The health benefits of tai chi


The health benefits of tai chi

Various studies have suggested that tai chi offers a wide range of benefits to people both with and without chronic conditions. Benefits include:

  • Improved balance
    Pain management
    Improved sleep
    Enhanced immune system
    Improved brain function

Reducing falls

Tai chi could potentially help prevent trips and falls in older adults across a range of studies. A 2012 review involving a total of 79,193 people concluded that tai chi could reduce the risk of falling, and a 2015 systematic review of seven trials involving 544 tai chi chuan practitioners concluded it helped improve balance control and flexibility.

A 2014 review found that exercises including tai chi may have reduced the fear of falling among adults in a retirement community. However, the review did not reach a conclusion regarding tai chi and the frequency of falls.

One 2012 trial including 195 older adults with Parkinson’s disease showed that tai chi helped treat balance issues with more success than resistance training or regular stretching, and another article notes that the activity is a successful exercise intervention for factors related to falls in older people.

The evidence from these studies suggests that tai chi might help support many aspects of balance and posture.

Chronic pain

Several studies have suggested that tai chi can significantly impact chronic pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

2013 meta-analysis of seven different trials demonstrated that a 12 week course of tai chi could improve the stiffness and pain symptoms of knee osteoarthritis and improve function. The authors recommended further larger scale trials to support their conclusions.

2015 review of 54 studies involving 3,913 participants provided evidence that tai chi could improve physical function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Tai chi only formed the basis of five of the studies, but the evidence showed that exercise provided short-term knee relief.

Research has also shown that tai chi could help manage fibromyalgia.

2010 trial showed tai chi to be better than wellness education and stretching for regularising sleep patterns and treating symptoms of pain and fatigue in people with fibromyalgia.

2012 study of 101 people suggested that combining tai chi with mindfulness training could improve fibromyalgia symptoms and functional difficulties.

Chronic heart failure

Some practitioners of tai chi praise it as an effective management tool for people with chronic heart failure, but current evidence does not support the conclusion. Any studies that showed improvement indicated that the findings were insignificant.

Mental health and cognitive function

Tai chi is associated with mindfulness and psychological wellbeing, but there is little evidence for the mental health benefits of the activity. Some studies suggest a link, but a large 2010 meta-analysis of 40 studies failed to provide definitive conclusions.

Research looking at the effect of tai chi on cognitive function yielded more promising results.

A systematic review and meta-analysis from 2014 involved 2,553 adults aged 60 years and over with and without cognitive impairments. The results showed significant beneficial effects on cognitive function. The studies also demonstrated small but significant benefits for people who were cognitively impaired.

2015 review of nine studies involving 632 healthy adults showed the potential benefits of tai chi for cognitive ability and called for further studies to confirm the potential benefits.

 Types of tai chi

There are five different styles of tai chi which date from different periods in history. Each style has a unique set of methods and principles, lineage, and date of origin.

The styles are:

  • ·    Chen style, 1528 - 1587
  • Yang style, 1799 - 1872
  • Wu or Wu Hao style, 1812 - 1880
  • Wu style, 1870 - 1942
  • Sun style, 1861 - 1932

Some forms emphasise health, while others are more focused on self defence or competition.

People considering a tai chi course should speak to an experienced instructor about which style they practice and whether it will offer the expected benefits.

Fish and Their Psychological Benefits

Fish and Their Psychological Benefits

Fish, particularly in the context of aquariums, have long been
recognized for their potential therapeutic and ...

The Hidden Dangers of Indoor Toxins and How to Eliminate Them Naturally

Assessing Sleep Disturbances - Guidance for Holistic Therapists


In the realm of holistic health, where the synergy of mind, body, and spirit is paramount, recent research has illuminated a potent, fast, yet simple practice for mental wellness: gratitude. This aligns seamlessly with the principles of the Complementary Medical Association, which advocates for compassionate, natural and integrative approaches to health.

In the realm of natural health, preserving one's hearing is a vital aspect of overall wellness. Ototoxicity, the potential for certain substances and medications to harm the auditory system, is a concern for both practitioners and clients. In this helpful guide, we will delve into the causes of ototoxicity, including household materials and chemicals, ototoxic drugs, and explore strategies to safeguard hearing and even potentially reverse hearing loss and tinnitus naturally.

In the realm of natural health, understanding the complex relationship between hearing loss and cognitive well-being is of paramount importance. Recent research conducted by the University of California San Diego and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute has illuminated this connection. In this article, we will delve into these findings and explore holistic strategies for safeguarding hearing, mitigating the risk of dementia, and promoting cognitive vitality, all within the framework of natural health practices.

As we step into Wellbeing at Work Week, it's a crucial time to reflect on the significance of mental and physical health in our professional lives. This week celebrates the growing awareness of workplace wellness, underscoring the essential balance between work and life, and the vital role it plays in our overall health and productivity.

The COMPLEMENTARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (The CMA) © 2012. No part of this site may be reproduced without the express permission of The Complementary Medical Association. If used without prior consent a charge of US $1,000 per article, or mini section is paid (US $50 per word (minimum) will be charged. This is not meant to reflect a commercial rate for the content, but as a punitive cost and to reimburse The CMA for legal fees and time costs). Use of the contents, without permission will be taken as consent to bill the illegal user in full.