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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009 Jun;23(5):515-22. doi: 10.1177/1545968308326425. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

Short-form Tai Chi improves standing balance of people with chronic stroke.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China.



Our previous findings showed that 4 weeks of intensive Tai Chi practice improved standing balance in healthy seniors. This study set out to investigate whether Tai Chi could improve standing balance in subjects with chronic stroke.


One hundred thirty-six subjects >6 months after stroke were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 62) practicing general exercises or a Tai Chi group (n = 74) for 12 weeks of training. Each week, 1 hour of group practice was supplemented by 3 hours of self-practice. We used a short-form of Tai Chi consisting of 12 forms that require whole-body movements to be performed in a continuous sequence and demands concentration. A blinded assessor examined subjects at baseline, 6 weeks (mid-program), 12 weeks (end-program), and 18 weeks (follow-up). The 3 outcome measures were (1) dynamic standing balance evaluated by the center of gravity (COG) excursion during self-initiated body leaning in 4 directions, (2) standing equilibrium evaluated in sensory challenged conditions, and (3) functional mobility assessed by Timed-up-and-go score. Mixed model repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to examine between-group differences.


When compared with the controls, the Tai Chi group showed greater COG excursion amplitude in leaning forward, backward, and toward the affected and nonaffected sides (P < .05), as well as faster reaction time in moving the COG toward the nonaffected side (P = .014) in the end-program and follow-up assessments. The Tai Chi group also demonstrated better reliance on vestibular integration for balance control at end-program (P = .038). However, neither group improved significantly in Timed-up-and-go scores.


Twelve weeks of short-form Tai Chi produced specific standing balance improvements in people with chronic stroke that outlasted training for 6 weeks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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