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Tai Chi exercise reduces stroke survivors' falls more effectively than Medicare covered SilverSneaker Program

Abstract: P362

Tai Chi may reduce falls among adult stroke survivors, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2013.

Compared to survivors receiving usual care or participating in a national fitness program for Medicare-eligible adults called SilverSneakers®, those practicing Tai Chi had the fewest falls.

American Heart Association

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.

Harvard Medical School's Health Publications, May, 2009

Parade Magazine, May 3, 2009
According to new research, patients who have suffered a stroke may be able to regain some of their lost balance by practicing tai chi . . . Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that people who learned tai chi after having a stroke showed significant improvements when tested on their ability to maintain balance while shifting weight, leaning in different directions, and standing on movable surfaces (as on a bus). Their progress was evident after only six weeks of training with a physical therapist in weekly tai chi classes and practicing by themselves at home.

Done regularly, tai chi can reduce the risk of falls and injury. It also may improve circulation, flexibility, posture, blood pressure, and heart rate, as well as ease pain, reduce stress, increase energy, and prevent osteoporosis. One study even shows benefits in people with fibromyalgia


Tai Chi Shows Promise as a Stroke Therapy
-- New York Times, April 6, 2009


Tai Chi may aid stroke patients
    -- UK Guardian, Mar. 25, 2009

The traditional Chinese exercise Tai Chi may help people who've had strokes regain their ability to balance. In a study, people were better able to balance after a 12-week course of Tai Chi than after a course of general exercise and stroke education.

What do we know already?

Having a stroke can damage the parts of the brain that help you keep your balance. Not everyone gets this problem, but some people find it hard to learn to walk again. Problems with balance can mean people are more likely to fall and injure themselves.

Tai Chi is a form of exercise where people learn to move slowly and deliberately through a sequence of standing poses. It's usually done in smooth, flowing movements and requires a lot of concentration.

The study was carried out by researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China. It was published in the medical journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, owned by the American Society of Neurorehabilitation.

Read entire article at:


ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2009) — Stroke can impair balance, heightening the risk of a debilitating fall. But a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has found that stroke survivors can improve their balance by practicing the Chinese martial art of tai chi.

Christina Hui-Chan, professor and head of physical therapy at UIC, has studied and used tai chi as a way to improve balance and minimize falls among healthy elderly subjects. Now she and a colleague have seen similar results in a group of stroke survivors.

The study used 136 subjects in Hong Kong who had suffered a stroke more than six months earlier. Participants were randomly assigned to a tai chi group or a control group that practiced breathing, stretching and other exercises that involved sitting, walking, memorizing and reasoning.

Read more at:


Tai Chi Chuan practice in community-dwelling persons after stroke. Hart J, Kanner H, Gilboa-Mayo R, Haroeh-Peer O, Rozenthul-Sorokin N, Eldar R. Loewenstein Hospital Rehabilitation Center, Raanana, Israel.

Eighteen community-dwelling first-stroke survivors, aged 45 to 65, underwent following examinations: Romberg's Test, standing on the unaffected leg, Emory Fractional Ambulation Profile, the Berg Balance Test, the Timed 'Up and Go' Test and the Duke Health Profile. They were then randomly divided into two matched groups of 9 subjects each. The study group (SG) received Tai Chi exercises and the control group (CG) physiotherapy exercises focused on improvement of balance, both groups for 1 h twice weekly for 12 weeks. On completion of exercises, SG (TAI CHI) subjects showed improvement in social and general functioning whereas CG subjects showed improvement in balance and speed of walking. It is concluded that there are potential and no adverse effects in Tai Chi practice in stroke survivors.

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Tai Chi Health Benefits for Stroke Rehabilitation:

Harvard Medical School Releases Historic
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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. 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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