An overview of 35 previously published studies into the benefits of the ancient Chinese martial art of T’ai Chi has concluded that it can help prevent falls in the elderly and improve their psychological health.
T’ai Chi involves carrying out a series of slow, graceful physical movements which improve balance, combined with deep breathing exercises that help relaxation and is thought to have over 2.5million devotees around the world.
The authors of the paper, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine conclude: “Our overview showed that T’ai Chi, which combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements, may exert exercise-based general benefits for fall prevention and improvement of balance in older people as well as some meditative effects for improving psychological health.
The study also looked into previous studies into the benefits of T’ai Chi on a range of conditions ranging from breast cancer to heart disease, as well as the ailments of old age, but found the case for them being far less clear cut with several studies being judged as being either inconclusive or flawed.
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