Potential health impacts and evidence

Reported benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice include the following:

  • Improved posture, balance, flexibility and agility
  • Greater muscular strength and endurance and overall fitness
  • Fall prevention and alleviating the fear of falling in the elderly
  • Aerobic conditioning, better heart health and lower blood pressure
  • Relief from joint problems including osteo and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia relief
  • Regulation of the respiratory system and relief from respiratory conditions
  • Stimulates digestion and relieves gastrointestinal conditions
  • Regulation of the nervous system
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improved cognitive function – the ability to concentrate and multi-task – with implications for dementia
  • Stress relief and calming the mind
  • Relief from tension headaches
  • Relief from insomnia
  • Improved quality of life and feelings of self esteem – particularly for the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions
  • Improved blood glucose levels in those suffering from diabetes
  • Improved mood and relief from depression and anxiety

There is an increasing body of research evidence looking at the benefits of Tai Chi & Qi Gong. The list below provides links to a selection of recent journalistic articles and scientific papers on the subject:

  1. Understanding the stress response – Harvard Medical School article outlining how Tai Chi can help to combat long term stress through regulation of the nervous system – 2011
  2. The Health Benefits of Tai Chi & Qi Gong – Huffington Post article by Dr Denise Nagel – 2015
  3. Tai Chi makes your brain bigger and improves memory – Telegraph article, June 2012.
  4. Playing brain games ‘of little benefit’ say experts – BBC article highlighting an Age UK report that recommends Tai Chi and other activities in prevention of dementia.
  5. Jahnke, R et al.2010. A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi – American Journal of Health Promotion, 2010.
  6. Yeh, G et al. 2008. Tai Chi exercise in patients with chronic heart failure. Medical Sports Science.
  7. Yeh, S et al. 2008. Regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol 43 – 11.
  8. Srinivasan, S. et al. 2014. Adjunctive Tai Chi in Geriatric Depression With Comorbid Arthritis: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. American Journal of Geriatric Phsychiatry 22:3 Supplement 1.
  9. Wang, C et al 2010. A Randomised Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:743-754
  10. Lavretsky, H et al. 2011. Complementary Use of Tai Chi Chih Augments Escitalopram Treatment of Geriatric Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 19:10 2011.