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Harvard Health Publications

Heart disease. A 53-person study at National Taiwan University found that a year of tai chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure, and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C-reactive protein in people at high risk for heart disease. The study, which was published in the September 2008 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found no improvement in a control group that did not practice tai chi.

Heart failure. In a 30-person pilot study at Harvard Medical School, 12 weeks of tai chi improved participants' ability to walk and quality of life. It also reduced blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart failure. A 150-patient controlled trial is under way.

Hypertension. In a review of 26 studies in English or Chinese published in Preventive Cardiology (Spring 2008), Dr. Yeh reported that in 85% of trials, tai chi lowered blood pressure — with improvements ranging from 3 to 32 mm Hg in systolic pressure and from 2 to 18 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.

Stroke. In 136 patients who'd had a stroke at least six months earlier, 12 weeks of tai chi improved standing balance more than a general exercise program that entailed breathing, stretching, and mobilizing muscles and joints involved in sitting and walking. Findings were published in the January 2009 issue of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Pulmonary Medicine:

Breathing. Studies have shown better respiratory function in Tai Chi practitioners compared to those who are sdentary. What's more, Tai Chi appears to slow the loss of respiratory function in older adults over time in studies up to five years long. (Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi. Page 172)

COPD (Projected to be the 3rd leading cause of death in US by 2020). Conventional pulmonary rehab. programs focus on aerobic exercise and strength training to improve exercise capacity, quality of life, and symptoms in patients with COPD. Tai Chi extends the breathing techniques taught in pulmonary rehab. by integrating novel elements, such as progressive relaxation, imagery/visualization, mindfulness of breathing and overall body sensations, postural training, and coordinated patterns of breathing and movement. These additional therapeutic elements make Tai Chi an effective adjunct to conventional rehabilitation.

Studies: A Harvard study showed that after 12 weeks the Tai Chi group felt significant improvement in chronic respiratory symptoms compared to the usual COPD care group. The Tai Chi group also had slight improvements in their six-minute walking distance, depression, and shortness of breath. Harvard is following up with a larger NIH funded study to compare a Tai Chi group to other meditative techniques, as well as to a non-exercise education program.

A larger Hong Kong study found a Tai Chi Qigong group improved key measures of respiratory function and participated in higher levels of activity when compared to a walking plus breathing exercise or usual care group. The Tai Chi group also reported greater improvements in respiratory health-related quality of life.

Research shows that Tai Chi-like exercises, including Qigong, may help sustain the gains COPD patients make after completing pulmonary rehabilitation, which often is lost after about six months. (Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, pages 176 to 178.)

Read more at Harvard Health Publications ...

Conclusion: The data substatiate that practicing T'ai Chi regularly may delay the decline of cardioresperatory function in older individuals. In addition, TC may be prescribed as a suitable aerobics exercise for older adults. Journal of American Geriatric Society, Nov. 1995, 43 (11) p 1222-1227 ISSN 0002-8614 Journal Code: H6V

"Dear World Tai Chi & Qigong Day,

Thank you for the health related news
....very informative....and beneficial to
share with new tai chi / qigong enthusiasts

thanks again...I appreciate what you do,"

Kathy Strandlie,

Eagle River, Alaska

Harvard Medical School Releases Historic
Tai Chi Medical Research Lecture to Commemorate
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day!

The new Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi is a powerful reference book for all tai chi and qigong advocates, teachers, etc., and the guide cites's expansion of global awareness of tai chi and qigong!

VIDEO - How Tai Chi and; Chi Kung Help Heal or Prevent Illness

* NOTE: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day advises consulting your physician before beginning any new exercise, herbal, diet, or health program. The research listed here is meant to stimulate a discussion between you and your physician, health insurance carrier, etc., not as medical advise. Research and comments provided here are hoped to stimulate a more robust discussion of powerful natural mind/body health tools. Popular media, health media, and government must increase attention to stunning emerging research, including the UCLA study indicating Tai Chi participants enjoyed a 50% increase in immune system resistance to viral infection.

Check for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day articles on various health conditions and Tai Chi & Qigong (Chi Kung) Therapy, that you may publish on your publication or website, by clicking here.

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Also, search the Qigong Institute's "Qigong and Energy Medicine Database," for research abstracts on Tai Chi & Qigong.

The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ is a compilation of references to a series of extensive clinical and experimental research on medical applications of Qigong carried out in China and beyond beginning about 1980. These studies as well as to reports in scientific journals, books, international conferences, and The National Library of Medicine and PubMed. The Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ provides a record in English of the vast amount of clinical and experimental research on Qigong from China as well from other countries. Included are reports of therapies that have been tried and claimed to be effective. These reports can be used as a guide for improving health and for deciding what further research may be required to confirm promising applications of Qigong.

The Qigong & Energy Medicine Database™ contains references not only to Qigong but also to other energy-based research, therapies, clinical trials, and practices. While the emphasis is on scientific reports, reviews are provided in some cases. The Database contains abstracts (not full text). Abstracts range in length from a paragraph to several pages and may contain information on methodology, controlled experiments, results summarized in tables, and statistical analysis.

Click below to begin using the Qigong Institute's Qigong and Energy Medicine Database:

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