Tai Chi for Stroke Patients
A study shows that Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese discipline, may lower the risk of falls of stroke survivors, which may cause fractures, increase their fear of falling and decrease their mobility. Tai Chi improves both static and dynamic balance of an individual, which are important in fall prevention, according to Ruth Taylor-Piliae, lead author of the study.
The research team tracked 89 people who suffered a stroke three years (on the average) prior to the start of the study with an average age of 70. The participants were divided into three groups: 28 patients receiving the usual care, 31 under the SilverSneakers (a national fitness program for Medicare-eligible seniors) and the remaining 30 patients practiced Tai Chi.
During the course of the three months study, a total of 34 falls were reported mainly from tripping or slipping. Of the 34 falls, 15 came from the usual care group, 14 from the SilverSneakers and only 5 falls from the Tai Chi group.
According to Dr Jesse Weinberger, neurology professor, “Tai Chi is an exercise form that balance core strength and integration of mind and body movement,” and that in the past has helped improve the motor function and prevented falls of the elders and patients of Parkinson’s disease.
He added that the primary benefit of patients practicing Tai Chi is the integration of mind and body through meditation in motion to improve motor control.
Likewise, Taylor-Piliae agrees that there are many benefits of Tai Chi not only in the physical sense but it offers psychosocial benefits as well such as improved quality of life and lesser feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. The findings, however are preliminary until reviewed and published in a journal.
Preidt, R. Tai Chi Might Help Stroke Survivors Avoid Falls. MSN.