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Research Archive

Welcome to our Chinese medicine and acupuncture research news pages. We add to the content of these pages continuously as more research news comes in. Browse through the complete archive below or use the category links on the right.

Please note that the most twenty recent research archive items are free to view but access to the thousands of items in the archive require a journal subscription.

A US pilot study of tai chi for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suggests that it may be an effective treatment. Ten patients with moderate to severe COPD were randomised to 12 weeks of tai chi plus usual care or usual care

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A randomised controlled trial carried out in the USA has evaluated the effectiveness of a six-week tai chi course in reducing symptoms, increasing function and improving psychosocial status in arthritis patients. In the largest study to date carried

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Just four days of meditation training can improve a person’s cognition and mood, according to an American study. After four daily 20-minute sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book (active control), the 69 participa

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A Canadian study has provided evidence that qigong meditation has a significant effect on the activation of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The effect of qigong meditation on the haemodynamics of the prefrontal cortex was investigated using spect

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External qigong treatment (EQT) can significantly reduce subjective feelings of pain in patients suffering from a variety of chronic pain conditions. Fifty participants were randomised to receive either EQT or equivalent attention time (EAT) in weekl

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A small pilot study from the USA suggests that qigong meditation can contribute positively to addiction treatment outcomes, with results at least as good as those of an established stress management program. 248 participants undergoing residential tr

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A Norwegian study has used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how group tai chi exercise impacted on disease activity, physical function, health status and experience in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Fifteen patients were inst

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A systematic review carried out by US researchers has found that tai chi appears to be associated with improvements in many aspects of psychological health. Forty studies totaling 3817 subjects were subjected to meta-analysis. The results showed that

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American authors have carried out a comprehensive review of the health benefits of qigong and tai chi. Seventy-seven articles met their inclusion criteria. Nine outcome category groupings emerged: bone density, cardiopulmonary effects, physical funct

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Korean researchers have shown that tai chi was able to improve bone density and muscle strength and decrease fear of falling, when practised by older women suffering from osteoarthritis. Eighty-two women were randomly assigned to either a TC group or

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American researchers have found that long-term tai chi exercise improves physical performance among people with peripheral neuropathy. Twenty-five patients completed 24 consecutive weeks of modified, group-based TC. After six weeks of TC, participant

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Taking part in a six-month tai chi (TC) exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation program may lead to a better prognosis for cardiac events in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Fifty-four Taiwanese patients were randomised to usual care or usu

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An American study has found that 12 weeks of qigong therapy resulted in significant reductions in fasting glucose levels in patients with type two diabetes. Thirty-two age- and sex-matched participants, all of whom were taking oral diabetes medica

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Ageing has a negative effect on the ability to accurately point a finger toward stationary and moving visual targets. Tai chi practitioners, however, show significantly better accuracy than age-matched control subjects. A team from Hong Kong compared

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Compared with healthy controls, tai chi practitioners demonstrate better stability and body awareness. A cross-sectional study of 24 tai chi practitioners (mean age 68.5) and 20 age-matched controls carried out in Sweden measured various stability pa

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A Canadian study of female computer users has concluded that tai chi (TC) has considerable potential as a cost-effective way of promoting musculoskeletal fitness and psychological well-being in the workplace. Fifty-two participants took part in two 5

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A study carried out at the Changzhou Drug Treatment Centre in China by Prof. Kevin Chen (of the University of Medicine & Dentistry, Newark, New Jersey) and two Chinese colleagues, has examined the potential benefit of qigong in heroin addictio

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A pilot study funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust and carried out by a team from the University of Queensland has indicated that qigong and tai chi exercises can significantly improve several markers of metabolic syndrome. At the end o

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A study has investigated the effects of qigong on stress among computer operators. Ten women were included in a qigong exercise group and an equal number in a control group. Heart rate, blood pressure and finger temperature were measured at the be

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Qigong training can increase the exercise capacity of patients with cardiac impairment. A controlled trial enlisted thirty men and thirteen women, average age 68, suffering from chronic atrial fibrillation. They were randomised to either a 16-week

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Qigong and exercise therapy are both effective at reducing chronic neck pain. 122 patients, mean age 44, with long-term, nonspecific neck pain were randomised to either group qigong lessons, or individualised exercise therapy. Patients received a

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Researchers in the USA have found that a combination of tai chi and qigong (TQ) can enhance older adults' immune responses to the flu vaccine. A group of 50 adults in their 70s, were randomised TQ or no exercise. The TQ group attended three one-hour

