Tai Chi & Blood Pressure

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

Tai Chi Lowers Blood Pressure
T'ai Chi -- the slow-motion form of exercise popular in China -- can  reduce blood pressure in older adults as much as regular aerobic  exercise, but without speeding up their heart rates, according to  researchers.

These findings "suggest that (exercise) intensity may be less important  than other factors" when it comes to lowering high blood pressure,  conclude researchers led by Dr. Deborah Rohm Young of the Johns Hopkins  Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland. Their study is published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

 The researchers focused on a group of 62 overweight, hypertensive  individuals over 60 years of age. Subjects were assigned to 3 months of  either moderate aerobic workouts or T'ai Chi, with each regimen  consisting of 30 to 45 minutes of exercise four to five times per week.

 The authors chose the popular Yang style of T'ai Chi, which they  describe as "13 movements practiced in sequence in a slow, fluid and  continuous manner." They report that at the end of the 3-month period,  the T'ai Chi program "reduced blood pressure to an extent similar to a  program of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise." Systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) declined by an average of 8.4 mm Hg in  the T'ai Chi group, and by 7.0 mm Hg in the aerobics group. Diastolic  pressure (the second number in a reading) fell by an average of 3.2 mm  Hg and 2.4 mm Hg, respectively.

 According to Young's team, these results suggest that even low-intensity exercise can produce real health benefits for older individuals with  high blood pressure. They point out that "many older adults,  particularly women, have had little or no experience with exercise and  may find even moderate-intensity activity undesirable." T'ai Chi, which  can be performed anywhere and requires no special clothing or gear, "may be desirable to older adults who do not identify themselves as  'exercisers'," they conclude.

 SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society March, 1999;47:277-284.
The research abstract,"Tai Chi Lowers Blood Pressure" was found at http://jaxmed.com/articles/new_notable/March99.htm

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