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/

 

Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong

Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the main issues that a stroke survivor experiences is a problem with balance. . .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”. 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.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690748/ ),

Lauche and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for Stroke. They did not find any trials that reported actual incidence of stroke, but found 21 research controlled trials that reported on risk factors for stroke, including hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome.

 

They found that the published research reported that Tai Chi or Qigong practice produced significant improvement in hypertension including reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The studies also reported significant improvements in hyperlipidaemia, including lower levels of triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL cholesterol and in diabetes including fasting blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Tai Chi or Qigong practice was also found to improve the body weight index in overweight and obese individuals. No adverse events were reported in any of the trials.

 

These results are remarkable in the breadth and extent of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for stroke. Although there were no direct measures of stroke incidence the reductions in risk factors would predict a reduction, over the long-term of the likelihood and incidence of stroke. Lauche and colleagues, however, caution that the trials tended to be of low quality with considerable risk of bias. Hence, conclusions need to be tempered and the results needs to be confirmed with more highly controlled trials.

 

The review found evidence that Tai Chi or Qigong practices are safe, with no negative effects or adverse reactions. In addition, they can be implemented to large numbers of individuals at relatively low cost, can be conveniently practiced at home or in a clinic, and can be practiced alone or in groups. Also, since the practice is gentle and safe it can be used with frail, sickly or elderly individuals. Hence, Tai Chi or Qigong practice appears to be an excellent treatment for the reduction of the risk for stroke in vulnerable individuals.

 

So, decrease stroke risk with 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

 

Lauche, R., Peng, W., Ferguson, C., Cramer, H., Frawley, J., Adams, J., & Sibbritt, D. (2017). Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(45), e8517. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000008517

 

Abstract

Background:

This review aims to summarize the evidence of Tai Chi and qigong interventions for the primary prevention of stroke, including the effects on populations with major stroke risk factors.

Methods:

A systematic literature search was conducted on January 16, 2017 using the PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases. Randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of Tai Chi or qigong for stroke prevention and stroke risk factors were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool.

Results:

Twenty-one trials with n = 1604 patients with hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome were included. No trials were found that examined the effects of Tai Chi/qigong on stroke incidence. Meta-analyses revealed significant, but not robust, benefits of Tai Chi/qigong over no interventions for hypertension (systolic blood pressure: −15.55 mm Hg (95% CI: −21.16; −9.95); diastolic blood pressure: −10.66 mm Hg (95% CI: −14.90, −6.43); the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index (−2.86%; 95% CI: −5.35, −0.38) and fasting blood glucose (−9.6 mg/dL; 95% CI: −17.28, −1.91), and for the body mass index compared with exercise controls (−1.65 kg/m2; 95% CI: −3.11, −0.20). Risk of bias was unclear or high for the majority of trials and domains, and heterogeneity between trials was high. Only 6 trials adequately reported safety. No recommendation for the use of Tai Chi/qigong for the prevention of stroke can be given.

Conclusion:

Although Tai Chi and qigong show some potential more robust studies are required to provide conclusive evidence on the efficacy and safety of Tai Chi and qigong for reducing major stroke risk factors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690748/

Don’t get Stroked Practice Tai Chi

“The medical literature tells us that the most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many more problems are through healthy diet and exercise. Our bodies have evolved to move, yet we now use the energy in oil instead of muscles to do our work.”David Suzuki

 

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.

 

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. It is estimated to cost $34 billion each year in health care services, medications, and missed work. In addition, Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability.

 

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 is even appropriate for the elderly.

http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/aging-healthily-sleeping-better-with-mindful-movement-practice/. But, can such a gentle exercise help reduce strokes by altering the risk factors for stroke. In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Chuan for the Primary Prevention of Stroke in Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults: A Systematic Review”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1090006691023256/?type=1&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345078/

Zheng and colleagues review the literature investigating this very point and find that Tai Chi does significantly reduce the incidence of non-fatal strokes and reduces a number of risk factors for stroke.

 

The practice of Tai Chi was found to reduce the stroke risk factors of body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), waistline and hip circumference, blood pressure, plasma lipids and cholesterol. It even was effective in reducing these risk factors for stroke in patients with chronic diseases. It had all of these positive effects without any reported adverse effects.

 

It should be mentioned that the effect sizes were small to moderate. Hence, Tai Chi cannot be seen as a magical treatment for the prevention of stroke. It simply makes it less likely that a stroke might occur. Since it is safe and has many other benefits particularly for the elderly http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/08/06/age-healthily-treating-insomnia-and-inflammation/, it should be seriously considered as an exercise to assist in healthy aging.

 

So practice Tai Chi so you don’t get stroked!

 

“The most important reason to study T’ai-Chi Ch’uan is that when you finally reach the place where you understand what life is all about, you’ll have some health to enjoy it.” – Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies