T'ai Chi and Qigong for Health: Patterns of Use in the United States

Osher Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) (Impact Factor: 1.59). 09/2009; 15(9):969-73. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2009.0174
Source: PubMed


Little is known in the United States about those who practice t'ai chi and qigong, two mind-body techniques that originated in Asia.
The objective of this study is to characterize use of t'ai chi and qigong for health with regard to sociodemographics, health status, medical conditions, perceptions of helpfulness, and disclosure of use to medical professionals.
We analyzed associations of t'ai chi and qigong use for health using cross-sectional data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Alternative Medicine Supplement (n = 31,044). The 2002 NHIS estimated the number of t'ai chi and qigong users for health to be 2.5 and 0.5 million persons, respectively. We collapsed t'ai chi and qigong use into a single category (TCQ) for analysis, representing 2.8 million individuals.
We found that neither age nor sex was associated with TCQ use. TCQ users were more likely than nonusers to be Asian than white (odds ratio [OR] 2.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30-3.15), college educated (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.97-3.03), and less likely to live in the Midwest (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.42-0.96) or the southern United States (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.36-0.72) than the West. TCQ use was associated independently with higher reports of musculoskeletal conditions (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.11-1.83), severe sprains (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.14-2.40), and asthma (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.08-2.10). Half of TCQ users also used yoga for health in the last 12 months. Most TCQ users reported their practice to be important to maintain health, but only a quarter of users disclosed their practice to a medical professional.
In the United States, TCQ is practiced for health by a diverse population, and users report benefits for maintaining health. Further research is needed to establish efficacy and safety for target populations, including those with musculoskeletal and pulmonary disease, as well as for preventive health.

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Available from: Russell S Phillips, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "Tai Chi has been growing in popularity as an exercise regimen in western countries in the last decade [2] [3] as it requires no exercise equipment and is not restricted by training venue. Benefits of Tai Chi training were shown in the healthy, elderly population [4] [5] [6] and also in people with chronic health conditions such as chronic heart failure and cardiovascular diseases [7] [8] [9], Parkinson's disease [10] and osteoarthritis [11] [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Short-form Sun-style Tai Chi (SSTC) is an effective form of exercise training for people with COPD. However, the experiences and perceptions of people with COPD about SSTC are unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences and perceptions of STSS training by people with COPD. Methods: People with COPD who participated in a 12-week SSTC program were asked to complete a survey. Each question was associated with a visual analogue scale (VAS) of 100 millimetres (mm) and participants were asked to place a mark on the line at the point which best described the answer to the question. A higher score indicated a better experience. Results: Twenty-three Caucasians with COPD and no previous Tai Chi experience, mean (SD) FEV1 = 55 (16)% predicted, completed the survey after SSTC training. Although participants reported moderate difficulty in remembering Tai Chi movements VAS = 53 (30)mm, they reported high enjoyment with Tai Chi training (88 (10)mm) and large perceived improvement in physical fitness (77 (20)mm), flexibility (75 (20)mm), balance 78 (10)mm) and relaxation (79 (20)mm). The majority of participants indicated that they would continue Tai Chi as their regular maintenance exercise regimen in the long-term (82 (20)mm). Conclusions: Caucasians with COPD found that SSTC was an enjoyable mode of exercise and that it was an effective way to improve physical fitness, flexibility, balance and relaxation. Participants reported that they would continue Tai Chi as their regular maintenance exercise regimen.
    European Journal of Integrative Medicine 12/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.eujim.2014.11.005 · 0.78 Impact Factor
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    • "Tai chi involves mindful attention to the body during a well-defined series of slow-flowing movements (Kauz, 1974; Jou, 1980). It is generally recognized as a safe and low-cost complementary therapy and is practiced by two million Americans for a variety of purposes (Barnes, 2004; Birdee et al., 2009). Recently, rigorous scientific methods have been applied to the study of the biomedical aspects of tai chi. "
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    ABSTRACT: It is important to identify effective non-pharmacological alternatives to stimulant medications that reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this study of healthy young adults, we measured the effects of training in tai chi, which involves mindful attention to the body during movement. Using a non-randomized, controlled, parallel design, students in a 15-week introductory tai chi course (n = 28) and control participants (n = 44) were tested for ADHD indicators and cognitive function at three points over the course of the 15-weeks. The tai chi students' self-report of attention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, improved compared to controls. At baseline, inattention correlated positively with reaction time variability in an affective go/no-go task across all participants, and improvements in attention correlated with reductions in reaction time variability across the tai chi students. Affective bias changed in the tai chi students, as reaction times to positive- and negative-valenced words equalized over time. These results converge to suggest that tai chi training may help improve attention in healthy young adults. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to evaluate tai chi as therapy for individuals with ADHD.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:13. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00013 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Qigong aims to increase the energy flow, the so-called qi, through the body [11]. Qigong is well accepted in western societies; for example, in the US estimated 500,000 individuals used Qigong for coping with diseases such as musculoskeletal conditions, severe sprains, and asthma [12], or even with cancer [13]. Qigong has proved to be effective for physical conditions and for psychological well-being [10], which could make it a valuable treatment option for fibromyalgia patients, who suffer from physical and psychological complaints. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives. The fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic condition with only few evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies available. This paper presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Qigong for fibromyalgia syndrome. Methods. The PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cambase databases were screened in December 2012 to identify randomized controlled trials comparing Qigong to control interventions. Major outcome measures were pain and quality of life; and secondary outcomes included sleep quality, fatigue, depression, and safety. Standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Results. Seven trials were located with a total of 395 FMS patients. Analyses revealed low quality evidence for short-term improvement of pain, quality of life, and sleep quality and very low quality evidence for improvement of fatigue after Qigong for FMS, when compared to usual care. No evidence was found for superiority of Qigong compared to active treatments. No serious adverse events were reported. Discussion. This systematic review found that Qigong may be a useful approach for FMS patients. According to the quality of evidence, only a weak recommendation for Qigong can be made at this point. Further high quality RCTs are required for the conclusive judgment of its long-term effects.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10/2013; 2013:635182. DOI:10.1155/2013/635182 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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