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The Effect of Tai Chi on Health Outcomes in Patients With Chronic Conditions: A Systematic Review
Archives of Internal Medicine
Short Title: Arch Intern MedThe Effect of Tai Chi on Health Outcomes in Patients With Chronic Conditions
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2004/03/08/
Pages: 493 - 501
Sources ID: 85976
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)


To conduct a systematic review of reports on the physical and psychological effects of Tai Chi on various chronic medical conditions.

Data Sources

Search of 11 computerized English and Chinese databases.

Study Selection

Randomized controlled trials, nonrandomized controlled studies, and observational studies published in English or Chinese.

Data Extraction

Data were extracted for the study objective, population characteristics, study setting, type of Tai Chi intervention, study design, outcome assessment, duration of follow-up, and key results.

Data Synthesis

There were 9 randomized controlled trials, 23 nonrandomized controlled studies, and 15 observational studies in this review. Benefits were reported in balance and strength, cardiovascular and respiratory function, flexibility, immune system, symptoms of arthritis, muscular strength, and psychological effects.


Tai Chi appears to have physiological and psychosocial benefits and also appears to be safe and effective in promoting balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in older patients with chronic conditions. However, limitations or biases exist in most studies, and it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the benefits reported. Most indications in which Tai Chi was applied lack a theoretical foundation concerning the mechanism of benefit. Well-designed studies are needed.