Effects of Tai Chi on balance and fall prevention in Parkinson’s disease

The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of Tai Chi on balance and functional mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease, and determine whether fall incidence could be decreased by the Tai Chi exercise. 76 patients diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, over 40 years old, capable or walking independently and fell at least one time over the past 12 months. The Tai Chi group (n=37) received 24-form Yang style Tai Chi exercise for 60 minutes each time, three times a week and lasted for 12 weeks. The control group (n=39) received no intervention. Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III, Timed Up&Go (TUG) and occurrences of falls. The Tai Chi group had greater improvements than the control group on the BBS (p0.05). During the 6-month follow-up, only 8 (21.6%) out of 37 patients in the Tai Chi group had experience of falls comparing to 19 (48.7%) out of 39 patients in the control group (p<0.05). The average times of falls were 0.30±0.62 in the Tai Chi group compared with 0.64±0.74 in the control group (p<0.05).

The findings of this study indicate that Tai Chi exercise may improve the balance and reduce the risk of falls in patients with Parkinson's disease.