Tai Chi for the heart

Monday, March 5th, 2012 | In Health | Tags: ,

Tai Chi for the heart
~ Tai Chi for the heart ~

People with chronic heart failure may be able to boost their quality of life by doing the ancient Chinese exercise regimen of Tai Chi, a US study suggested.

Two group sessions of one hour each per week were enough to show significant improvements in mood and confidence, said the Boston-based study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

The study compared 50 US heart patients who enrolled in Tai Chi classes to 50 who took classroom study in heart education. Physical responses were similar in both groups, but those who did Tai Chi showed significant improvements according to their answers in a questionnaire to assess their emotional state.

The Tai Chi group also reported batter exercise self-efficacy (confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities) with increased daily activity and related feeling of well-being compared with the education group.

While experts admit they do not fully understand the science behind the findings, the study offers a positive option for complementing standard medical care of people with chronic heart failure, a debilitating and progressive disease that limits a person’s ability to breathe and move.

“Tai Chi appears to be a safe alternative to low-to-moderate intensity conventional exercise training, Tai Chi has a good rate of adherence and may provide value in improving daily exercise, quality of life, self-efficacy and mood in frail, deconditioned patients with systolic heart failure.”, said lead author Gloria Yeh of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

Previous studies have suggested Tai Chi, which involves slow, circular movements and balance-shifting exercises, may be helpful to people who suffer from high blood pressure, fibromyalgia and stress.


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