Tai Chi Research

Various research is being done globally on the health benefits of Tai Chi Chuan. The U.S. National Institutes of Health have already done thirteen clinical trials and are in the process of conducting another twelve studies. Examples of these are research into the benefits of Tai Chi on Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Heart Failure, Parkinson's Disease, Sleep Deprivation, Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Shingles, Low Back Pain, Diabetic Neuropathies, Peripheral Nervous System Diseases, HIV Infections, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Hepatitis C etc.

If any South African or Cape Town based institutions are interested in conducting similar research please contact us. We are in the process of establishing a research association for Tai Chi and Chi Kung and would be willing to assist in conducting similar clinical research. Having seen first hand the benefits of Tai Chi as an instructor (similar to the research shown underneath) we are enthusiastic to promote Tai Chi as a scientifically supported health exercise.

Research done in Taiwan and is to be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine:

LONDON: Tai Chi Chuan, the traditional Chinese martial arts exercises, could help curb symptoms of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

The study suggested that Tai Chi might prompt a fall in blood glucose levels, or improve blood glucose metabolism, triggering a drop in the inflammatory response, reports the British Medical Journal.

The findings of the study indicate that regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production.

T cells are a vital constituent of the body's immune system, which generate powerful chemicals, including interleukins (ILs), which alter the immune response.

For the study, the scientists examined the impact of a 12-week programme of Tai Chi exercises on the T helper cell activity of 30 patients with type 2 diabetes and 30 healthy people of the same age.

The researchers observed that at the end of the 12-week programme, there was a significant fall of 7.59 percent to 7.16 percent in the glycated haemoglobin levels in the diabetic patients. It was found that the levels of interleukin-12, which boosts the immune response, doubled; while the levels of interleukin-4, which suppresses the immune response fell. In addition, there was a significant increase in T cell activity.

Participants practiced the exercises for about an hour and half up to three times a week for 12 weeks. In addition to the chemical benefits, patients lost an average of 6.6 pounds, reduced their waist size by almost three centimeters and saw their blood pressure fall more than would be expected from the weight loss alone, say the authors

The authors of the study said that strenuous physical activity result in disruption of the immune system response, but moderate exercise appears to trigger the opposite effect. Tai Chi is classified as moderate exercise.

Previous research has shown that it boosts cardiovascular and respiratory function, as well as improving flexibility and relieving stress, they added.

Tai Chi may prompt a fall in blood glucose levels, or improve blood glucose metabolism, sparking a drop in the inflammatory response.

In a separate study, a 12 week programme of Tai Chi and Qigong (another Chinese exercise) prompted a significant fall in blood glucose levels and significant improvements in other indicators of the metabolic syndrome in 11 middle aged to older adults.

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms, including high blood pressure and high blood glucose that is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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