A new Chinese research suggests that Tai Chi may help delay Parkinson's disease symptoms for a number of years.
Based on new findings, those who practiced Tai Chi twice a week experienced fewer health complications and had a higher standard of living than those who didn't.
Parkinson's disease is a neurological condition that results in unintentional or uncontrolled movements, including stiffness, shaking, and trouble balancing and coordinating. Typically, symptoms start off mildly and get worse with time.
People may experience difficulties walking and communicating as the condition worsens, and additionally, they could be faced with fatigue, sadness, sleep issues, mental and behavioral disorders, and memory problems.
The Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine study followed hundreds of people with Parkinson's disease for up to five years regarding their health.
Two times a week for an hour, 143 patients in one group practiced Tai Chi, which included deep breathing, relaxation, and slow, soft motions, with the help of instructors. The other group consisted of 187 patients who did not practice Tai Chi but instead received normal therapy.
Tai Chi and Parkinson’s Symptoms
Comparing the comparison group to the Tai Chi group, the proportion of patients who required an increase in medication was also much higher, with 83.5% in 2019 and just over 96% in 2020, as opposed to 71% and 87.5%, respectively.
Along with fewer falls, back discomfort, and dizziness, this group also experienced fewer cognitive functions. Sleep and overall quality of life also continued to improve at the same period.
The team states their study has revealed that Tai Chi preserves a long-term favorable impact on the disease, showing the potential disease-modifying benefits on both motor and non-motor symptoms, including gait, balance, autonomic symptoms, and cognition.
They find that the condition might impair motor function and non-motor symptoms increasingly with time, resulting in disability and impacting the quality of life.
The long-term positive impact on the illness may increase the amount of time without disability, improving quality of life, lessen caregiver stress, and reduce medication use.
- Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Effect of long-term Tai Chi training on Parkinson’s disease: a 3.5-year follow-up cohort study.
- Harvard Health Publishing. The Health Benefits of Tai Chi.
- National Institute of Aging. Parkinson's Disease: Cause, Symptoms, and Treatments.