Community-based tai chi was linked to improvements in endurance, strength, fatigue, and balance in a small group of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to findings presented at the 2016 CMSC Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD.
MS is characterized by progressive CNS demyelination which can lead to impaired balance, falls, and worsening disability. Because tai chi is thought to aid in balance, Linda Csiza, PT, DSc, NCS, of the Department of Physical Therapy at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas, sought to explore the benefits of tai chi in patients with MS.
The study included patients aged 18 to 75 years with an MS diagnosis. The intervention consisted of 6 weeks of twice weekly, 1 hour sessions of tai chi. Participants underwent pre- and post-testing for balance, strength, fatigue, and endurance. The study intervention included 25 MS patients with a high attendance to the tai chi classes (80%). However, post-test data was completed on 15 participants (12 RRMS, 3 PPMS or SPMS).
Significant improvements were observed for balance by the Timed Up and Go test (P=.018) and the Berg Balance Scale (P=.003). Likewise, participants demonstrated improvements in strength with the Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand test (P=.003) and endurance with the 2-Minute Walk Test (P=.018)., Participants also saw improvements in perceived fatigue as measured by the Fatigue Severity Scale (P=.023).
Ms. Csiza noted that, “Many participants began the class from a chair but by the end of the 6 weeks were completing the tai chi exercise while standing.”
Csiza LA. Abstract RH05. The Benefit of Tai Chi for Balance and Gait in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Presented at: 2016 CMSC Annual Meeting. June 1-4, 2016; National Harbor, MD.