Tai Chi in the news

Articles on Tai Chi and Qigong (also spelt Chi Kung)

BBC News, by Ian Westbrook, 22 March 2018: “Tai chi recommended to fight fibromyalgia. Tai chi is as good as – or even better than – aerobic exercise for aiding people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, a study has suggested. The US trial of 226 adults with the condition showed that those who practised the martial art improved significantly more than those doing aerobic exercise over a 24-week period. Its low-impact movements mean people of any age or fitness level can take part…”

BBC News, 14 February 2018: “Tai Chi study ‘could help people with dementia’. A new project by Bournemouth University is looking into the benefits of the Chinese martial art Tai Chi for people living with dementia. Following a successful pilot in 2016, researchers now hope a larger study will prove the exercise can slow the condition down. Tai Chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing repetitive movements. Participants will take part in a 20-week course that is taking place across Hampshire and Dorset…”Express (home of Daily & Sunday Express), by Katrina Turrill, 9 Jan 2018: “Rheumatoid arthritis pain? Tai Chi could improve symptoms in the knee, hip and hands. RHEUMATOID arthritis pain is a condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints – the knees, hips and hands are the most common effected areas. While there is no cure, there are a number of remedies which have been found to ease the pain, including Tai Chi…”

Medicine Journal, November 2017: “Efficacy of Tai Chi and Qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis… Results: Twenty-one trials with n = 1604 patients with hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome were included. No trials were found that examined the effects of Tai Chi/Qigong on stroke incidence. Meta-analyses revealed significant, but not robust, benefits of Tai Chi/Qigong over no interventions for hypertension…”

Daily Mail Online, by Stephen Matthews, 11 October 2017: “Tai Chi helps heart attack patients to recover: Ancient Chinese martial art is a safe way for sufferers to improve their health, researchers claim…”

ITV News, 11 September 2017: “Firefighters use tai chi to improve mental health. The Humber NHS Foundation Trust has blazed a trail by giving mindfulness and tai chi classes to firefighters…”

Time Health, by Amanda MacMillan, 27 July 2017: “How Tai Chi Makes You Stronger. In today’s world of high-intensity fitness fads, one might wonder whether tai chi—characterized by its slow, deliberate movements—is a worthwhile workout. But the ancient Chinese practice has been linked to myriad health benefits, from improved immunity to lower blood pressure to reduced inflammation. Now, a new review of research says it may help older people avoid dangerous falls, as well…”

Time Health, by Amanda MacMillan, June 16, 2017: “Yoga and Meditation Can Change Your Genes, Study Says… In the new paper, published in Frontiers in Immunology, British researchers analyzed the findings from 18 previously published studies—involving a total of 846 people—on the biological effects of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, Qi gong and Tai Chi. Together, the authors say, the studies show that these mind-body exercises appear to suppress the expression of genes and genetic pathways that promote inflammation…”

BBC News, 25 April 2017: “Exercise ‘keeps the mind sharp’ in over-50s, study finds. Doing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp if you’re over 50, research suggests. Thinking and memory skills were most improved when people exercised the heart and muscles on a regular basis, a review of 39 studies found. This remained true in those who already showed signs of cognitive decline. Taking up exercise at any age was worthwhile for the mind and body, the Australian researchers said. Exercises such as Tai Chi were recommended for people over the age of 50 who couldn’t manage other more challenging forms of exercise, the study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said…”

Express (home of Daily & Sunday Express), by Giles Sheldrick, 24 April 2017: “Exercise keeps dementia at bay: Running and walking ‘significantly’ boosts brain power. JUST 45 minutes of intensive exercise a day is the key to keeping dementia at bay, a new study shows. Running, walking, yoga and tai chi have all been shown to “significantly” boost brain power in the over 50s. But experts say almost any exercise leaving you breathless helps with the benefits evident irrespective of the current state of someone’s brain health…”

The Irish Times, by Shane Cochrane, 3 October 2016: “Tai chi – what’s it all about? “Though it may appear serene, it provides the same benefits of a brisk walk…”

The Irish Times, by Shane Cochrane, 26 September 2016: “What are the health benefits of Tai chi? There is growing scientific evidence that tai chi is great for over-65s to recover from illness…”

