Tai chi as an intervention to improve balance and reduce falls in older adults: A systematic and meta-analytical review.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Jan-Feb;17(1):40-8. PMID: 21614943
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom.
OBJECTIVE: The evidence of tai chi for balance improvement and fall reduction in older adults was updated and reviewed.
METHOD: A systematic review was carried out by two independent reviewers among nine electronic databases to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effects of tai chi on balance improvement and fall reduction in older adults using such key words as tai chi, falls, balance, and randomized trial.
RESULTS: The results based on 13 RCTs indicated that tai chi was effective in improving balance of older adults but may not necessarily be superior to other interventions. Results also showed that in the absence of other interventions, tai chi reduced falls in the nonfrail elderly.
CONCLUSION: Tai chi is recommended as an alternative treatment for improving balance so as to reduce falls. Future research with improved research designs such as more consistent outcome measures on balance and fall reduction and longer postintervention follow-up should be conducted to unravel the efficacy of different types of tai chi.