Sitting tai chi improves the balance control and muscle strength of community-dwelling persons with spinal cord injuries

This study aimed to investigate the effects of sitting Tai Chi on muscle strength, balance control, and quality of life (QOL) among survivors with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Eleven SCI survivors took part in the sitting Tai Chi training (90 minutes/session, 2 times/week for 12 weeks) and eight SCI survivors acted as controls. Dynamic sitting balance was evaluated using limits of stability test and a sequential weight shifting test in sitting. Handgrip strength was also tested using a hand-held dynamometer. QOL was measured using the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life Scale. Results. Tai Chi practitioners achieved significant improvements in their reaction time (P = 0.042); maximum excursion (P = 0.016); and directional control (P = 0.025) in the limits of stability test after training. In the sequential weight shifting test, they significantly improved their total time to sequentially hit the 12 targets (P = 0.035). Significant improvement in handgrip strength was also found among the Tai Chi practitioners (P = 0.049). However, no significant within and between-group differences were found in the QOL outcomes (P > 0.05).

The study found that twelve weeks of sitting Tai Chi training could improve the dynamic sitting balance and handgrip strength, but not QOL, of the SCI survivors.

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