Tai Chi and Qigong Show Significant Health Benefits

June 30, 2010 By Christe Bruderlin-Nelson, Health Behavior News Service

An across-the-board review of the health effects of Qigong and Tai Chi finds these practices offer many physical and mental health advantages with benefits for the heart, immune system and overall quality of life.

The review, which appears in the July/August issue of the , included 77 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on Qigong or Tai Chi interventions published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2007. Taken together, there were 6,410 participants in the studies.

“We see this as moving the understanding of the potential of Qigong and Tai Chi forward, with an emphasis on combining the evidence across these practices,” said co-author Linda Larkey, Ph.D., of Arizona State University College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation.

The authors say that the review provides a “stronger evidence base” for bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and psychological benefits.

Qigong is a “very general term to describe exercises that will enhance qi flow or balance,” said Shin Lin, Ph.D., a professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Qigong combines “qi” for energy and “gong” for work or exercise.

Tai Chi is much more specific, focusing on a series of 24 to 108 movements that have a long written history over 19 generations, said Lin, a member of the National Advisory Council for Complimentary and Alterative Medicine

“The research studies reviewed here showed that simplified routines that are more practical for RCTs are in fact quite effective in health enhancement.” With that in mind, individuals could “forego learning complicated routines except for cultural or artistic purposes,” said Lin, who had no affiliation with the review.

Of the studies analyzed 27 considered psychological symptoms, 23 looked at falls and related risk factors, 19 looked at cardiopulmonary effects and 17 evaluated quality of life. Other included studies looked at bone density, physical function and immune function. Participants’ average age was 55, and for studies that looked at balance, 80 was the average age.

Larkey said that there was not a way to “combine the studies statistically and determine effect sizes - that is, how strong the evidence is - for many of the outcomes reviewed since the interventions, study design quality and measures were so wide ranging.”

Nevertheless, she said, the authors found quite consistent evidence of several benefits from this particular category of exercise.

and Qigong have many health benefits and therefore should be considered a high priority when one is selecting an exercise to practice,” Lin said.

More information: Jahnke R, et al. A comprehensive review of health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. Am J Health Promot 24(6), 2010.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.