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Contributions

Name
Researchers from the University of Exeter (UK) and the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (South Korea)
Date
May 16, 2011
Country
USA
Profession
Research Director
Email
beth@rbicom.com

Title

"T'ai chi helps prevent falls and improve mental health in the elderly" - British Medical Journal, May 2011

Results

An overview by the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine and the Univ. of Exeter (UK) showed that t'ai chi, which combines deep breathing with slow and gentle movements, may exert exercise-based general benefits for fall prevention and improvement of balance in older people as well as some meditative effects for improving psychological health. "We recommend t'ai chi for older people for its various physical and psychological benefits."

Summary

While the effectiveness of t'ai chi for a variety of medical conditions/symptoms has been assessed in several studies, the findings have been contradictory - so researchers from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (South Korea) and the University of Exeter (UK) decided to compare the conclusions of these numerous reviews. 35 relevant reviews assessing t'ai chi were identified from English, Chinese and Korean databases. They analyzed the effectiveness of t'ai chi for diseases/conditions ranging from cancer, Parkinson's disease, musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. Some reviews also assessed the benefits of t'ai chi for psychological health, balance and fall prevention, muscle strength and flexibility and improving aerobic capacity. For several conditions, the findings of the reviews remained contradictory. However, there was relatively clear evidence that t'ai chi is effective for fall prevention and improving psychological health and was associated with general health benefits for older people. On the other hand, t'ai chi seemed ineffective for the symptomatic treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Comments

Published Information

British Journal of Sports Medicine, a review published in advance of the print article, May, 2011

Citations

44-020-738-36529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Links

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/bmj-tch051311.php