A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

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Roger Jahnke OMD, Linda Larkey PhD, Carol Rogers, Jennifer Etnier PhD and Fang Lin. PMC 2011 Jul 1

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi, published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Abstract

Objective

Research examining psychological and physiological benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi is growing rapidly. The many practices described as Qigong or Tai Chi have similar theoretical roots, proposed mechanisms of action and expected benefits. Research trials and reviews, however, treat them as separate targets of examination. This review examines the evidence for achieving outcomes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of both.

Data Sources

The key words tai chi, taiji, and qigong were entered into electronic search engines for the Cumulative Index for Allied Health and Nursing (CINAHL), Psychological Literature (PsychInfo), PubMed, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar.

Study Inclusion Criteria

RCTs reporting on the results of Qigong or Tai Chi interventions and published in peer reviewed journals published from 1993–2007

Data Extraction

Country, type and duration of activity, number/type of subjects, control conditions, and reported outcomes were recorded for each study.

Synthesis

Outcomes related to Qigong and Tai Chi practice were identified and evaluated.

Results

Seventy-seven articles met the inclusion criteria. The 9 outcome category groupings that emerged were: bone density (n=4), cardiopulmonary effects (n=19), physical function (n=16), falls and related risk factors (n=23), Quality of Life (n=17), self-efficacy (n=8), patient reported outcomes (n=13), psychological symptoms (n=27), and immune function (n=6).

Conclusions

Research has demonstrated consistent, significant results for a number of health benefits in RCTs, evidencing progress toward recognizing the similarity and equivalence of Qigong and Tai Chi.

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