Here at the Jade Sun School of Tai chi and Qi Gong we have compiled this page is for those interested in Scientific Research on Tai Chi and QiGong.

There has been a lot more Scientific Research carried out on Tai Chi and QiGong Practice recently (from around 2005). The papers linked to here give some scientific explanation for the benefits of Tai Chi and QiGong practice and how these practices can be used in an integrative medical context.

Jade Sun School

Scientific Research

The following links relate to scientific research and trials regarding the benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong:

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Relaxation/Stress Management

Mind/body techniques for physiological and psychological stress reduction: stress management via Tai Chi training – a pilot study.

“Subjective health increased, stress decreased (objectively and subjectively) during Tai Chi practice.”

Tai Chi Chih acutely decreases sympathetic nervous system activity in older adults

“TCC performance led to acute decreases in sympathetic activity, which could not be explained by physical activity alone.”

A 10-week Tai-Chi program improved the blood pressure, lipid profile and SF-36 scores in Hong Kong Chinese women.

“A 10-week Tai-Chi exercise program improved systolic blood pressure, lipid profiles and some of the parameters of health-related QOL in Hong Kong Chinese women. Tai-Chi is likely to be a useful choice of physical activity.”

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Heart Disease

The effect of t’ai chi exercise on autonomic nervous function of patients with coronary artery disease.

“The change in heart rate and HRV between resting and post-TC suggested that TC exercise could enhance vagal modulation.”

Tai chi exercise in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized clinical trial.

“Tai chi exercise may improve quality of life, mood, and exercise self-efficacy in patients with HF.”

Effects of Tai Chi exercise on cardiovascular risk factors and quality of life in post-menopausal women.

“Tai Chi exercise favorably affected cardiovascular health and quality of life in post-menopausal women after 6 months.”

Effect of T’ai chi chuan training on cardiovascular risk factors in dyslipidemic patients.

“A 12-month TCC training program significantly improves aerobic capacity and CHD risk factors in patients with dyslipidemia.”

Tai Chi Chuan Exercise for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease

“Tai Chi exercise may promote cardiovascular health and can be considered as an alternative exercise program for patients with CVD. Previous studies prove that Tai Chi is safe and effective for patients with acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, congestive heart failure, and stroke. In addition, Tai Chi has benefits to cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, poor exercise capacity, endothelial dysfunction, and depression.”

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Type 2 Diabetes

A preliminary study of the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong medical exercise on indicators of metabolic syndrome, glycaemic control, health-related quality of life, and psychological health in adults with elevated blood glucose.

“The programme was feasible and acceptable and participants showed improvements in metabolic and psychological variables.”

Effects of 14-week Tai Ji Quan exercise on metabolic control in women with type 2 diabetes.

“It was concluded that TJQ exercise could be used as an intervention tool to improve glycaemic control and serum TG level in the elderly people.”

Effects of Tai Chi exercise on patients with type 2 diabetes.

“The 8-week Tai Chi intervention therefore showed benefits on health status of patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Adhering to a t’ai chi program to improve glucose control and quality of life for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

“For those with type 2 diabetes, t’ai chi could be an alternative exercise intervention to increase glucose control, diabetic self-care activities, and quality of life.”

Regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production.

“A 12-week TCC exercise programme decreases HbA1c levels along with an increase in the Th1 reaction.”

Tai ChiBenefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Balance & Mobility

Effect of Tai Chi Quan on the Pressure Pain Thresholds of Lower Back Muscles in Healthy Women

“Forty minutes of Tai Chi Quan exercise remarkably increased the pressure pain thresholds of lower back muscles in healthy women.”

Is Tai Chi Chuan effective in improving lower limb response time to prevent backward falls in the elderly?

“This investigation proved that TCC may improve motor response and postural balance in the elderly, particularly in more challenging conditions. Postural responses to unexpected perturbation were better in the forward–backward and forward–sideways directions than sideways or backward–sideways directions, which may have clinical relevance.”

Short-form Tai Chi improves standing balance of people with chronic stroke.

“Twelve weeks of short-form Tai Chi produced specific standing balance improvements in people with chronic stroke that outlasted training for 6 weeks.”

Sensorimotor control of balance: a Tai Chi solution for balance disorders in older subjects.

“The requirements of Tai Chi for accurate joint positioning and weight transfer involving smooth coordination of neck, trunk, upper and lower limb movements, make it particularly useful for improving the sensorimotor control of balance in the elderly. Because Tai Chi can be practiced any time and anywhere, and is well accepted by older people in both the East and now the West, it is especially suited to be a key component of a low-costing community-based fall prevention program alongside with education about environmental factors.”

A randomized, controlled trial of tai chi for the prevention of falls: the Central Sydney tai chi trial.

“Participation in once per week tai chi classes for 16 weeks can prevent falls in relatively healthy community-dwelling older people.”

Effect of combined Taiji and Qigong training on balance mechanisms: a randomized controlled trial of older adults.

“Improved use of vestibular input and wider stances are two mechanisms by which Taiji-Qigong training may improve healthy older adults’ balance.”

Effects of extended Tai Chi intervention on balance and selected motor functions of the elderly.

“Results showed that static balance improved significantly after a 6-month Tai Chi intervention.”

