Nervous System

Tai chi qigong as a means to improve night-time sleep quality among older adults with cognitive impairment: a pilot randomized controlled trial

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China


Outcomes: Purpose – Age-related cognitive decline is a growing public health concern worldwide. More than a quarter of adults with cognitive impairment experience sleep disturbance. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the preliminary effects of tai chi qigong (TCQ) on improving the night-time sleep quality of older adults with cognitive impairment.

Conclusion – TCQ can be considered a useful nonpharmacological approach for improving sleep quality in older adults with cognitive impairment.

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Patient-Reported Outcomes with Tai Chi Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease

Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, Oregon, USA.


Outcomes: In conclusion, results from this study indicate perceptions of health outcomes from participating in tai chi improved to a clinically relevant degree in patients with Parkinson’s disease and that these patient-reported outcomes appear to be significantly associated with exercise adherence. Future patient-centered outcomes that incorporate assessments of tai chi training-induced positive affect experienced by patients in concert with standard clinical measures may allow us to unravel how changes that occur during treatment translate into high-quality, clinically meaningful intervention outcomes.

Mindfulness-based interventions in multiple sclerosis: beneficial effects of Tai Chi on balance, coordination, fatigue and depression

Institute of Sports Science, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth 95440, Germany


Outcomes: The consistent pattern of results confirms that Tai Chi holds therapeutic potential for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. Further research is needed to determine underlying working mechanisms, and to verify the results in a larger sample and different MS subgroups.

Mind-body exercise improves cognitive function and modulates the function and structure of the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment

College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350122, China, and School of Nursing and Health Management, Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences, Shanghai 201318, China, and Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, United States of America, and Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, United States of America, plus others.


Outcomes: Our finding of Baduanjin’s  (qigong) ability to improve MoCA (The Montreal Cognitive Assessment) scores compared to other intervention groups is consistent with previous studies that demonstrated the benefits of Baduanjin on cognitive function. For instance, Chen et al. found that 8 weeks of Baduanjin was more effective than a relaxation exercise program in improving executive control in college students (Chen et al., 2017). Studies from our group also found that, compared to a health education control, 12 weeks of Baduanjin practice could significantly prevent memory decline in older adults

Tai Chi Acutely Decreases Sympathetic Nervous System Activity in Older Adults

Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, Los Angeles, California, USA


Outcomes:  This study is the first to our knowledge to assess the acute effects of Tai Chi Chih (TCC) practice on sympathetic activity in older adults. TCC performance led to acute decreases in sympathetic activity, which could not be explained by physical activity alone. Further study is needed to determine whether the acute salutary effects of TCC on autonomic functioning are sustained with ongoing practice in older adults.

Tai Chi Improves Balance and Mobility in People with Parkinson Disease

Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA


Outcomes: This pilot study examines the effects of Tai Chi on balance, gait and mobility in people with Parkinson disease (PD). Thirty-three people with PD were randomly assigned to either a Tai Chi group or a control group. The Tai Chi group participated in 20 one-hour long training sessions completed within 10–13 weeks; whereas, the control group had two testing sessions between 10 and 13 weeks apart without interposed training. The Tai Chi group improved more than the control group on the Berg Balance Scale, UPDRS, Timed Up and Go, tandem stance test, 6-minute walk, and backward walking. Neither group improved in forward walking or the one leg stance test. All Tai Chi participants reported satisfaction with the program and improvements in well-being. Tai Chi appears to be an appropriate, safe and effective form of exercise for some individuals with mild-moderately severe PD.