Mustian KM, et al. Tai chi chuan, health-related quality of life and self-esteem: A randomized trial with breast cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 2004;12:871-6.
In this randomized study, 21 breast cancer patients received 12 weeks of tai chi chuan or psychosocial support. The patients had completed cancer treatment within the last 30 months. Health-related quality of life and self-esteem were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks. Researchers found that patients in the tai chi group reported significant improvements in health-related quality of life and self esteem whereas those in the psychosocial group reported lowered self-esteem. However, more studies with larger sample size are needed to confirm these observations.
Tsai CJ, et al. The beneficial effects of tai chi chuan on blood pressure and lipid profile and anxiety status in a randomized controlled trial. JACM 2003;9(5):747-754.
Seventy-six individuals with stage I hypertension were randomized into 2 groups. One group practiced tai chi for 3 times a week. Each session included a 10-minute warm-up, 30-minute tai chi exercise, and a 10-minute cool-down. The control group maintained a sedentary lifestyle. After 12 weeks, there was significant decrease in blood pressure, total serum cholesterol level, and anxiety levels in the tai chi group as compared to those in the control group. Although the study indicates effectiveness of tai chi in treating mild hypertension, it is unclear how tai chi compares with other physical activity programs.
Chan K, et al. A randomized, prospective study of the effects of tai chi chuan exercise on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85(5):717-22.
In this study, 132 healthy women within 10 years of onset of menopause were randomized to tai chi exercise group or sedentary group. Tai chi exercises were practiced for 45 minutes every day, 5 days a week, over a 12-month period. At the 12-month follow-up, researchers found a loss in bone density among women in both groups, but the rate of loss was slower in the tai chi group. Long-term follow-up in a larger number of subjects is needed to establish the effects of tai chi in preventing osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Song R, et al. Effects of tai chi exercise on pain, balance, muscle strength, and perceived difficulties in physical functioning in older women with osteoarthritis: a randomized clinical trial. J. Rheumatol 2003;30(9):2039-44.
Seventy-two patients with osteoarthritis were randomized to an exercise group that performed 12 forms of Sun-style tai chi exercise for 12 weeks or to a control group. After the 12-week period, subjects in the exercise group reported less pain and stiffness of joints, and less difficulty in physical functioning, while those in the control group showed no change. There were also significant improvements in balance and abdominal muscle strength in the exercise group. Although the study suggests that tai chi is beneficial in patients with osteoarthritis, this study involved only a limited number of subjects and a high dropout rate (43%). Studies involving more patients are needed to confirm this observation.
Han A, et al. Tai chi for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;3:CD004849.
This review included four trials involving 206 participants with rheumatoid arthritis. Results of the trials indicate that tai chi exercises did not have any clinical or statistically significant effect on day-to-day activities or on the swollen joints. The exercise program did, however, significantly improve the lower extremity range of motion, in particular the ankle range of motion. Researchers also found that the exercises did not aggravate arthritic symptoms. These conclusions suggest that tai chi can be used to improve movement and thereby, the quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Yeh GY, et al. Effects of Tai chi mind-body movement therapy on functional status and exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Med 2004;117:541-48.Thirty patients with chronic stable heart failure were randomly assigned to receive standard care or tai chi exercises in addition to standard care. The exercises were practiced for one hour, twice a week, for 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, patients in the tai chi group reported improved quality of life compared to those in the control group. Researchers also found a decrease in the levels of serum B-type natriuretic peptide, which is suggestive of improved cardiac filling pressures. Since this study involved only thirty patients, trials involving more patients are needed to validate these observations.