Tai Chi Helps Improve Respiratory Function in COPD

Tai chi found to be as effective as pulmonary rehabilitation
Tai chi found to be as effective as pulmonary rehabilitation

HealthDay News — Tai chi is as effective as pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online April 10 in CHEST.

Michael I. Polkey, PhD, from Imperial College London, and colleagues evaluated tai chi as a means of PR among 120 bronchodilator-naive COPD patients. Patients were randomized to PR three times weekly or group tai chi five times weekly, for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that at the end of the study period, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores were similar between the groups (P=0.76). At the 12-week follow-up, the between-group difference for SGRQ favored the tai chi group (P<0.001). Similar results were seen for 6-minute walk distance, but there was no change in forced expiratory volume in one second. 

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"Tai chi is equivalent to PR for improving SGRQ in COPD. Twelve weeks after exercise cessation, a clinically significant difference in SGRQ emerged favoring tai chi," the authors write. "Tai chi is an appropriate substitute for PR."

The study was funded in part by Novartis.

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