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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Jun;92(6):886-91. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.12.043.

Effect of 12 weeks of Tai Chi training on soleus Hoffmann reflex and control of static posture in older adults.

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  • 1School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.



To investigate the effect of 12 weeks of Tai Chi training on soleus (SOL) Hoffmann reflex (H-reflex) modulation and postural control in standing under 4 sensory conditions in older adults.


Experimental research design with pre- and posttraining tests in a training group and a control group.


University biomechanics laboratory.


Community-dwelling older adults (N=34) were assigned to a training (n=20; mean ± SD age, 72.9±4.4y) and a control (n=14; mean ± SD age, 72.9±6.5y) group.


Tai Chi participants attended a 1-hour session of Yang style Tai Chi, 3 sessions a week, for 12 weeks, while control participants maintained their regular daily activities during the same period.


SOL H-reflex (maximal amplitudes of H-reflex [H(max)] and M-wave [M(max)] waves) and mean displacement of the center of pressure (COP) in the anterior-posterior (COP(A-P)) and medial-lateral (COP(M-L)) directions were measured during bipedal standing, with the feet placed on a forceplate and the heels 6cm apart, under 4 sensory conditions: stable surface with eyes open, stable surface with eyes closed, unstable surface with eyes open, and unstable surface with eyes closed.


SOL H(max)/M(max) ratio in the Tai Chi group was upregulated significantly in all 4 sensory tasks after the 12-week Tai Chi training (P<.05). No significant change in COP measurements (mean displacement of COP(A-P) and COP(M-L)) was found in either the Tai Chi or control group after the 12-week period.


An increase in SOL H(max)/M(max) ratio during static postural tasks is observed after 12 weeks of Tai Chi training in older adults under all 4 sensory conditions. However, training-induced changes in H-reflex were not accompanied by improvement of performance in the static postural control tasks.

Copyright © 2011 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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