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Tai Chi May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Women
September 20, 2015 -
A team from Virginia Commonwealth University performed a study to examine the effects of tai chi on bio-behavioral factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk in women.

This was a randomized trial with a wait-list control group, using pretest-posttest design. Data were collected immediately before, immediately after, and 2 months following the intervention.

The study was community based in central Virginia. Women aged 35 to 50 years at increased risk for cardiovascular disease were included. The 8-week intervention built on prior work and was designed to impact bio-behavioral factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk in women.

Biological measures included fasting glucose, insulin, and lipids as well as C-reactive protein and cytokines. Behavioral measures included fatigue, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, social support, mindfulness, self-compassion, and spiritual thoughts and behaviors.

The results: in 63 women, Tai Chi was shown to decrease fatigue and granulocyte colony stimulating factor. Consistent with the study model and intervention design, significant changes observed 2 months post intervention indicated that Tai Chi may help down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with underlying cardiovascular disease risk, including interferon gamma and tumor necrosis factor.

Tai Chi may also increase mindfulness, spiritual thoughts and behaviors, and self-compassion.

Conclusion: this study contributes important insights into the potential benefits and mechanisms of Tai Chi. With further research, it may ultimately lead to effective strategies for reducing cardiovascular disease risk in women earlier in the cardiovascular disease trajectory.

Their findings are published by American journal of health promotion in August, 2015.


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