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Taijiquan Tutelage of Palo Alto Logo School Established in 1973

Articles on Taijiquan and Health Benefits
(in chronological order)

"Tai chi: Discover the many possible health benefits" by the Mayo Clinic (November 17, 2009)


Despite its long history, tai chi has been studied scientifically only in recent years. And although more research is needed, preliminary evidence suggests that tai chi may offer numerous benefits beyond stress reduction, including:

* Reducing anxiety and depression
* Improving balance, flexibility and muscle strength
* Reducing falls in older adults
* Improving sleep quality
* Lowering blood pressure
* Improving cardiovascular fitness in older adult
* Relieving chronic pain
* Increasing energy, endurance and agility
* Improving overall feelings of well-being


Read Full Report at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tai-chi/SA00087/

"Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview" by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (page last reviewed September 13, 2010)


* 20% to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries...
* Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries...
* Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls...
* Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, leading to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, which in turn increases their actual risk of falling.

Older adults can take several steps to protect their independence and reduce their chances of falling. They can... exercise regularly. It’s important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance. Tai Chi programs are especially good.


Read Full Report at: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html

"A CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions: What Works for Community-Dwelling Older Adults," by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions to help public health practitioners use the best scientific evidence to effectively address the problem of falls. The Compendium includes 22 specific interventions (which includes tai chi) for community-dwelling older adults that have rigorous scientific evidence of effectiveness, and provides relevant information about these interventions to public health practitioners, aging service providers, and others who wish to implement fall prevention programs.


Read Full Report at: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/pdf/CDC_Falls_Compendium_lowres.pdf


"Physical Activity and Arthritis: Physical activity. The Arthritis Pain Reliever." by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (page last reviewed August 1, 2010)


Physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mobility, mood, and quality of life for most adults with many types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus. Physical activity can also help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Regular physical activity is just as important for people with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions as it is for all children and adults. Scientific studies have shown that participation in moderate-intensity, low-impact physical activity improves pain, function, mood, and quality of life without worsening symptoms or disease severity.

Tai Chi is classified as a moderate intensity balance activity by the CDC.


Read Full Report at: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/pa_overview.htm

"Tai Chi May Provide Arthritis Relief" by MedlinePlus (part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health) (November 24, 2010)


Patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia felt better and moved more easily after taking twice-weekly classes in Tai Chi, a system of meditative exercise, researchers found. "It reduced pain, stiffness and fatigue, and improved their balance," said study lead author Leigh F. Callahan, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

In addition to evidence of mild to moderate relief from Tai Chi, participants reported gaining a better sense of physical stability,

The findings of the study -- which was funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- were recently released at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta (November 8, 2010).


Read Full Report at: http://news.health.com/2010/11/24/tai-chi-may-provide-arthritis-relief/

"A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia" an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (August 19, 2010)


Conducted a single-blind, randomized trial of classic Yang-style tai chi as compared with a control intervention consisting of wellness education and stretching for the treatment of fibromyalgia

Tai chi may be a useful treatment for fibromyalgia and merits long-term study in larger study populations. A clinical trial at Tufts Medical Center found that after 12 weeks of tai chi, patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, did significantly better in measurements of pain, fatigue, physical functioning, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.


Read Full Report at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa0912611
Article on Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/health/19taichi.html?_r=1

"Augmenting Immune Responses to Varicella Zoster Virus in Older Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Tai Chi" an article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (February 26, 2007)


Shingles, a painful nerve condition, is caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. The virus, varicella-zoster, can linger in the body for many years after a case of chickenpox and then emerge as shingles. The disease generally affects people older than 50, as their level of antibodies to the virus decreases.

In a study paid for by the National Institutes of Health, they found that the people who did tai chi improved their immunity to varicella-zoster virus. They also found that when the volunteers were vaccinated later against the virus, the tai chi practitioners had a better response to the vaccine.

The Tai Chi group also showed significant improvements for physical functioning, bodily pain, vitality, and mental health.


