As I come across research concerning the effects of cultivating a regular Taijiquan and/or Qigong practice, I will post summaries and links to this page. In addition to what I’ve listed here, you can additional resources on my Books for the Journey and Health Benefits pages.
Tai Chi Reduces Inflammation
Practicing tai chi can lead to a reduction in levels of inflammatory markers in the blood of older adults. American researchers randomised 83 healthy older adults to 16 weeks of either Tai Chi Chih (TCC) or health education (HE). In subjects who showed elevated circulating levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin 6 (IL-6) at baseline, TCC was able to reduce IL-6 to levels comparable with the lowest baseline measurements. Decreases in depressive symptoms in the two groups were found to correlate with decreases in IL-6. (Mitigating Cellular Inflammation in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi Chih. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]). http://www.dingleacupunctureclinic.com/taichiresearch.htm
Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Boosts Memory, May Delay Dementia
A regular tai chi exercise regimen enlarges the brain and enhances the cognitive abilities of the elderly.
The full study, “Changes in Brain Volume and Cognition in a Randomized Trial of Exercise and Social Interaction in a Community-Based Sample of Non-Demented Chinese Elders,” is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Qigong Reduces Stress in Computer Operators.
Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chinese research indicates that the Qigong method reduces psychosomatic and physical symptoms through an effect on the sympathetic nervous system.
The aim was to investigate the effects of Qigong on stress among computer operators.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:
Qigong reduced noradrenaline excretion in urine (p<0.05), and influenced the heart rate and temperature, indicating reduced activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Moreover, Qigong reduced low-back symptoms (p<0.05). In conclusion, Qigong exercise may reduce stress at computerised work.
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Read entire summary HERE
Older Subjects Who Regularly Practise Tai Chi Found to Have Better Arterial Compliance and Greater Muscle Strength
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2012) — Older subjects who regularly practise Tai Chi were found to have better arterial compliance and greater muscle strength than non-practitioners. Exercise which can achieve both cardiovascular function and muscle strength “would be a preferred mode of training for older persons,” say investigators
The study findings showed that older Tai Chi practitioners have better arterial compliance and knee muscle strength than their healthy counterparts. And, because Tai Chi can be practised at any time, anywhere, and without the constraints of equipment or a gymnasium, Dr Tsang added that this traditional Chinese exercise could be a good exercise strategy for older adults, both for vascular health and for muscle strengthening.
Read more at ScienceDaily.com
Moving Meditation: Tai Chi for Arthritis Relief
A study published in 1997 found that seniors who took 15 tai chi lessons and practiced for 15 minutes twice daily were able to significantly reduce their risk of falls. Since then, several more studies have pointed to the physical benefits of tai chi for the elderly.
- One six-month study, a group of elderly people who took part in tai chi were about twice as likely to report that they were not limited in their ability to perform moderate-to-vigorous daily activities – things like walking, climbing, bending, lifting. The seniors in that study also reported better overall quality of life – in terms of bodily pain, mental health, and perceptions of health and independence.
- Another study of seniors with arthritis showed that those who took a 12-week tai chi course got around better and had less pain in their legs. Yet another study found that people with arthritis who took a 12-week tai chi class had stronger abdominal muscles and better balance afterward.
- A review of four studies on tai chi found that it does not appear to significantly reduce pain or lessen the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. However, it does significantly improve range of motion in the joints of the legs and ankles. Those who got the most benefit reported participating more in their tai chi classes and enjoying them more compared with those who were in a traditional exercise program.
More at medicinenet.com
Study Shows Fibromyalgia Symptoms Much Better After 12 Weeks of Tai Chi
Aug. 18, 2010 — Just 12 weeks of tai chi — the slow-motion Chinese martial art — relieved longstanding fibromyalgia symptoms and improved quality of life in a clinical trial.
Compared with patients who received wellness education and stretching exercises, those who practiced tai chi saw their fibromyalgia become much less severe. They also slept better, felt better, had less pain, had more energy, and had better physical and mental health, says study researcher Chenchen Wang, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine.
“We definitely saw better results than reported in trials of drug treatments for fibromyalgia,” Wang tells WebMD. “One patient with previous arthritis pain kept saying, ‘No pain! No pain!'”
It wasn’t for everyone. Wang says 10% to 20% of patients randomly assigned to tai chi did not feel it helped them. But he says 50% to 60% of the patients were “really engaged,” and after about eight weeks began to feel better.
Improvement was gradual but steady. Patients who benefited from tai chi asked the researchers to continue the program when the 24-week study ended.