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BALANCE DISORDERS. T'ai Chi practitioners fall only half as much as those practicing other balance training, as reported by an Emory University study, and others.

Try tai chi to improve balance, avoid falls

Posted August 23, 2012, 9:00 am

Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Compared to the pumping intensity of spin or Zumba, a tai chi class looks like it's being performed in slow motion. Watching the gentle, graceful movements of this ancient Chinese practice, it's hard to imagine that tai chi can burn off a single calorie or strengthen muscles. But this exercise program is far more dynamic than it looks.

"The slowness that you see from the outside can be deceptive," says Dr. Peter Wayne, research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Read entire article at:

Tai Chi May Help Seniors Avoid Falls

Fitness, Flexibility, Balance, and Confidence Improved in 12-Week Study

June 28, 2005 -- Tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, may improve senior citizens' strength and help them avoid falls, South Korean researchers find.

. . . The researchers tested tai chi in older adults. The slow, gentle, and continuous movements help them develop stronger muscles, better balance control, concentration, and psychological well-being.

Click here for more on this research and balance . . .

Harvard Health Publications

Falls Prevention. An Emory University study found that 48 weeks of Tai Chi reduced the fear of falling significantly compared to a wellness education program. An earlier study reported a significatnly greater reduction in fear of falling following Tai Chi compared to computerized balance training: improvements in fear of falling were correlated with a nearly 50 percent reduction in the fall rate. Another trial reported that the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) plus Tai Chi improved fear of falling, as well as measures of mobility, social support satisfaction, and quality of life, more than CBT alone.
Read more at Harvard Health Publications ...

Harvard Health Publications

Proprioception (Ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts). One study compared long-term Tai Chi practitioners to age-matched swimmers, runners, and sedentary controls. The Tai Chi practitioners had a better sense of the position of their ankle and knee joints in space, and were more sensitive to small movements of their joints. So, Tai Chi may give you more accurate, quicker feedback for balance and posture, which could help prevent falling. (Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi. Page 118.)
Read more at Harvard Health Publications ...

VIDEO: Qigong Breathing Tutorial
VIDEO - How Tai Chi and Chi Kung Help Heal or Prevent Illness
Also, search the Qigong Institute's "Qigong and Energy Medicine Database," for research abstracts on Tai Chi & Qigong.

The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ is a compilation of references to a series of extensive clinical and experimental research on medical applications of Qigong carried out in China and beyond beginning about 1980. These studies as well as to reports in scientific journals, books, international conferences, and The National Library of Medicine and PubMed. The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ provides a record in English of the vast amount of clinical and experimental research on Qigong from China as well from other countries. Included are reports of therapies that have been tried and claimed to be effective. These reports can be used as a guide for improving health and for deciding what further research may be required to confirm promising applications of Qigong.

The Qigong & Energy Medicine Database™ contains references not only to Qigong but also to other energy-based research, therapies, clinical trials, and practices. While the emphasis is on scientific reports, reviews are provided in some cases. The Database contains abstracts (not full text). Abstracts range in length from a paragraph to several pages and may contain information on methodology, controlled experiments, results summarized in tables, and statistical analysis.

Click below to begin using the Qigong Institute's Qigong and Energy Medicine Database:

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* NOTE: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day advises consulting your physician before beginning any new exercise, herbal, diet, or health program. The research listed here is meant to stimulate a discussion between you and your physician, health insurance carrier, etc., not as medical advise. Research and comments provided here are hoped to stimulate a more robust discussion of powerful natural mind/body health tools.

Popular media, health media, and government must increase attention to stunning emerging research, including the UCLA study indicating Tai Chi participants enjoyed a 50% increase in immune system resistance to viral infection.

Many of these health listings are provided courtesy of excerpts from

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They found benefits including:

· Stronger knees and ankles

· Better balance and flexibility

· Improved walking

· More confidence in the ability to avoid falls

The tai chi students had fewer falls than others who didn't take the class.

. . . Their study appears in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

About Tai Chi

Tai chi uses slow, fluid body movements. It's not a jarring form of exercise.

Tai chi has gotten attention from scientists for nearly a decade. The first two tai chi studies funded by the National Institute of Aging were published in 1996.

Those studies found many of the same benefits as seen in the new South Korean study.

. . . Falls in Seniors

Every year, about 30% of people aged 65 and older -- and living on their own -- fall. Falls are more common in long-term care facilities, where 40%-50% of residents fall in any given year. Some of the risk factors that lead to falls in seniors include imbalance, muscle weakness, and lack of flexibility -- all of which are modifiable, they write.

. . . Strength, Flexibility, Balance

The 12-week program was finished by 29 tai chi students and 30 people in the comparison group.

The tai chi students had stronger knees and ankles than their peers. They also improved in flexibility and walking.

SOURCES: Choi, J. Journal of Nursing, July 2005 vol 51: pp 150-157. News release, National Institute on Aging. News release, Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Click here for more detailed research on Balance & Tai Chi.

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