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Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Oct 19, 2010

Mind-Body-Spirit News

The practices of tai chi and qigong offer many health benefits for the body and mind, including improvements in bone and heart health, physical functioning, balance and overall quality of life, according to a research review published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (2010; 24 [6], 195–202). Researchers from Arizona State University College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation in Phoenix; the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi in Santa Barbara, California, conducted the review. It included 77 randomized controlled trials reporting on qigong or tai chi interventions and involving a total of more than 6,000 subjects.

Investigators included both disciplines in the review since both are forms of meditative movement that are health-promoting practices in traditional Chinese medicine, with shared theoretical roots and common features such as a focus on body, breath and mind. Study authors also noted that while many studies name the intervention activity “tai chi,” what research subjects often practice is more a form of qigong—easy-to-learn movements that are simple and repeatable—rather than the long complex sequences of traditional tai chi.

Linda Larkey, PhD, from Arizona State University College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, said, “Given the growing evidence for health and wellness benefits for these practices [tai chi and qigong], along with the accessibility, simplicity of some forms and safety, more emphasis should be placed on promoting qigong and tai chi among the general population as a public health improvement strategy.”

Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 11

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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at