Respiratory System

Tai Chi as a form of exercise training in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Department of Physiotherapy, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


Outcomes: Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art which incorporates elements of strengthening, balance, postural alignment and concentration. The benefits of Tai Chi in the healthy population have been widely examined. In comparison, only three studies have evaluated the effects of Tai Chi in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Existing evidence suggests that the exercise intensity of Tai Chi reaches a moderate level in people with COPD. Furthermore, a short-term program of Tai Chi improves exercise capacity, health-related quality of life, balance and quadriceps strength in people with mild to moderate COPD. More studies are warranted to examine the effects of different styles of Tai Chi and the long-term benefits of Tai Chi as an exercise regimen for people with COPD.

Tai Chi and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Compared for Treatment-Naive Patients With COPD, A Randomized Controlled Trial

State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China


Outcomes:  Background – In Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), functional status is improved by pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) but requires specific facilities. Tai Chi, which combines psychological treatment and physical exercise and requires no special equipment, is widely practiced in China and is becoming increasingly popular in the rest of the world. We hypothesized that Tai Chi is equivalent (ie, difference less than ±4 St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire [SGRQ] points) to PR.

Conclusions – Tai Chi is equivalent to PR for improving SGRQ in COPD. Twelve weeks after exercise cessation, a clinically significant difference in SGRQ emerged favoring Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an appropriate substitute for PR.

Evaluation of the Sustaining Effects of Tai Chi Qigong in the Sixth Month in Promoting Psychosocial Health in COPD Patients: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China


Outcomes: Objectives – To evaluate the sustaining effects of Tai Chi Qigong (TCQ) in improving the psychosocial health in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in the sixth month. Background. COPD affects both physical and emotional aspects of life. Measures to minimize patients’ suffering need to be implemented. Methods – 206 COPD patients were randomly assigned into three groups: TCQ group, exercise group, and control group. The TCQ group completed a three-month TCQ program, the exercise group practiced breathing and walking exercise, and the control group received usual care. Results – Significant group-by-time interactions in quality of life (QOL) using St. George’s respiratory questionnaire (P = 0.002) and the perceived social support from friends using multidimensional scale of perceived social support (P = 0.04) were noted. Improvements were observed in the TCQ group only. Conclusions – TCQ has sustaining effects in improving psychosocial health; it is also a useful and appropriate exercise for COPD patients.