Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tai Chi for Stroke Rehab


A recent publication summarized several other studies on the use of tai chi for stroke rehabilitation. Five different clinical trials were reviewed. The authors concluded that studies were of only moderate quality, but there were indications that tai chi may be helpful in rehab.

Three of the studies reported that tai chi improves balance in participants who have had a stroke. Three studies examined quality of life and mental health and reported improvements in the tai chi groups. Three studies examined patient mobility and reported no benefit from tai chi.

Their conclusions: "This focused review suggests that Tai Chi exercise might be beneficial with respect to balance, quality-of-life, and mental health in survivors of stroke."

My conclusions: Tai chi improves mental outlook. This has been shown in other studies, too. This study points out that there are many poor quality studies out there that waste a lot of time and money. Medical researchers generally are pretty good at putting together good randomized trials. The difficulty seems to be that medical professionals don't understand tai chi. We can help with that.

There were no indications what the control groups were doing or what style of tai chi was used. The abstract is available online at American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
© 2013 Eric Borreson