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Popularity of Tai Chi Leaps in the U.S. (3)

By Joanna Law (People's Daily Online)

16:28, February 27, 2012

The study took three and a half year to complete. Li said Parkinson’s disease has five stages, with one to three as mild to moderate, while stage four is where people have hard time walking. Patients in stage five would be confined to bed. The 195 patients in the program were all diagnosed with the disorder within the first three stages. They were assigned to one of three exercise groups: Tai Chi, resistance training, or stretching and breathing. Patients were asked to go to one of these programs to exercise for six months. After that, they would undergo a three-month period of no exercise follow up. They would go home and were told to maintain their daily activity pattern as usual. Li’s research team would assess the patients after three months.

"What we found is that compare with those in resistance training group and stretching group, patients in Tai Chi group did a much better job in maintaining their balance,” he said.

Li emphasized that his study is not about Parkinson’s disease prevention. Instead, it helps patients to improve some of their deteriorating functional performance. With around 1.5 million people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the United States, Li said the study has certainly made an impact. He hopes that his study has made one influential step to help Tai Chi to move forward.

"We will continue to make more impact with our research,” Li said. “We all know that Tai Chi helps to maintain health and improve our mentality, but we need to take a step to look at how Tai Chi can be used not only in public health perspective but also in a perspective of how it can be addressed some common problems. That’d be a step of a big leap forward.”

Tai Chi, after all, is a low technology exercise, he said. It does not require any equipment; it is low cost and convenience. “You can do it anywhere anytime without an equipment,” he said.

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