Effectiveness of a community-based Tai Chi program and implications for public health initiatives

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Apr;86(4):619-25. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.10.020.


Objectives: To establish whether the reported beneficial physiologic effects of Tai Chi when performed under stringent experimental conditions can be generalized to the community.

Design: Phase 1: pre-post comparison in a group inexperienced in Tai Chi. Phase 2: baseline comparison between inexperienced and experienced Tai Chi groups.

Setting: A community in Hong Kong.

Participants: Phase 1: 51 subjects inexperienced in Tai Chi (novice group) participated in the program. Phase 2: baseline measures of the novice group were compared with those of an experienced group (n=49) who had practiced Tai Chi for at least 6 months.

Intervention: A Cheng 119 style program was taught by a Tai Chi master for 1.5 hours, 3 times weekly, for 12 weeks.

Main outcome measures: Lung function and physical activity evaluated before and after the completion of the program. Resting heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, handgrip strength, flexibility, and balance measured at the program commencement, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks.

Results: Phase 1: after the program, the novice group had increased handgrip strength, flexibility, and peak expiratory flow rate. Phase 2: the experienced group had greater flexibility, lower resting heart rate but higher diastolic blood pressure than the novice group prior to training.

Conclusions: A community-based Tai Chi program produces beneficial effects comparable to those reported from experimental laboratory trials of Tai Chi; therefore, it should be considered as a public health strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Tai Ji*
  • Treatment Outcome