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Research into the Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai chi results in decreased falls.

In a study done at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, by Dr. Steve Wolf et al, twice-weekly Tai Chi practice in older adults was found to reduce the risk of multiple falls by 47.5%. The FICSIT Group (Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques) enrolled 200 participants that were over 70 years old in a 15 week program.

Tai chi helps the heart.

  • In a study at the National Taiwan University Hospital, Dr. Lan et al found that people who practiced tai chi for a year after a coronary artery bypass had better cardiac function than did those people who undertook a home-based exercise program of the more conventional type.

  • When comparing older tai chi practitioners with matched older sedentary controls, Dr. Lan found that over a two-year period, the tai chi practitioners tended to maintain their cardiorespiratory function while the control group's measures of cardiorespiratory function declined.

  • Dr. Channer, a cardiologist in the UK, found tai chi to be a helpful part of rehabilitation after a heart attack.

Tai chi is an aerobic activity.

  • Dr. Zhuo in Canada found that tai chi practiced for at least 20 minutes rates as a moderate aerobic activity, about equal in cardiovascular fitness to a moderately brisk 20-minute walk.

  • Dr. Li at the Oregon Research Institute confirmed these findings.

Tai chi relieves the symptoms of arthritis.

  • Dr. Kristen at Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital in North Carolina showed that tai chi is safe for people with rheumatoid arthritis. It did not increase joint tenderness and swelling.

  • Dr. Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Arthritis program was the basis of a multi center study that showed that after 12 weeks, arthritic symptoms, balance, and physical functioning of older women with osteoarthritis were greatly improved. View the abstract.

Tai chi results in greater ease and confidence in the activities of daily life.

Tai chi has been shown to reduce stress and promote a feeling of well-being. In study after study, from Connecticut to California to Canada to Australia to the United Kingdom, studies that include self-reports have shown that people practicing regular tai chi have an enhanced sense of well being, decreased pain, and increased flexibility. Most importantly, they go about their daily lives with more ease and confidence.


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