The Daily Mail, by Fred Redwood, 20 February 2016: “Qigong, yoga or tai chi: Eastern methods of keeping fit are popular offers at modern retirement villages. There was a time when a keep-fit session for the elderly involved nothing more than a few gentle exercises. How times change. Visit a modern retirement village and you are likely to find residents making full use of the swimming pool or multi-gym. Eastern methods of keeping fit are also proving popular. We offer all of our of residents courses in qigong – an ancient Chinese exercise routine that integrates physical posture and breathing techniques…”

BBC News, 18 September 2015: “Tai Chi ‘could be prescribed’ for illnesses. Tai Chi is a suitable exercise for older people with conditions like arthritis, a study has found. The ancient Chinese art improves physical performance and enhances quality of life, say researchers. Tai Chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests the exercise helps with pain and stiffness in arthritis. It can also help improve quality of life in the lung condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And it may have some physical benefits for people with breast cancer or heart failure, according to researchers from the University of British Colombia, Vancouver. In the future, it might even be possible to consider prescribing Tai Chi for patients with several illnesses, they said…”

The Telegraph, by Florence Waters, 15 June 2014: “Tai chi is the perfect antidote to a digital age. Taiwanese scientists are making new claims for the health benefits of tai chi, and it’s the ideal way to slow down…”

The Wall Street Journal, by Laura Johannes, 30 September 2013: “The Intriguing Health Benefits of Qigong. The ancient Chinese practice shows promise in helping ease hypertension and depression. The Claim: Qigong, a Chinese health practice based on gentle movements, meditation and breathing, has wide-ranging benefits, including improving balance, lowering blood pressure and even easing depression…”

The Telegraph , 6 February 2013: “Tai Chi – Tai Chi ‘reduces fall risk for stroke patients’. Doing Tai Chi exercises three times a week could greatly reduce the risk of falls among stroke survivors, researchers have found. Stroke survivors are particularly at risk from falls… Tai Chi could help prevent falls by improving people’s balance, muscle strength and endurance as well as providing psychological benefits… Dr Ruth Taylor-Piliae… “Learning how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a challenge. Tai Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is important to prevent falls…”

The Sydney Morning Herald, by Graham Osborne, 29 October 2012: “Tai chi: the power of the slow. Tai chi, the slow-motion meditation being practised in a park near you, can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve brain function and provide many other health benefits, according to scientific studies. The ancient Chinese martial art of tai chi chuan has evolved into a series of mind-body exercises performed in a slow, focused and flowing manner designed to keep your body in constant motion and promote serenity…”

The Telegraph, 22 June 2012: “Tai Chi makes your brain bigger and can improve memory and thinking – possibly delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, claim scientists. As Tai Chi increases mental activity, scientists believe it may be possible to delay the onset of incurable Alzheimer’s in pensioners. A new study has revealed how elderly people practising Tai Chi – an ancient Chinese form of slow, meditative exercise – just three times a week can boost brain volume and improve memory and thinking. As the exercise increases mental activity, scientists believe it may be possible to delay the onset of incurable Alzheimer’s in pensioners. Dementia and the gradual cognitive deterioration that precedes it is associated with increasing shrinkage of the brain, as nerve cells and their connections are gradually lost. Previous research has shown Tai Chi can help relieve stress, improve balance in the elderly and stave of high blood pressure – helping those who suffer from heart disease. Although scientists know brain volume can be increased in people who participate in aerobic exercise, this is the first study to show a less physical form of working out, like Tai Chi, can have the same results…”

Mail Online, by Daily Mail Reporter, 5 April 2012: “How Tai Chi in later life is good for the heart: Elderly who perform exercises lower blood pressure. Practising the ancient martial art of tai chi can boost elderly people’s hearts, a study has found. Older subjects who regularly performed the traditional Chinese mind-body exercise now enjoyed worldwide were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger. Researchers said a work-out which can achieve both good heart function and muscle power ‘would be a preferred mode of training’ for this group of society.

