Parkinson's and Tai Chi

Taoist Arts Center New York:
Medicine and Research

On these pages you will find articles and research on the healing effects of tai chi, chi kung (qigong), Taoist Meditation, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Doctors and medical researchers continue to investigate the effects of these arts on conditions including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, pain, and stress management. This page presents a selection of health articles along with others on Chinese philosophy and culture.

Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Meditation

Chinese Philosophy

Medicine & Research

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease reduced by Tai Chi
Research at the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) has found that patients with Parkinson's disease had fewer falls after taking up Tai Chi. The  study of 195 participants in four Oregon cities demonstrated significant benefits for patients with a mild-to-moderate form of the disease. At  the end of the 24 week study participants demonstrated improved postural stability, increased walking ability and reduced slips and tumbles.

 In Parkinson's disease, nerve cells in the brain that produce the  chemical dopamine begin to die, leading to tremors, balance problems,  stiff facial expressions, muffled speech and difficulty walking.  Medication and brain surgery help, but have their limits since they may  make a person more mobile but don't help with balance. As the disease  progresses, many patients loose the ability to walk smoothly, have  trouble with many of life's daily activities and fall often.

 Tai Chi the ancient Chinese slow-motion meditation and martial art is  today, mostly practiced for health. Medical research has shown it  improves equilibrium, benefits many health conditions and is safe during convalescence. In its calming exercises weight flows smoothly from one  posture to another, arms are moved in harmony with the legs and  breathing is relaxed: tasks that require increased mental focus,  awareness of balance and coordination of movement.

 In the 4-year project funded by the National Institute of Neurological  Disorders and Stroke (published in the New England Journal of Medicine)  ORI scientist Fuzhong Li and his team, randomly assigned 195 patients to one of three exercise groups: Tai Chi Chuan, resistance training, or  stretching. The patients participated in 60-minute exercise sessions  twice weekly for 24 weeks in a program that consisted of six Tai Chi  movements united into a short routine emphasizing movement and awareness of one's center of gravity, controlled ankle sway, front, back and side to side steps and conscious weight-shifting.

 The results of the study showed the Tai Chi group performed consistently better than the stretching group in how far they could lean in any  direction without losing balance and demonstrated better directional  control of the body, increased stride length and walking ability. Tai  Chi participants also outperformed those in the resistance training  group. Finally, Tai Chi training was shown to significantly lower the  incidence of falls. a major problem in Parkinson's Disease. Patients  assigned to resistance training reported 133 drops, while the Tai Chi  group had only 62. The Tai Chi group outperformed the stretching group  in every test.

 These results are clinically significant. They suggest that Tai Chi  could be used in combination with current therapies to reduce postural  instability, increase flexibility and expand range of motion.

 In the words of Dr. Li. "There are a number of practical advantages to  using Tai Chi to improve motor dysfunction of Parkinson's disease - it  is a low cost activity that does not require equipment, it can be done  anywhere, at any time, and the movements can be easily learned. It can  also be incorporated into a rehabilitation setting as part of existing  treatment. Similarly, because of its simplicity, certain aspects of this Tai Chi program can also be prescribed to patients as a self-care/home  activity."

 Practitioners report that Tai Chi is soothing, calming energizing and  enjoyable to do. It can be done in a small space, needs no special  equipment and just a little practice leads to feelings of well being and increased health. This is very important says Madeleine Hackney, a  kinesiologist at Emory University and the Veterans Affairs Medical  Center in Atlanta. "Patients may know something is great for them, but  if they don't like it, that's a problem."

 Information in this article was originally published at:,


The Taoist Arts Center New York offers Private and Group classes
Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Meditation.

Check out our Class Schedule.

Receive free information about the Taoist Arts Center New York.

Taoist Arts Center New York 342 E 9 Street, NY, NY 10003
Copyright 1998 -2022

Taoist Arts Center   Meditation   Chi Kung   Tai Chi Chuan   Free Events   Class Schedule   Who We Are   Personal Training   Tuition   News & Research   Reviews   TAC-INSIDER