Study: Tai Chi helps balance

Oct. 6, 2009 at 1:08 AM
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SAN DIEGO, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say Tai Chi, a form of Chinese martial arts, may help treat patients with balance issues -- vestibular symptoms.

Dr. Paul Lee of the New York Eye and Ear Institute evaluated the utility of Tai Chi in managing patients with vestibular symptoms, who have failed conventional vestibular therapy. Lee and colleagues used the activities-specific balance confidence scale and dynamic gait index survey -- both prior to therapy and at the conclusion of an eight-week course.

The questionnaire involved 21 rehabilitation program outpatients so far -- 18 females and 3 males -- from April 2008 to March 2009, Lee says.

Patients reported subjective improvements in their vestibular symptoms, the study says.

The researchers theorize the technique may be effective because Tai Chi promotes coordination through relaxation, rather than muscular coordination.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otoloaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery foundation held in San Diego.

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