Tai Chi brings considerable relief to Asthma patients

A new research indicates that Tai Chi, the traditional Chinese exercise which involves co-ordination of breathing and body movements, helps Asthma patients with improved breathing and exercise performance.

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art, involving slow-motion, and is a moving meditative exercise, practiced for relaxation, health and self-defense. It has gained huge popularity in America and in other parts of the world for its immense health benefits.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition which causes inflammation in the air passages. Due to the swelling of these tissues, the volume of air consumption into the lungs remains limited. The surrounding muscles constrict, narrowing the diameter of bronchial passages even further, causing difficulty in breathing.

The study conducted in Thailand, involved 17 adults with persistent Asthma. They were enrolled in a six-week Tai Chi training program. On completion of the training period, the patients showed remarkable improvements in peak flow variability, quality-of-life measures and asthma control, the researchers revealed.

When the patients were advised a six-minute walk, they were more comfortable doing it, apart from increased work rate and maximum oxygen consumption after participating in the exercises, the researchers said in their press release.

The researchers therefore concluded that Tai Chi helps people control Asthma better, and is an effective non-pharmacologic complimentary therapy for people suffering from persistent Asthma.

The patients also participated in supervised exercises once a week, apart from regular home-based exercises, using an audio-visual guide. The routine continued for six weeks. The researchers analyzed the oxygen consumption and exercise endurance, and concluded that Tai Chi enhanced functional exercise capacities and exercise performances.

The research was presented during CHEST 2008, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians at Philadelphia.