TAI CHI FOR
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STUDY: N.I.H. Office of Alternative
Medicine (OAM). "Tai Chi for Balance Disorders." 1993-1994,
Reference # 1R21RR09535-01. Site, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Sponsoring
Institution: Northwestern University, Chicago Illinois. Principal Investigator:
T. C. Hain, MD. Other investigators: J. Kotsias,
Lynne Fuller (PT), L. Weil (PT)
Our aim was to determine if eight weeks of daily practice of an alternative
health care exercise, T'ai Chi, can significantly improve balance of persons
with mild balance disorders. We studied 22 persons with stable and mild balance
disorders, with numbers distributed equally between 3 age groups : 20-44, 46-60,
and 61 and beyond. We evaluated efficacy of T'ai Chi through comparison of functional
tests of balance (Romberg, Duncan Reach Test, Moving Platform
Posturography) and self-reports of balance and falls (Medical Outcomes Study
(MOS) questionnaire, Dizziness Handicap
Inventory (DHI) questionnaire), obtained prior to and
following the T'ai Chi course.
The Tai Chi movements that we used were selected from several different schools
of T'ai Chi and included the following sequence:
- Hold the Ball (basic T'ai Chi
-- sometimes called "preparation"),
- Turning the Wheel (Yang style,
as illustrated to the right),
- Brush Knee and Twist Step (Yang style),
- Step Back
to Repulse Monkey (Yang style),
- Walking the Circle (Pa-Kua style),
- Kick heel
to left and right (Wu style),
- Partition of the Wild Horse's Mane (Wu style),
- Hold the Ball.
Highly significant improvements were noted in posturography (average score improved
from 59.5 to 64.3) and the MOS and DHI tests. An insignificant improvement was found in
the Romberg test (although there was a strong trend). There was no effect on the Duncan
Reach test scores. Improvements were found in all age groups.
Eight weeks of T'ai Chi can accomplish significant improvement in balance.
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Dr. Hain has reviewed this videotape. It is a modified Tai Chi similar to
the sequence used in our study. The tape does not indicate the source of exercises,
and the naming convention is not conventional. Nevertheless, it is a commercial
Tai Chi format that may be helpful. It is formated so that one can use it
as an exercise video. The exercises are more difficult than the ones above,
and persons with significant balance disorders may not be able to perform
the later movements.
August 3, 2016
, Timothy C. Hain, M.D.
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Last saved on
August 3, 2016