Tai-Chi-Chuan training for improving balance ability in the elders

Thursday, 26 June 2014

As studies continue looking at effectiveness of tai chi to reduce falls and improve well-being I would like to share with you abstracts from the two most recently published. One study has even looked at the benefits of adding CBT to tai Chi. Please also consider that tai chi is a mindfulness based activity

Tai-Chi-Chuan training for improving balance ability in the elders

tai chi helps elderly

Chin J Integr Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):409-15. doi: 10.1007/s11655-013-1533-4. Epub 2014 Jun 21.

Underlying mechanisms of Tai-Chi-Chuan training for improving balance ability in the elders.



To compare balance ability between elderly individuals who practiced Tai-Chi-Chuan (TCC) for average 9.64 years and elderly individuals who did not practice TCC and its relationship with lower extremity muscle strength and ankle proprioception.


Twenty-five elderly volunteers were divided into two groups according to their TCC practcing experience. Sixteen were TCC group and the other nine were control population. Subjects completed a static balance test and ankle proprioception test using a custom-designed evaluation system, and concentric and eccentric knee extensor and flexor muscle strength tests. Subjects stood on the plate form to measure the proprioception in functional standing position which was differed from the previous studies. Multiple linear regressions were also used to predict the important factor affecting balance.


TCC group performed better than the control group in balance, proprioception, and muscle strength of lower extremity. The proprioception was the most important factor related to balance ability and it can be accounted for explaining 44% of variance in medial-lateral sway direction, and 53% of variance in antero-posterior sway direction. The proprioception may be a more important factor which affecting the balance ability.


TCC training is recommended to the elders; as it can improve balance ability through better proprioception.


Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2014 May 29. pii: S0167-4943(14)00088-0. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2014.05.008. [Epub ahead of print]

A randomized trial comparing Tai Chi with and without cognitive-behavioral intervention (CBI) to reduce fear of falling in community-dwelling elderly people.


The aim of this randomized trial was to compare the effects of Tai Chi with and without CBI on a primary outcome of reducing the fear of falling, and on secondary outcomes including encouraging better social engagement, improving self-perceived personal wellbeing, and achieving better mobility among elderly people with fear of falling. One hundred and twenty-two community-dwelling elderly people aged ≥65 were randomly assigned to either a Tai Chi or a Tai Chi plus CBI group. Participants' level of fear of falling, physical mobility, self-perceived personal wellbeing and social participation were compared before and after completing the 8-week intervention and then at a 2-month follow-up. The findings showed that Tai Chi both with and without CBI had a similar effect on reducing elderly people's fear of falling, but only Tai Chi plus CBI had a positive effect on participants' self-perceived personal wellbeing. Tai Chi both with and without CBI had no effect on participants' self-perceived social participation and mobility. Apart from a slight improvement in participants' self-perceived personal wellbeing, other outcome effects were similar for Tai Chi with and without CBI. This finding raises a question about the additive effects of combined intervention over Tai Chi alone in reducing elderly people's fear of falling. In view of the higher demand for resources and manpower to implement a combined intervention, further study is still required to confirm the potential additional benefits of this combined intervention prior to recommending it to community services.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cognitive behavioral; Elderly; Falls; Fear of falling; Tai Chi exercise