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Research Update

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  • Kevin Chen
    Recent publications in Qigong, Taiji and meditation... Effectiveness of a Tai chi Qigong program in promoting health-related quality of life and perceived
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 2010
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      Recent publications in Qigong, Taiji and meditation...

      Effectiveness of a Tai chi Qigong program in promoting health-related quality of life and perceived social support in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease clients.  Qual Life Res. 2010 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print] by Chan AW, Lee A, Suen LK, Tam WW.  The Nethersole School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Esther Lee Building , Shatin , NT , Hong Kong , aileenchan@....

      PURPOSE: This paper evaluates the effectiveness of a 3-month Tai chi Qigong (TCQ) program in promoting the psychosocial functional health of clients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Hong Kong . METHODS: This study employed a single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Two hundred and six COPD clients were randomly assigned into three groups, namely, TCQ group, exercise group, and control group. Subjects in the TCQ group received a TCQ program, consisting of two 60-min sessions each week for 3 months. Subjects in the exercise group were taught to practice breathing techniques combined with walking as an exercise. Subjects in the control group received their usual care. Data collections were performed at baseline, on the sixth week and on the third month. The primary outcomes were health-related quality of life using St. George Respiratory Questionnaire-Hong Kong Chinese version and perceived social support using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support-Chinese version. RESULTS: The TCQ group showed greater improvements in the symptom (F (4, 404) = 3.351, P = 0.010) and activity domains (F (4, 404) = 2.611, P = 0.035). No differences were detected in perceived social support among the three groups. CONCLUSIONS: Tai chi Qigong promoted health outcomes with respect to clients' perception of their respiratory symptoms. Moreover, TCQ decreased disturbances to their physical activities.


      Psychological predictors of the antihypertensive effects of music-guided slow breathing.  J Hypertens. 2010 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]  by Modesti PA, Ferrari A, Bazzini C, Costanzo G, Simonetti I, Taddei S, Biggeri A, Parati G, Gensini GF, Sirigatti S. Clinica Medica Generale e Cardiologia, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Florence , Italy

      BACKGROUND: The possibility that daily sessions of music-guided slow breathing may reduce 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABP), and predictors of efficacy were explored in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial with parallel design. METHODS: Age-matched and sex-matched hypertensive patients were randomized to music-guided slow breathing exercises (4-6 breaths/min; 1: 2 ratio of inspiration: expiration duration) (Intervention; n = 29) or to control groups who were thought to relax while either listening to slow music (Control-M; n = 26) or reading a book (Control-R; n = 31). At baseline and at follow-up visits (1 week and 1, 3 and 6 months), ABP monitoring was performed. RESULTS: At mixed model analysis, intervention was associated with a significant reduction of 24-h (P = 0.001) and night-time (0100-0600 h) (P < 0.0001) systolic ABP. The average reduction of systolic 24-h ABP at 6 months was 4.6 mmHg [confidence limits at 95% 1.93-7.35] and 4.1 mmHg (95% confidence limits 1.59-6.67) vs. Control-M and Control-R groups, respectively, (P < 0.001 for both). Antihypertensive treatment was selected as negative predictor of BP reduction at multivariate stepwise analysis. When antihypertensive treatment was inserted as covariate in a generalized linear model, psychological subscales assessed at baseline by the Mental Health Inventory questionnaire were found to affect systolic blood pressure reduction at 6-month follow-up (general positive affect P < 0.001; emotional ties, P < 0.001; loss of behavioral control, P = 0.035). In particular, a level of general positive affect higher than the 75th percentiles was found to be significantly associated with low treatment efficacy (odds ratio 0.09; 95% confidence limits 0.01-0.93). CONCLUSION: Daily sessions of voluntary music-guided slow breathing significantly reduce 24-h systolic ABP, and psychological predictors of efficacy can be identified.


      Perceived benefits of meditative movement in older adults.  Geriatric Nurs. 2010; 31(1): 37-51.

      By Rogers C, Keller C, Larkey LK. College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University , Phoenix , AZ , USA .