Abstract of the study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01109.x/abstract
Article on the study at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/17/health/nutrition/17exer.html

"Tai Chi Exercise for Patients with Cardiovascular Conditions and Risk Factors: A Systematic Review" an article in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention (May/June 2009)


Cardiovascular disease is clearly an important public health problem, with 1 in 3 American adults affected. Mortality due to underlying cardiovascular disease accounts for more than one-third of all deaths. The evidence from long-term prospective studies consistently suggests that the majority of cardiovascular disease is preventable with healthy lifestyles and modification of known risk factors. While pharmacological therapy is often emphasized, the critical importance of non-pharmacological approaches and lifestyle modifications, including physical activity and exercise, continues to be recognized for both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The available studies suggest that tai chi exercise may have beneficial effects for patients with cardiovascular conditions and some cardiovascular risk factors, although the literature to date is limited.

Given the existing evidence, tai chi exercise may be a reasonable adjunct to conventional care.


Read Full Report at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/ppmc/articles/PMC2755083/

"Enhancement of sleep stability with Tai Chi exercise in chronic heart failure: Preliminary findings using an ECG-based spectrogram method" an article in Sleep Medicine (July 2008)


Sleep fragmentation/Insomnia is a well-known clinical feature in patients with heart failure. The mechanisms involved include sleepdisordered breathing, poor sleep hygiene, direct (e.g., beta-blocker) and indirect (e.g., diuretic causing nocturia) medication effects, orthopnea/paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and possibly neurohumoral activation itself. Recurrent arousals can severely fragment sleep, contributing to impaired cognitive function and quality of life.

Preliminary findings suggest Tai Chi may improve sleep stability in patients with heart failure on maximal medical therapy. As stable sleep has the potential to improve the sleep-related hemodynamic profile in heart failure and have at least theoretical cardioprotective effects, further evaluation of this safe approach seems justified.

Tai Chi exercise may enhance sleep stability in patients with chronic heart failure. This sleep effect may have a beneficial impact on blood pressure, arrhythmogenesis and quality of life.


Read Full Report at: http://reylab.bidmc.harvard.edu/pubs/2008/sleep-medicine-2008-9-527.pdf
Abstract on different Sleep study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15161452
Abstract on different Sleep study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18652095

"Green tea polyphenols supplementation and Tai Chi exercise for postmenopausal osteopenic women: safety and quality of life report" an article in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2010)


This study evaluated the safety of green tea polyphenol supplementation combined with Tai Chi exercise in postmenopausal osteopenic women, along with effects on quality of life in this population. Tai Chi, featuring gentle, slow and flowing movements, has been considered a safe exercise with very low risk of injury.

Carried out as a double-blind, placebo-controlled, intervention trial (the "holy grail" of scientific studies), this experiment involved 171 postmenopausal women (mean age: ~57 y) who had weak bones but not full-fledged osteoporosis.

The results show that consumption of green tea polyphenols (500 mg/day which is about 4-6 cups of steeped green tea daily) and participation in tai chi (3 hr/week for 24 weeks) independently enhanced markers of bone health by 3 and 6 months, respectively. A similar effect was found for muscle strength at the 6-month time point. Participants taking tai chi classes also reported significant beneficial effects in quality of life in terms of improving their emotional and mental health. Perhaps most remarkable, however, was the substantial effect that both green tea polyphenols and tai chi had on biological markers of oxidative stress. Because oxidative stress is a main precursor to inflammation, this finding suggests that green tea and tai chi may help reduce the underlying etiology of not only osteoporosis, but other inflammatory diseases as well.


Read Full Report at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3014873/pdf/1472-6882-10-76.pdf
Article on Report at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110410130827.htm

"A Downside to Tai Chi? None That I See" an article in the New York Times (September 28, 2010)

The graceful, dance like progression of meditative poses called tai chi originated in ancient China as a martial art, but the exercise is best known in modern times as a route to reduced stress and enhanced health. After reviewing existing scientific evidence for its potential health benefits, I’ve concluded that the proper question to ask yourself may not be why you should practice tai chi, but why not.


Read Full Report at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/health/28brody.html

"Tai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson's Disease" an article in the New England Journal of Medicine (February 9, 2012)


Tai chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.

After six months of classes, the tai chi group did significantly better than the stretching group in tests of balance, control, walking and other measures. Compared with resistance training, the tai chi group did better in balance, control and stride, and about the same in other tests.


