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This document contains information about recent research on the effectiveness of qigong and/or taiji (or tai chi) in improving balance and preventing falls for people with Parkinson’s disease. The first section is our summary of all the studies we found on qigong and/or taiji interventions. We believe that qigong and taiji have very similar benefits. We believe the terms are interchangeable. The sections that follow are the individual studies that make up the summary.


Research has shown the benefits of practicing Tai Chi and Qigong for people living with Parkinson’s indicate significant areas of improvement including:

● Strengthened and increased individuals’ balance and confidence in balance-challenged situations

● Increased ability to complete daily tasks and move independently

● A reduction in falls

● An increase in walking ability

● A rise in quality of life due to improved independence

● Strong improvement in motor symptoms like handwriting, hand grip, and speech

● Increased walking ability

● Signs of improved posture as well as arm and hand movements

● Improvements in Motor Function like shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, postural instability and difficulty with walking and gait

● Decreased depression


Study 1

Aras, et al, reviewed sixteen studies with 11,843 participants with Parkinson's Disease. They found a significant effect of tai chi on  balance, functional mobility, and decreased falls.

The effect of Tai Chi on functional mobility, balance and falls in Parkinson's disease:  A systematic review and meta-analysis of systematic reviews.
Aras B, Seyyar GK,  Fidan O, Colak E.
Explore (NY). 2021 Dec 13:S1550-8307(21)00247-0. doi:  10.1016/j.explore.2021.12.002. Online ahead of print.PMID: 34952799  


Study 2

Yu, et al, reviewed seventeen studies with 951 participants, and found that tai chi has a statistically significant effect on gait velocity, motor  score, and balance confidence.

The Impact of Tai Chi on Motor Function, Balance, and Quality of Life in Parkinson's  Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Yu X, Wu X, Hou G, Han P,  Jiang L, Guo Q.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Jan 11;2021:6637612.  doi: 10.1155/2021/6637612. eCollection 2021.PMID: 33505498  


Study 3

Shihui Chen, et al, reviewed seven studies with 325 participants and found tai chi and qigong had a significant positive effect on motor symptoms, walking ability, and balance. They also determined that the effect was influenced by age.

The effect of Qigong-based therapy on patients with Parkinson's disease: a  systematic review and meta-analysis.
Chen S, Zhang Y, Wang YT, Liu X, Song W,  Du X.
Clin Rehabil. 2020 Dec;34(12):1436-1448. doi: 10.1177/0269215520946695.  Epub 2020 Jul 29.PMID: 32727214    


Study 4

Kui Chen, et al, reviewed twenty studies with 1,143 participants and found a significant  improvement in quality of life for several therapies including aerobic exercise, dance, and tai chi  and qigong. They found that at least twelve weeks of exercise was required to bring about  significant benefits.

Effect of Exercise on Quality of Life in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review  and Meta-Analysis.
Chen K, Tan Y, Lu Y, Wu J, Liu X, Zhao Y.
Parkinsons Dis. 2020  Jul 9;2020:3257623. doi: 10.1155/2020/3257623. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32695306  


Study 5

Jin, et al, reviewed twenty-two studies with a total of 1199 subjects and found that tai chi and qigong and yoga (all mind-body exercises) significantly improved motor function, depression, and quality of life, and balance. Four of the studies were on yoga and the  rest on tai chi and qigong. They concluded that they can be used as an effective method for clinical exercise intervention in people with Parkinson’s disease.  

The Impact of Mind-body Exercises on Motor Function, Depressive Symptoms, and  Quality of Life in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Jin  X, Wang L, Liu S, Zhu L, Loprinzi PD, Fan X.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019  Dec 18;17(1):31. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17010031.PMID: 31861456  


Study 6

Fidan, et al, reviewed seven studies, and they were the only investigators who felt that they  could not conclude that there was a significant effect of tai chi  on quality of life of  people with Parkinson’s disease. They noted that the small effect size (because only seven studies were reviewed) prevented a significant finding, but that the overall results were positive, which favored the potential benefit.  

The effect of Tai Chi and Qigong on health-related quality of life in Parkinson's  disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of systematic reviews.
Fidan O,  Seyyar GK, Aras B, Colak E, Aras O.
Int J Rehabil Res. 2019 Sep;42(3):196-204.  doi: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000358.PMID: 31116118  


Study 7

Regauer, et al, reviewed twenty-two studies with 1876 patients with vertigo, dizziness and  balance disorder. Only three of the studies specified tai chi  as the therapy used, but  in those three they found a significant positive difference in balance. They concluded that any  variation of the different therapies they studied were effective at treating vertigo, dizziness, and  balance disorder.  

Physical therapy interventions for older people with vertigo, dizziness and balance  disorders addressing mobility and participation: a systematic review.
Regauer V,  Seckler E, Müller M, Bauer P.
BMC Geriatr. 2020 Nov 23;20(1):494. doi:  10.1186/s12877-020-01899-9.PMID: 33228601  


Study 8

Lyu, et al, reviewed eleven studies with 723 participants who survived a stroke. They found that  participants who received tai chi  training showed greater improvement in  depression, but that there were no differences from the control in mental disorders or sleep  disorders.  

Effect of Tai Chi on post-stroke non-motor disorders: a systematic review and meta analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Lyu D, Wang J, Yang F, Zhang Y, Zhang W,  Liu H, Lyu X, Fang B.
Clin Rehabil. 2021 Jan;35(1):26-38. doi:  10.1177/0269215520951020. Epub 2020 Aug 18.PMID: 32808532  


Study 9

Love, et al, reviewed eight studies with a total of 292 participants and concluded that the results  suggest a possible benefit on psychological stressors and quality of life. They noted, however,  that none of the studies included biological outcomes.  

Mind-Body Interventions, Psychological Stressors, and Quality of Life in Stroke  Survivors.
Love MF, Sharrief A, Chaoul A, Savitz S, Beauchamp JES.
Stroke. 2019  Feb;50(2):434-440. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.021150.PMID: 30612536