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J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Oct;20(10):743-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0035. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Biomechanical considerations of foot-ground contact in T'ai Chi Chuan.

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1 Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences-INEF, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid , Madrid, Spain .


Although numerous studies have linked t'ai chi chuan (TCC) practice with benefits for balance, reduction in the number of falls, and in the fear of falling, most of them did not address the causes of these benefits in depth. Some studies, however, sought to determine the causes from the biomechanical point of view. This article aims to thoroughly describe and critically review recent papers on foot-ground contact in TCC practice, one of the parameters involved in balance biomechanics in TCC performance. No previous review on this subject has been found. Nine electronic databases were searched for publications between 1996 and 2013. Studies were excluded if they were not published in English or were abstracts, posters, or summaries from conferences. From a total of 195 articles identified, 4 randomized controlled trials and 3 non-randomized controlled trials were eligible for the analysis. The number of studies that assessed foot-ground contact in TCC and effects on normal gait, postural control improvement, and fall prevention is still quite small. These studies were based on intervention protocols and used populations that were too heterogeneous to allow reliable comparisons. According to the studies analyzed, TCC practice clearly improved parameters associated with foot-ground contact. Nevertheless, the manner in which these benefits are transferred to daily displacement habits still remains unclear.

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