Tai chi and qi gong are centuries-old mind and body practices. They both involve certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus, breathing, and relaxation.
Practicing tai chi may help to:
- Improve balance and stability in older people and in those with Parkinson’s disease.
- Reduce back pain and pain from knee osteoarthritis.
- Improve quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
- Improve reasoning ability in older people.
Also, tai chi and qi gong may ease fibromyalgia pain and promote quality of life. Qi gong may reduce chronic neck pain, but study results are mixed.
In a recent NCCIH Integrative Medicine Research Lecture, Peter Wayne, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, spoke about the role of tai chi in preserving and rehabilitating some age- and chronic disease-related mental and physical decline. Dr. Wayne is research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.