, Wang YH, Wang SR, Shi PS, Wang C. The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Physiol. 2018 Jan 4;8:1091. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.01091. eCollection 2017.

 

Abstract

Background: Tai Chi that originated in China as a martial art is an aerobic exercise with low-to-moderate intensity and may play a role in cardiac rehabilitation. Aim: To systematically review the effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness for coronary disease rehabilitation. Methods: We performed a search for Chinese and English studies in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, Wanfang Data, and China Science and Technology Journal Database. The search strategy included terms relating to or describing Tai Chi and coronary disease, and there were no exclusion criteria for other types of diseases or disorders. Further, bibliographies of the related published systematic reviews were also reviewed. The searches, data extraction, and risk of bias (ROB) assessments were conducted by two independent investigators. Differences were resolved by consensus. RevMan 5.3.0 was used to analyze the study results. We used quantitative synthesis if the included studies were sufficiently homogeneous and performed subgroup analyses for studies with different control groups. To minimize bias in our findings, we used GRADEpro to grade the available evidence. Results: Five studies were enrolled-two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three nonrandomized controlled trials (N-RCTs)-that included 291 patients. All patients had coronary disease. ROB assessments showed a relatively high selection and detection bias. Meta-analyses showed that compared to other types of low- or moderate-intensity exercise, Tai Chi could significantly improve VO2max [MD = 4.71, 95% CI (3.58, 5.84), P < 0.00001], but it seemed less effective at improving VO2max as compared to high-intensity exercise. This difference, however, was not statistically significant [MD = -1.10, 95% CI (-2.46, 0.26), P = 0.11]. The GRADEpro showed a low level of the available evidence. Conclusion: Compared to no exercise or other types of exercise with low-to-moderate intensity, Tai Chi seems a good choice for coronary disease rehabilitation in improving cardiorespiratory fitness. However, owing to the poor methodology quality, more clinical trials with large sample size, strict randomization, and clear description about detection and reporting processes are needed to further verify the evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/