Content » Vol 50, Issue 7

Review article

Effects of Tai Chi on balance and gait in stroke survivors: A systematic meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Gai Yan Li, Wei Wang, Gong Liang Liu, Ying Zhang
Department of Rehabilitation, The Central Hospital of Xuhui District/Shanghai Clinical Center, 200031 Shanghai, China

DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2346

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the effects of tai chi on balance and gait in stroke survivors.
Methods: A systematic meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of tai chi on balance and gait in stroke survivors.
Results: Five randomized controlled trials, with a total of 346 patients, were included in the meta-analysis. All of these studies had a high bias based on the Cochrane Collaboration recommendation, and a relatively small sample size. In the pooled analysis, the tai chi group exhibited a significantly better gait ability than the control group, as evaluated with the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) (–0.26 [–0.50 to –0.03], p = 0.027; I2=0%, p = 0.682), but no significant difference in dynamic standing balance scores was found between tai chi and control groups (0.154 [–0.269 to 0.578], p = 0.475; I2=26.6%, p = 0.256).
Conclusion: Tai chi may be beneficial for stroke survivors with respect to gait ability in the short term, but further large, long-term randomized controlled trials with standard evaluation indicators are needed to confirm this conclusion.

Lay Abstract

Tai chi is beneficial in enhancing gait ability in stroke survivors. Most stroke survivors have poor balance control and walking skills, and conventional muscle or balance exercises do not achieve satisfactory physical improvement. Tai chi has been practiced for centuries and has become a popular exercise worldwide in recent years. It has been reported to improve prognosis in many conditions, including balance and gait in stroke survivors. This research systematically reviewed 5 relevant studies of the role of tai chi on balance and gait functions in stroke survivors. Tai chi was found to be beneficial with respect to gait ability in the short term in stroke survivors.

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