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High-Quality Evidence for Tai Chi’s Benefits

Tai chi is an effective training program for people with chronic conditions.

Using tai chi for health

If you’re serving clients with chronic conditions and you’re not offering tai chi practice, you may want to network with a local practitioner to refer clients for cross-training benefits. Tai chi has proved to be a safe, effective and enjoyable training method for overall health improvement among adults with numerous chronic conditions, according to a review of  42 review studies reported in Disability and Rehabilitation (2020; doi:10.1080/09638288.2020.1725916).

“High-” and “moderate-quality” evidence indicates that tai chi practice can significantly benefit adults with conditions like heart disease, cancer, depression, lower-back pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke. Benefits include significant improvements in activities of daily living, balance, exercise capacity, gait, mastery, mental health, mobility, motor function, physical function, quality of life, range of motion and strength. Outcomes also include significant reductions in blood pressure, body mass index, depression, disability, dyspnea (shortness of breath), falls, fatigue, pain, stiffness and waist circumference.

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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