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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tai Chi for the Heart

People with chronic heart failure may be able to boost their quality of life by doing the ancient Chinese exercise regimen of Tai Chi, a US study suggested.

2 groups of sessions of one hour each week were enough to show significant improvements in mood and confidence, said the Boston-based study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

The study compared 50 US heart patients who enrolled in Tai Chi classes to 50 who took classroom study in heart education. Physical responses were similar in both groups, but those who did Tai Chi showed "significant" improvements according to their answers in a questionnaire to assess their emotional state.

The Tai Chi group also reported "better exercise self-efficacy (confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities) increased daily activity, and related feelings of well-being compared with the education group," said the study.

While experts admit they do not fully understand the science behind the findings, the study offers a positive option for complementing standard medical care of people with chronic heart failure, a debilitating and progressive disease that limits a person's ability to breathe and move.

"Tai Chi appears to be a safe alternative to low-to-moderate intensity conventional exercise training,"said lead author of Gloria Yeh of Beth  Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

"Tai Chi has a good rate of adherence and may provide value in improving daily exercise, life quality, self-efficacy and mood in frail, deconditioned patients with systolic heart failure."

Yeh is also assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Research and Education in Complimentary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Harvard Medical School.

Previous studied have suggested Tai Chi, which involves slow, circular movements and balance-shifting exercises, may be helpful to people who suffer from high blood pressure, fibromyalgia and stress.

Thus, let's get started for the Tai Chi!!!

(Source adapted from The Sun newpaper dated 3/5/2011) 

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