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1| Tai chi, a martial art with numerous positive effects on health in general

 

Tai Chi - also called Tai Chi Chuan - is a Chinese martial art that resembles a form of gymnastic exercise. It is a very ancient practice in Asia that has recently become increasingly popular in Europe. The movements are standardized and the way they are linked together is extremely important. The art has been the focus of numerous scientific studies in the past few years.

There have been more than 500 clinical trials in recent years, resulting in numerous publications demonstrating the benefits of Tai Chi in a number of illnesses and conditions, including arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and depression, and as part of a physical therapy program in stroke patients or dementia. Tai Chi also improves general balance and helps prevent the risk of falls.1

 

2| Tai chi may help improve type 2 diabetes control

 

A recent meta-analysis taking into account 23 studies including a total of 1,235 patients, demonstrated that Tai Chi may be effective to help control type 2 diabetes, in terms of both biological results (HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin, in particular) and quality of life in diabetic patients. A significant decrease in fasting glucose was observed, as well as in HbA1c and insulin resistance, which are important indicators when analyzing type 2 diabetes control. In addition, the positive effects on patients’ body mass index, cholesterol levels and hypertension appear to be significant.2

A study published in 2019 concerning 17 trials once more confirmed the beneficial effects of Tai Chi on type 2 diabetes. This study demonstrated a reduction in fasting blood glucose to varying degrees depending on the type of training and the movements performed, after a training duration of at least 3 months.3

Additional research is required to assess the longer-term effects of Tai chi on type 2 diabetes control and its use as a non-medicinal treatment in the management of the condition.

 

3| Sources

 

  1. Huston P, McFarlane B. Bienfaits du tai-chi sur la santé: Quelles sont les données probantes?. Can Fam Physician. 2016;62(11):e645-e654.
  2. Zhou Z, Zhou R, Li K, et al. Effects of tai chi on physiology, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Rehabil Med. 2019;51(6):405-417. doi:10.2340/16501977-2555

Xia TW, Yang Y, Li WH, Tang ZH, Li ZR, Qiao LJ. Different training durations and styles of tai chi for glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019;19(1):63. Published 2019 Mar 14. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2475-y