Read Full Report at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1107911
Read Abstract at : http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1107911#t=abstract

Blog/Article by Dino, a student of TToPA, on the benefits of practice (April 2013): 


1. Health Benefits 
2. Long-Term Viability
3. Conflict Resolution
4. Perspective
5. Time Outside
6. Challenge
7. Community

Read Full Blog/Article at: http://www.reflections-on-the-way.org/2013/04/5-years-of-taiji.html

"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," an article in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (2012)

University of South Florida and Fudan University scientists found that elderly Chinese people who practiced Tai Chi thrice weekly for eight months did better on memory tests than those who didn't do Tai Chi.

"The ability to reverse this trend with physical exercise and increased mental activity implies that it may be possible to delay the onset of dementia in older persons through interventions that have many physical and mental health benefits," study researcher Dr. James Mortimer, professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, said in a statement.

The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease study included 120 elderly people from Shanghai, China, who were assigned to do one of three things for eight weeks -- Tai Chi, walking or social interaction. Some were also assigned to do none of the interventions.

No differences were observed between the walking and no intervention groups.

The researchers found that people who took part in "lively discussion" thrice weekly also had brain volume boosts, as well as improvements in brain functioning (although at a lesser extent as with the Tai Chi). 

Read Abstract at : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22451320
Article on Report at:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/tai-chi-brain-functioning-memory_n_1612276.html

"The effect of Tai Chi on four chronic conditions — cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analyses" an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (September 17, 2015)

The results provided evidence regarding a favorable effect or tendency of Tai Chi on improving the performance of 6-min walking distance, knee extensor strength and quality of life in people with cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Additionally, the meta-analyses showed the favorable effects of Tai Chi versus other interventions or no treatment on several disease-specific symptoms, including pain and stiffness. Taken together, Tai Chi demonstrates improvement in functional exercise capacity in individuals with different chronic conditions without aggravating symptoms of pain and dyspnoea. To summarize, Tai Chi appears to provide an adequate exercise stimulus and it could be a suitable exercise to prescribe for people with several co-morbidities that include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and osteoarthritis.

Read Abstract at: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/09/04/bjsports-2014-094388.abstract
Read Full Report at: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/09/04/bjsports-2014-094388.full

Read pdf file at : http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2015/09/04/bjsports-2014-094388.full.pdf

"Tai Chi Found to Be as Effective as Physical Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis" press release from the American College of Rheumatology (November 09, 2015)

Both Tai Chi and physical therapy positively impact pain, function and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis – making Tai Chi a viable treatment alternative for people suffering with the degenerative disease, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Based on these findings, Dr. Wang believes Tai Chi should be considered a beneficial therapeutic option to treat knee OA. “Patients and their physicians should discuss Tai Chi as a therapy option, but it is important that patients work with a seasoned instructor with five to 10 years of experience working with people who have OA to ensure they are receiving proper instruction,” says Dr. Wang 

Read Press Release at : http://www.rheumatology.org/About-Us/Newsroom/Press-Releases/ArticleType/ArticleView/ArticleID/709
Read Abstract at : http://acrabstracts.org/abstract/comparative-effectiveness-of-tai-chi-versus-physical-therapy-in-treating-knee-osteoarthritis-a-randomized-single-blind-trial/

"Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and general aerobic exercise on weight, blood pressure and glycemic control among older persons with depressive symptoms: a randomized trial." article in the BMC Geriatrics (May 7, 2022)

Tai Chi is a form of mind–body exercise usually described as “meditation in motion”. This exercise developed as an ancient Chinese martial art and is today becoming popular in many Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan and Western countries such as Canada, Spain, Australia, and the United States. In the United States, more than 2 million people practice Tai Chi.

Evidence from clinical data have identified Tai Chi plays an important role in improving chronic diseases such as hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic heart failure, preventing falls, controlling blood glucose, and alleviating psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety 

This study showed that Tai Chi exercise was more effective in improving blood pressure and HbA1c level than general aerobic exercise. It suggested that Tai Chi might be an effective approach for the management of blood pressure and long-term glucose control in older persons with depressive symptoms. 

Read Full Report at : https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/counter/pdf/10.1186/s12877-022-03084-6.pdf
Read Abstract at : https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-022-03084-6

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Translations/Abstracts by Wu Ta-Yeh and Wu Teng Shu-Hsien

Revised: 10/21/22