Effects of Long-term Tai Chi Practice on Balance and H-reflex Characteristics
April 28, 2011
Researchers from Ithaca College of Ithaca,
NY performed a study to examine the effects of long-term Tai Chi practice on
postural balance and H-reflex. Sixteen healthy volunteers, eight with three or
more years of experience in Tai Chi training (Tai Chi Group-TCG), and eight with
no experience in Tai Chi training (Control Group-CG) participated in the study.
Postural sways were measured under four
experimental conditions: (1) Standing still with eyes open (EO); (2) Standing
still with eyes closed (EC); (3) Standing and turning head to left and right
with eyes open (EOT); and (4) Standing and turning head to left and right with
eyes closed (ECT). Paired reflex depression (PRD) of the soleus muscle was
measured under two conditions: supine and standing. Less significant postural
sway was observed in the TCG than in the CG under four conditions including EO,
EC, EOT, and ECT (p < 0.01). The TCG demonstrated 14.1%, 30.6%, 33.3% and 22.7%
less postural sway, respectively. Significant PRD change from a supine to
standing position was observed between TCG and CG (p < 0.05). A significant
correlation between PRD change (from supine to standing) and years of Tai Chi
practice was observed (r = 0.80, p < 0.05).
The findings of this study support the
positive effects of Tai Chi exercise on balance control under different
conditions. Long-term Tai Chi exercisers also demonstrated different reflex
modulation from a supine to standing position, and long-term Tai Chi practice
may lead to a change of PRD modulation as neuroadaptation.
This study is published in American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2011;39(2):251-60.