Results from the Central Sydney Tai Chi Trial

The objective was to determine the effectiveness of a 16-week community-based tai chi program in reducing falls and improving balance.

First, the details.

  • 702 relatively healthy community-dwelling people aged 60 and older and living in Sydney, Australia participated.
  • They were assigned to either a program of community-based tai chi or to a wait list.
  • Classes were of 1-hour duration per week.

And, the results.

  • Falls were significantly less frequent in the tai chi group vs the control group at 16 and 24 weeks.
  • The tai chi program had no effect on the proportion of people who had one or more falls during follow-up.
  • But tai chi appeared to reduce the proportion of participants who had two or more falls.
  • There were statistically significant differences in changes in balance favoring the tai chi group on 5 of 6 balance tests.

The bottom line?
As in an earlier study, it seems that weekly community-based tai chi classes can reduce falls in relatively healthy, community-dwelling older people.

However, according to the authors, “A weakness of this study is that … differences in physical activity between the tai chi and the control group could not be adequately controlled for. Another limitation was that nearly 30% of participants did not complete the follow-up balance assessments.”

9/18/07 19:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.