Tai Chi improves standing
balance of people with chronic stroke
Au-Yeung SS, Hui-Chan CW, Tang JC.
of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong
Kong Polytechnic University, Hong
Neurorehabilitation and neural repair, 2009 Jun;23(5):515-22
AND OBJECTIVE: Our previous findings showed that 4 weeks of intensive Tai Chi
practice improved standing balance in healthy seniors. This study set out to
investigate whether Tai Chi could improve standing balance in subjects with
subjects who suffered stroke at least 6 months earlier participated in this
study. Among them, 62 people were randomly assigned to a control group (practicing
general exercises and the other 74 to a Tai Chi group for 12 weeks of training.
Each week, 1 hour of group practice was supplemented by 3 hours of
self-practice. We used a short-form of Tai Chi consisting of 12 forms that
require whole-body movements to be performed in a continuous sequence and
demands concentration. A blinded assessor examined subjects at baseline, 6
weeks (mid-program), 12 weeks (end-program), and 18 weeks (follow-up).
outcome measures were (1) dynamic standing balance evaluated by the center of
gravity (COG) excursion during self-initiated body leaning in 4 directions, (2)
standing equilibrium evaluated in sensory challenged conditions, and (3)
functional mobility assessed by Timed-up-and-go score. Mixed model
repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to examine between-group
When compared with the controls, the Tai Chi group showed greater COG excursion
amplitude in leaning forward, backward, and toward the affected and no-affected
sides, as well as faster reaction time in moving the COG toward the non-affected
side in the end-program and follow-up assessments. The Tai Chi group also
demonstrated better reliance on vestibular integration for balance control at
end-program. However, neither group improved significantly in Timed-up-and-go
Twelve weeks of short-form Tai Chi produced specific standing balance
improvements in people with chronic stroke that outlasted training for 6 weeks.