CORVALLIS, Ore. – A newly published study has found that tai chai, an ancient Chinese martial art, may help Parkinson’s disease patients not only regain strength and balance, but also reduce potentially life-threatening falls. (continues below video)
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The study, conducted by researchers in Corvallis, Salem, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, is in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
In the study, Parkinson’s patients were divided into three groups. One group participated in a resistance training program with weighted vests and weights, designed by Oregon State University researcher Gianni Maddalozzo. Another, which acted as the control group, did stretching classes. The third group took a modified tai chi class designed by Fuzhong Li, the lead author of the study. Li is with the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene and earned his doctorate in the exercise and sport science program at OSU.
“Tai chi has also shown to be beneficial in reducing pain in people with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, ameliorating sleep disturbances, and helping to decrease blood pressure,” he said. “Overall, accumulating evidence suggests that tai chi may be efficacious as a behavioral medicine approach for the prevention and rehabilitation of chronic diseases and dysfunctional mental and physical conditions commonly associated with advancing age.”