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Original Article
November 1999

Effects of T'ai Chi on Balance

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School (Dr Hain), and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Mss Fuller and Weil), Chicago, Ill. Mr Kotsias is an instructor of T'ai Chi with American T'ai Chi Tao, Faribault, Minn.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125(11):1191-1195. doi:10.1001/archotol.125.11.1191

Objective  To determine if the practice of T'ai Chi significantly improves balance.

Methods  Twenty-two persons with mild balance disorders were studied. Five measures of balance were obtained, including 3 objective measures (moving platform posturography, Romberg testing, and reach testing) and 2 disability questionnaires (Dizziness Handicap Inventory and a modified Medical Outcomes Study general health survey). To be included, patients were required to be able to stand in the eyes-closed regular Romberg position for 30 seconds. The subjects underwent 8 weeks of T'ai Chi training and practice and then were retested.

Results  Highly significant improvements were found on both the posturography test and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory questionnaire scores (P<.001 and P=.004, respectively). Trends toward improvement were also noted in Romberg test results and the Medical Outcomes Study survey (P=.03 for both). Reach was not improved.

Conclusion  These findings suggest that T'ai Chi training improves balance.