Mail Online, by Claire Bates, 9 February 2012: “An hour of tai chi twice a week helps people with Parkinson’s disease to walk. Tai chi entails regular practice of measured breathing and slow, gentle movements. It helped improve balance making patients steadier on their feet. People with Parkinson’s disease often suffer from shaking limbs and stiff muscles, which makes moving increasingly difficult. Now scientists have found practising an ancient Chinese martial art could help both their balance and ability to walk. A team from the Oregon Research Institute assigned nearly 200 patients twice weekly sessions of 60 minutes each in either tai chi, resistance-training or stretching…”

NHS Choices, 5 April 2012: “Your health, your choices – Tai chi and heart health in older people. Research looked at heart health of older people who did tai chi. Researchers found that older people… were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger… The improvement of heart function combined with increased muscular power meant that the martial art should be considered the preferred technique for elderly people to maintain good health… Tai Chi… is based on co-ordination and relaxation rather than muscular tension. It is believed that focusing the mind solely on the movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity… In the Hong Kong study, pulse measurements showed that Tai Chi specifically improved expansion and contraction of the arteries — known as arterial compliance, an important indicator of heart health — and increased knee muscle strength…

The Guardian, by Luisa Dillner, 24 May 2011: “Dr Luisa Dillner’s guide to … tai chi. A report this month says that tai chi for older people can improve mental health and help prevent falls. If you think you are too old to take up martial arts, think again. A study in this month’s British Journal of Sports Medicine says that tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, can reduce the risk in older people of falling over and improve mental health…”

Daily Mail, by Sarah Harris: “How tai chi can help children to concentrate. The ancient Chinese art of tai chi has turned a failing primary school round by helping pupils to concentrate and improve their behaviour… Each morning before lessons, pupils spend ten minutes on exercises which aim to integrate and relax the mind and body… ‘Tai chi calms the children down and gets everyone in the right frame of mind’ … ‘The first lessons of the morning are literacy and numeracy, and the pupils are completely focused on that after tai chi… Before school all the children are hyperactive and are running about and that is not the best preparation for class’… ‘After tai chi they are very calm and relaxed and settled for class… ‘At first some of the pupils did not take it seriously. They did not see it as a form of exercise like football or netball but it is. Now most enjoy it…”

The Independent, 18 May 2011: “Tai chi improves balance, mental health in elderly: study – A review of medical studies gave the thumbs-up on Monday to tai chi as a way of preventing falls and improving mental health in the elderly, but does not confirm other claims made for the Chinese martial art. British and South Korean researchers looked at 35 assessments of tai chi… There was evidence that, among the elderly, practicising tai chi helped sense of balance and boosted psychological wellbeing…”

The Telegraph, by Martin Beckford, 16 May 2011: “Elderly people should take up Tai Chi, say academics. Elderly people should take up the gentle martial art of Tai Chi for the sake of their physical and mental health, according to academics. A new study has found that the ancient Chinese exercises, enjoyed by millions of people every morning, can help pensioners avoid falling injuries and boost their psychological well-being. This is because its slow movements improve balance while its deep breathing techniques aid relaxation…”

The Telegraph, 20 October 2009: “Tai Chi ‘can ease the pain of arthritis’. Practising the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi can significantly ease the pain of arthritis, a new study suggests. Researchers found that after just 12 weeks patients were in less than half as much pain as before they started performing the exercises…”

The Telegraph, by Rebecca Smith, 29 October 2008: “Tai Chi helps asthma symptoms. The ancient art of Tai Chi can help asthma sufferers to control their condition, researchers have found. A small study carried out in Thailand has found that the series of slow controlled movements and focused breathing can ease the symptoms of moderate to severe asthma. There are 5.4m people in the UK with asthma, including 1.1m children and most have to take some form of medication to prevent wheezing and shortness of breath and other drugs if they suffer an attack. The condition cannot be cured and around 1200 people die annually. Seventeen asthma patients in Thailand had weekly Tai Chi lessons with daily ‘homework’ sessions. After six weeks the team took a series of measures to establish exercise endurance, breathing capacity, asthma control, and quality of life scores and compared them to the measures taken before the programme…”

