Monday, February 13, 2012

Tai Chi

Mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease patients who practice
Tai Chi were found to experience significant benefits, including better posture,
fewer falls, and improved walking ability, researchers from the Oregon Research
Institute (ORI) reported in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine). The
authors added that Tai Chi was superior for the Parkinson's patients than
stretching or resistance training regarding several symptoms related to the
disease.An individual with Parkinson's disease whose movements are
impaired, especially when standing balance is undermined, finds it considerably
harder to function in everyday life events and chores; their quality of life is
severely affected. As the disease progresses, balance becomes more of a problem,
and subsequently, so does walking.Experts say that physical activity,
i.e. exercise, helps slow down the deterioration of motor function, and allows
the patient to function for longer independently. The authors added, however,
that studies on the benefits of alternative exercises, such as Tai Chi, which
were thought to improve function, gait and balance in those with PD (Parkinson's
disease), have been very few and limited.Study leader, Fuzhong Li,
Ph.D., said:
"These results are clinically significant because they suggest that
Tai Chi, a low-to-moderate impact exercise, may be used, as an add-on to current
physical therapies, to address some of the key clinical problems in Parkinson's
disease, such as postural and gait instability.Since many training
features in the program are functionally oriented, the improvements in the
balance and gait measures that we demonstrated highlight the potential of Tai
Chi-based movements in rehabilitating patients with these types of problems and,
consequently, easing cardinal symptoms of Parkinson's disease and improving
mobility, flexibility, balance, and range of motion."Dr. Li
and team randomly divided 195 participants, all with Parkinson's, into three
groups:
The Tai Chi Group
The Stretching Group
The Resistance Training Group

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