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Clin Auton Res. 2014 Apr;24(2):47-52. doi: 10.1007/s10286-014-0224-3. Epub 2014 Feb 9.

Breathing frequency-independent effect of Tai Chi Chuan on autonomic modulation.

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Institute of Cultural Asset and Reinvention, Fo-Guang University, Ilan, 262, Taiwan.



This study investigates the breathing frequency (BF)-independent effect of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) on autonomic nervous modulation in TCC practitioners.


Twenty-five TCC practitioners and 25 sedentary normal controls were recruited. The stationary heart rate variability (HRV) measures of TCC practitioners and controls were compared. The same HRV measures in TCC practitioners and among the controls, TCC practitioners before TCC and TCC practitioners 30 min after TCC were compared.


In TCC practitioners, the BF, normalized high-frequency power (nHFP), and normalized very low-frequency power were significantly increased, while the normalized low-frequency power (nLFP) was significantly decreased 30 min after TCC. The BF correlated significantly and negatively with heart rate (HR), nHFP and nLFP, and correlated significantly and positively with mean RR interval (MnRR) before TCC in TCC practitioners. A slower BF is associated with a higher HR, a greater vagal modulation, and a greater combined sympatho-vagal modulation before TCC. To remove the effect of BF on HRV measures, new indices such as HR*BF, nHFP*BF, nLFP*BF, and MnRR/BF were introduced for comparison among the controls, TCC practitioners before TCC, and TCC practitioners 30 min after TCC. Thirty minutes after TCC, the MnRR/BF of TCC practitioner was smaller whereas HR*BF and nHFP*BF were greater than those before TCC.


The BF-independent effects of TCC on the autonomic nervous modulation of TCC practitioners are an increase in vagal modulation and HR, and a decrease in mean RR interval. The mechanism underlying the parallel increase in HR and vagal modulation in TCC practitioners is not understood yet at present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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