An across-the-board review of the health effects of Qigong and Tai Chi finds these practices offer many physical and mental health advantages with benefits for the heart, immune system and overall quality of life, according to an article published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Qigong is a general term used to describe exercises that enhance qi flow or balance, while Tai Chi is more specific, focusing on a series of 24 to 108 movements that have a long written history.
The review included 77 randomized controlled trials on Qigong or Tai Chi interventions published in peer-reviewed journals between 1993 and 2007. Taken together, there were 6,410 participants in the studies.
Of the studies analyzed, 27 considered psychological symptoms, 23 looked at falls and related risk factors, 19 looked at cardiopulmonary effects and 17 evaluated quality of life. Other included studies looked at bone density, physical function and immune function. Participants average age was 55, and for studies that looked at balance, 80 was the average age.
The authors say that the review provides a stronger evidence base for bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and psychological benefits.