Muscle action pattern and knee extensor strength of older Tai Chi exercisers.

“The TC movement puts more demand on ankle dorsiflexors and knee extensors that are not otherwise heavily recruited during walking. The degree of knee flexion during single leg stance of the TC movement may be a key element for improving leg muscle strength.”

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Osteoarthritis

Effects of Tai Chi on gait kinematics, physical function, and pain in elderly with knee osteoarthritis–a pilot study.

“Physical function was significantly improved (p<0.001) and knee pain was significantly decreased (p=0.002). In conclusion, these findings support that Tai Chi is beneficial for gait kinematics in elderly with knee osteoarthritis.”

Tai Chi Qigong for the quality of life of patients with knee osteoarthritis: a pilot, randomized, waiting list controlled trial.

“Tai Chi Qigong training appears to have beneficial effects in terms of the quality of life and physical functioning of elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis.”

Group and home-based tai chi in elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.

“The tai chi group reported lower overall pain and better WOMAC physical function than the attention control group at weeks 9 and 12. All improvements disappeared after detraining.”

Comparison of effects among Tai-Chi exercise, aquatic exercise, and a self-help program for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

“There are significant differences in the effects of the nursing intervention among the three groups. The Tai-Chi group and aquatic group were significantly different from the self-help group. However, it seems that Tai-Chi exercise may be more suitable than aquatic exercise in osteoarthritis exercise programs.”

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Sensory Acuity

Tactile acuity in experienced Tai Chi practitioners: evidence for use dependent plasticity as an effect of sensory-attentional training.

“Tai Chi may slow age related decline in this measure.”

Eye-hand coordination of elderly people who practice Tai Chi Chuan.

“The elderly TCC group had better results on the eye-hand coordination test than the control elderly group.”

Does Tai Chi improve plantar sensory ability? A pilot study.

“This study demonstrates the effectiveness of Tai Chi training as a method of improving plantar sensation and balance in elderly adults and elderly adults with diabetes with a large plantar sensation loss.”

Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGong in relation to Parkinson Disease

Tai Chi improves balance and mobility in people with Parkinson disease.

“The Tai Chi group improved more than the control group on the Berg Balance Scale, UPDRS, Timed Up and Go, tandem stance test, six-minute walk, and backward walking. Neither group improved in forward walking or the one leg stance test. All Tai Chi participants reported satisfaction with the program and improvements in well-being. Tai Chi appears to be an appropriate, safe and effective form of exercise for some individuals with mild-moderately severe PD.”

Tai Chi-based exercise for older adults with Parkinson’s disease: a pilot-program evaluation.

“The results of this pilot evaluation suggest that Tai Chi is an appropriate physical activity for older adults with PD and might also be useful as a therapeutic exercise modality for improving and maintaining physical function.”

Other Benefits of Tai Chi & QiGongQi Gong

Long term Tai Chi exercise reduced DNA damage and increased lymphocyte apoptosis and proliferation in older adults.

“Higher lymphocyte apoptosis and proliferation found in the Tai Chi participants also indicated that the exercise promotes renewal and regeneration of lymphocytes.”

Improving sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints: A randomized controlled trial of Tai Chi Chih.

“Tai Chi Chih can be considered a useful nonpharmacologic approach to improve sleep quality in older adults with moderate complaints and, thereby, has the potential to ameliorate sleep complaints possibly before syndromal insomnia develops.”

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi for Tension Headaches

“As an intervention for headache, Tai Chi offers several benefits over conventional treatment.”

Effects of tai chi qigong on psychosocial well-being among hidden elderly, using elderly neighborhood volunteer approach: a pilot randomized controlled trial.

“The pilot study confirmed that tai chi qigong with elderly neighborhood volunteers is a safe and feasible social intervention for hidden elderly.”

Feasibility, qualitative findings and satisfaction of a brief Tai Chi mind–body programme for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms

“Tai Chi appears to be feasible and safe for veterans with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is perceived to be beneficial and is associated with high rates of satisfaction.”

Subjective perceived impact of Tai Chi training on physical and mental health among community older adults at risk for ischemic stroke: a qualitative study.

“The results of present study suggest that the practice of Tai Chi provides several benefits that improve physical health and mental state among community elderly population at risk of ischemic stroke. Participants reflected a number of benefits, including relieved pain, improved sleep quality, enhanced digestion, strengthened immunity, enhanced energy, relieved breathless, reduced anxiety, improved concentration and promoted interpersonal relationship. In addition, they also expressed the view that Tai Chi was an appropriate exercise for the elderly. This findings indicate that Tai Chi is a beneficial and feasible exercise that improve body-mind health among community elderly population.”

Other Articles of Interest

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

“A compelling body of research emerges when Tai Chi studies and the growing body of Qigong studies are combined. The evidence suggests that a wide range of health benefits accrue in response to these meditative movement forms, some consistently so, and some with limitations in the findings thus far. This review has identified numerous outcomes with varying levels of evidence for the efficacy for Qigong and Tai Chi, including bone health, cardiopulmonary fitness and related biomarkers, physical function, falls prevention and balance, general quality of life and patient reported outcomes, immunity, and psychological factors such as anxiety, depression and self-efficacy. A substantial number RCTs have demonstrated consistent, positive results especially when the studies are designed with limited activity for controls.”

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