Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, can be an effective treatment therapy for individuals experiencing dizziness and vestibular disorders, or imbalance.
Tai Chi improves blood circulation, strengthens and mobilizes joints and muscles and significantly improves physical fitness. Individuals who practice Tai Chi are more alert, flexible and physically active, all positive factors that can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling.
In a recent study presented at the 2009 Head and Neck Surgery Foundation annual meeting, researchers assessed the ability of Tai Chi in managing patients with dizziness and imbalance that had not been effectively treated with conventional vestibular therapy.
Researchers administered a questionnaire study to 21 patients from April 2008 to March 2009 at an outpatient rehabilitation center, utilizing a balance scale and gait index survey prior to therapy and after the completion of an eight-week Tai Chi class. Study participants reported relevant improvements in both dizziness and imbalance.
Nearly one-third of seniors over the age of 65 fall every year. For those living in long-term care facilities, approximately 50 percent suffer from at least one fall annually due to dizziness and imbalance. One in 10 of these falls results in a fracture.
Although any exercise can be an effective therapy for fall prevention, one of the rapidly emerging exercise forms recommended by an increasing number of medical professionals is Tai Chi.
Tai Chi exercises consist of fluid, graceful movements that are slow in motion, making it appropriate for any age group. Tai Chi exercises include low-impact, low-intensity standing and seated poses, relaxation and deep abdominal breathing.
Individuals with vestibular disorders who practice Tai Chi experience a slower deterioration in functional balance.
Tai Chi has many health benefits including: Increased flexibility, improved muscle strength and definition, increased energy and stamina, and improved coordination. Tai Chi’s aerobic effect increases metabolism and physical conditioning occurs with regular practice.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.