tTai Chi May Benefit People With Chronic Heart Failure

Tai Chi May Benefit People With Chronic Heart Failure

T'ai chi or Tai chi in the West, is a Chinese martial art practiced for both defense and its health benefits. Tai chi is used by many people to improve health and well-being. Health forms are known for being practiced as no impact and slow movement and relaxed, gentle movements, each flowing into the next. Focusing the mind on the form brings a state of mental calm and clarity. Tai chi is sometimes referred to as "moving meditation" as practitioners focus on posture and deep breathing.

Recent Studies Show That Tai Chi May Benefit People With Heart Failure.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital evaluated exercise capacity, quality of life, physical activity, and mood in 100 people with chronic heart failure. The participants were randomly assigned to either a tai chi group, in which members participated in 1-hour tai chi classes twice weekly for 12 weeks, or an education (control) group, in which members participated in classes about coping with heart failure for the same duration and frequency as the tai chi classes.

Reducing Stress and Improving Mental Health

This study builds on previous research that has shown that tai chi may be beneficial for people with cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors. Studies of the health benefits and stress management attributed to Tai Chi training has been funded in part by the U.S. government it was found that, regular Tai Chi exercise significantly increased well-being and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

Tai Chi Exercise Offers Significant Improvements in Quality of Life

Researchers found that the participants in the tai chi group had clinically significant improvements in quality of life when compared with the education group. In addition, improvements in mood and an increase in daily activity were seen in the tai chi group participants. However, significant differences were not seen between the tai chi and exercise groups for two exercise capacity measurements—peak oxygen intake and performance on a walking test.

Researchers concluded that tai chi shows promise as a complement to standard medical care for people with chronic heart failure. Further research is needed to better understand how tai chi benefits people with cardiovascular disease, particularly looking at how certain elements of tai chi, including deep breathing and aerobic exercise, may contribute to symptom relief or symptom management.

Reference: The National Institute of Health