Middle-aged and older women with osteopenia who practiced tai chi over a 9-month period experienced a reduction in bone density loss and an improvement in postural control that reduced the risk of falls, according to authors of a randomized pilot study conducted in the Boston area. Harvard Medical School researchers designed the study to assess the effectiveness of tai chi and usual care compared with usual care alone for slowing bone loss in postmenopausal osteopenic women.

Study authors noted that the 86-women sample size and 9-month time frame were not large enough to generate statistically significant changes; however, the strength of the trends shown among study participants were sufficient to support a larger and longer study to evaluate the role of tai chi in improving bone health and reducing fracture risk. More research was recommended.

To read the study, go to BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012; 12 [7]; www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/12/7).