The Guardian, Sun 6 July 2008: “Chi kung & tai chi – Think of these ancient, flowing exercises as meditation in motion. Not only do they improve muscle tone, flexibility and coordination, they focus and relax racing minds and even stave off the physical signs of ageing. What is it? Chi is considered to be the flow of energy through the universe. It is said to flow through channels in the human body and, if blocked, can lead to poor health. Chi kung involves performing movements that stimulate the flow of chi through the body. As such, it is often referred to as “meditation in motion”. Tai chi is a system of chi kung that has been combined with the framework of a martial art…”

The New York Times, by Nora Isaacs, 5 April 2007: “Exercisers Slow It Down With Qigong… A decade ago, most Westerners didn’t know how to pronounce qigong (CHEE-kung). Plenty still don’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from attending classes at YMCAs, gyms, medical centers and college campuses. Roughly 950,000 American adults have practiced qigong in their lifetime, according to a study conducted in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and released in 2004 by the C.D.C. and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine…”

Vitality Magazine, by Susannah Kent, 1 December 2006: “The Healing Art and Science of Qigong: Movement, Meditation, and Breath. Qigong is an ancient form of self-healing originating in China. It has been called the mother of Chinese healing and is one the cornerstones of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qigong is the phonetic transcription of two Chinese characters (Qi and Gong). Qi has been translated to mean vital breath or life energy, often described as the life force that flows through all living things. Gong means to cultivate, work at, or practice. According to Chinese Medicine, health means a full and flowing supply of qi and a balance between the two fundamental influences of Yin and Yang. When qi does not flow, certain areas of the body have too much energy (Yang condition); other areas have too little energy (Yin condition). This imbalance results in disease. Qigong uses breath control and slow, relaxed motions to increase the flow of qi in the body. Deep breathing provides oxygen to the cells, blood and organs, and helps relax muscles and relieve tension. It also slows the heart rate and quiets the mind. Concentration along with continual movement between Yin and Yang (left to right, forward and back, reaching and bending) helps the qi circulate…”

Vitality Magazine, by Teresa Yeung, 1 April 2005: “Qi Gong Improves Breathing. Relief from Asthma, Seasonal Allergies, Migraines, and Chronic Aches and Pain. There’s an ancient Chinese saying: If you have nose congestion, your lung is not well. In the Chinese medicine system each organ has to be balanced such that the Qi (body life force) can connect with the other organs and render the whole body as a holistic system. In other words, it is not possible to deem one organ or body part as an isolated problem without considering the whole body system. The life force (Qi) is in the blood. Qi needs blood to nourish it and blood needs Qi to move it. So in order to improve our blood circulation, we will have to improve the Qi in our blood. A great way of improving our Qi is by practising the Chinese ancient healing art of Qigong. A major part of Qigong focuses on relaxation, breathing with mind control using certain postures like sitting or standing, and gentle movements to perform an internal exercise…”

Vitality Magazine, section of interview by Teresa Yeung, 1 October 2004: “Teresa: Many people in the world now are talking about the healing benefits of the Chinese qigong. So, what is qigong? Master Wu: Qigong is an ancient Chinese art of balancing and strengthening one’s life force practised by millions in China for thousands of years. “qi” means life force energy and “gong” means “skill or work”. Qigong is an internal self-healing exercise involving slow deep breathing, visualization and some simple movements. If you have an illness, qi gong can help you to fight your disease and get well. If you have no sickness, qi gong can enhance the overall well being of your body by strengthening your immune system…”

BBC News, 9 March 2004: “Tai Chi ‘improves body and mind. The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi can help to improve people’s health, research suggests. Doctors in the United States analysed 47 studies looking at the impact Tai Chi had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS. They found that it could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of their heart… it also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety… Practitioners say it can have a positive effect on people’s health, improving memory, concentration, digestion, balance and flexibility… They say it is also helpful for people with psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety or stress… these studies reported that long-term tai chi practice had favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders… helped to reduce “pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects”. But it also had benefits for people with serious conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure… Benefits were reported by the authors of these studies in cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects and in patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery as well as in patients with heart failure, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, arthritis and multiple sclerosis…”