Tai chi is becoming increasingly popular as an option to prevent falls.

Researchers at the University Medical Centre Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • 9 studies (representing 2,203 participants) were included in the analysis.

And, the results.

  • Compared with exercise, tai chi showed significant improvements in fall rates and static balance (ability to control the body while stationary).
  • Compared with non-exercise, there was no improvement with tai chi or static balance.
    • But significant improvement was found for fear of falling.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “There is insufficient evidence to conclude whether tai chi is effective in fall prevention, decreasing fear of falling, and improving balance in people over age 50 years.

Maybe not, but based on what we know, it seems that tai chi should be considered as an option for older people who are looking to increase their physical activity.

An earlier post, here, illustrates the conflicting findings that characterize the field of fall prevention in the elderly. It also includes reasonable recommendations to decrease this risk.

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.