Tai chi improves balance and reduces falls in Parkinson’s disease

Of all the ‘alternative’ therapies, I’ve seen  a lot of evidence for acupuncture and tai chi, with the latter in particular being proven for its efficacy when it comes to improving muscle strength and balance. Here, it’s value is proven in Parkinson’s. 

This study is from the New England Journal of Medicine, with just under 200 patients randomised to either tai chi, resistance training, or stretching, for 60 minutes twice a week for 6 months. Both resistance training and tai chi reduced the number of falls, and tai chi in particular improved balance and functional capacity.

When it comes down to it, medical management is only the tip of the iceberg for certain neurological disorders, and it’s nice to see hard outcomes from physical therapy. A bigger trial with more rigid exercise programs in tai chi would be great to see – and perhaps should be more available in clinical practice.

Check it out here.

 

image | Doug Hay

source | NEJM 

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