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Harvard Health Publications

Falls Prevention. An Emory University study found that 48 weeks of Tai Chi reduced the fear of falling significantly compared to a wellness education program. An earlier study reported a significatnly greater reduction in fear of falling following Tai Chi compared to computerized balance training: improvements in fear of falling were correlated with a nearly 50 percent reduction in the fall rate. Another trial reported that the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) plus Tai Chi improved fear of falling, as well as measures of mobility, social support satisfaction, and quality of life, more than CBT alone.
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Tai Chi lessons and reduced medication should be used to prevent falls in the elderly, according to experts in the UK and the US.

The latest thinking on tackling falls is included in new guidelines for doctors, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Falls are one of the leading causes of death for old people.

- BBC News, Jan. 13, 2011
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Tai chi found to be one of the most cost-effective fall prevention programs for older adults.

Read entire article at "Tai Chi Research" ...


1. Li, F., Fisher, K.J., Harmer, P., & McAuley, E. (2002). Delineating the impact of Tai Chi training on physical function among the elderly. Am J Prev Med JID - 8704773, 23(2 Suppl), 92-97.

2. Li F, Fisher K J, Harmer P, McAuley E. Falls self-efficacy as a mediator of fear of falling in an exercise intervention for older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 2005; (60): 34-40.

3. Li, F., Harmer, P., McAuley, E., Duncan, T.E., Duncan, S.C., Chaumeton, N., & Fisher, K.J. (2001). An evaluation of the effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical function among older persons: a randomized contolled trial. Ann Behav Med JID - 8510246, 23(2), 139-146.

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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!

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* 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.
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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.

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4. Li F, Harmer P, Fisher K J, McAuley E. Tai Chi: improving functional balance and predicting subsequent falls in older persons. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2004; (36): 2046-2052.

5. Li, F., Harmer, P., McAuley, E., Fisher, K.J., Duncan, T.E., & Duncan, S.C. (2001). Tai Chi, self-efficacy, and physical function in the elderly. Prev Sci JID - 100894724, 2(4), 229-239.

6. Nowalk, M.P., Prendergast, J.M., Bayles, C.M., D'Amico, F.J., & Colvin, G.C. (2001). A randomized trial of exercise programs among older individuals living in two long-term care facilities: the FallsFREE program. J Am Geriatr Soc JID - 7503062, 49(7), 859-865.

7. Province, M.A., Hadley, E.C., Hornbrook, M.C., Lipsitz, L.A., Miller, J.P., Mulrow, C.D., Ory, M.G., Sattin, R.W., Tinetti, M.E., & Wolf, S.L. (1995). The effects of exercise on falls in elderly patients. A preplanned meta-analysis of the FICSIT Trials. Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques. JAMA JID - 7501160, 273(17), 1341-1347.

8. Wilson, C.J., & Datta, S.K. (2001). Tai chi for the prevention of fractures in a nursing home population: an economic analysis. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, 8(3):19-27, 2001 Mar, 8(46 ref), 19-27.

9. Shaughnessy, A. (1902). Can an in-home exercise program decrease falls and injuries in elderly women? Evidence-Based Practice, 1(2):7, insert 2p, 1998 Feb, 1(2), 7

10. Skelton, D.A., & Dinan, S.M. (1999). Exercise for falls management: rationale for an exercise programme aimed at reducing postural instability. Physiotherapy Theory & Practice, 15(2):105-20, 1999 Jun, 15(70 ref), 105-120.

11. Wolf, S.L., Barnhart, H.X., Kutner, N.G., McNeely, E., Coogler, C., & Xu, T. (1996). Reducing frailty and falls in older persons: an investigation of Tai Chi and computerized balance training. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 44(5):489-97, 1996 May, 44(44 ref), 489-497.

12. Wolf, S.L., Kutner, N.G., Green, R.C., & McNeely, E. (1993). The Atlanta FICSIT study: two exercise interventions to reduce frailty in elders. J Am Geriatr Soc JID - 7503062, 41(3), 329-332.

13. Wolf, S.L., Sattin, R.W., O'Grady, M., Freret, N., Ricci, L., Greenspan, A.I., Xu, T., & Kutner, M. (2001). A study design to investigate the effect of intense Tai Chi in reducing falls among older adults transitioning to frailty. Controlled Clinical Trials, 22(6), 689-704.

14. Chen, K. (1902). Moral and ethical dimensions of the informed consent in Tai Chi practice. Graduate Research Nursing, 1(2):5p, 1999 Oct-Nov, 1(17 ref), 5p-Nov

15. Lavizzo-Mourey, R., Cox, C., Strumpf, N., Edwards, W.F., Stinemon, M., & Grisso, J.A. (2001). Attitudes and beliefs about exercise among elderly African Americans in an urban community. J Natl Med Assoc JID - 7503090, 93(12), 475-480.

16. Ross, M.C., Bohannon, A.S., Davis, D.C., & Gurchiek, L. (1999). The effects of a short-term exercise program on movement, pain, and mood in the elderly. Results of a pilot study. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 17(2), 139-147.

17. Scott, A.H. (1999). Wellness works: community service health promotion groups led by occupational therapy students. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53(6):566-74, 1999 Nov-Dec, 53(69 ref), 566-574.

18. Scott, A.H., & Butin, D. (US). Occupational therapy as a means to wellness with the elderly. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 18(4), 2001-2022.


1. Gillespie, L.D., Gillespie, W.J., Robertson, M.C., Lamb, S.E., Cumming, R.G., & Rowe, B.H. (1902). Interventions for preventing falls in elderly people. [see comments.] [update of Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD000340 ; 10796348.]. [Review] [182 refs]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3), CD000340

2. Kessenich, C.R. (1998). Tai Chi as a method of fall prevention in the elderly. [Review] [8 refs]. Orthopaedic Nursing, 17(4), 27-29.

3. Krucoff, C. (2000). If they had been active, the mighty might not have fallen... for the elderly, dancing, tai chi and strength training can all help prevent falls. Los Angeles Times, (Health):S1, S4, 2000 Jul 31, (Health), S1

4. Landsmann, M.A. (1902). The power of Tai Chi: eastern and western medicine unite to prevent falls in the elderly. Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation, 8(10):41-2, 62, 1999 Oct, 8(1 ref), 41-42.

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