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Functional changes relating to pain processing occur in the brain during the practice of qigong. Chinese researchers used fMRI to observe the brains of four male qigong masters (each with more than 30 years experience) while they practicsed qigong

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The mechanisms by which tai chi can improve balance were investigated in a randomised controlled trial of 49 healthy older adults. The investigators found that that a widening of stance and improved use of vestibular input (sensory information fro

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A 12-week programme of tai chi and qigong prompted a significant fall in blood glucose levels and significant improvements in other indicators of metabolic syndrome in 11 middle-aged to older adults. At the end of 12 weeks, they had lost an averag

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A British pilot study suggests that qigong can be used to manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Eighteen female participants were recruited, taught a qigong routine during weekly classes over six months, and asked to practise it daily for 15 min

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Forty-one regular qigong practitioners engaged in either 30 or 60 minutes of qigong exercise within a randomised cross-over design. Measures of mood, anxiety, activation, and hedonic tone were obtained pre- and post-exercise. Results showed benefits

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A study from Sweden has investigated whether self-determined motivation and perceived stress are related to concentration during qigong exercise, and to the amount of exercise carried out. Qigong exercisers were assessed using the Sport Motivation Sc

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A small American study has investigated the effectiveness of a qigong training program in reducing stress in hospital staff. Thirty-seven subjects were randomly assigned to a six-week intervention of either qigong practice or a waiting list. The qigo

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An Australian pilot study (11 people) suggests that a twelve week tai chi and qigong training programme results in significant improvements in four of the seven indicators of metabolic syndrome, including BMI and systolic and diastolic blood press

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In Hong Kong, investigators have attempted to unravel the clinical benefits and underlying psychophysiological mechanisms of qigong based on information from published RCTs. Their meta-analysis of 26 RCTs showed that qigong had positive effects on bl

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An Iranian team has analysed the effects of a qigong program on various saliva parameters, including volume, pH and secretory immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) levels. Twenty-three healthy volunteers aged 22-24 performed special qigong exercises and self-acup

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Spanish scientists have assessed the effects of qigong practice on serum cytokines, mood and subjective sleep quality. Experimental participants underwent a qigong training program for one month. Blood samples for the quantification of TNF-alpha and

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A randomised pilot study has examined the effects of qigong on individuals with traumatic brain injury. Twenty individuals with traumatic brain injury attended either a qigong exercise session or a non-exercise-based leisure activity, for one hour pe

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A randomised pilot study has found that eight weeks of qigong improved self-esteem and mood in individuals with traumatic brain injury compared with controls. (Exercise intervention in brain injury: a pilot randomized study of Tai Chi Qigong. Clin Re

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Brain scans of meditators show that the effects of long-term meditation practice are carried over into non-meditating states. Many meditation techniques aim to increase awareness of ongoing experiences through sustained attention and detachment - obs

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A small, uncontrolled UK pilot study has found evidence of benefit for qigong in treating chronic fatigue. Eighteen women were taught a qigong routine during weekly classes over six months, and asked to practise it daily for 15 minutes. Participants

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In Australia, a team investigating the use of medical qigong therapy (MQ) has found that it can improve cancer patients' quality of life (QOL). In a randomised controlled trial, 162 patients received either MQ (gentle exercise, relaxation, meditation

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Forty-four elderly subjects (mean age 69) with knee osteoarthritis were randomised to an eight-week tai chi qigong training programme or a waiting list control group. The tai chi programme involved twice-weekly tai chi qigong sessions lasting 60 minu

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A group of elderly Tai Chi practitioners (with several years of practice experience) were compared with a similarly aged group of sedentary subjects. The Tai Chi practitioners showed higher peak oxygen uptake in comparison with their sedentary counte

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A small scale study on 24 volunteers over the age of 55 who performed Tai Chi only once a week for 60 minutes found that after 10 weeks their balance was significantly superior to a control group. Considering the suffering and cost resulting from fal

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In a US study, 94 healthy but physically inactive older adults were assigned to either learn Tai Chi twice a week or to a waiting list. A significant benefit was found in the Tai Chi group in terms of self-reported movement efficacy and physical func

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A small study of 30 patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease has revealed the benefits of Tai Chi. At the 7th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders 2002, data from the University of Florida in Jacksonville was pres

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In a study to determine the effects of tai chi on boosting immunity to the shingles virus, 36 adults (over 60 years) were assigned to a 15-week tai chi programme group or a waiting group. Their immunity to the chicken pox virus was measured before an

