The official magazine of the College of Canadian Family Physicians featured an article by Patricia Huston and Bruce McFarlane, where the authors review the abundant research papers available on PubMed about Taijiquan (Tai Chi). Their review is very comprehensive, ranking benefits on the basis of the amount of credible evidence that support Taijiquan (Tai Chi)’s influence on the research outcome.
The conclusion offered is telling:
There is abundant evidence on the health and fitness effects of Taijiquan (Tai Chi). Based on this, physicians can now offer evidence-based recommendations to their patients, noting that it is still an area of active research, and patients should continue to receive medical follow-up for any clinical conditions.
Taijiquan (Tai Chi) is a meditative martial art that has been practised in China for centuries and that has become increasingly popular in the West. It consists of a series of gentle movements that strengthen and relax the body and mind. There are different schools of Taijiquan (Tai Chi), yet all share key features such as mindfulness, structural alignment, and flexibility (Table 1). New forms of Taijiquan (Tai Chi) continue to evolve, including shortened protocols for the elderly.
The authors go on to assert that there is excellent evidence that Taijiquan (Tai Chi) offers benefits for preventing falls in older adults in the community, osteoarthritis, Parkinson disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cognitive functioning; good evidence that Taijiquan (Tai Chi) genererally shows benefits for depression, cardiac rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, and dementia; and fair evidence that quality of life for cancer patients, fibromyalgia, hypertension, and osteoporosis are improved. There’s also preliminary evidence of contributions for decreased stroke rates, low back pain improvement, anxiety, recovery after breast cancer surgery, balance, quality of life, and PTSD.