THURSDAY, July 8, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Tai Chi and Qigong exercise routines offer a number of significant physical and mental health benefits, finds an across-the-board review of previous research.
Researchers reviewed 77 randomized controlled trials about Tai Chi or Qigong that were published between 1993 and 2007 and included a total of 6,410 participants. The authors said their review provides a "stronger evidence base" that Tai Chi and Qigong offer benefits in terms of bone health, cardio-respiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and mental health.
The review appears in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
We see (these findings) as moving the understanding of the potential of Qigong and Tai Chi forward, with an emphasis on combining the evidence across these practices," co-author Linda Larkey, of Arizona State University College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, said in a Center for the Advancement of Health news release.
"Tai Chi and Qigong have many health benefits and therefore should be considered a high priority when one is selecting an exercise to practice," said Shin Lin, a professor at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said in the news release.
Lin, who was not involved in the review, explained that Qigong is a "very general term to describe exercises that will enhance qi flow or balance." The term Qigong combines "qi" for energy and "gong" for work or exercise. Tai Chi is a more specific form of exercise that focuses on a series of 24 to 108 movements.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about Tai Chi.