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A systematic review of 47 studies published in English and Chinese has shown that tai chi benefits balance, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory function, flexibility, the immune system, symptoms of arthritis, muscular strength and psychologic

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South Korean research has shown that (Sun-style) tai chi is effective in alleviating several symptoms of osteoarthritis. 43 middle-aged women who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis were randomised to participate in 20-minute tai chi sessions at l

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30 college students who were enrolled in this study practised Tai Chi twice a week for an hour each time over a 3 month period. Bodily pain, general health, mental/emotional functioning, vitality and mental health were all significantly improved afte

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Two hundred and fifty-six healthy, physically inactive adults (aged 70-92) were randomly assigned to a Tai Chi group or an exercise/stretching group in this six-month study. Members of the tai chi group showed improvements in measures of functional b

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This Hong Kong study randomly assigned 132 healthy post-menopausal women to supervised tai chi (45 minutes each time, five times per week for a year) or to a non tai chi, inactive (sedentary lifestyle) group. At the end of the study, the tai chi grou

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In this study, 118 inactive but healthy men and women, aged 60 to 92 years with moderate sleep complaints, were randomly assigned to a tai chi group or a low-impact exercise group. The tai chi group learnt a simplified yang style, whilst the exercise

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In a small US study, 15 people with heart failure were assigned to receive 2 one-hour tai chi classes twice a week for 12 weeks, in addition to standard medical care, and compared to a similar sized group who received standard care alone. The tai chi

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A study was set up to determine whether Tai Chi taught and practised in a community setting had similar benefits to studies conducted in laboratory settings. Researchers in Hong Kong recruited 51 beginners (aged 29 to 72) to take part in a 12-week Ch

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A Korean study compared 29 older adults (mean age 77.8 years) who undertook a Sun-style Tai Chi exercise programme (three sessions a week for 12 weeks)  with 30 controls of similar age. The Tai Chi practitioners were found to have improved physi

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A number of studies have suggested that practising Tai Chi can improve balance and stability in healthy older people and reduce the rate of falling. A new study conducted in a park in Nanjing in China suggests that this benefit may extend to less

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Rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels after surgery or radiotherapy for prostate cancer is an indicator of recurrent cancer. Hormonal therapy at this stage can probably only extend survival time slightly and has significant side effects. A

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A study of 39 Chinese adults (average age 65.7 years), all of whom had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor, found that three one-hour tai chi classes a week for 12 weeks resulted in significant improvements in balance, muscular strength,

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Another study has found that Combined Balance and Stepping Training (CBST), which involves increasing step length and speed, is modestly more effective at improving balance and mobility than tai chi training. Eight-one older adults (65 years +) in

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A small study has compared the benefits of short form tai chi against either brisk walking or sedentary controls in elderly women. Nineteen women were randomly assigned to one of the two exercise groups who met for one hour on three days a week for 1

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Performance of tai chi leads to a decrease in activity of the sympathetic nervous system, to levels that are not achieved by performing comparable physical activity alone. Participants had completed the above 25-week randomised trial of Tai Chi Chih

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Tai chi therapy can boost the immune system of patients with shingles to levels comparable to those achieved using a vaccine against varicella zoster virus (VZV, the virus which causes chickenpox and shingles). A controlled trial randomised 112 healt

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Practising tai chi may help boost immune function and improve blood sugar control in people with type-2 diabetes. Thirty-two people participated in three hour-long tai chi sessions each week, for a period of 12 weeks. Investigators found statisticall

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A randomised controlled trial has investigated whether tai chi or hydrotherapy classes provide measurable clinical benefits to those suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip or knee. The Australian study enrolled 152 adults, aged 60 and older, w

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Researchers in the USA have found that a combination of tai chi and qigong (TQ) can enhance older adults' immune responses to the flu vaccine. A group of 50 adults in their 70s, were randomised TQ or no exercise. The TQ group attended three one-hour

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Tai chi is as effective as a brisk walk in raising heart rate variability (HRV). A Korean crossover study recruited 24 volunteers between 24 and 35 years. Subjects either walked on a treadmill at six kilometres an hour (just under three miles per hou

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Two more studies have confirmed the value of tai chi for improving balance in the elderly. The first looked at the effects of an 18-week tai chi training in 25 men (intervention group), compared to 24 controls (aged 60 to 82.1 years) all of whom had

