The level of research into Taiji and Qi Gong continues to grow, and evidence for the health benefits is now well established. Through regular practise we can reduce falls, improve balance, mobility and circulation, promote relaxation, relieve stress and anxiety, boost energy, enhance focus and concentration, and increase social interaction and participation.
The benefits are comparable to moderate exercise, yet Taiji and Qi Gong are highly adaptable and low impact. They can be an excellent adjunct to physiotherapy, gentle exercise, post-operative care, or rehabilitation programmes, and have also been shown to improve lung and cardiac function, so may be of benefit for people recovering from Covid-19.
Our Association was asked to help design and lead a groundbreaking research study involving Taiji Quan and Qi Gong for people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF-CATS).
Together with London South Bank University, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital and NHS Trust, Confucius Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tracie Lawlor Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, we formed a team to complete a feasibility study and then a larger randomised control trial into the potential benefits of Taiji and Qi Gong.
The first phase of the study looked at the potential benefits for people with CF, while the second phase also included children as well as adults, and looked at online remote teaching. This was done to assess the feasibility of teaching children and of online delivery.
This was the first study of it kind in the UK. The design of the intervention was led by our chair and founder Michael Acton, the teaching team was led by our vice chair Awais Mian, and the research team at London South Bank University was led by Professor Nicola Robinson.
Across the study a team of seven instructors from our Association (Awais Mian, Faisal Mian, Matt Cooper, Nick Goss, Jeremy Marshall, James Brown, Steve McCulloch) delivered in person and remote one-to-one classes with over 40 participants.
The research showed promising results, with many reporting decreased stress levels, and 60 per cent saw an improvement in their breathing and mucus clearance during the study. The participants also reported benefits for their day and night time coughing, abdominal pain and sleep, irrespective of whether they were taught in person or online.
Carr SB, Ronan P, Lorenc A, et al. Children and Adults Tai Chi Study (CF-CATS2): a randomised controlled feasibility study comparing internet-delivered with face-to face Tai Chi lessons in cystic fibrosis. ERJ Open Res (2018); 4: 00042-2018 [https://doi.org/10.1183/23120541.00042-2018] – https://openres.ersjournals.com/content/4/4/00042-2018
Lorenc A, Ronan P, Mian AM, Carr S, Madge S, Carr SB, Agent P, Robinson N. Cystic fibrosis – Children and Adults Tai Chi study (CF-CATS2): Can Tai Chi improve symptoms and quality of life for people with Cystic fibrosis? a second phase study protocol. Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine (2014) DOI:10.1007/s 11655-015-2150-1 – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11655-015-2150-1
Lorenc A, Ronan P, Mian AM, Carr S, Madge S, Carr SB, Agent P, Robinson N. Exercise preferences in Cystic Fibrosis: potential of Tai Chi for long term health. European Journal of Integrative Medicine – 8s September 2016 1-66 p52
Lorenc A, Mian AM, Robinson N. CF CATS: Cystic Fibrosis – Caring for Adults through Tai Chi – A Study. Tai Chi Chuan and Oriental Arts 43: 40-41