1. Singh Joy, Subhashni D.


According to this study:


* Tai chi was more effective than resistance training and stretching in reducing balance impairment and falls.



Article Content

In patients with Parkinson's disease, impairments in movement, particularly movements related to balance, make the performance of activities of daily living difficult. Drug therapy is of limited value. The authors of a recent study sought to determine the effects of the Chinese martial art tai chi on the impaired balance associated with Parkinson's disease. Between 2008 and 2010, 195 participants with stage 1-to-4 disease (according to the Hoehn and Yahr scale) were randomized to three groups: tai chi, resistance training, or stretching. Each group attended one-hour classes twice a week for 24 weeks. Those in the tai chi group took part in an eight-form routine with symmetric and diagonal movements focused on balance and gait. The resistance training involved the use of weighted vests and ankle weights to strengthen muscles associated with posture, balance, and gait. The stretching group practiced stretches focused on the upper body and lower extremities.


The primary end points-maximum excursion, an assessment of movement in eight directions without falling, and directional control, which measures the accuracy of movements-were evaluated using computerized dynamic posturography. The three groups of 65 patients had similar maximum excursion and directional control scores at baseline. At six months, however, those in the tai chi group had significantly higher scores on both measures than patients in the resistance and stretching groups. This benefit persisted at three months after the end of the 24-week intervention. At six months, the tai chi group also demonstrated significantly greater improvement in stride length and functional reach than the other two groups. Gait velocity and peak torque knee extension and flexion were significantly greater at six months in the tai chi group than in the stretching group. There were also fewer falls in the tai chi group (62) than in the resistance group (133) and the stretching group (186).




Li F, et al. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(6):511-9