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The mechanisms by which tai chi can improve balance were investigated in a randomised controlled trial of 49 healthy older adults. The investigators found that that a widening of stance and improved use of vestibular input (sensory information from t

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A large Australian study of 702 healthy people (mean age 69) has concluded that a 16-week programme of tai chi classes improved their balance and reduced the incidence of falls. (A randomized, controlled trial of tai chi for the prevention of falls:

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Tai chi can enhance sleep stability in patients with chronic heart failure. Researchers analysed 24-hour continuous ECG data obtained in a clinical trial of tai chi in 18 patients with heart failure. At 12 weeks, those who participated in tai chi sho

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A prospective longitudinal pilot study of tai chi for young adults, carried out over 18 weeks, found that their subjective health increased. Stress, measured both subjectively (by questionnaire) and objectively (by measurement of salivary cortisol

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Tai chi can improve blood markers of type 2 diabetes. A British case-control study examined the effect of a 12-week programme of tai chi on the T helper cell activity of 30 patients with type 2 diabetes and 30 healthy people of the same age. After 12

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Tai chi can improve the pulmonary function of asthmatic children. Thirty asthmatic children were randomised either to a 12-week tai chi programme (TC) or no treatment. Baseline pulmonary function was assessed at rest, after exercise, and after exe

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It appears that although tai chi (TC) does not directly engage in tactile stimulus training, it is capable of eliciting enhanced tactile acuity in long-term practitioners. Experienced adult TC practitioners were recruited and compared with age-gender

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A systematic review of seven randomised controlled trials has concluded that has shown that tai chi has the potential to reduce falls or risk of falls among the elderly, provided that they are relatively young and non-frail. (A systematic review of t

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A systematic review of the literature on the effect of tai chi exercise on blood pressure (BP) suggests that it may reduce BP and serve as a practical, non-pharmacological adjunct to conventional hypertension management. Of the 26 studies that met th

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Practising tai chi chih (TCC), a Westernized version of tai chi, has been shown to promote sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep complaints. In the US study, 112 healthy adults, age range 59 to 86, were randomly assigned to one of two gro

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Korean investigators have examined the effect of tai chi on disease activity, flexibility and depression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). They allocated 40 patients to either a tai chi group or a no-treatment control group. The tai chi g

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Tai chi appears to be safe and may be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Twenty patients with RA were randomly assigned to tai chi or attention control in twice-weekly sessions for 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, 50% of patients randomized to tai chi a

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A Chinese study has investigated the effects of 14 weeks of tai chi practice on metabolic control and lipid metabolism in women with type 2 diabetes. Twenty women, mean age 57, were randomly assigned to either tai chi or a control group. In the tai c

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An Australian pilot study (11 people) suggests that a twelve week tai chi and qigong training programme results in significant improvements in four of the seven indicators of metabolic syndrome, including BMI and systolic and diastolic blood pressure

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American authors have reviewed intervention studies using tai chi and qigong (TC & QG) in order to identify the physical and psychological health outcomes shown to be associated with TC & QG in adults over 55. Based on specific inclusion crit

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A brief course in tai chi helps improve balance in people who have had a stroke. One hundred and thirty-six subjects, who had suffered a stroke more than six months previously, were randomly assigned to a control group that practised general exercise

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Tai Chi has a small positive effect on pain and disability in people with arthritis. Australian authors carried out a systematic review of tai chi as a treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain. They found that most trials were typically small and o

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Taiwanese scientists have carried out an experimental study to identify biomarkers associated with the health benefits of tai chi. Blood samples taken from three healthy volunteers, before and after 12 weeks of tai chi, were compared for changes i

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Six months of tai chi can improve glucose control, increase adherence to self-care activities, and lead to a better quality of life in patients with type two diabetes. Korean investigators enrolled 99 type two diabetic patients (with an HbA1c level o

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Researchers from the USA have found that knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients who practise tai chi show improved physical functioning and experience less pain. Forty individuals (mean age 65) with tibiofemoral OA were randomly assigned to 60 minutes of

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Compared with healthy controls, tai chi practitioners demonstrate better stability and body awareness. A cross-sectional study of 24 tai chi practitioners (mean age 68.5) and 20 age-matched controls carried out in Sweden measured various stability pa

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A systematic review by American authors suggests that mind-body therapies may be beneficial for alleviating specific menopausal symptoms. Eighteen clinical trials, involving a total of 882 women, met their inclusion criteria. Interventions included y

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