Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

December 22, 2007


Filed under: Exercise, Tai Chi Chuan — Tags: , , , , , — doctordilday @ 4:34 am


A recent Tuft’s newletter talks about a recently published study (a “randomized controlled trial” which means really good quality or is suppose to) on one of the benefits of tai chi: it enhances immune function. I looked up the study so I could read the full text.

There I learned that Tai Chi is a “mind-body intervention” and not just that but an “alternative medicine, mind-body intervention” which offers “special promise” in that it might “enhance immune and health outcomes in older adults, because it incorporates elements of meditation and physical activity, both of which have been found to have salutory effects on immune responses.”

It’s actually very interesting. We know that immune function declines with age. We know that that makes us less able to resist infection. We know that Shingles is a condition where the virus takes advantage of this after lying domant for decades – having been held in check by our immune system. Since they can measure Shingles immunity in the blood, they can measure impacts on that immunity.

So in this study, doing tai chi (actually tai chi chih but I’ll got to that in a minute) 3 times a week for 15 weeks made a “significant” difference. They measured this by measuring the blood factor that controls the virus: it increased as much after doing tai chi as it does after a vaccination (way cool!) 

It turns out the subjects weren’t really doing tai chi at all but a modern day knock-off. I found the website that talks about Tai Chi Chih where it is described as a series of 20 movements most likely barrowed from tai chi chuan hand forms or from chi kung (qi gong). That’s ok, for the purpose of these results, the effect’s the same.

And the authors, while couching their comments in the most conservative terms, didn’t miss the point. If doing tai chi can impact the blood factor responsible for our abilility to deal with the Shingles virus, it can do the same “across the full specturm of antigenic challenge.”

In other words it may help against multiple other infectious diseases for which there is no vaccine.

Anyway, too much focus on the negative for me (What something can do against disease rather than what something can do to create HEALTH – I can’t help it, disease doesn’t interest me).

I’m going to type out another interesting excerpt and ask you to think about whether all of these scientifically substantiated statements can be said for any other form of exercise. (And keep in mind the very narrow scope of these claims – the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what tai chi chuan offers.)

“Increasing interest has focused on the use of tai chi for promoting health in persons with chronic disease, and a recent review suggested the promise of tai chi as a means of improving a number of health outcomes. However, the majority of studies didn’t use randomized control trial methodologies, and the efficacy of tai chi on physiology and health outcomes remains poorly characterized. Nevertheless, some trials suggest that tai chi can improve health functioning, have effects on both physical and emotional health, reduce the risks of falls and possibly enhance cardiovascular functioning in sedentary and older adults.”   

HOW DO TAI CHI & QIGONG (CHI KUNG) WORK? by Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

“Western medical science is only beginning to understand what T’ai Chi and Qigong offers us. However, just the tiny amount of research that has been done so far indicates that T’ai Chi and Qigong are very powerful health tools that can save each of us and our society a great deal of money and personal suffering . . .”   

(Bill Douglas is the Tai Chi Expert at DrWeil.com. Founder of World T’ai Chi & Qigong Day (held in 60 nations each year), and has authored a #1 best selling Tai Chi Book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi & Qigong”. You can learn more about Tai Chi & Qigong, and search a worldwide teachers directory at http:/www.worldtaichiday.org/) 



  1. I stumbled across this post not realizing it had been saved as a DRAFT, and wanted to get it up, but I spent a lot of time and never could figure out how to get a paragraph break in it. Go figure. Anyway, sorry for the trouble, but I think it’s still worth the read… and the links are good ones.


    Comment by doctordilday — December 22, 2007 @ 4:40 am

  2. Oh, and the picture is near a pot growing operation I also stumbled onto while hiking off the trail in the Cascades along the Mountain Loop Highway east of Everett… that’s a story for another day.

    Comment by doctordilday — December 22, 2007 @ 4:43 am

  3. I think these studies need to compare other types of exercise to tai chi and forms of meditation to chi kung. There is much marketing geared towards tai chi in books and videos, so conflicting sources should be checked. Dr Weil, until his recent association with activator methods has been very anti-chiropractic, however, where there is a will ($bill) – there’s a way! I have studied internal and external kung fu for many years and, while there are great benefits, truely talented teachers and authentic material are very hard to find.

    Comment by DrSteve — March 5, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  4. Hello: I wish I can make my point in English, my main language is Spanish. I have read today many articles contradicting one another about the veracity of different views and opinions about alternative medicine products. I think that every individual if free to choose whatever product they understand could help them improve their quality of life with alternative medicine, because people are spending thousands of dollars on traditional medicine and see no improvement. I hear people say, oh! Dr. this or that has been my heart doctor for fifteen years and he is so gooooodddd!! If he is so good why are you still in a treatment? I know people in medical treatment for years, and they have no improvement, so…if alternative medicine does you no good, well,.at least you do not have the adverse side effects of pharmaceutical products,

    Comment by Zoraida Rodriguez — August 2, 2008 @ 5:12 am

  5. […] Dr. Slosberg, Stuart McGill “It’s all there.” Tai chi in the news, and it’s all good More on the benefits from the research at Tuft’s Functional Exercise and the concept of “carry over” or… Lessons learned in a Montana Fire […]

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  6. […] people take parts of Tai chi or Yoga, reconfigure a few things and then offer it as their own: Tai chi chin is an example. It can be a way of offering a small piece of the discipline; it can either be done […]

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  7. […] people take parts of Tai chi or Yoga, reconfigure a few things and then offer it as their own: Tai chi chin is an example. It can be a way of offering a small piece of the discipline; it can either be done […]

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  8. Greetings from San Fortunato Della Collina, Italia.
    My name’s Zoila and I want to ask: do you have a spam dilemma on this page? I’m a blogger too and I’m wanting to know how many people have the exact same problem. A number of us have started some effective processes and we are looking to swap techniques with other folks. Why not shoot me an email if interested?

    Comment by austriaco — May 2, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

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