      Several meditative movement interventions have been designed for older adults in the community setting. Previous reviews have reported on the objective efficacy of interventions, but little has been reported on the effectiveness of such interventions. The purpose of this review is to report the perceived psychosocial benefits and health outcomes of meditative movement such as Tai chi (TC) and Qigong to inform clinicians on what interventions "work" under what conditions and for whom. Thirty seven studies were included in this review and were synthesized with three content areas: perceived improved outcomes and mediators; and perceived factors for initiating TC. The 37 studies included 1856 participants (mean age 67.76) who were mostly women (n=1435) and white (n=808). Some were Taiwanese (n=117), non-white (n=72), Chinese (n=39) and African American (n=28) and the studies were conducted in 9 countries. Clinicians can use the findings of this review to identify motivational factors for initiation and adherence and identify specific benefits from an effective TC intervention. Copyright 2010 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


      A study of the effect of yoga training on pulmonary functions in patients with bronchial asthma. 

      Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Apr-Jun;53(2):169-74.  By Sodhi C, Singh S, Dandona PK.  Department of Physiology, Christian Medical College , Ludhiana - 141 007.

      The role of yoga breathing exercises, as an adjunct treatment for bronchial asthma is well recognized. One hundred twenty patients of asthma were randomized into two groups i.e Group A (yoga training group) and Group B (control group). Each group included sixty patients. Pulmonary function tests were performed on all the patients at baseline, after 4 weeks and then after 8 weeks. Majority of the subjects in the two groups had mild disease (34 patients in Group A and 32 in Group B). Group A subjects showed a statistically significant increasing trend (P < 0.01) in % predicted peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced mid expiratory flow in 0.25-0.75 seconds (FEF25-75) and FEV1/FVC% ratio at 4 weeks and 8 weeks as compared to Group B. Thus, yoga breathing exercises used adjunctively with standard pharmacological treatment significantly improves pulmonary functions in patients with bronchial asthma.


      Exploring Tai Chi in rheumatoid arthritis: a quantitative and qualitative study.

      BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Mar 5;11:43.  By Uhlig T, Fongen C, Steen E, Christie A, Odegård S.

      National Resource Center for Rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital , Oslo , Norway . uhligt@....

      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory and systemic disease which affects the musculoskeletal system. Exercise programmes are reported to improve physical functioning in patients with RA. Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art which combines slow and gentle movements with mental focus. The purpose of this study was to study in which way Tai Chi group exercise impacted on disease activity, physical function, health status and experience in RA patients, applying quantitative and qualitative methods. METHODS: Fifteen patients with RA (13 females, age 33-70 years) were recruited from a rheumatology department into a single group study. The patients were instructed in Tai Chi exercise twice weekly for 12 weeks. Assessments at baseline, 12 weeks, and 12 weeks follow-up were performed with a wide range of measures, including disease activity, self-reported health status, physical performance tests (Walking in Figure of Eight, Timed-Stands Test, and Shoulder Movement Impairment Scale). Qualitative data were obtained from a focus group interview conducted after completed intervention with taping and verbatim transcription. Review of the transcripts identified themes important to patients practicing Tai Chi. RESULTS: Within the group, Tai Chi practice lead to improved lower-limb muscle function at the end of intervention and at 12 weeks follow-up. Qualitative analyses showed that patients experienced improved physical condition, confidence in moving, balance and less pain during exercise and in daily life. Other experience included stress reduction, increased body awareness, confidence in moving and indicated that Tai Chi was a feasible exercise modality in RA. CONCLUSIONS: Improved muscle function in lower limbs was also reflected when patient experiences with Tai Chi were studied in depth in this explorative study. The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods shows that Tai Chi has beneficial effects on health not related to disease activity and standardised health status assessment, and may contribute to an understanding of how Tai Chi exerts its effects.


      Mind-body therapies for menopausal symptoms: A systematic review.

      Maturitas. 2010 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]  By Innes KE, Selfe TK, Vishnu A.  Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, PO Box 9190, Morgantown, WV 26506-9190, United States; Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia Health System, PO Box 800782, McLeod Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22908, United States.

      OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the peer-reviewed literature regarding the effects of self-administered mind-body therapies on menopausal symptoms. METHODS: To identify qualifying studies, we searched 10 scientific databases and scanned bibliographies of relevant review papers and all identified articles. The methodological quality of all studies was assessed systematically using predefined criteria. RESULTS: Twenty-one papers representing 18 clinical trials from 6 countries met our inclusion criteria, including 12 randomized controlled trials (N=719), 1 non-randomized controlled trial (N=58), and 5 uncontrolled trials (N=105). Interventions included yoga and/or meditation-based programs, tai chi, and other relaxation practices, including muscle relaxation and breath-based techniques, relaxation response training, and low-frequency sound-wave therapy. Eight of the nine studies of yoga, tai chi, and meditation-based programs reported improvement in overall menopausal and vasomotor symptoms; six of seven trials indicated improvement in mood and sleep with yoga-based programs, and four studies reported reduced musculoskeletal pain. Results from the remaining nine trials suggest that breath-based and other relaxation therapies also show promise for alleviating vasomotor and other menopausal symptoms, although intergroup findings were mixed. Most studies reviewed suffered methodological or other limitations, complicating interpretation of findings. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, findings of these studies suggest that yoga-based and certain other mind-body therapies may be beneficial for alleviating specific menopausal symptoms. However, the limitations characterizing most studies hinder interpretation of findings and preclude firm conclusions regarding efficacy. Additional large, methodologically sound trials are needed to determine the effects of specific mind-body therapies on menopausal symptoms, examine long-term outcomes, and investigate underlying mechanisms. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


      Tai chi improves physical function in older Chinese women with knee osteoarthritis.

      J Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Mar;16(2):64-7.  By Ni GX, Song L, Yu B, Huang CH, Lin JH.

      Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Nanfang Hospital , Nanfang Medical University , Guangzhou , China . fgxni@...

      BACKGROUND: Tai chi (TC) is proposed as a potential option for the management of osteoarthritis (OA), however, its beneficial effect on patients with knee OA has not been convincing. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of a 24-week TC program on physical functions in older Chinese women with knee OA. METHODS: Thirty-five older Chinese women with knee OA were randomized into TC group (n = 18) and attention control (wellness education and stretching) group (n = 17). Subjects in the TC group practiced the 24-form simplified Yang-style TC 2 to 4 times a week for 24 weeks with frequency gradually increased. Physical function was assessed using the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), 6-minute walk distance and stair climb time. RESULTS: Compared with the control group, the participants in TC group had statistically significant improvements in changes of the WOMAC total score (6.18 +/- 2.13 vs. 1.71 +/- 2.73, P = 0.000), the WOMAC pain subscale (1.36 +/- 0.22 vs. 0.07 +/- 1.00, P = 0.001), the WOMAC stiffness subscale (0.66 +/- 0.25 vs. 0.05 +/- 0.38, P = 0.043), the WOMAC function subscale (6.17 +/- 1.96 vs. 1.72 +/- 2.63, P = 0.000), the 6-minute walk distance (32.43 +/- 14.20 vs. 6.67 +/- 16.76, P = 0.003), and the stair climb time (2.27 +/- 0.74 vs. 0.27 +/- 1.24, P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that TC provides a safe, feasible and useful exercise option for older Chinese female patients with knee OA.


      Meditation Research: The State of the Art in Correctional Settings.

      Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2010 Mar 23. [Epub ahead of print] by Himelstein S.

      There is research that serves as evidence in favor of meditation-based programs as rehabilitative for incarcerated populations. This article reviews empirical research regarding the effects of meditation-based programs in correctional populations. Three meditation-based interventions have been shown to represent the majority of empirical research and are reviewed in this article: Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and 10-day Vipassana retreats. Selected dissertation research is reviewed as well. Overall, research suggests three areas in which meditation-based programs provide sufficient treatment to criminal offenders: the enhancement of psychological well-being, a decrease in substance use, and a decrease in recidivism. This suggests that meditation-based programs may be proper treatment programs and support rehabilitation for correctional populations.


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