Non-Profit Trusted Source of Non-Commercial Health Information
The Original Voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine
logo logo
Exercise Brain and Mental Performance Cardio-Vascular Parkinsons Disease

Tai Chi for Better Health

7 years, 2 months ago

17770  0
Posted on Feb 10, 2017, 6 a.m.

Recent studies have shown that tai chi may be beneficial to people with certain health conditions.

Tai Chi is a practice many people are unfamiliar with, but the technique that is based on an ancient Chinese martial art form offers significant health benefits in a variety of areas. Controlled movements, rhythmic breathing and meditation are combined in an exercise focused on stimulating the flow of chi or the vital energy that is believed to promote healing. This peaceful type of moving meditation is primarily used to improve strength, balance, flexibility and posture. Recent studies of Tai Chi shows that this mind-body practice is able to alleviate pain, improve mood, increase immunity and support heart health.

    •    Psychological benefits - practicing Tai Chi offers some of the benefits of meditation that include the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. Resolving one or more of these issues obviously leads to a more peaceful state of mind. It has been shown that stress can also lead to common health issues including cardiac problems, cancer and diabetes. It is more important to identify and treat the underlying cause of a disease than to simply treat the symptoms, so practicing Tai Chi truly has some far-reaching health benefits.

   •    Parkinson's Disease - although there is currently scant evidence that Tai Chi is able to reduce the effects of this devastating disease, the improved balance and strength gained is a benefit that may help Parkinson's sufferers avoid serious falls that are a symptom of the disease.

   •    Heart disease - the practice of Tai Chi offers a two-fold benefit for people who either have cardiovascular disease or are at risk of developing the condition. This kind of low-level exercise is a safe way to increase physical strength and meditation can reduce the elevated stress levels that contribute to high blood pressure.

    •    Osteoarthritis - while there is no evidence that practicing Tai Chi will improve the function of arthritic joints, one study indicated that people who had osteoarthritis in their knee found some relief from pain after Tai Chi sessions.

    •    Fibromyalgia - this chronic pain condition is very common and affects millions of people in the United States. The disease is characterized by chronic pain with specific tender areas. In addition to severe pain, the symptoms include problems sleeping, migraine headaches, fatigue and a reduction in the ability to think clearly. The benefits of practicing Tai Chi include pain reduction, increased physical strength, reduced stress and improved sleep. Fibromyalgia is an extremely difficult condition to live with, but regular Tai Chi sessions can alleviate some of the symptoms. 

Ding M1. "Tai Chi for stroke rehabilitation: a focused review." Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Dec;91(12):1091-6.

Hall A1, Maher C, Latimer J, Ferreira M. "The effectiveness of Tai Chi for chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Jun 15;61(6):717-24.

Hall AM1, Maher CG, Lam P, Ferreira M, Latimer J. "Tai chi exercise for treatment of pain and disability in people with persistent low back pain: a randomized controlled trial." Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 Nov;63(11):1576-83.

Jahnke R1, Larkey L, Rogers C, Etnier J, Lin F. "A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi." Am J Health Promot. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(6):e1-e25.

Lee MS1, Pittler MH, Ernst E. "Tai chi for osteoarthritis: a systematic review." Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Feb;27(2):211-8.

Lee MS1, Lam P, Ernst E. "Effectiveness of tai chi for Parkinson's disease: a critical review." Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2008 Dec;14(8):589-94.

Li G1, Yuan H2, Zhang W2. "Effects of Tai Chi on health related quality of life in patients with chronic conditions: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials." Complement Ther Med. 2014 Aug;22(4):743-55.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. "Tai Chi and Qi Gong." NCCIH Pub No.: D322. August 2015.

Wang C1, Schmid CH, Rones R, Kalish R, Yinh J, Goldenberg DL, Lee Y, McAlindon T. "A randomized trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia." N Engl J Med. 2010 Aug 19;363(8):743-54.

Wang F, Lee EK, Wu T, Benson H, Fricchione G, Wang W, Yeung AS. "The effects of tai chi on depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Int J Behav Med. 2014 Aug;21(4):605-17.

Yeh GY1, Wang C, Wayne PM, Phillips R. "Tai chi exercise for patients with cardiovascular conditions and risk factors: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW." J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2009 May-Jun;29(3):152-60.

Yeh GY1, Wang C, Wayne PM, Phillips RS. "The effect of tai chi exercise on blood pressure: a systematic review." Prev Cardiol. 2008 Spring;11(2):82-9.

Zeng Y1, Luo T2, Xie H2, Huang M3, Cheng AS4. "Health benefits of qigong or tai chi for cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analyses." Complement Ther Med. 2014 Feb;22(1):173-86.

WorldHealth Videos