Tai Chi can be used as an effective form of exercise therapy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to Australian researchers at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Sydney.
The research, published online in the European Respiratory Journal, involved 42 COPD patients, half of whom attended Tai Chi lessons twice a week.
The findings suggest this form of exercise can improve exercise capacity and quality of life in people with COPD and may be as beneficial as pulmonary rehabilitation, the researchers said.
Participants completing the Tai Chi exercise training could walk significantly longer in walking tests had higher scores in a quality of life questionnaire.
The authors said: “With increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with COPD, it is important to provide different options for exercise that can be tailored to suit each individual. The results from this small sample provide compelling evidence that Tai Chi is an effective training programme for patients with COPD, and could be considered as an alternative to the usual exercise training programmes that are available in pulmonary rehabilitation.”