Tai Chi May Prevent Falls, Improve Mental Health in Elderly

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ill health is viewed as an imbalance between yin and yang (the 2 opposing life forces).  Tai chi, the practice that combines deep breathing, relaxation with slow and gentle movements, is supposed to rebalance such energy disturbances and helps the person to regain health and strength.  

Regardless of these assumptions, the slow movements between the different postures that are held for short periods of time should stimulate the cardiovascular and muscular systems. 

Now, a review published in the May 16 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, reported that Tai chi might benefit the elderly population in fall prevention, psychological health, and general well-being. 

The review was based on the examination of all clinical trials conducted on Tai Chi.  Patients that were involved in these trials had various medical conditions, including cancer, aging, Parkinson’s disease, musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and other. 

The reviewers concluded that Tai Chi was effective in preventing fall, improving psychological health and general health belief.  However, Tai Chi seemed to be ineffective for symptomatic treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Source: Br J Sports Med. Published online May 16, 2011. Abstract 

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